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!

Monday, December 28, 2015

3 Days Left For Denzel on the Angel Tree!

Do you remember Denzel? He was in my sweet boy Evan's room at the orphanage. His crib was in the corner on the opposite side of the room. I loved how he would smile and laugh with one of his friends. He has been transferred to a different place and I'm worried about him. I posted a little about that HERE.

He is very lucky to be on the Angel Tree this year! He and many other children were chosen to have a chance to get some extra exposure and grow their grants. When you make a $35 donation on the main Angel Tree page you get an ornament with his photo on it. I treasure all of my ornaments. I can't wait to add his to my collection! During the year I keep them on my dresser where I can see them. They remind me to pray for each of the waiting children, and I also give prayers of thanks for the kids who are now in families!

Denzel's Angel Tree amount is $515.90 right now. (His entire grant, including the amount he had before Angel Tree is $1532.30.) The goal is to raise $1000 during Angel Tree for as many kids as possible before the new year begins! Check out Denzel and the other kids!   Only 3 days left!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great holiday. We certainly did! Here are all of our kids sitting still in one place! Asking for them all to look at the camera was too much, as anyone who has tried to take a picture of more than one kid at a time will understand. We are so thankful for all of our amazing kids!

And here are Theo, Barton, Evan and Orion. 

I am blown away by the difference in this picture compared to their older photos. These kids are doing so well. Theo still loves all things Thomas the train, plus firetrucks. Barton looks like such a hipster! He went to see the new Star Wars movie and he loves to tell me that Star Wars is awesome. Evan is eating all of his meals from a spoon now, after drinking from a bottle for his whole life. Orion is still growing like a weed! Their old photos look so different. I found a few to compare just how much they've grown.

Theo used to be a lot smaller and less confident.

This was in our apartment waiting for passports!

Even though it is blurry, I love this picture. This was our first morning home! My daughter in the middle had just turned 7, to give you an idea of how small the boys were! Orion is on the left and Theo is on the right.

Barton was so small and shy. He has grown into himself and grown up so much.

His first picture with his papa!

He is so tiny! This is in the apartment right after leaving the orphanage for the first time!

Evan was so small and frail. I am shocked by how skinny he was. He used to be so easily overwhelmed but now he loves to sit on the couch with me.

This is on his 11th birthday while we were traveling home. That shirt and the other clothes he wore when we left the orphanage fit one of my younger sons when he was only 2.

Here we are in the orphanage getting him ready to leave. He was such a wee thing and he was so confused by everything going on, but also so happy to be able to stretch out and roll over beyond the bars of a crib. 

I'm sure I've said it a few times, but Orion is as tall as I am now! He is definitely a gangly teenager who doesn't always know where his body is in space because he has grown so quickly.

This was taken on our court day after we passed!

This was in our apartment waiting for passports. He is not only smaller, but his face looks so young.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings for our kids. We might also have another surprise in store, so stay tuned! 2016 is going to be awesome!

Superman Was Adopted and Ukraine Heart Shirts For Sale

I found some leftover shirts while I was packing! We are getting ready to move to a new (much bigger!) house in a new state for my husband's employer. I am so excited about this house. We are going to have a lot more space. Right now though, I am packing like crazy. I found the shirts from when we were fundraising for our last adoption in the back of a closet. If you missed one last time around or you would like another, here you go. They are $20 including shipping. Send me an email to letting me know what size you would like. I can take paypal or I have a youcaring account set up if you would prefer paying through that.

Here are the available styles, colors and sizes:

Superman Was Adopted shirts
size Large 1 red, 1 blue, 1 sapphire

size XS 2 blue
size Small 2 blue, 2 red, 2 sapphire
size Medium 1 blue, 1 sapphire
size Large 2 red
size XL 1 red, 1 sapphire

Ukraine Heart shirts
size Small 3
size Medium 2
size Large 4
size XL 2
size XXL 1

size Small 5
size Medium 2
size XL 1

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Heart Is Breaking

I am scared. I am so scared for the kids we spent time with when we adopted our boys. There are many other kids in need, but these are kids we spent time with. These are the kids our children grew up with. We have so much love for them. There are a few different things going on with orphanage 50.

Some of the boys were transferred to a different place a couple years ago. They need families and some of them are aging out. I don't know them as well, but other people have spent a lot of time with them. The second orphanage has the Happy Homes where Orion and Theo used to live. The homes may be turned into foster families. It sounds great but the kids would be sent back to adult institutions at 18 and couldn't be adopted. I'll talk more about them another day, but it isn't too late to start the process for them. The deadline keeps changing and a family could still step forward for them. Right now I'm praying my heart out for the kids at the third orphanage, the orphanage with the bedridden kids. A few kids have recently been adopted from here. I saw them more than a year ago at the old institution. They look much worse coming out of the new institution. I am trying to process my shock and horror. 

I am scared some of these kids will die. The bedridden kids who our Evan used to live with were all transferred the day before we left. I will never forget watching Denzel get lifted out of his crib and laid on a mat on the floor to wait while the cribs were broken down. He had smiled and laughed every time the boy in the crib next to him did something funny. He had a feeding tube in his nose and he was swaddled to keep him from pulling it out. A few years earlier before a charity stepped in the children there were all very thin. He is shockingly gaunt in his older photos. He had gained weight before he was transferred. I don't know how he is doing now. 

This is an older photo of Denzel from his profile, not a current one.

"V." was one of my favorite kids. His crib was next to Evan's. He couldn't move his body very much but he could smile. He loved when you paid attention to him. One of his favorite things was to get a chance to be propped up in a wheelchair to go down the hall to the bathtub and come back. That was the only time he was ever out of his crib. He would be bursting with excitement as he left the room. His legs were twisted and one of the state hired nannies got frustrated trying to put a new pair of pants on him during moving day. It wasn't his fault. He is such a good boy. This is a picture I took of him when we were there.  

This is a new photo of him. He is on an air matress in his crib at the new orphanage. He can't move his body on his own to shift from side to side and he is spending all of his time on that matress in that crib. I really hope his skin isn't breaking down. His face was filthy and he looks so sad.

He needs a family so badly. He isn't listed but he IS available for adoption. His birthday is in 2003. I am praying that he will be okay. There is another boy with the same name and birth year who is at the same place and also available to be adopted. I'm worried about him too.

Sweet little Phoenix was another one of our favorite kids. He was so snuggly and had such a big smile. He is tiny, not much bigger than a toddler. You wouldn't believe that he is already 13 years old. He is also skinnier now at the new facility. He would do so amazingly well in a family. Bedridden kids can seem scary. They aren't! Over and over again I have seen families bring these kids home and they add so much joy to the family! Evan is actually the easiest of our kids! It is so worth it. Phoenix would be such a great son.

This is also an older photo, not a current one.

I don't know what to do. I'm praying for more families to come forward before kids die. I'm praying for things to get better because there are kids there who can't be adopted. Reign aged out before anyone knew it because of a mixup on her listed birthdate. She is there right now. There are kids whose families still have rights and aren't available for adoption. There are kids who are available for adoption but no one knows about them because they aren't listed.

I'm really at a loss right now. I'm so thankful we were able to add Evan to our adoption at the last minute. He was not in a good place. Laying down rooms are never a good place. No child, no person, deserves to live like that. But this transfer was supposed to move the kids into a better equipped facility. They had already survived many years after transfer out of baby homes into an institution mixed with children and adults. I am truly worried that the kids are going to slowly start dying, one by one. I don't know what Evan's fate would have been at the new orphanage. I'm thankful we will never know. 

I'm still left wondering what the fate will be of the children he spent his life with. I hope some of them will have the chance to blossom the way Evan has. He is so loved. These kids could be too. They just need families.