We are thrilled to be adopting again! Our tax-deductible fundraising page is HERE! You can also donate HERE, which is not tax-deductible. Our current expenses are expected to be $27,500. We are thankful for any support you can offer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Soleil Is Aging Out!

Soleil is our second aging out child this week. Go read all of the recent aging out posts! Aging out is when a child becomes unadoptable due to their age and the legal process in either the child's country or the country the child would be immigrating to. Soleil is in the same country we have adopted from, so we are familiar with the aging out process. A family will need to mail in an I-600A application and fees before Soleil's 16th birthday in January. A homestudy can be started after that, but the initial immigration paperwork and fees must be received before her birthday. Her country requires married couples and at least one parent be 15 years older than the child. You can get more information by emailing or visiting Soleil's profile HERE. She is also eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.

Soleil had a committed family a couple years ago, along with a few other girls from her orphanage. The family worked very hard to adopt the girls, but when they got to her country they found they wouldn't be able to adopt the children they planned. This is heartbreaking, but it happens.

These events tend to be rare, that a child can't be adopted by the family hoping to adopt them. In Soleil's case it was not at all due to any fault of hers. Sometimes files have extra diagnoses, although I don't believe hers did. Sometimes homestudies are written in a way that means one thing in everyday speech but another according to the people in charge of adoptions. Being approved for 3 children could mean you must adopt 3 children, not 1 or 2, if the wording on your homestudy isn't double-checked! Sometimes children have relatives with guardianship who will not release those children for adoption. In the case of very young children, sometimes another family will adopt that child before you get there. There are so many waiting children, sadly, that even if that child is adopted there will still be others who desperately need to get out of the orphanages too. That scenario is incredibly rare for older children with any special needs, who are almost never chosen in a "blind" adoption.

But whatever the reason was, it did not have to do with Soleil and her eligibility for adoption. She is still waiting and still needs a family! There were several other girls waiting with her, including Anastasia, Delta, Brandi, Chrystyna, Angela, Havalah, Adelina, Coralina, Venetia, Lorelie, and many others. I am unsure if they are all still in the same location or if they have been moved.

Soleil sounds like she would do very well in a family. She is one of the caring older children in her orphanage who the younger children look up to. She was even recommended by her orphanage director for adoption! Her profile describes her as one of the children who can be given jobs by the staff to help. She seemed to enjoy helping the younger children with the things they needed.

She understands questions and speaks clearly to answer them. She is able to read! That is amazing, considering the lack of education in many orphanages. Her profile only lists mild to moderate delays. Due to the nature of the medical system in her country, that could mean that her only special needs are due to life in an orphanage and related delays are because of that. It is also always possible that she has other undiagnosed needs, although she seems to be very capable.

Soleil has expressed a desire to be adopted and a fear that she won't be chosen. I don't know whether or not she knows that a family was once coming for her but was unable to adopt her, but I hope she will once again be given a chance to have a family. She has easier needs for a lot of families to commit to. She doesn't have the listed medical needs requiring treatment that some of the bedridden children I advocate for have. She doesn't have listed behavioral issues that sadly sometimes occur in older children who have waited in the orphanage system for a long time. In fact, her profile describes her as quite the opposite - a caring "big sister" to some of the smaller children and an orphanage helper who assists the caretakers.

It's always important to stress that none of that is a guarantee. Easy on paper doesn't mean easy in real life. But it is good information to have going into an adoption, to have an idea of what things should be on your radar. Soleil has been in an orphanage for a long time, but her profile and the words I have read from people who met her did not contain any red flags. I hope that will make it easier for her to find her family.

Soleil still needs a family, whether it is a family where she will be a big sister or a family where she will be a little sister or a family where she will be an only child. She needs a chance to learn new things and see how far she can reach in an environment where she can truly achieve her potential. I can't imagine a child who knows how to read ending up in that type of institution, and I can only dream of what she could do if she was given the chance. Soleil needs a family who will dream big dreams with her. She needs a family to come for her and fulfill her own dream of having a family.

Please consider if you have room in your heart and your home for Soleil. If you don't think you are meant to be her family, please share her so that her family can find her.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Denzel Is Aging Out!

I can hardly believe that it has come to this. Over two years ago this sweet boy first found his way into my heart. He was in the same room as one of the boys we were adopting. He was in the same room as two more children who we are going back for. If I was blessed with infinite time and money and ability, he would be one of many, many children in our home. But despite all of the things we have been blessed with, we have limits. We can't bring home seven children on this trip. Every "yes" to one child is a "no" to two, five, twenty other children. We said "yes" to Amos, then to Daisy, then to Lee and Violet.  Each of those "yes" decisions was a "no" to the special children like Denzel who we also carefully considered bringing home.

I want in my heart to believe that we were led to our other children because Denzel has a great family coming for him. And he might have one out there already. I have had many people ask me about Denzel, but none of them could say "yes" to Denzel right now. Believe me, it is not for lack of wanting and praying and trying. There are people who love this boy deeply. But because of his country's requirements or immigration requirements or because families have already said "yes" to other kids, Denzel still waits.

Denzel can't wait much longer.

In January Denzel will turn 16 and age out. A family needs to file paperwork and fees before then. Aging out isn't the only threat creeping up on Denzel though. Denzel has been transferred from one institution to another. This wasn't the dreaded transfer out of the baby house. Denzel had already survived that. He just barely survived it. In 2007 a charity started to visit the institution he had been transferred to. He was 6 when they started to visit. Children were regularly starving to death. Children were transferred to the bedridden ward from the baby house, and the majority of them died before the next batch of kids were transferred the following year.

Denzel was saved in time, but barely. You can see the hair growing on his face. That is a sign of starvation. It is one of the body's last tactics for survival before giving up. He was only 6, soon to be 7. That was so long ago. He has survived so long since then. He was able to receive nutrition through an NG tube thanks to the charity's work. An unfortunate side effect of that life-saving nutrition is that the orphanage needed to tie his hands or swaddle him to keep him from pulling that tube out. Most orphanages and institutions don't have anyone on staff willing or capable of replacing a tube like that. When we were there the orphanage's doctor on staff was actually a retired dentist.

Denzel was saved. He smiled! He laughed and watched everything around him. He is a clever boy inside, underneath all of the sedatives and medications and starvation and profound neglect. He is alive inside his body. Can you imagine being trapped in a crib, left to starve and rot, just because you can't make your body work the way you want it to? That has been Denzel's entire life. He deserves so much more.

But then he was transferred again. This sweet boy is fading too fast. He is losing weight again. His light is going out. He would need a family urgently even if he wasn't aging out, but he is. He has less than 5 months to find a family.

Denzel needed a family years ago, but no family came. So he needs the next best thing. He needs a family today. He has no hope at his current orphanage. He needs special formula instead of the typical diet these kids are being fed, but it is more expensive than the government allots for a child's food budget. There is a charity who would provide it, but none are allowed in right now. Denzel will be adopted or he will die. Those are the only possible outcomes right now.

I can't imagine this boy who is so special to so many people being left behind. I want so badly for a family to come for him and bring him home and help him smile again. He has been pulled back from the brink before. It could happen again. But it needs to happen soon.

Please share Denzel. He is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant toward adoption expenses. You can email for more information. He needs a family to mail in immigration paperwork and fees before his 16th birthday. His country requires married couples and for at least one parent to be 15 years older than him.

Denzel is one of many aging out children I have shared and he is also one of the kids I have posted in the Bedridden Project, but he is so much more than that to me. I have watched him and smiled with him and posted about him in the hope that he would find his family. But he is still waiting. Please help Denzel find his family. Soon it will be too late, one way or another.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dossier Submitted And A New School Year!

Our dossier has been submitted! That is very exciting news! We were submitted with the regular process, so we should be traveling in 2 months. Hopefully we are only a couple weeks from receiving our travel dates. Right now we are approximately $10,000 from fully funded, based on our current cost estimates for all four kids in two regions. We need this account to read $26,849. We are getting close!

We are busy with things here at home also! Our new school year is beginning and everyone is very excited to get started! It should be a really great year. I am working hard to get our school routine rock solid now before our new kids come home. I'm really happy with the way we are doing things, and I'm hopeful that we will be able to keep things rolling on this schedule when everyone else gets here.

I don't know if you can tell, but Evan is trying valiantly to kick off his new braces. This kid has some spunk! He has had the braces for a few weeks now, and he has worked up to wearing them for a few hours at a time. He still isn't crazy about them, but we are getting there. Our biggest goal for Evan this year is communication. He is making it more and more obvious that he has a lot of receptive language, but expressive communication has been slower. We are working on a few things including using pre-recorded buttons, signs, and verbal communication. I am always so thrilled to see how proud he is of his new skills.

Orion is so excited for this year. We are seeing huge improvements in his speech, his ability to follow directions, and his ability to rebound and respond appropriately after correction. Helping him learn is always a bit of a puzzle. I spend a lot of time finding creative ways to work around his weaknesses and build on his strengths. He is always very eager to show off what he knows, and I will often find him practicing what we have done each day by "teaching" his youngest siblings what he has just learned. I think he is going to have a really good year.

Barton is excited for the new school year too. We are adapting things for him because of his vision impairment, but we are also trying to find some new possibilities to improve his vision. He can actually see a lot more than we thought he could initially. He has some degree of double vision, which one of his doctors said was impossible for him to have AND impossible to fix. Another doctor thinks he could see some improvement with surgery and patching. We are exploring all the possibilities, and giving him tools to adapt his environment at the same time.

Theo is also going to be doing a lot of great things this year. His therapy work is one of our big goals for the year. He is working hard at walking with support and building a lot more strength and stamina. His fine motor skills are improving also. It is really interesting to see improvement in some areas build on other areas that would seem completely unrelated, but are actually linked within the brain. We are also including ways to make it easier for Theo to show what he knows. Because of some processing delays and because it also takes a lot of his processing "bandwidth" for the motor functions of his speech, it really helps him to be given choices instead of needing to produce all of his responses from scratch. More success makes him more confident and more willing to show us what he knows, which is our goal! He is going to have an awesome year too.

Beginning of the year photos were a bit challenging! It is hard to get good pictures of all of the kids at the same time, but no one is blurry so I will call it a win!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

An Update on Duane

I included Duane in a recent aging out post. He is a child in the same place my son Barton once lived at. Barton had been moved to a different orphanage later, where we adopted him. Duane is still at the orphanage where Barton used to live.

They were both destined for the same adult facility. My Barton escaped it. We are racing to bring home Amos so that he can escape it also. Duane will likely end up there if he is not adopted. It is not a good place.

Various visitors to the orphanage have spent time with Duane over the years. He has been in the orphanage for a long time. Orphanage life is a hard life, and it often makes children hard. It isn't their fault. It's the fault of the system that fails them. Children in an orphanage aren't taught socially acceptable behavior. They don't have families to gently guide them. Orphanage life is survival of the fittest. It is survival by those who can survive.

Duane is going to need an awesome family. He is going to need a special family. Duane is a child with a lot of love to give and a lot of potential if he is given a chance. He is also a child who needs a really skilled, very prepared family. He will need to be the youngest in his family.

For a long time Duane was one of the smaller kids in his orphanage. There were some older children like Barton and like Amos who followed directions and were gentle with the smaller children. There were other children who didn't and who weren't. Due to other children being transferred and being adopted, Duane is now one of the oldest and biggest kids. He doesn't have older children modeling good behavior anymore. He now repeats some behaviors toward smaller children that were once used on him.

This isn't his fault. Children don't belong in orphanages and institutions, and they especially don't belong there for the length of time he has lived in one. I truly believe that the very best family for Duane is out there and can help him. They might not be easy to find, and we don't have a lot of time.

This is not hopeless. This is going to be hard, but worthwhile things often are. Duane's life is just as valuable and just as precious and just as worthy of being saved as all of the "easier" kids out there. It's just going to be harder.

His newest update also talks about how he loves attention and thrives with it. He will sit close and listen to singing for a long time. He loves a special bouncing horse song. He is trying so hard to talk, but it is difficult for him to make sounds. He responds positively when people understand and repeat back what he is trying to say.  I think a family giving him the means to communicate would be a huge help toward teaching him appropriate behavior, but there are no guarantees. He has so much potential, and his life is going to be thrown away in a cage if he isn't adopted.

Let's talk more about life if he isn't adopted. Any difficult behaviors often result in medication in orphanages and institutions. In fact, one of the things the orphanage we adopted Barton from mentioned is that he had adjusted so well to moving that they hadn't needed to sedate him at all. Duane will almost certainly be given tranquilizers to make him easier to handle. He will be grouped with others who the staff consider difficult, many of whom are likely stronger than him. These are the realities of life in an institution. It is cruel and it is unjust. It is fighting for survival by both the residents and the often under-equipped and severely outnumbered staff.

Duane needs a family. He needs a fantastic, excellent, strong, amazing family. And he doesn't have a lot of time. He still has love and light inside of him. He is alive in there, waiting for a real life. A new life. But it might not be easy. He needs a family who knows that it won't be easy and is ready to fight for him. I know in my heart his family is out there. I hope they realize it in time.

We are a "crazy" family who does "crazy" things. We adopt multiple kids and older kids and older boys and kids with terminal conditions. But to us it's just going and getting our kids. I want a family for Duane who will see him and do the same thing. They will see their son and they will go get him before he ages out and before it is too late. They will know there might be behaviors, but there is also a boy who wants to listen to songs and be able to communicate with the people around him. They will see hope in the hard things that are worth doing, and they will see hope in this boy who is worth loving and worth saving even though he has waited for such a long time.

Where are you, mama and papa? Your son is waiting. He ages out in November.

Duane has a grant of $12,466. I can put you in touch with people who have spent time with him and will share honestly about his strengths and challenges. His profile is HERE and you can email for more information on adoption. Please share this post and share Duane so that his family can see him in time.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Andruis and Kara Are Aging Out!

Aging out is when a child becomes unadoptable due to their age and the legal process in either the child's country or the country of an adopting parent. There are many aging out children listed HERE. You can also see the children we have shared in past weeks HERE. There is still time for some of the children we have shared before to be adopted if families act quickly! Today's children are in two different countries with different processes. You can email for more information about any of these children!


Andruis December 31 $21,559 grant

There are additional videos and photos of Andruis. Andruis has Down syndrome. He also has hearing impairment and hearing aids. He is described as a calm and gentle child who likes to play with dolls and stuffed animals. A visitor watched him sit gently and play with a smaller child in his group. He doesn't speak but he does understand what he hears and can follow directions. He can take care of his needs with very minimal assistance. He is currently attending a special needs school.

Our family has adopted older boys much like Andruis. We have found that though all of those years of waiting take their toll, at their hearts our boys were very much children waiting to be loved and waiting to live in a home with a family. Older boys can seem scary. We've found that despite the institutionalization and trauma, our boys are kids. They came home and wanted to watch Thomas the train and play with Legos. That isn't to say that adoption of a child with a more complicated background like this should be taken on lightly, but in our own experience it has been so worth it. Our boys have a great life. They have so many opportunities in their future, but most of all they are in a family that loves them.

If Andruis is not adopted, then at 21 he will be moved to the adult wing of the same facility. He will live there for the rest of his life if he is not adopted. He could have a family! He deserves a family.

Andruis is a child who has been listed for such a long time with such a large grant. Look how little he was! I continue to be shocked that he doesn't have a family. Perhaps one reason he is still waiting is that his county is requiring that a family does not have small children. That is a tough requirement because it knocks so many experienced families out of the running. In his case, according to people who have seen him, this is a country requirement rather than a requirement based on his particular needs and behaviors. He is currently with much smaller and weaker children and interacts well with them, but because his country is holding firm, that rule must be followed.

I will say again how huge Andruis's grant is. It is currently $21,559. That is almost an entire adoption already paid for, after the initial expenses have been covered! It is such a huge advantage for a family looking to adopt who thinks they are a good fit for Andruis's needs. He has the largest grant out of any child currently listed on Reece's Rainbow! Unfortunately he is running out of time for a family to use that grant. Andruis will turn 16 on December 31, 2016 and lose his chance for a family forever.

Andruis is in a different country than other children I've posted about before, and his country has some different requirements. The aging out requirement for immigration paperwork and fees to be sent in before he turns 16 is the same as a few other countries. His country also requires that adoptive parents are at least 18 years older than the child but not over 50 years old. For Andruis that means parents should be between 34 and 50. His country also requires couples who have been married at least 2.5 years. This is a country with two trips and unrelated children can be adopted at the same time. UPDATE: There are only one or two options for agencies working within this country. There may be specific religious or ethnic requirements put in place by the agencies. Those could possibly be waived, but I am not certain how that process works.

There is more information about Andruis on his profile HERE. If you have any questions about how to adopt Andruis you can email His $21,559 grant will cover most of his adoption expenses, but he needs a family to file paperwork before his birthday on December 31.


Kara December

Kara is an aging out child in the same country that we have adopted from. She needs a family to send in immigration paperwork and fees before she turns 16 in December. Her profile says she has cerebral palsy and severe mental delays. There is very limited information about Kara. Her photo shows her standing up, so she seems to have independent mobility. Beyond that, we don't know a lot. We do know she needs a family though. Based on the diagnoses listed on her profile, Kara will never be allowed to live outside of an institution in her country. It is hard for a family to make a leap for a child with so little available information, but hopefully Kara's family will see this and know that she is meant to be their daughter even with such a brief profile.

Kara's country requires married couples. At least one parent will need to be more than 15 years older than Kara. Kara is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses. Her profile is HERE and you can email for more information.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rainbows and Unicorns

I have a few things spinning around in my head right now, and they go together, so I'm throwing this out there.

There is a beautiful video circulating right now of a girl meeting her adoptive family for the first time. It IS beautiful and it IS heartwarming and it is every bit of the fairy tale daydream of a perfect adoption story. I'm going to stop talking about them there, because the family seems lovely and the girl seems very happy, and I get the impression that the parents already know what I'm going to talk about here.

So I'm not talking about their family. I'm going to talk about us and adoption in general. One of our boys did something similar. He ran to my husband and hugged him. He literally fell to the ground crying saying he knew God would bring him a family. Wow, that is a lot to live up to. He had his own fairy tale daydream of a perfect adoption story too. And our family isn't perfect. We are real and imperfect. We love fiercely. We work hard. But we aren't perfect. Goodness, what is perfect to a child who has never been in a family anyways?

For our son it was very, very hard for him to come to terms with having a family that didn't match his daydream. He had to follow the same rules as everyone else! He was treated fairly. That wasn't what he dreamed of. He dreamed of getting more than everyone else, and always being the center of attention, and getting to do whatever he wanted. Why wouldn't he? What basis did he have for comparison?

Coming back down to reality was hard. He was very upset that he couldn't take something he wanted out of someone else's hands, or he couldn't try to pinch his brother behind my back as retaliation. (This is a VERY common orphanage trick for younger kids and kids at this developmental level, since nannies aren't likely to see it. We put a stop to it immediately.) We were the bad guys. A family wasn't supposed to be like this in his mind.

This is really only scratching the surface of why our family hasn't matched his daydreams, but this is our child with attachment issues. I won't go into depth here. Out of respect for my kids and their privacy, I usually don't post these struggles with their names and faces for other people to see. His issues aren't extreme. He has attachment issues, but not full-blown RAD. Our other kids don't have these issues. Sometimes we have post-institutional behavior, but generally they have adjusted more easily. We would still do it all over, which is why we are heading back to adopt again.

Now the other side of things, our own fairy tale daydream. It is so important to realize that even a kid who wants to be adopted is going through a lot. International adoption, domestic adoption, no matter what. This is supposed to be covered in current adoption training, but maybe it isn't done thoroughly or maybe a parent thinks it won't be their story or maybe knowing isn't the same as doing it in real life.

Think about it from the child's point of view. Particularly in international adoption, you have a child leaving the orphanage that has been their entire world to go with this strange person who doesn't even speak the same language. How can we not expect that to be scary? How can we be surprised when a child doesn't react the same way we hoped in our fairy tale?

Adopting older kids or more typical kids adds another layer to this. They may have been living almost independently even within an orphanage if they are more typical. These are kids who have already lived a lifetime of their own, before we came into their world. That needs to be respected. They still need to recognize and follow their new rules when they come into your family, of course. But it is understandable that a kid might not see eye to eye with you on those new rules.

Also, for one of our kids, I'm not "mom." That's okay. He lived with his biological mother when he was younger, before he entered the orphanage. He remembers her. I am NOT the same mom. And I am SO fine with that. In his mind I am just another nanny, another caretaker. I'm a much nicer one, and he does like me and like being here. But I'm not "mom" and I might never be. It doesn't matter because he is here and he is safe and he is so loved. It is okay.

Adoption can be hard. This is the real, hard stuff. Parents are imperfect and kids are imperfect because we are all just regular people, not characters in a fairy tale. But life can be so, so good too. We have had some hard adjustments on all sides, but that is what we signed up for as parents. And it has been worth it a million times over. We went in with our eyes open. We went in prepared for the very worst. We've had some hard stuff, but we are doing it. And it is pretty awesome, most of the time.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Elijah and Aurora Are Aging Out! Plus An Update On Elsbeth!

Aging out is when a child becomes unadoptable due to their age and the legal process in either the child's country or the country of an adopting parent. The first two children posted here must have their adoptions completed by their 14th birthdays according to the laws within their country. Only one parent needs to travel and this country is only one short trip! Their country is open to adoption by single parents! There are some additional guidelines, but most of them can be waived for the adoption of an older child with special needs. One requirement that I have not seen waived is the minimum parent age of 30. You can contact for more information about whether or not you qualify to adopt from this country. They are great at walking you through which country might be a good fit for your family to adopt from!

Starting a couple months ago, myself and other advocates have been posting a few aging out children every week. You can see where that started from HERE. We are now getting to the section of the aging out list where there is time for us to find families and for those families to complete adoptions from scratch! (Check out all the aging out kids HERE.) That means I really want to start seeing kids with committed families! It is so hard to read the stories of each of these children and see how badly they need families, especially when you know they have very little time to find one. Many of these kids have really struck a chord with me. I would bring them home into our own great big crazy family, but we can't right now. So I need all of you to help me find their families!


Elijah ages out June 2017

Elijah has until June of next year to complete his adoption! That is enough time for a family to get started now from scratch and finish comfortably in time! He sounds incredible. Elijah has cerebral palsy, just like some of the kids our family has adopted. And oh my goodness, he could do such amazing things if he was in a family too.

Take a look at that picture of him standing up holding onto the wall on his own! If he had the same type of surgery as my son Theo he would be standing on flat feet and he could absolutely FLY. This kid could SOAR. Theo's surgery was an outpatient procedure. There are a few different types of surgeries that can be done, but they are all fairly similar. It was really, really easy on our end. Can you imagine the difference that would make for Elijah?

Elijah is a smart boy who is of typical intelligence. He is not able to attend school in his country because of his special needs, but he would definitely be capable of it if he was in a family instead of an orphanage. His cerebral palsy mostly affects his lowers limbs and he uses a wheelchair right now. His profile says he is well-adjusted and gets along well with others. There is a lot of extra information about him, including videos, HERE! Go check out Elijah!

Elijah is also eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses. You can see his Reece's Rainbow profile HERE and contact for more information!


Aurora ages out May 2017

Aurora also sounds amazing. She sounds like a girl I would love to have in my own family! Her profile says she adores helping the younger kids and they all think of her as a big sister.  She loves to help clean and take care of herself independently. She is very proud of all of the things she can do.

Aurora is listed as having brain damage. Her profile also mentions difficulty speaking, which could be related to that. She works very hard to speak and make herself understood! Her orphanage has been sending her to a special education school. She is adjusting very well there and working hard to get along with and talk with the other students.

Her profile says she is always polite and very diligent in her tasks. I could just imagine her in a family showing everyone how well she made her bed and set the table. Aurora sounds like she would be a great big or little sister, and that she would love to be in a family that praised her for how hard she works.

Aurora is also eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses. You can see the rest of her profile HERE and contact for more information!


I'd also like to post an update about Elsbeth. We have learned that her birthday is August 27th. That is only three weeks away! A family needs to mail in an I600A application and fees to immigration to arrive before that date in order to be eligible to adopt her. I know her profile is short and lacks information, but she still needs a family to save her! Especially if you are an experienced adoptive family, please consider if you might be able to adopt Elsbeth.

Elsbeth is also eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses. For more information please contact as quickly as possible. There is very little time for paperwork to be turned in for Elsbeth.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Updates: A Whole Bunch Of Good News, And Some Bad News Too

This is going to start out happy. And I am so happy and so grateful for where we are right now. I love to read happy updates so I'm sure other people like to hear the good news too. But it's going to end with some news that is not good. We are hanging in and hanging on and going as fast as we can.

So let's start with the good. Have you seen the miracle that was the Shadow Children Giveaway? This was a huge, earth-shaking, heart-moving two weeks. During the giveaway $11,956 was raised for our family. My hands shake just typing that! Otto's account has $4712! Otto still needs a family. Please help him find it! This surpassed even my wildest hopes and dreams. Go see if you won something! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took part.

Right now we need $12,025 to be fully funded. We need this account HERE to read $26,849. We have another non-tax-deductible account HERE.

We will continue to have fundraisers. We have mug swap sign-ups going on right now! It is so much fun! It costs $5 to sign up. You fill out the form and will be assigned a partner to send a mug and goodies to. I love the community building aspect of this. Go HERE to read more about what a mug swap is, and go HERE to fill out your like/dislike form and sign up! If you have any questions I can put you in contact with the awesome organizer! Thank you for checking it out!

Now, a big piece of news! Our dossier is en route! Actually, most of it is already there and already translated, ready to go. As soon as this last envelope is translated it will be ready! We will be submitted and start the process of waiting for our travel dates. This is such a huge relief! It also means we can apply for a few grants that may or may not be able to assist us with our remaining fees. There are fewer grants we are eligible for, but we are applying to the ones we can!

There is such a great need for grants to assist with adoption funding and the process in this part of Eastern Europe is unique in that you do not receive a referral until you are in-country. We hope to adopt the children we have committed to, but there is no hold or guarantee that they will be eligible when we get there. This is more often a problem for families adopting babies or young children. It is extremely rare for older children with special needs like ours to be randomly chosen by a different adopting family, but for the purposes of receiving grants some foundations do require an approved referral. Others only ask that you have submitted your dossier. And we will be doing that very, very soon!

We also have a new photo of Daisy. She is outside in the sunshine! We love her so much and can't wait to get her home.

The current transition time for the group home to a foster home is up in the air. It has been delayed in the past and may continue to be delayed. This is a second chance for all of the other available kids who are at risk of being switched into foster care. TaniaKatrinaEmilyMiriamLeroy, as well as another unlisted but available boy are all still waiting. A family could have completed the entire adoption process during the time they have been waiting for the foster care changeover. Who will make a leap of faith for these kids?

So that is a whole bunch of amazing news. Awesome, exciting, super thankful news. I am so grateful for all of those things, that I hate to need to share the news to follow. But that is the process of adoption. It is good and it is sad and you hang on as best you can! The same thing once you get home and start living your new life as a new family all together. It is great and it is hard and you hang on for the ride.

With all that said, there were recent visitors to the orphanage where Lee and the other bedridden kids have been moved to. Lee is hanging on, but I don't know how. When we brought Evan home 2 years ago he weighed 33 pounds at age 11. Lee was a similar size. Now Lee will soon be 13, and he has lost so much weight. I can't imagine how light he is or how he looks under that blanket. His ribs showed two years ago. What was left for him to lose?

Here is Lee two years ago when we said goodbye to him, and just a week ago. He should be growing and thriving. Instead he is getting smaller, so small I don't know what is left keeping him going.

Lee isn't the only one there. There are so many children waiting for families. I despair at how many children are waiting without families coming. I am worried about Lee surviving until we get there and until we can bring him home, but we are coming for him. Who is coming for Denzel or Leilani? Their needs are so urgent. And yes, there are many other children in other places in need of help, but these are the kids who have spent their lives with my own son. The responsibility to help them escape too weighs heavy on my heart.

Denzel. This boy was so alert and aware when I saw him in the first photo from two years ago. I believe some of the children were taken out of their cribs specifically for the observation visit when his new photo was taken. Denzel looks so small and listless now. He ages out in January. That is only a few months away. He could be that same smiling boy again if a family brought him home.

Leilani was only recently moved into this institution. She was already very frail at the baby house. The older and stronger kids who were moved here two years ago are quickly fading. What will become of her? She has such bright eyes observing everything in the photos and videos I have seen of her. Her life in a family could be incredible. She won't live for long where she is now.

One of my favorite kids we spent time with was Phoenix. He was so happy when we spent time with him. He was crying in the last video I saw of him. I have no idea what is wrong with his wrist in this photo. He was not a complex kid when we spent time with him. When we met him he was a kid who would have been very easy to move into a family. He didn't have complicated medical needs like some of the other children. He just needed a family to take him out of a crib. He was learning how to walk!

Posey breaks my heart. I've shared before how much she reminds me of an older girl who is also blind named T. I hoped Posey would be adopted before she reached transfer age so that she would be spared the life T has lived and the toll it has taken on her. Posey and T have been transferred to the same place and are even in the same room, only a few beds apart. T has a terrible infection from touching her eyes with her hands. This is a common stim that blind children do in an institutional setting. Even though I remember seeing T do this at the old institution, I never saw her eye infected like this. It looks awful. And a few beds away is Posey laying in a crib. Posey can still be spared. T can't be adopted due to her age and will eventually die without leaving the bed she is in now. But Posey can. Posey CAN be adopted. But not until a family comes forward and says YES to this beautiful girl.

Zoey (Becky) is another child currently being fed by NG tube like Denzel and Leilani. She often seems to get lost in the shuffle, but she also needs a family very badly.

Quinn is an incredible kid. He is very sweet and very interactive. At the baby orphanage he would make noises to respond when people talked to him. But he too is fading here. His arms are so thin and the light is going out of his eyes. He is a gem.

Before Lee was listed I called him V. This is the "other" V. He was also born in 2003 and he is also available for adoption. The perspective of this second photo makes him look many times bigger than he is. He is even smaller than Lee. He used to be awake at the old institution, but he spends a lot of time sleeping now, possibly medicated or possibly too exhausted to stay awake. He is sweet and dear. He knows his name and responds when people say nice things to him. The first photo is an older one of him, and the second is the recent photo where he is even smaller.

There are other waiting children whose photos weren't taken during this visit. Some of them are with these bedridden kids and some of them are in the section for other girls. Our Violet is at the same place, but the girls in her section are much easier for the institution to take care of and look like they are in much better condition.

I had hoped for this post to be a lot of exciting news about our progress forward. I'm so thankful for all of the help everyone has given our family over the last two weeks and since we began the adoption process. Now I'm going to ask something more of you though. Help these kids find families. Help the children in this bedridden group escape the orphanage before they die. Right now we are praying for the charity to be allowed in, but until then adoption is the only chance for these children to stay alive. Please help me. I feel like I am failing that so many of these children are still waiting to be adopted. I would bring home each and every one of them if I could, to love them and keep them safe. But I can't do that, so we are bringing home our 4 kids, and I need more families to come forward for the rest of these children.

Monday, August 1, 2016

So Much To Be Thankful For

Have you been watching our funding numbers during the Shadow Children Giveaway? I have. I have been overwhelmed by the response. There are only a few hours left to enter. Last chance! Go HERE and read about how to enter. You can donate to our family HERE or HERE, you can also donate to Otto (a sweet tiny boy who needs a family!), you can share, and then go back HERE and post about it to be entered! As of the time I am posting this, we only need $12,609 to be fully funded! You have all been working miracles.

In the absolute best way to wrap this up, we just received a call that our I-600A has been approved. Approved! That is such exciting news! We will be submitted as soon as that has been received and translated by our facilitation team.

And it can't happen soon enough. We are adopting four children. 3 of them are extremely urgent. One is less urgent, meaning her adoption isn't the difference between life or death, but that does not mean she is not in great need.

Amos is already 16. He has aged out. Our paperwork was turned in before his birthday so we can still adopt him. We are his last and only chance. If he is not adopted, the adult facility in his region is horrifying. It is a sad, scary place of benches and sheds and cages. We adopted our son Barton and saved him from heading there. Now we are adopting his good friend Amos to save him from the same place. There are extra time cutoffs for each stage of an over-16 adoption, but things are looking good right now!

Daisy used to live with our son Evan. Even though she is mobile, she was grouped with children in a laying down room. She would be tied into her crib so that she wouldn't get into trouble. Later she was moved into a group home. Daisy's group home is scheduled to change to a foster home. If she is also moved into fostercare, she will not be available for international adoption. In a lot of cases fostercare is great in her country. In many cases it is treated like adoption for both the family and child. In this case, due to the set-up of the facility, at 18 the children will be returned to institutions. These foster homes are for children only. Her future fate will be sealed if she is not adopted now.

Lee was also in Evan's laying down room. I can't put into words how urgently he needs to be adopted. The institution he was moved into is not good for bedridden children. Active children who had full cheeks and round tummies when I saw them are now glassy-eyed skeletons tied up into sheets gasping to breathe. Lee was already small and thin before he moved there. He has a diagnosis in his file that requires excellent medical care, and he is not even being treated for it. We are racing to get there in time for him.

And Violet. Sweet Violet's need is slightly different. It only looks less urgent when you have the stories of our other children to compare it to. Our other children have extremely urgent reasons that they need to be adopted. They need to be adopted within a certain timeframe due to legal or medical reasons. But 13 year olds are truly in need as well. In just a couple years she would be one of those aging out children I shout for. She has been waiting for a very long time.

And so, here we come! With our immigration approval we are ready to move onto the next part of the process! Thank you all for joining us on this journey!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Nelson and Duane Are Aging Out! Plus the July Aging Out Recap!

Aging out is when a child becomes legally unadoptable due to their age. In some cases this is due to the laws of immigration into an adopting country and in some cases it is due to the laws of the child's country of birth. The aging out cutoff and laws vary by country. The child's possible future varies depending on both the country and any special needs the child may have. The aging out children I post here are at the brink of crossing that threshold. This is their last possible chance to be adopted. They need families who are able to move quickly to complete their adoptions before it is too late. Please help them find families by sharing their profiles. You can find more aging out children listed HERE. You can email for more information on these children. All of the children I have posted here are eligible for at least a $10,000 older child grant to assist with their adoption expenses!

I come to you with two more aging out children this week. These are children from the same country we have adopted from. Aging out children in this country need an I-600A application and fees mailed into USCIS before their 16th birthday. A family is able to do this step first and then start their homestudy afterwards, but they will need to be ready to move quickly. I highly recommend mailing in your application and fees ahead of time if you are adopting from this country. It is well worth it to leave the door open even if you don't plan to adopt an aging out kid now. That is the reason our son Barton is sitting here safely in our home today! This country requires married couples, and at least one parent must be more than 15 years older than the child.


Nelson October

Nelson will need a family to submit an immigration application and fees before his 16th birthday in October. His profile lists his special need as Hypotheriosis. This is an underactive thyroid. Thyroid conditions do require monitoring, but they can often be easily treated with medication.

His profile is brief but it describes him as a quiet boy who likes computer science and math. A family would be amazing for him. The education within the orphanage system is often lacking compared to the education that other children receive, even when the children in the orphanage system do not have special needs. A family would give this quiet boy the chance to receive an education that would put him on equal footing with other students.

You can read the rest of his profile HERE. Email for more information on how to adopt him! There is a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.

Duane November

Duane needs a family to submit paperwork and fees before he turns 16 in November. Duane is at a place where my Barton once lived, before he was transferred. The region where he is does not have a good adult facility. It is a place of cages. A giant pavilion, an empty shed made of concrete with benches, bars from the ground to the roof, and a door that locks the men in. That is where Barton would have gone. That is where Amos would have gone. Duane could end up there too. He has a very dire need to be adopted. He is already fading and becoming less interactive where he is now.

Duane has Down syndrome. He also has some degree of cerebral palsy or joint hypermobility and difficulty speaking. His profile says he has some language but is mostly nonverbal. He needs to be rescued. UPDATE: I am waiting on current information about his behaviors and needs from someone who has spent time with him.

His grant is $12,466. There are also other children at his orphanage and within his region that could be adopted at the same time. Their names are listed on his profile HERE. Go read more about him and consider if he might be your son. Please share him so that he doesn't end up in the terrible adult facility that we have fought to save our boys from. Email for more information on how to adopt him.


Here is the current status of the other children I have posted recently who are aging out. Many are now listed as aged out. Many of these were children who needed their adoptions completed before they turned 14. Now at 14 these children will never have families. We need to find a better way to find families to adopt them before they are nearly 14 with only a few months to find a family and complete an adoption. Some of these children were listed for quite a long time, but they waited for years and then aged out. I have not personally adopted from this country so I am less familiar with it, but there have been many children whose stories pulled at my heart.

I hope we will start seeing a change as we continue posting about aging out children. In an effort to make sure all of the children have been given a chance to be seen, we decided to start with the children aging out the soonest and pick a couple children a week to share. Some of these children had very little time left. As we share more children we are starting to post about children who have a little bit more time for a family to finish an adoption. The children who are still waiting need families.  Please go back and look at them again and share them again. These children are all eligible for AT LEAST a $10,000 grant toward adoption expenses. Some of them have even bigger grants!

Marshall aged out before a family was found.
Leonard aged out before a family was found.
Flynn aged out before a family was found.
Tara is listed as aged out before a family was found. I don't think there is enough time left for a family to add her on to a current adoption and complete it before she turns 14 in September, but it may be possible.


Ashley needs her adoption completed before she turns 14 in October. She has really touched my heart. Ashley has Down syndrome. She wants to be adopted and is a great helper where she is living right now. I can put you in touch with someone who met her!


Toni also needs her adoption completed before she turns 14 in October. She has some vision impairment and some hearing loss. She is worried that she won't be adopted in time. Please help Toni find her family!


Saul needs his adoption completed before he turns 14 in December. He has a kidney condition and a surgically repaired cleft lip and palate. In addition to the $10,000 older child grant, a $5,000 agency grant is available, and his orphanage donation has been reduced and could possibly be waived completely.


Barry needs his adoption completed before he turns 14 in December. Barry has cerebral palsy and can walk with support from a walker. He is a very hard worker and very smart!


Winnie needs her adoption completed before she turns 14 on December 27th. She is another child who has really touched my heart. She has a mild humpback. She loves to help with the younger children where she lives. There are more videos and photos of Winnie HERE.


Scottie has decided he does not want to be adopted. There are multiple families who asked about him and submitted paperwork, but as an older neurotypical child he has the legal right to refuse adoption in his country. Thankfully there are now a lot of people committed to helping him in his country, so he will hopefully have more support than the typical child! If you were considering adopting Scottie, perhaps you would think about adopting Nelson, Devon (Brian), Haines, Eric, Avery, or another child in need of a family. There are still many children waiting in need!


Elsbeth needs a family to mail in paperwork and fees before her 16th birthday in August. There is not much time left! Elsbeth has Down syndrome and will spend the rest of her life in an institution if she is not adopted.


Galan needs a family to complete his adoption before he turns 14 in January. There is enough time for a family to start from scratch right now! His medical special needs have already been surgically corrected in his country, and now he is just waiting for a family.


Michael needs a family to start now in order to be far enough along in the process for his country by his 16th birthday. Michael has Down syndrome and is a very happy and active boy.

Dani needs a family to complete her adoption before she turns 14 in February. Dani is yet another child whose story resonated with me. Dani has epilepsy, and is currently not attending school because of that even though she is an otherwise healthy and active child. I had friends in school with epilepsy! I can't imagine them not being able to attend school because of it. She deserves a chance to receive an education.


Thank you to everyone for continuing to share all of these children. You never know who will see your post or share and decide to look a little further. These kids are all very close to losing their chance for a family, and we need to find them families before it is too late.