We are home with Amos, Daisy, Lee and Violet! Meanwhile we have jumped in again for one last very special girl. If you would like to help with that, you can make a non-tax-deductible donation HERE that we can access immediately. You can also make a tax-deductible donation HERE that we can use once we receive travel dates. Or by donating HERE you can help provide her and other children at her orphanage the care and nutrition they desperately need. See all of our current fundraisers HERE. We are thankful for any support you can offer!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fully Funded!

I am still in shock that I can type this! In fact, when I first found out, I flooded my bathroom because I forgot I had the tub running.  We are FULLY FUNDED for all of the boys. Thank you SO much to whoever funded us, and to everyone who has contributed. Thank you!

My husband has met Orion, Theo and Evan. They are all amazing and special in their own different ways. We can't wait to have each of them and also Barton here with us. So much to be thankful for today!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Some of you have heard about Evan's story. This is what we know about it and our part in it.

He was still at a babyhouse when he was 7, probably in the laying down room since an adopting family there at the time did not see him. He was listed on RR at this time. This was his chance for a family! He was soon transferred to the bedridden ward of an incredibly remote institution. It seemed like his chance had been lost.

People began to visit that remote institution and to provide updated information. A hidden world began to open up. Somewhere along the way there was a mix-up of Evan's info with Theo's. People saw Theo and got to know his sweet spirit, but no one even knew about Evan's need. He was still in his crib.

Another visitor to the institution spent quite a bit of time with Theo. She realized that Theo must be older than the profile with Evan's age and that something had been mixed up. Her description of Theo, the things other visitors had to say about him, the videos he was in, all these led our family to move forward and commit to him. Now Theo's profile and Evan's profile had been separated. Theo had a family coming (us!) and Evan once again had a chance to be seen.

We decided to commit to Orion also. Two incredible sons. What could be better? We kept thinking of Evan. Then we heard about Barton. Here was another amazing boy, on the verge of being too old to adopt and condemned to an adult institution forever. He was too quiet and gentle to survive that sort of place. We asked more questions. Everything pointed to him being right for us. Our immigration papers had already been sent in just before his birthday, even before we were thinking about adopting him. But there were obstacles. Money was a big one since he was in a different region. A few other people expressed interest who were closer to traveling or already going to his region.

So while Barton's future was in that place of "limbo but probably going to work out," we thought we would be adopting Evan. We started making plans. Then we found out that the other families interested in Barton were unable to adopt him. Here was the hardest decision my husband and I ever made. How do you choose between two boys you had considered your sons? There was no one else for Barton. Only a handful of people were eligible to begin with. If we said no to him, there was no one else coming. But what about Evan? Yes, he was younger so more people were eligible, but remember that no one had asked about him (or Theo) and he had already been listed for years. He is small and thin. The combination of his liquid diet and CP give him a high risk for aspiration pneumonia. His life was on the line too. These weren't any two boys we were choosing between. These were two boys we thought would be part of our family.

So we made the decision, through tears and prayer. We would give Barton a chance at a new life. We would fight for Evan to be seen and brought out of his crib and into a home, but we would not be able to be that home. It was bittersweet. We were so happy for Barton and so many other people were too, but our hearts ached for Evan.

We pushed for Evan to make it onto the 21 Days of Hope. It hurt to do it, but I explained how special he is to us and why he needed a family so badly. His grant had been less than $100 before that, even though he had been listed for years. We knew that he needed more people to see him. We knew that the grant money would help him be seen and that it would help a family stepping forward for him. He made it into the top 21, all the children got their grants, and so many people knew about him now who had never seen him before.

My husband and I were talking. How can we help find a family for him? Can we go back for him in a few years? Will he last that long? I was on my hands and knees praying for a way for my husband to come back with all four boys. It sounded impossible, but that was what I was praying for.

We decided to ask. What do we need to do to go back right away? And that turned into can we make this happen now? Each answer was a miracle. Some small, some big. All miracles, so many of them. Homestudy update, immigration update, dossier update - our last paper arrived the day before my husband flew out. My husband is meeting Evan, along with Theo and Orion, today. The impossible has become possible. Now we are trying to have faith that the money we need will come too.

We need $2535 more to cover the extra costs for Evan. If you are interested in donating you can do so HERE. Our account needs to read $22,200. Thank you all so much for praying for us and supporting us!

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. 

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

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.