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, 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.

Birthdays are special. Birthdays are hard.

17 years ago, on the other side of the world, a tiny little baby was born.

He was born at home, but there were complications. He and his mother went to the hospital. They were both there for some time. There were irregularities with his mother's documents and passport. She fled the hospital, leaving him behind. She hadn't signed papers relinquishing parental rights like a lot of parents do. At two days old many children are signed into state care. But she was at the hospital for a very long time, and she never did. When she left he was considered abandoned.

I want so badly to believe that she wanted to take him home and raise him. It's difficult to do there, and parents are encouraged to put their children in state care, but some people bring their babies home from the hospital. I want to believe that she only left to avoid being arrested for the passport issues. Maybe that is what happened. Or maybe they wouldn't let her sign the relinquishment papers because of the passport issues. I really don't know.

I have tried to find her and tell her that her son is amazing. He is loved. He is an incredible kid who is doing fantastic things. He is okay. He is safe. This is the very special person who that tiny little baby has grown up to be. But I haven't found her. The name I have for her is likely a false name. We were told he hadn't had any visitors. She might not even know if he is still alive.

So I have here in front of me this very special kid to show for it. This kid who is walking. Walking! Learning to walk for the first time as he turns 17.

This kid who lives for his baby brother. He is full of love and tenderness for his little best friend. The two of them sit and have their funny little talks and laugh at each other.

I have this very smart boy who sometimes hides what he knows and sometimes answers hard questions and flashes a grin because he knows he is clever.

He is a boy with so many favorite things. Fire trucks and trains and paw patrol. Pasta and oatmeal and chicken. Playing with dogs and trips in the bus and getting messy. And he is a boy with a family who indulges all those favorites, within reason.

He is a boy who waited a long time for that family, and stayed sweet and gentle in a place that was not made for sweet and gentle boys. Not the right place for any boys, for that matter. But he survived it, and his tender personality did too. He is strong to have stayed soft in such a hard place.

He is a boy with a mama and papa and so many brothers and sisters who love him. He is a boy with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who love him. So much love for this boy.

Theo, sweetheart, you shine. I wasn't your first mother, but I am your mother now. And I want you to know that you are perfect. You are so loved. I am so proud of you. And I will always love you. Happy birthday, birthday boy.


The end of July and beginning of August are very busy for our family. We have three birthdays within a few days. Those familiar with adoption might already know that this kind of excitement can trigger big feelings for our kids. The anticipation of happy things can be stressful. Birthdays are even more complicated.

Some of our children have been having those big feelings recently. Their responses aren't unusual. Behaviors that we haven't seen in a long time resurface. In turn, they are worried and scared that they will get in trouble for those behaviors. These are hard times with hard talks, but this is what we signed up for. 

Those talks will take you by surprise. Sometimes I can guess what direction they will lead, but sometimes I just need to listen and occasionally ask questions. 

We had one of those talks recently. The discussion veered far from the typical discussion I was expecting. This was not a shallow water, dipping our toes in the pain discussion. This was a middle of the water, grab your life jacket cause we need to dive into this right now, this is big and fundamental kind of conversation.

In an orphanage, every woman is mama. People who have adopted younger children have talked about a sea of tiny hands stretching up to them, calling them mama. It was the same for us even though our boys are older. Our sons' friends would call out "Mama, look!" while they played. Boys would grab our hands and pull us to follow them. "Mama, come here!" Everyone called me mama in the institution, even the great big adults who were my own age.

So we talked. We talked about a lot of events and a lot of feelings. But one thing kept coming back for Theo. He called all those women "mama," but they weren't his mama. He wanted them to be his mama. At night he was sad because he didn't have a mama, and sometimes he would pretend one of them would be his mama. But he knew they weren't really his mama. He called them mama, but he was sad because he knew they weren't his mama.

He said he is glad that I am his mama now. I am too. But I wish he hadn't needed to spend so much time calling every woman mama, being sad because he knew it wasn't true.


We are adopting 4 more children. They each come with their own story, just like the children already in our family. There are common themes and events woven through their stories, but each one is unique. Loss, sadness, pain, hope. It's all there, in its own different way. There is one thing they will all have in common. They will have our family's complete and unconditional love. We will love them through the easy times, and we will love them through the hard times. We will have these same tough talks, the ones that later bring me to my knees when I am alone. We will have so much happiness that I think my heart might burst. I often sit in awe that I have been given all of these precious lives to care for and guide and love. There is nothing I could have done to earn the privilege of having all of these children to love, and yet here they are in front of me. And there they are across the ocean.

To everyone who has supported us through this adoption by sharing and donating and praying, thank you. I cannot thank you enough. I've been sitting here near tears watching donations come in. You are all doing this impossible thing, and I am so grateful.

If you haven't seen it yet, go check out the giveaway! I'm listing the prizes. They are amazing! Read the full information HERE. All you need to do is make a donation to our family adoption fund HERE or HERE and post on the comments HERE. (You can also share and donate to Otto for more entries!) Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make this such a huge success! Just a few days left!

1. A cruise to the Bahamas for 2.
2. $300 Amazon gift card
3. New Ninja Mega Kitchen System
4. New Amazon Echo
5. Working train track
6. New Amazon Fire Kids Edition
7. Amazon gift card $25
8. Amazon gift card $25
9. Pick a family for a $50 donation
10. Pick a child for a $50 donation
11. Pick a child or family $30 donation
12. TGIF gift card $50
13. Target gift card $15
14. New Love Crosses Borders sign
15. New flower power lap quilt
16. Love, hope, peace lap quilt
17. Spring is in the air lap quilt
18. Scripture lap quilt
19. Purple song bird lap quilt
20. Cross lap quilt
21. Bait and tackle pillow
22. Math is for lovers pillow
23. Dessert heaven pillow
24. Raining cats and dogs pillow
25. Road workers pillow
26. Handmade afghan
27. New thirty one bag
28. American Eagle purse
29. Coach clutch purse
30. Express purse
31. Banana Republic purse
32. Handmade memory box
33. Traditional Indonesian table runner
34. Traditional Indonesian table runner
35. New toddler crocheted hat
36. Child's purse
37. New earrings
38. Yellow bracelet from Uganda
39. Pink bracelet from Uganda
40. Multicolored bracelet from Uganda
41. Delicate peach necklace from Uganda
42. Colorful double necklace from Uganda
43. Silver earrings from Uganda
44. Hanging beads necklace from Uganda
45. Pink double necklace from Uganda
46. Sweet set wool felt dahlia pins
47. White Ukraine shirt
48. Little Red Hen soap

Bonus Homeschooling Prizes
49. $75 Rainbow Resource gift card
50. Biblioplan bundle
51. Biblioplan: Remember the Days, Medieval Days; Book Two
52. Story of the World Audiobook Volume 3
53. Story of the World Audiobook Volume 4

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thank You!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting us. If you haven't seen the Shadow Children Giveaway yet, please go check it out. I have been in awe of the outpouring of love we have received.

Otto is included in the Shadow Child Giveaway also! Please help this tiny little boy find a mama and papa of his own.

Read more about Otto HERE.

If you were a winning bidder in our Facebook auction I have sent you a message. Winning bidders are also eligible for entries in the giveaway! I have added some new items too. Auction Album 3 will end on 7/29 at 11:59 PM EST.

Thank you all again. We still have a long way to go, but we have been climbing that mountain in the last few days. We can do it. Thank you all for helping us.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sad, Angry, Painful. And Hope.

This huge giveaway fundraiser for our family and Otto is still going on. 50+ prizes, a vacation, a train set this family's sweet boys helped their grandpa pick out, so many amazing things. But read the posts too. There is a lot of eye-opening truth there about what it is like to have special needs and be in an orphanage or institution. Every time I read another post I find so much I want to say. I can jump off from there in a thousand directions, almost all of them sad and angry and painful. Some of the things that come to my mind after reading these posts are hopeful too. But that hope comes from redeeming lives that were lost to this terrible, unfair, cruel system. Read how the kids are sorted, chosen at a few years old to spend their life in an institution. Our kids were sorted like that too when they were little.

Some of you have met our biological son who likes to pop up in every photo I take. He would have been thrown away if he had been tested in an orphanage there. He is crazy active. It takes something special to have professionals who work with and assess young kids say, "Wow, he sure has a lot of energy, doesn't he?" He has an articulation disorder. We had to work so hard to get his speech to the point where he could be understood. We are still working on it. That never would have happened in an orphanage.

Here's another active boy with a severe speech delay. Barely 6 years old, already in that institution with adults for a while. That is our Orion as a little boy.

My biological son would have ended up there too. Even though he is very smart he would have ended up in the same kind of place. Growing up in an orphanage isn't like growing up in our home where we value education, surrounded by books. He wouldn't have had hours with speech therapists followed by hours of practice at home. He is stubborn and uncooperative for testing. He would have ended up there too. From there he would have sat in the same empty orphanage rooms with children and adults rocking back and forth. Nothing to learn. Where would he have been in 12 years? What diagnoses would he have been labeled with?

It's hard not to focus on the sad and angry and painful things. There are mothers who talk about their children's past with a grace that I will never have. Indignation is a better word for my feelings. It is a righteous indignation though. Children should not be subjected to this kind of life. This is an injustice in the world. This is an evil. Tiny children barely clinging to life in cribs. Preschoolers transferred to adult mental institutions. Biological families told an institution is the best place for their child. These are things that should not exist in this world, and we have a responsibility to end them.

"For Christianity is a fighting religion. It thinks God made the world--that space and time, heat and cold, and all the colours and tastes, and all the animals and vegetables, are things that God 'made up out of His head' as a man makes up a story. But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again."
-CS Lewis

I do not think this is merely a problem for Christians, although I do count Christians among the people who should be fighting with righteous outrage against this system. I think the existence of these institutions and the lives these children are leading should be challenged by every moral being. Every human being.

We have a responsibility to fight for the children we know and the children so hidden away that we have only rumors and whispers. There is a face I've returned to often since I first found Reece's Rainbow many years ago. Janie. After years of no updates, we know that these children have been moved to a place whose horror is known by more than whispers and more than rumors. I know firsthand what an institution can look like. I know how tiny and frail children can be in a bedridden building. But this new information has brought me to my knees anew. I thought I was beyond shock, but I am not.

Janie. Nate. Jared. Enoch, whose status I am unsure of. Anna. Anna is in a bedridden room there, even though she is mobile. She is in the same place as children and adults who are so thin they are only skeletons. Children who shy away when light shines into their dark cribs, because it is so unfamiliar. Frail, tiny children are living in the same institution as grown men.

These children and their need have been called out. They are only a few out of an entire system that is designed to fail children and place them in these conditions. But now that these children and their need are known, we have no excuse not to act. We cannot say that we don't know. We know. We know, and we have a responsibility to set this wrong right. These are sad and angry and painful things, but because we know about them these children have hope of escaping. Adoption is hope for the love of a family. Adoption is hope for playing in the sunshine. Adoption is hope for full stomachs and warm beds and safe walls. Please share them and share their desperate need to be adopted. Please think about if you can be the one to adopt them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Living and Dying: The Why Behind The Bedridden Project

This is the Bedridden Project. I'm talking about how life was for our son Evan before he was adopted, how amazing his life is now here in our family, and other children in laying down rooms who are waiting to be adopted. If you would like to help us fund our current adoption, including two children who used to be in cribs next to Evan, there is an amazing fundraiser going on right now HERE. Please go check it out. And please share this post and the waiting children who so desperately need to escape these cribs.


"They stayed alive when they could and they died when they couldn’t."

These words are not my own. These are the words of Anne McDonald, a survivor who was able to escape a large institution for severely disabled children. She was able to prove that she was of average intelligence but unable to speak due to athetoid cerebral palsy. More of her story is at the following link. Please read it. 

Anne spent years in the same type of life that the children I feature here are living in right now. There are so many different directions I could take this post from there.

Yes, some of the children in these bedridden wards are of typical intelligence, but unable to communicate. Bedridden wards don't offer alternative outlets for communication for children who are unable to speak. In addition, the level of neglect is such that children often aren't even exposed to language. You are not born understanding a language. You learn it through exposure. How will a child learn a language if adults are only present a few minutes a day, never speaking to the child? A few places are lucky enough to have a tv or radio turned on for the children to listen to, but most are just empty rooms. This is a level of neglect so extreme that case studies are written on it. 

But I'm here to talk about living and dying. Some of these children are living and some of them are dying. More than six months ago I posted about the children who we spent time with while we were adopting Evan. They were transferred. They are not doing well. The new orphanage is not open to the type of charity help the children were receiving before. I am praying for a change.

This girl was in the video above, sleeping under the mural. When she was awake she never stopped moving. She would stim loudly, rocking all the way up and down against her mattress. She would sit tall and shake a rattle to listen to the sound. She was the chubbiest of all of the children in the room, the healthiest looking. She can't be adopted. Her family visited her before she was transferred and retained parental rights. She is also too old to be adopted. Since she has been transferred she has declined greatly. She is just a skeleton now, laying on her bed and gasping.

There are people who have documented these kinds of bedridden wards more thoroughly and more eloquently than I have. They exist in many different countries, all slightly different but mostly similar. Mostly places for children with "severe" disabilities to die slowly or die quickly. And so much of that severe disability is brought on by living in these places to begin with. A child with Down syndrome would never be assumed to be a bedridden child in America. Children with cerebral palsy don't need to be confined to a crib.

It isn't pleasant reading, but there is plenty of information out there about how badly children and adults with disabilities are treated. This exists right now.

It is here and it is here.  It is here as well. And here. It is here. Here. Here too.

I don't have the strongest words or a large audience to call to action. But I have the children I have seen and spent time with in my heart. I have my memories. I can smell the sulphur and rot and disinfectant that hit you as you walked in the door. I can see the bright yellow ant poison that was spread under the crib mattresses to keep the insects away from the spilled formula and immobilized children. The green ointment applied to scrapes and bedsores and raw, chewed hands. I remember the children's smiles and their cries. The workers bustling around for a few minutes changing and feeding and gone again. That is the world these children are living in.

But some of them are dying. They are being fed less. The same eager eater who was given the rest of Evan's bottle of food or formula when he refused to eat at the old orphanage? She was only drinking broth when her family came for her. They are being medicated. Children are so sedated that they rarely wake to eat. They are fading. There is no charity allowed here right now. No charity workers bringing kids to a playroom. No charity workers trying to coax children to stand or play with toys. No stretching and loosening tight muscles with therapy. No requests for extra formula to keep the children from starving. Some of them were in such bad condition before the charity began working in the old orphanage that their ability to digest food was damaged. They need special formula. They're returning to the same condition that the charity worked so hard to save them from.

My Lee is there right now. Look at his soft round face growing thinner. I'm sure they wouldn't have talked to him when they took his photo for his profile, but I hope he heard them talking among themselves. I hope he heard them saying it was so that a family would come for him, even if they were scoffing at the notion. I want him to have heard that to give him the hope to hang on until we get there.

These children there with him aren't the only ones. There are so many others out there living and dying in the same way. I want them to have families too. But I have seen these children. I have spent time with them. I have wiped their faces and spoken to them and promised to try to help them. I feel I am failing. I have been seeking a family for Denzel for so long. Now he will age out in less than six months, and he is still waiting. Will it be a race to see whether he ages out before or after he starves to death? Younger children continue to wait without families and are transferred into the same conditions.

The children in the bedridden area right now include the following kids. Each and every one of them urgently needs to be adopted:
Tiny V, an unlisted but adoptable boy with cerebral palsy, born in 2003

There are other children at this orphanage also. The other girls are in much better conditions. A family adopting one of those girls could easily save the life of a child in the bedridden wing by adopting them both at the same time.
The other girls at this orphanage are:

There are so many bedridden children listed right now and so few families stepping up to adopt them. These kids are amazing. Their special needs may seem more intense, but adopting a child from a bedridden room is a very different type of adoption. In a lot of ways I've found Evan's adoption to be much easier than an adoption of a neurotypical child his age. The birth order concerns some agencies and social workers express don't apply to Evan at all.

You don't need to dive into multiple therapies immediately upon arriving home. Focus on necessary medical issues, yes. But what Evan needed most was time to experience a family and be a kid and get good nutrition and be loved. All of those things have been life-changing for him. He has been life-changing for us. There are so many kids waiting for that. Some of them are dying while they wait. That should not happen, but we can change that. We can change it for each of these children that we adopt. We can show more people how awesome this kind of adoption is. We can show people in the countries our children came from how much more these kids are capable with if they are treated properly. We can change this, if we step up and give these children a chance to live.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Michael is Aging Out!

Do you all remember Frankie? Frankie just turned 16. You might not remember what she looks like because her country stopped allowing photos on public profiles. While we were trying to advocate for Frankie we discovered that the aging out process in her country requires families to start far in advance. It was already too late for Frankie when we first began shouting her name. The program in her country is so small that no one knew what to expect until we received that news. It was too late for Frankie. In fact, even though Michael's birthday is farther on the horizon, he desperately needs a family to start right now.

Michael needs a family now.

Michael will be 16 in December of next year. He needs a family to start now, knowing that his country's process is slower and takes longer to go through. That longer process can be an advantage for families who know they want to adopt but want to have a little bit more time to get some things ready! That's more time to fundraise, more time to plan a perfect bedroom, more time to get settled in your job.

There is more time for all of those things in the middle of this process, but there is not more time for Michael to wait without a committed family. Michael needs someone to step forward and say they will come for him, even if it will take longer. He needs that family to come forward now. Even though his birthday seems farther off, Michael needs people shouting his name from the rooftops right now.

Michael has Down syndrome. His country has full medical and social records available to potential families. That is something that you can't get in a lot of countries! That is awesome information to have! Photos are also available to interested families! I've seen one that shows that he is an active kid with a big personality. He looks like so much fun. He is described as a very friendly and adaptable boy. He is able to do a lot of things independently and only needs help in a few areas. He sounds like he would absolutely thrive in a family. I would love to see him bouncing on a trampoline with some siblings in a couple years!

This country allows adoption by single parents and older parents. Michael has a $10,000 older child grant available to assist with adoption expenses. You can read the rest of his profile HERE and you can email for more information.

Don't forget to share Michael and some of the other aging out children we've talked about recently. These kids need families ASAP!

Hurting Hearts

Please go read Julia's beautiful post. She is running a massive giveaway to help us raise the remaining funds for our adoption and to help a sweet little boy's grant grow so that he can be seen and adopted too. Today she is talking about some hard conversations.

We've had these talks, especially with Orion. It's so hard to tell your child that you don't know for sure why their biological family left them in the hospital, but you will never do that. I can make guesses, but I don't know for sure, because I would never do that. Orion was very upset with me before our youngest was born. He thought that I was going to leave this baby at the hospital like he had been left there. He didn't believe me that we WOULD NOT do that. He didn't believe it until we came home with that baby in our arms. And even after that, when our baby had his first few doctor visits, Orion was SO worried that the doctor wouldn't let me bring him back home. He and his brothers watched out the window until I came back, trying with all their might to protect their new baby brother from the same thing they experienced. Still not knowing for sure if this family that brought them into their hearts and their home was safe enough to trust, safe enough to bring that baby back home. It makes my heart hurt.

That hurt in my heart still doesn't compare to the hurt of waiting. How Orion would tell us he stayed up at night, saying "Please God, give me a mama." How he has asked us with so much hurt in his voice why we didn't come sooner. "I sat in a baby chair and it was bad and I didn't like it. Why did you leave me there? Why didn't you come when I was a baby?" So much hurt.

I wish I could turn back time and erase all of that hurt. Those years without a mama and papa. I wish I could take away those years learning that the only way to survive was to be the center of attention. Or for another child, the only way to survive was to pretend he couldn't do things for himself so that he could have a little more interaction. I wish I could have come before. I wish we could have come before another boy learned that sitting alone on his bed in his room was the safest place to be because other boys would leave him alone there. I wish I could have come before all those scars happened. I wish I could have come before little boys were sent to live with great big men who scared them, men who were once little boys themselves. I wish I could have come before my boys slept in lonely baby house cribs. But we couldn't come then, so we came as soon as we could.

There is a special pain in adopting older kids. I see people adopt babies and I mourn with them for their children who choked down formula as fast as they could and then were given injections to sleep in eerily quiet rooms. My older kids were those babies. I see people adopt toddlers and I mourn with them that their children don't know how to be held or how to play with toys. My older kids were those toddlers. I see people rush to adopt a child who has just been transferred and I mourn with them for all the loss those children have experienced. My older kids were those kids transferred far too young into a life no child should live. I see people adopt other older kids, teenagers on the verge of aging-out, and I mourn with them.that their children waited for too many years. My older kids have waited too many years too, and I know what it does.

Thankfully there is a special joy in adopting older kids as well. I rejoice for every single child adopted younger, spared the years my children went through. I rejoice for every older child adopted before aging out snuffs their last hope. Our older kids bring so much beauty to our lives, even as we work through the brokenness and hurting hearts that come from so many years waiting.

We have four more older kids to bring home. Four more hearts to bring into our home and our family. I know each one of them will break and rebuild my heart anew. It will be happy and it will be sad and it will be so worth every single moment. But first we need to get them home.


Please check out Julia's amazing giveaway. So many people have donated so many items from their hearts, to help us and to help tiny Otto. Thank you to everyone who has been sharing and donating. I can't thank you enough.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Galan and Dani Are Aging Out!

Aging out kids. Everyone who knows our family knows how special aging out kids are to us. Our son Barton was adopted as an aging out child. He has been the most incredible blessing to our family. We are going back to adopt his friend Amos too, who has aged out!

A few years ago there weren't as many aging out kids listed on Reece's Rainbow, but I feel like we had more success finding families to rush in and race to save kids at the last minute. I posted a month ago about how I personally felt like I had been failing to push for these kids. Since then a great group of advocates have been working on strategies to help people notice these kids with so little time remaining. We've had a few more kids age out. I'm hoping we start to turn the tide soon.

Today's two children are in a country that requires the child's adoption to be completed before their 14th birthday. Single parents can adopt from this country!

Galan January

There is plenty of time for a family to complete Galan's adoption before his birthday in January. There is no reason for him to age out without a family. A family can start from scratch and finish an adoption from his country! We can do this! We can find him a family before it is too late.

Galan was born with some medical needs that were surgically corrected when he was younger. He would need a family to follow up with doctors, but he is described as healthy right now. He sounds neurotypical, not developmentally delayed. He gets good grades in school and gets along well with other kids!

Galan is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant through Reece's Rainbow. You can find out more about that by emailing View the rest of his profile HERE.


Dani  February

Dani also has plenty of time for a family starting now to complete her adoption before her birthday in February. I'd love to see her get a family right away so that we aren't still shouting for her as her birthday creeps closer.

Dani has epilepsy. Her profile says that episodes are triggered by cold weather but she feels better after laying down for half an hour. I don't know if the epilepsy is currently being treated or not. If it isn't then it is possible that it could be well controlled by a medical team.

Right now Dani isn't attending school because of her epilepsy. I gasped reading that. She sounds like a bright girl who is delayed because she is not given the chance to get an education. I cannot imagine this. Occasional seizures would not prevent a child in America from attending school. She needs a family so she can be given the chance to catch up on the education she has missed.

Dani is a very active girl who goes jogging. She likes to sing and recite poetry. She is polite and likes to help the younger children. She sounds like she would have a very typical life if she was in a family.

Dani is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant through Reece's Rainbow. You can find out more about that by emailing View the rest of her profile HERE.


Please don't forget about the children we have talked about in the last few weeks. Some of them have been moved into the Aged Out Without A Family category, but others still have time!

Tara needs her adoption completed by her 14th birthday in September.

Ashley needs her adoption completed by her 14th birthday in October.

Toni needs her adoption completed by her 14th birthday in October.

Saul needs his adoption completed by his 14th birthday in December.

Barry needs his adoption completed by his 14th birthday in December.

Winnie needs her adoption completed by her 14th birthday in December.

Scottie turns 16 in August and needs a family to file immigration paperwork with fees.

Elsbeth turns 16 in August and needs a family to file immigration paperwork with fees.

Michael needs a family to start now to be able to complete his adoption before he turns 16 in December of next year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fundraising and updates!

Our auction is posted! We have two albums up so far on our Facebook auction. Album 1 HERE and album 2 HERE. The auction runs through July 21st! You can also like the main auction page HERE! We have gift cards, jewelry, clothing, and more fun stuff!

I also have a huge thank you to extend to Julia at Micah Six Eight. She played a big part in our family finding and adopting our son Barton. She is gathering donations for a giveaway to benefit our family and another waiting child. Go find out more HERE!

We have been waiting to see when immigration will be granting our approval. The good news is that they will be expediting our approval! The bad news is that we received the dreaded RFE "Request for Evidence." These used to be very rare, but they have been cropping up for a lot of families lately. Luckily ours looks like we just need to resend some documents to them. There was a mix-up with us sending our application ahead of our homestudy and not all of our supporting documents were received. We also need to include a small update because Barton is over 18. If he gets into any legal trouble he has a duty to inform USCIS. Plus he would totally be grounded! Which is all beside the point because he is hardly a troublemaker!

So it will add another week or so, but everything should be easy to take care of. We have supplied everything on our end and our agency should be sending that on to USCIS right away. We should have our approval soon, but I won't be counting on that until it is in our mailbox!

The next step following receiving our approval will be sending our final documents over to be translated and have our dossier submitted. Right now times are looking like 6-8 weeks from submitting to your referral date. That means we are really closing in on our travel time and our funding needs! Thank you all for all of your support!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Scottie and Elsbeth Are Aging Out!

Don't forget to look back at recent posts from the last few weeks after you read about the kids I am posting this week. There is still time to find families for some of these kids!

The kids I am talking about this week are in the same country we have adopted from. I am definitely familiar with the aging out process for these kids! Here is what they need. A family needs to mail their I-600A form and fees to USCIS before the child's birthday. You can start a homestudy after that! Get more information about the adoption process by emailing!

These children are in the same country. They are both aging out. Their lives and their futures if not adopted will be very different, but both futures are not good.


UPDATE: Scottie currently does not wish to be adopted. It is possible that he will change his mind, and if he does it sounds like there are multiple families who have been considering adopting him. Out of respect for his decision I have removed his information. If you were thinking of adopting Scottie, there are other children available with similar needs who DO still need families. Devon (Brian), Eric, Avery, Haines, and other children are still waiting.

Especially for an older neurotypical child, whether or not to be adopted is completely the child's decision. Right now I am hopeful that Scottie will have a better chance of receiving support within his own country than the average child thanks to families who have spent time with him and want to see him succeed.

Our other child this week is Elsbeth. She is also eligible for a $10,000 older child grant. Elsbeth has Down syndrome. Because Elsbeth has Down syndrome, her possible future will be different than Scottie's. Elsbeth's future would be remaining in an institution forever. Her profile is very brief. I don't know if anyone has met her, but I don't believe so. She needs a family to step up and take a chance so that she can have a chance at a real life. I look at the everyday things my own kids can do here in America that they never would have been able to do in an institution in their own country. Elsbeth deserves the chance to know that kind of freedom too. If a family doesn't send those papers in by her birthday in August, she will lose that chance forever.


Go HERE to see more aging out children. They all need families ready to move quickly and adopt them before it is too late!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Evan's Day With Our Family, Part 2 of the Bedridden Project!

Did you see Part 1 of the Bedridden Project? Go check it out! I talk about our son Evan and how far he has come in the last two years. I will be sharing more about what our family's life is like with Evan in it. I will also be sharing other amazing children waiting for adoption who are in laying down rooms like Evan once was!

Today I'm going to outline our basic day with Evan. Later on I will write up individual posts describing different parts of Evan's care in more detail. The one thing I really want to emphasize is how manageable things are. Our days are easy. Caring for Evan is easy. Providing what he needs is not an arduous task. We add some tasks to our daily routine and we do some things a little differently for him. Then we get on living our awesome life!

Let's start with waking up in the morning! Evan shares a room with Theo and Barton. They wake up a little earlier than he does and start their morning routines. Once they are ready and out of the room, I go in and get Evan ready for the day. I can tell if he is up earlier than usual because he will tap on the side of his bed to make noise and then laugh. He loves that sound!

We change him and get him dressed. He giggles through the whole thing. When he first came home he would sometimes enjoy getting dressed and sometimes find it uncomfortable. Now he always loves it. I talk through the whole process with him and we do some stretching to loosen up where his muscles have gotten tight from sleeping.

This is Evan's bed set-up.

You might notice that he uses a daybed turned around against the wall. Different people use different beds. Some kids need fully enclosed special needs beds. Those are really cool! Some people use larger beds with regular safety rails. Other people use beds that are just about at floor level. It all depends on the needs of the particular child and family. We've tried a few different arrangements for Evan, and the daybed has been absolutely great. I can still lift him over the higher side rail at the weight he is now, but we can also pull the bed away from the wall to have access at an easy height for changing and dressing. I also pull the bed away from the wall and use the space on his bed as an exercise table for some of our therapy work.

Evan loves to work hard on getting stronger!

Once Evan is ready, he joins everyone else for breakfast. In the beginning he would eat his own specially prepared formula or blended food in his bottle. He often eats the same breakfast as everyone else now. He has no problem eating cut up fried eggs, oatmeal, yogurt (I thicken that with baby rice cereal so I don't spill it on his shirt feeding it to him), protein cereal with peanut butter, just all kinds of things.

He takes a few medications. Medications are a really simple part of our routine. I drop the pills or tablets on top of his food and he swallows them easily. He takes a bottle of applesauce or juice with Miralax mixed in. He takes baclofen three times a day with each meal to help his muscles move more easily. He takes Prilosec for reflux once a day. He takes vitamin D once a day. It's all very easy once you're in the habit.

Typical meal plus meds. Super easy! Plus that other daily coffee.

After breakfast the older kids do their showers and Evan will also get a bath if he needs one. While the older boys are getting cleaned up, our other kids start their homeschool work. Evan participates too! We do fingerplays for nursery rhymes and I help him through the motions. He listens to stories and music with us. We are working on expressive communication with Evan. He understands more than he can communicate, but we don't know how much more he understands. One of the foundations of our education for our children is exposure to beauty and exposure to great ideas. That is key for how we involve Evan in our days. Regardless of where his level of understanding is, Evan is given the chance to experience the same things. He is there relaxing on the couch or in his favorite big chair. He will sit there and listen to me read aloud, listen to classical music with us, listen to audiobooks while the other kids color, or watch educational tv. We also do his therapy work. He will laugh and get very excited when we ask him if he wants to do some of his favorite activities. Other things, like asking him if he wants to brush his teeth, don't get the same enthusiastic response!

As you can see, Evan has no shortage of brothers and sisters to cuddle with on the couch. One on the left!

And another on the right! Everyone loves to play with him and sit with him.

We usually do an easy lunch in the afternoon. Evan will eat pasta or rice in sauce. He loves sweet potatoes, which are a frequent item on our lunch menu. Sometimes we add peanut butter to his for extra calories. After lunch we play and learn a little more, followed by a little quiet time. All of the kids do quiet time, but not all of the kids sleep. We leave a few toys in Evan's bed with him, but most of the time he will be tired and ready to rest. The other kids will finish up their schoolwork in their rooms, look at books and magazines, color, or play quietly. Quiet time being part of our routine is a sanity saver! Sometimes the meal helper will stay out and help me get dinner ready, but most of the time it is also a little quiet time for me to recover from the busy first half of our day!

As quiet time finishes up and dinner is almost ready, the kids start coming out and cleaning up around the house. Evan will usually be up by then and ready to go! I will give him a small meal or snack while dinner finishes up. A can of creamed corn mixed with mashed potatoes is one of his favorites around this time. It only takes a couple minutes to get ready, and it keeps him content until dinner is finished. With his background of being hungry, he will get upset and cry if he thinks he will have to wait to eat or if he thinks people are eating without him. We try to give him something ahead of time so that he knows he will be taken care of. When he is done he will play on a mat in the living room with the other kids, or sometimes everyone gets to watch something educational until dinner is served.

Evan's snack and a little more coffee for me!

Evan eats most of the same foods with the family during dinner now. His portion is usually cut finely or has some small substitutions, but he has no problem eating it. Last night he ate pulled pork, mashed potatoes and applesauce when the rest of the family ate pulled pork sandwiches with salad. The night before he ate finely cut chicken, couscous and green bean casserole just like the rest of the family. 

The other kids finish eating and clean up, then play for a little while before starting their bedtime routines. The older kids stay with me for a little while longer while the younger kids start their showers. Then the older kids head to bed too. Evan and our youngest get to stay up a little later than everyone else. It started out that Evan needed more time sitting upright after he finished his last meal due to his reflux. Plus he loves staying up! That's probably part of why he sleeps in some mornings! 

Now, this is a typical day for us. In reality, every day is different. Our life requires our days to be flexible and fluid. Some days are just like this, a few are devoted to doctor's appointments and others are spent relaxing and playing when my husband is home. Evan fits into it all with ease. 

These are other kids whose lives would be so much better if they were in your family. They can change your life for the better too! Evan is such an incredible part of our family. I want these children to have the chance to have everything that Evan has here with us. If you are interested in more information on any of these children please contact ASAP. They all need families as quickly as possible.


The first is Phoenix. I love this kid. He loves to cuddle and his giggle just rocks. We spent time with him two years ago, but he has been transferred to a different institution. He was very unhappy in the latest video I've seen of him. It was such a change from that sweet smile we saw when he would play on the floor in the playroom at the old bedridden building he used to be in. He has so much potential! One of the charity-paid caregivers had been trying to teach him to stand and walk! He is not taken out of his crib now as far as we know. He would make a lucky family so happy! Please see this incredible boy. He was on our short list of kids we considered adopting, but we have our limits. He can't keep waiting. He is already 14, even though he is the size of a much younger child. He is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant!


Next is Marla! Marla has been waiting for a long time as well. If you look at this series of photographs you can see how her condition is worsening over time. Her future is grim. I'm worried about Marla. It is very difficult to get updates on many bedridden children. Some institutions don't see the point in providing information on children they don't consider worth adopting. Once children have been transferred out of baby houses, the updates and information usually stop forever.  If a family steps up for her they might be able to get more information! Sometimes facilitation teams are able to get updates on children as they process the family's paperwork before the family arrives in-country. More information or not, we already know that her situation is incredibly urgent. She looks like she has such a sweet spirit trapped in that crib, but she can't continue to survive without a family. She has some great people working hard to help her grant grow! Right now it is at $5931.


This is Posey. Posey is beautiful. She has a very special place in my heart.

Two years ago when we were in-country, one of the older girls in the bedridden building reminded me so much of Posey. "T" was too old to be adopted. She was very thin. She was blind. I don't know what her life could have been like if she hadn't been sent to an institution. I know that there were many children in the documentary Bulgaria's Abandoned Children who were blind. (Go find the documentary on youtube and watch it. It is life-changing. Perspective changing. Watch Ukraine's Forgotten Children too.) The children gradually lost skills the longer they were kept in the institution. "T" had lost so much by spending her life in an institution too. She was in a bed rather than a crib, but that bed was her entire world. 

Posey was in the baby house in the same region. Her younger photo reminded me instantly of "T." If Posey was not adopted, she was destined for the same fate "T" had been sentenced to so many years before. "T" was transferred with the other bedridden children to the new institution while we were there. Time passed and Posey was not adopted. She was too old to stay at the baby house. She was transferred as well. Right now Posey and "T" are in the same exact room, maybe ten feet apart. I prayed so, so hard for Posey to be spared before transfer, but she wasn't. Unlike "T," Posey can still be adopted. She still has a chance. But she needs a family right away. If she is not adopted she will stay in the same crib, in the same room as "T," until they both die. I'm holding onto hope that even though "T" will never escape, Posey still can. 

Lastly for today, this is Athens. I look at Athens, and I see a boy who could do incredible things in a family. He looks like he could make a stunning amount of progress with therapy. He seeks out toys and looks like he can manipulate them really well. Athens' time is spent either in his crib or laying on a beanbag or on the floor in a room with about a dozen other children with various special needs. He is one of the smaller and less mobile children in that group. I think Athens would really flourish with attention and care. His smile just shines and he has such dark, handsome eyes. I think he would be capable of so much in a family.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Blessings In Disguise

We have had a few of these during this adoption process, these blessings in disguise. Everything seems to be going wrong, but it turns out for the best.

There have been changes to the adoption process since the last time we adopted. One of the changes is the dossier requirement for federal background checks rather than state background checks. Last time we could request the state background check and get apostilles with our other paperwork in our home state. (For those who don't know, apostilles are a state or federal certification to send to a foreign government verifying the notary or official who signed the document.) Now the adoption authority in Eastern Europe requires an FBI background check. These are more complicated. You need to send your fingerprints to the FBI itself and then you need to get an apostille from Washington DC. Both of those take a lot longer.

Now, the good news on the fingerprints is that there are also approved fingerprint channelers who can process your fingerprints for the FBI, speeding up that part of the paperwork. Apostilles are more complicated. It takes a long time to receive them if you mail them yourself, so most people use couriers. The main courier recommended by the fingerprint channeler has been taking a very long time to obtain apostilles and return documents. One family waited nearly five weeks!

One of the stacks of paperwork I gave my husband to mail was our package to send to that courier. And then I started talking with other families. They were waiting and waiting for paperwork! What were we going to do? We are hoping for a fast approval from immigration. I was worried we would have our approval and still be waiting on those background checks to get their apostilles. Another family had used a different, much faster, courier with their last adoption. I fretted. I grumbled. My husband came home and I complained some more. Then he had something to tell me.

It turns out that my package hadn't been sent out. It was sitting in the back of the car. Between his very busy work schedule and other appointments and general life craziness, it was still in the car. We mailed it to the other courier and had our papers back in a week. The company is called Caring Hands and they were great. Their prices were slightly less than the other courier. They were super fast and they even called to make sure we would be home for Saturday delivery! We would still be waiting if our documents had been sent out as planned! I was so thankful this time that things didn't go as planned!

We had another blessing in disguise moment getting apostilles here in our state. Our medical papers took many, many tries to get right this time. Some redos were for our homestudy and some were for our dossier. We were told the regular person who does forms went out of the country, and we spent a lot of time fixing small errors. The problem with the dossier forms is that they are very specific. The notary for the medical complex was hard to track down and didn't follow the correct format. For the last redo we needed to hire our own notary to come to the office. We were given an available date of the next day by the doctor's office staff so we needed our notary on short notice! We were able to find one who could come after she finished a house closing in a different city.

The day of the appointment was super busy! In the morning we walked in to immigration to get fingerprints done for myself, my husband and Barton. Barton was nervous, but he did a great job. Everyone there was so good with him. Then I needed to head to the doctor's office for these papers. After that my husband was taking them to get apostilles.

The notary was running behind. There was an accident on the highway and she lost time to traffic on her way to the appointment. It is an hour and a half to the office where we get the apostilles. My husband hit the road with the finished papers with barely enough time to make it before they closed. But he hit traffic too. He arrived a couple minutes past closing.

The woman working in the office was about to lock the door when he walked in. He didn't have one or two papers. This wasn't going to be a couple extra minutes. He had almost all of our dossier. She hemmed and hawed for a moment, then asked to see what they were for. She took a look at the documents. She saw they were papers for adoption of children with special needs. She came out from behind the desk, hugged my husband, and said she could get them done.

When she finished and checked all of the apostilles, she hugged my husband again and talked to him. She told him that she had spent the whole afternoon frustrated that she was running behind and wouldn't be done right at closing. She usually has the computer and payment system turned off for the night right when they close. But she saw my husband walk up, saw what our papers were for, and said she knew that God had placed her there to be able to help us.

Wow. I didn't want to redo those medical forms. I was worried as we waited for the notary. I was hoping my husband didn't get a speeding ticket on his way to the apostille office! But it worked out for the best. My husband was able to share with her about the kids we have adopted and are planning to adopt. And she is now part of the amazing story of our kids and their adoption. That interaction was really powerful on both sides!

I'm hoping for more blessings in disguise. We've had a lot of struggles during this adoption process. Many of them are typical things that crop up for most families. Some haven't been!

Some of them have been financial. Rather than needing one or two appliance repairs, all of ours have needed to be repaired or replaced in the last six months. Rather than a few car repairs, my husband's work car was stolen the night before our homestudy visit. It was later totaled by the insurance company. Theo's awesome foot surgery was very successful, but we also needed to pay for it up front rather than be billed after the fact. We were planning on fencing our yard later, but our social worker preferred it to happen sooner.

One of our bigger financial struggles has been realizing that we will need to fundraise the remaining amount toward this adoption. We had planned to use the equity in our house to fund a lot of our remaining need. The bank has added additional requirements to us qualifying for that loan. Our home won't be eligible until next year, long after we need the money.

We have had struggles in the adoption process. We've shared many of these large and small struggles within a few adoption groups. The biggest one right now is our wait for our immigration approval. Amos turned 16 back in December. Typically families adopting older children are moved more quickly through the immigration process. Unfortunately we have not been at this point. In fact, according to what our officer said two weeks ago, our file likely hasn't even been viewed yet. We had hoped to have our approval by now.

We need that approval quickly. Last time we adopted Barton from the same court that Amos will go through. Instead of the typical timeline of less than two months, it was almost six months from my husband meeting Barton to bringing him home. That is an eternity for adoptions from this country! Another family who adopted from this area had an even lengthier court process than ours. We need all the time we can get if we are going to bring Amos home!

Right now all of these delays and obstacles are causing frustration. I'm truly hoping for the time that we will look back and see that these events were guiding us where we need to be. We have battled long and hard on the adoption path before. We've done it to get our kids home, especially Barton with his excruciatingly long process. We have worked to help our kids recover from neglect and trauma once they have come home. It has been worth it a million times over for us to have Theo, Orion, Barton and Evan in our family. I know the day will be coming when we complete this adoption and see how everything worked out and became a part of our family's story.

Me with Theo, Barton, Orion and Evan! Always worth the fight!

If you would like to help us get Amos, Daisy, Lee and Violet home, we would greatly appreciate any support you can offer. We need our FSP to read $27,500. The mountain ahead of us looks tall, but we will climb it. You can make a tax-deductible donation to our FSP HERE. We will also be having an auction in one week! Go check it out HERE! We are still accepting donations!