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, September 30, 2016

September Aging Out Recap!

To see all of our aging out posts please go HERE. Thank you to everyone who has been helping!

This is a summary of all of the aging out children we have shared recently. We have more kids finding families, which makes me so happy! Here are some families who are in process for aging out kids. It is so important to keep supporting these families once they step forward to bring these kids home!

Patience is aging out soon and has a family! The following information was shared and I have included it here. You can donate to their FSP HERE.

"Patience ages out in less than a month. Her family has a very unique situation and are unable to fundraise but will be donating to other RR families in the near future. They have had to take loans out to get to her in time and could use any assistance you can give. I know it's hard to give to families that have to remain anonymous but if you can make a donation of any size, do it for Patience. Although her family is able to get loans, they have a huge amount to pay back (over 20k) and any donation will help lift that financial burden for this family. Please donate and please pray! Thank you"


Did you hear that Soleil has a family coming? She is one of the kids we have shared here! The family is great! They were adopting at the same time as our family last time. I am so excited for her and for their family! Please help them bring her home by donating HERE!


Denzel is another one of the kids we have shared here. He is so special to me and I was so happy for him to have a family! The McQuinn family has already committed to another aging out child, Ricky. Their third child, Phoenix, is in the same bedridden ward as Denzel. They are also adopting a fourth child who has the same condition as their biological children. This is an amazing family also! They should have their travel dates very soon. Please help them bring all of their kids home by donating HERE!


Winnie is a child who I was really hoping would find a family. I am SO happy to say that she has been adopted by a family in her country. That is truly phenomenal news.


Now here are all of the waiting children we have shared recently. Most of them can still be adopted, but time is running out! Please help us share kids to find families! It works! You can email for more information on any of these kids. They all have grants between $10,000 to $21,000 to assist with adoption expenses!


It is now too late for a family to mail in paperwork to adopt Elsbeth. She is listed as aged out.

Saul still needs a family to complete his adoption before he turns 14 in December. In addition to the $10,000 older child grant he is eligible for other agency grants and reduced fees to help him be adopted in time. A family already in process would be his best chance.


Barry still needs a family to complete his adoption before he turns 14 in December. Barry has cerebral palsy. He could make so much progress on physical therapy in a family! He is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses. A family already in process would be his best chance.


Galan needs a family to complete his adoption before he turns 14 in January. His needs have been surgically corrected and now he is just waiting for a family. He is also eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses. A family already in process would be his best chance.


Michael needs a family to start immediately to be able to complete their adoption according to the timeline in his country. His chances get slimmer the longer he waits. His deadline seems like it is a long ways off, but it is actually NOW. He is eligible for a $10,000 older grant to assist with adoption expenses.


Dani needs her adoption completed before she turns 14 in February. She is another child who I am really hoping finds her family! She is currently kept out of school because she has epilepsy. She has so much potential, and it breaks my heart to see it wasted like this. Please help me find her family! She is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.


Nelson needs a family to mail in immigration paperwork and fees before he turns 16 in October. He is a quiet boy who likes math and computer science. A family would give him access to a higher quality of education in those subjects. He is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses. He only has days left for this to happen.


Duane needs a family to mail in immigration paperwork and fees before he turns 16 in November. I posted a more thorough update about Duane HERE after speaking privately with someone who has spent time with him. Duane is going to need a very special family, and he also has a very urgent need to be adopted. We need to work extra hard to help find Duane's family! Duane has a $12,466 grant to assist with adoption expenses.


Aurora needs a family to complete her adoption before she turns 14 in May 2017. She is a really precious girl who loves to help the younger children and be praised for the things she does. She is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.


Elijah needs a family to complete his adoption before he turns 14 in June 2017. There are more photos and videos of Elijah available HERE. He could soar in a family. He is of typical intelligence and his cerebral palsy only affects his lower half. The surgery that would allow his feet to sit flat is very easy and would completely change his life. Seeing what he can do right now, the sky is the limit for this kid. He is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.


Andruis needs a family to mail in paperwork and fees before he turns 16 on December 31, 2016. He has a huge grant of $21,739 that would cover the majority of his adoption expenses! Although he has not demonstrated any issues with younger children and has in fact been observed interacting well with the smaller children at his orphanage, it is being required that potential families do not have small children. He is a great kid who is almost out of time to be adopted.


Kara needs a family to mail in paperwork and fees before she turns 16 in December 2016. There is limited information available, but she needs a family. She is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.


Adam needs a family to send in immigration paperwork and fees before he turns 16 sometime in 2001. He is a calm and quiet boy. He is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.


Dawn needs a family to send in immigration paperwork and fees before she turns 16 sometime in 2001. She reminds me a lot of other older girls with Down syndrome who have come home in the last couple years and just knocked everyone's socks off. Her profile says she doesn't have behavioral or medical issues! She needs a family. She has a $10,204 grant.


Clara needs a family to send in paperwork and fees before she turns 16 at some point in 2017. She has a $10,000 grant.


Gideon needs a family to send in paperwork and fees before he turns 16 in January 2017. He has a $10,000 grant. A family hosted him previously. They are willing to share their experience with him and they are hoping he can find a family!


Daphne needs her adoption to be completed before she turns 14 in July 2017. She has a $10,000 grant. Single mothers can adopt in her country! Daphne gets along well with her caretakers and friends. She attends school at her orphanage.


Charlene needs her adoption to be completed before she turns 14 in July 2017. She has a $10,000 grant. Single mothers can adopt in her country! She has great relationships with her current foster family. She like to participate in activities and has good communication skills.


Paige needs a family to send in paperwork and fees before she turns 16 at some point in 2017. She has a $10,000 grant. Single parents can adopt from her country. Paige loves hugs and looking at books!


Leroy needs a family to send in paperwork and fees before he turns 16 in February 2017. He has a $10,000 grant. He is a really bright and mature kid. We spent time with him during our last adoption. His post HERE tells more about our experiences with him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fee Increase For Daisy

I am sick over having to post this. When we first committed to Daisy, the foster changeover was imminent. She would need to be moved to the orphanage where Lee and Violet are. The foster change was delayed. It has not been cancelled. It will still be happening. It just won't be happening before we get there. I have delayed posting this because we thought she might be moved. We have heard again that she will not.

The "same orphanage" adoption expenses are typically $5000, so that is what we expected. Daisy won't be in the same orphanage. She IS in the same region, but she is not close enough for a "same region" fee. We will need to pay the same amount for Daisy as though she was in a completely different region. That is about $15,000. That is $10,000 MORE than we planned.

Our fully funded number will need to change from $27,500 to $37,500. Right now we have $20,075. We have $17,425 to go. We travel in just over a month.

We committed to Amos first and Daisy second. When we added Lee and Violet it was under the assumption that they would be at the same orphanage as Daisy. Now they won't.

What are we going to do to raise the additional funds? 

We are continuing to apply for grants. We are finding we are ineligible for many. We have tried to request both an adoption loan and a loan against the equity we currently have in our home. We cannot get either. We still have fundraisers HERE. I am going to do another auction. I am going to do another giveaway, but I do not expect it to be as large as the last one. Please send me an email at if you would like to help with either! We have a few days left of the 5/5/5 cycle. Unfortunately we found out this month that the 5/5/5 family program will be ending, but we hope this last month will be a success for our family and the 4 other families! We have a current $500 matching grant we will receive when our FSP reads $19665.

Daisy needs to get out and be adopted. Her future is not good. She will remain in a crib at the group home while it changes to a foster home. At 18 she would be transferred to the same bedridden ward where Lee and the others who I have been updating about have been living. I know what would happen to a noisy, spunky, high energy girl in that bedridden ward.

We need to get her out. Please help us. Thank you everyone.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Paige and Leroy Are Aging Out!

Aging out is when a child becomes unadoptable due to their age and the legal process in either the child's country or the country of an adopting parent. There are many aging out children listed HERE. You can also see the children we have shared in past weeks HERE. There is still time for some of the children we have shared before to be adopted if families act quickly! Please share all of these kids to help them find their families!

Paige birthdate unknown, turning 16 sometime in 2017

Our information about Paige right now is limited, but an update has been requested including when she will turn 16. Her country requires immigration paperwork and fees sent in before the child turns 16. Single parents can adopt from her country! Paige is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses! Email or visit her profile HERE for more information.

Paige is described as a very sweet girl with Down syndrome. She sounds like an absolute joy! Her profile was first posted a year ago, but I don't know if that photo was current or old when it was posted. Her photo shows that she is very small for her age. I don't know how large the walking frame is, but from the angle of the photo she looks tiny.

I love reading her profile. She smiles. She loves attention. Hugs make her happy! She likes to look at the pictures in books. She responds to speech and makes eye contact! She shows attachment to her caregivers. Oh my word, I read her profile and I see a little girl who would be an amazing daughter.

Who wouldn't want a little girl who loves to be hugged? Who likes to look at books together and watch tv? Our kids had movie night last night. She could be snuggled up on a couch with brothers and sisters. She loves listening to music. She needs someone to sing her goodnight songs at bedtime like we do every evening in our house. This snuggly little girl needs a family. She sounds amazing.


Leroy February 2017

Leroy will be turning 16 in February 2017. His country requires immigration paperwork and fees to be sent in before the child turns 16. Parents must be married and at least one parent needs to be more than 15 years older than the child. Leroy is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses! Email or visit his profile HERE for more information.

We know Leroy! We've spent a lot of time with him. He used to live with Theo and Orion. He is one of the kids who is scheduled to be moved into foster care and become unadoptable. I've talked about that before HERE. (We are adopting Daisy! She was going to be included in that changeover, but we will adopt her instead!) It has been delayed a few times now, but it is still scheduled and the changeover is approaching. Unfortunately unlike a lot of foster homes in this country, the children in these homes will be returning to institutions at 18. So not only will a family need to have paperwork turned in before his 16th birthday, they will also need to commit to adopting Leroy before this changeover occurs.

I am amazed by all of the progress Leroy has made over the last few years. In his earliest photos and videos he dragged himself around with his arms. Now between therapy and hard work he can walk! He has gone from crawling to using a regular walker to using a cane then walking independently. It is really, really impressive to see how far he has come.

He likes electronics. If we had a phone or tablet with us to take pictures of the kids he was always one of the first to ask to use it. The other kids could be distracted to play something else or would forget about it, but Leroy always remembered where he saw us hide it. He would ask for it again as soon as everyone else was busy!

Leroy is smart. Sometimes the kids get lessons on letters and numbers now in the group home, and he is always one of the ones who picks up the most. With other kids being adopted or moved, he might be the most advanced kid there. He was much more advanced than my boys. I can't make any guarantees, but now my boys can read simple words and beginning readers. I don't know if he can read simple words already or not yet, but I think he is probably easily capable of that.

He is a lot more mature than the other kids. While our boys and some of the others there are closer developmentally and emotionally to younger children, Leroy was a lot closer to his actual age. He acts and jokes a lot more like a teenager. He did like a lot of the same "younger" things as the other kids, but he also would sometimes point out that the shows the other kids wanted to watch were for little kids. He wanted to make sure we knew he was "cool" and grown up. He was very self-aware compared to a lot of the other kids.

It kills me that as a kid he along with a lot of other kids were channeled into this orphanage due to their physical disabilities. He is also delayed, although I don't know how much is environmental. For so many years he and these other boys sat and stagnated in empty rooms. No one belongs in these institutions. There is an extra sense of loss when a child is sent there because they are assumed incapable based on their physical limitations.

That is Leroy on the ground when he was much younger, with another child who was adopted by an amazing family!

He is a very clever kid.  I could easily see him being given the choice whether or not to be adopted. Our boys weren't asked, although they were happy to have a family. Families interested in adopting Leroy should know that he has gone back and forth on the idea of being adopted.

I know how many more amazing opportunities he would have in a family. I have seen his life where he is now. The group home is miles above the care the children were receiving prior to charity intervention. Our earliest photos of our boys and the facility show mixed groups of children and adults with all types of needs sitting in empty rooms. These group homes are a tremendous improvement over that. The foster care change is hoped to allow the kids to participate in more typical activities like going to buy groceries, which they don't do now. After 18 though, he would be moved back to the adult section. Some very high functioning adults have tasks around the grounds of the orphanage. They can't have real jobs, or live independently, or have families. They can't go to a regular store. The charity groups try to bring some of them on occasional trips out of the orphanage with the children, but they can't all go.

I see the future my boys have compared to Leroy's. He has only ever known his life there. From his point of view, his life in that group home is pretty swell. And it is good! There are a lot of much worse living situations for kids in his country. He has spent time in them prior to this. His time after turning 18 will be more perilous, but a few years can seem a long way off for teenagers. Going to a new life in a new country is a huge, scary thing. I understand why he has wavered. I don't know where he stands now, but a family should know that before proceeding for him. I hope the best for Leroy. I see so much potential in him.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Theo, Orion, Barton and Evan - Our 2014 Adoption

Some of you followed our last adoption and know some of our story already. I know there are also a whole bunch of new people meeting us for the first time. Hello there! I'd love to introduce you to our boys from Eastern Europe. Here is the short-ish version of the last few years.

Our boys were listed on Reece's Rainbow as Theo, Orion, Barton and Evan. Our family started our homestudy in the fall of 2013. We fell in love with Theo when a person who had spent time with him posted videos and photos of him. We wanted to know as much about him as we could! We learned about the amazing charity, Maya's Hope, who provided all different kinds of help to children where he lived.

Theo wasn't the only child there. One very exuberant boy showed up in front of the camera at every opportunity. He was listed as Orion. He was a handful! (He still is!) But he was also a lot of fun. We knew right away we would add him to our adoption. Our homestudy approved us for three children. After adding Orion, we weren't sure if we would stop there or adopt a third child as well. We mailed our immigration paperwork in.

Meanwhile there were other things happening. A boy listed as Barton was about to turn 16 and become unadoptable due to aging out. He was very gentle and timid, and the future he was destined for in his region was grim. I shared his photo a few times, but that was it. He was in a different region than our other boys. We were only planning to adopt from one orphanage. There were a lot of people shouting for him, but time was just about up. He turned 16 without a committed family.

There was also another boy, listed as Evan. His file and Theo's file had been mixed up. They were listed as the same child until we committed to Theo. After that they were straightened out. Something about him kept drawing me in. His needs were greater than the other boys we were planning to adopt. He was in the bedridden building at the same location.

Suddenly my husband and I were faced with a choice. It was impossibly hard. We felt that both Barton and Evan were meant to be our sons, but we could only adopt one more child. In the end we chose Barton because we were literally the only family who could adopt him. Our paperwork was in before his birthday and we were approved for both his age and special needs. Evan hadn't aged out, so we decided to work as hard as we could to find a family for him.

Our travel dates were drawing closer. Evan was still on our hearts and minds. We went back to our social worker. We were able to be approved to add Evan as well. We had to rush to get everything updated and sent to immigration. The last paper arrived right before my husband flew to Eastern Europe. We could bring home all four of our boys.

It was the middle of spring in 2014. There was a lot of uneasiness and unrest in the boys' country. The government was changing over. There were constant concerns if adoptions would be halted. One region had been invaded. The children there were trapped. They still are. Other regions were riskier, but things were still moving. It was a tense time. Military checkpoints and barricades were being erected. My husband would be there for months.

Barton was the first boy who my husband met. My husband was awestruck. The boy we expected to be nonverbal could answer questions. He was just as gentle and kind as we were told. It would be the first adoption for his court, so we were prepared for things to be a bit tougher. That turned out to be an understatement. At the time we didn't know that though. My husband was enjoying his time getting to know Barton.

Next my husband met the other boys. Evan was first. It was hard. He was terrified to be grabbed out of his crib and thrust into my husband's arms. He screamed in pain and fear. My husband was told he would never get better and that we should pick a different child. Then he went to see the other two boys.

Orion stood in the doorway of the group home shouting, "Papa!" and then ran to hug Theo when he found out they would be brothers. They were both very excited. The other boys there also enjoyed spending time with my husband, although the whole group could be overwhelming at times! My husband spent more time with the three boys. He signed paperwork saying he would adopt all of them, despite the orphanage recommendation to leave Evan behind.

The next couple months were full of typical little delays. Barton's judge was traveling and unavailable to set a court date. The prosecutor for the other boys was in a neighboring region investigating incidents. I arrived to meet the boys and help bring the first three home. Barton's court date was set much later, so my husband would need to return for him.

I loved my time in their country. It was absolutely beautiful. I loved the boys too! After a few more small delays, we passed court for Theo, Orion and Evan. None of them needed to appear and there were no paperwork issues, so it was done quickly.

Then a couple days later we were on our way with them! It was a little difficult to manage the three boys in a small studio apartment after we left the orphanage, but we survived. Evan had trouble eating. He was very stressed. The other two were very curious about everything! At one point Orion accidentally locked Theo in the bathroom because he kept playing with the doorknobs. Oops! We made it home and the boys started settling in.

Evan needed immediate appointments to be checked for refeeding syndrome and start seeing specialists. He saw a lot of doctors in the beginning, but his biggest issue was his weight. He had just turned 11 and he weighed 33 pounds. That's very small, but not at all unusual. Within a few months he hit 50 pounds. He has gotten taller, but his weight has hovered just over 50 pounds since then. The doctors think that's probably his body's natural size for now, and that he will gain weight and height slowly until he hits puberty.

Theo and Orion started seeing doctors as well. They got the all clear and started seeing specialists, although more slowly than Evan. Evan was able to "jump" the line because of the severity of his condition, but Theo and Orion had to be added to wait lists like everyone else. The process of being referred from one area to another was also slow, but we kept plugging away at it.

My husband went back for court for Barton. Remember, this was the first time this court had done an international adoption. They decided to treat the court date like a preliminary hearing and created a list of things they wanted to require before the second court date to decide on the adoption. Most of these were purely administrative on their end, such as requesting witnesses for court from the office supervising adoptions. We were devastated that he would wait even longer, but we understood that they wanted to be certain things were done correctly. 

In addition, although his parents were deceased, Barton did have relatives. Legally the rest of the family had declined rights to him and never even visited, but the judge requested approval from them for the adoption anyway. Most of his family approved of the adoption. They weren't going to care for him and wanted him to have a family. Another relative who had never visited and did not want to take care of him did not approve of the adoption. We were warned that the judge might give her 90 days to decide if she would like to take responsibility for him instead. We were running out of time to complete his adoption before our paperwork expired. In the end the judge said that if she wanted to oppose the adoption, then she would need to show up and be prepared to take custody of him immediately. We weren't sure what would happen until the actual court date.

Court was long. No relatives came. We needed to request an extra witness for the region. Barton needed to appear and speak, although he didn't understand some of the questions. He was asked if he was afraid of my husband and he smiled and said no, as if that was a foolish question. He was asked if he wanted to live with us, and he said yes and smiled. It was long and nerve-wracking, but we were approved. The prosecutor later asked my husband a lot of questions about our health insurance and life insurance, saying he just didn't understand how a family could care for "these types of children." But Barton was ours.

By this time my husband had exhausted almost all of his available leave time at his job. After that time was used up his employer would not be required to hold onto his job for him. We needed things to go faster, but they didn't. Passports were taking longer to process because of the unrest. There was a misspelling on Barton's first passport. Finally he was able to come home. The timing was very close. My husband had to spend a full day flying across the world, come home with Barton, and go to work the next day. But we pulled it off. It was 5 and a half months from leaving on the first trip to Barton arriving home. That is an eternity in a country where some families complete the process from homestudy to finish in that time frame. Barton was worth it though, 100 times over.

We were so ready and so thrilled to have him home with us. He saw the necessary doctors, but we didn't try to push him. His vision impairment made it hard for him to know what to expect in his new life. One of our daughters immediately included him in activities, even when he didn't respond. His new brothers also from Eastern Europe were quick to tell him that this was a safe place where no one was hit and we were nice. (Which both made my heart hurt and filled it with love at the same time.) He knew swear words, but didn't know that they weren't appropriate speech. He though you shouted those words when your lego castles tumbled over. We took things a bit slower with Barton because he was so easily overwhelmed at first.

All four of our boys began to settle in and find their places in our family. In the last two years they have grown in so many ways. They have grown physically, mentally, emotionally. They have made so much progress. Some of it was easy and some of it was hard but all of it was worth doing. That is why we are heading back to do it again!

Monday, September 19, 2016

This Could Be Hard

This is the Bedridden Project. I'm talking about what life was like for our son Evan and other children like him before he was adopted from a laying down room, and how awesome his life is now. I also talk about waiting children like Evan whose lives would be so much better in a family.


This could be hard. I will say that front and center. This can be hard in so many ways. I'm talking about meeting your child in country for the first time, and deciding to say yes.

You are going to have people tell you not to do this. They will tell you to think of yourself, to think of your other kids, to think of the kids you could adopt instead.

During our adoption of Evan a lot of people told us not to adopt him. In the countries where these children are living, even the people who support adoption and special needs adoption often don't understand adopting kids from bedridden rooms. We had people say we were brave and crazy. We had people suggest adopting other more capable children instead.

There was a very long delay finding Evan's file at our initial appointment to get his referral. In fact, at first they tried to give us the file of a child our friends adopted from the same place! He is an older boy with Down syndrome. He is an awesome kid and I think the world of him, but he certainly wasn't our Evan! Other families have found that codes have been changed in files making younger children ineligible for adoption when they should have been available. In this country younger children must have a very specific diagnosis in their file in order to be adopted by a foreign family. In other countries other things happen. Some countries and orphanages never even list children with more severe needs because they don't see them as adoptable.

Evan's referral photos

Then you will get to the orphanage. Often the orphanage staff, the director, the regional person responsible for adoptions, and even your facilitator may encourage you to pick a different child. "This child will never get better. This child's needs are too severe. The adoption might not be approved. There is nothing you can do for this child."

I don't think these things are typically said out of malice. I think that it is an example of the underlying attitudes that ensure kids end up in these rooms to begin with. People really do believe it is a waste for a family to bring home a child with severe needs when there are other children with more mild needs waiting. They feel the others would benefit more and are also waiting for families, and there aren't enough families for all of the children to be adopted.

People really do believe that these kids can't get better. They haven't seen them get better. It is a vicious cycle where the children are never given a chance because they've never "proven" themselves. But how can they show what they are capable of when they weren't given a chance to in the first place?

Again, children with milder needs typically come first in their minds even when people do believe in better treatment for kids with special needs. Money is typically used up long before it can trickle down to kids in bedridden rooms. Foster care, group homes, experimental schools including kids with special needs, therapies, across the board. There is simply never enough to go around, and in a situation where "typical" kids aren't even getting what they need it is hard to convince people that these children also deserve more. Frankly, the same things can sometimes be heard in America as well, but at least people with disabilities have legal guarantees of fair treatment.

It is also likely that people involved want to be sure you are aware that you are not adopting a typical child so that you don't come back later and say you didn't realize. Again, for a lot of people it is far outside their expectations for someone to want to adopt a child with severe needs. They can't understand why someone would do that intentionally, so they want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Sometimes they want to save you from yourself. It's often done with what people believe are good intentions, but it's not good for the child people might be convinced to leave behind.

So now you are going into your first meeting with your child with all of these people telling you to turn around and run. And if you aren't, that is something to be incredibly thankful for! It is a gift to both you and the child for you to be supported like that going into your adoption! Now you are going to meet your child with all of those thoughts swirling in your head.

First meetings are emotional and overwhelming for parents, but they are just as much so for the kids. For kids in bedridden rooms in particular, this can be an enormous shock. These are kids who might never leave their cribs. Being picked up and taken out of that familiar space can be terrifying. Human touch can be rare, and likely rough or painful when it does occur.

This crib was Evan's entire world every day. How scared he was to leave it.

Evan was plucked out of his crib and thrust into my husband's arms. He wailed and screamed in fear. He was never upright. He was never held. He was never out of his crib. What was he going to expect? What was going through his head? His muscles were so tight then that I'm sure it was also physically painful in addition to being so frightening for him.

He is not the same child now as he was then. I carried him dancing around the house last night. He loved being bounced and swung and held, my same child who screamed in terror at being lifted out of his crib. He has "gotten better" in ways that no one in his country ever believed he could. And you know what? Even if he hadn't, his life would still be worth saving. He still deserved the life he has now.

Medication. Sedation. This is common in general, but especially in kids who are in bedridden rooms. Sometimes kids are suspected to have epilepsy and are given medications to control seizures which have the side effect of sedating them. It is common for very frail, tiny children to be given doses of medication which would sedate adults. Sometimes kids are medicated because it is believed to help them sleep better or be necessary for medical conditions. Sometimes it is for convenience or because children get into mischief or they stim loudly or any number of reasons. The takeaway from this is that you may be meeting a child who is heavily sedated during your first visit or who is often heavily sedated.

Kids might not be able to stay awake. They might be unresponsive or minimally responsive. They may have unusual reactions to stimuli. Glassy eyes and blank stares. Sometimes this is also from the stress of something as unusual as a long period of direct interaction. Kids can shut down because that is also overwhelming compared to their typical routine. But the possibility and likelihood of medication is something to remember.

Evan could barely lift his head on many of the visits. (Can you see Daisy behind him?)

And now you need to decide. You have to continue forward with this adoption, or turn around and choose another child, or go home without a child. This IS hard. This is not a light and easy decision.  I have known so, so many families who struggled with this decision. That's why I am talking about it here and now. MOST families find this a hard decision. That is normal. It doesn't mean you can't do this. It doesn't mean you should say no. All of these people are telling you to say no, and you are meeting a child who is likely to be very frightened or unresponsive, and you need to decide if you can do this very hard thing and say yes. This was the hardest part of our adoption of Evan. We said yes. It was 100% the right decision for us and for Evan.

Sometimes people say no, for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don't think they can adopt this child along with another child. Maybe their homestudy doesn't include some of the child's needs. Maybe they feel like these particular needs are too much for them. That no can be the right decision for some families. For us it wasn't. Bringing Evan home was right. That was Evan and that was our family, not every child and every family.

This is such a HUGE decision that is literally life altering for both the child and the parent. It is so important to know about this and think about it ahead of time. It is important to know how many people initially struggle making this decision, because it can be a hard thing to share publicly. People are excited to see updates about how you have met your child for the first time. It is hard to say that you might be having second thoughts with all of those people watching, even when you do go on to say yes. It is very common to have those questions though.

With all of the things said about Evan, we could have said no. Some people would have told us that we made the right decision. They would have said that was the smart, safe thing to do. We didn't say no. We said yes. It was hard, but it got easier. The more visits Evan had, the more comfortable he became. Since he has come home he has changed before our eyes. He is not the same scared, frail little boy. But even if he was, I would still be glad we had brought him home. I know what his life was like there. I know what it is like now. He is safe and he is loved. That is worth it, no matter how much or how little progress a child might make when they come home.

Evan is rocking out these days!


Now for the waiting kids. I'm going to post again about some children I have mentioned before. These are the kids who are with my Lee right now. They continue to deteriorate. I am hoping for some miracle where the orphanage will allow charities to step in and help fill the gap between what the kids can be given by the state and what they truly need. In the meantime, the kids are suffering. I can guarantee that parents adopting these kids are going to hear the same thing about how hopeless these kids are. THEY ARE NOT HOPELESS. Hope is the only thing they have left.

This sweet girl cannot be adopted. She was one of the healthiest kids in Evan's room. I barely recognize her now. These photos are in the old orphanage and the new one. This is the same child. The old orphanage was not a great place, but charities could provide extra food and extra care. It was keeping kids alive.

Leilani needs a family urgently. A family already in process who could add her to their adoption is her best chance to make it out in time. She is growing hair on her arms as part of her body's response to starvation.

Quinn is a very sweet and very responsive kid. He would thrive in a family. He used to make noises and try to talk. I don't know if he still does, but that potential is there. This is a kid who could do amazing things in a family.

This boy is not listed on Reece's Rainbow, but he can be adopted. His name is V and he was born in 2003. He absolutely lights up in response to people, but he has been spending more and more time sleeping here. He is frail.

My Lee is fading. His last photo showed his arms so wiry thin I don't know how he is holding on. His arms and body are hidden in his most recent photo. But the other kids' photos tell the story. He's also laying still. He usually is trying to sit up and lifting his head to get attention when there are people in the room. We are so close. I hope we can get there in time. We are not yet fully funded, if you would like to help us get him home by donating HERE or HERE.

Denzel and Phoenix are also fading, but they also have a family coming to rescue them. They are only waiting on travel dates right now. You can donate to them HERE.

Zoey/Becky is one of the tube-fed kids, who are all very urgent. She may be sedated and less responsive at times, but she is capable of so much more than they realize. She is aware of what is going on around her.

Posey. This was the one bright spot out of all of these updates. We get to see Posey smile. She is smiling here, but she still needs a family so badly. She is so young, and this is such a hard place for bedridden kids.

The following children are in different orphanages. They also need families.

Christian is a little boy who is currently heavily medicated to treat seizures. He is beautiful. I think he is still in a baby house, but I can't see him surviving at all once he is transferred. He is old enough to be transferred at any time.

Starr is a precious little girl. She is also heavily medicated right now. She has had her referral pulled many times, but no families have been able to take her home. Some have had other kids whose needs required too much attention to add on another child. In the past she was smiling and responsive. She was unable to hold up her head or open her eyes when the most recent family met her. She also needs a family desperately. Our family adopts older kids, but we would make an exception for her!

Janie is a little girl who has been listed for many years. She has been transferred out of the baby house into an orphanage where many children look just as bad as the ones at the orphanage we are adopting Lee from. I don't know of any adoptions from her orphanage, but she and the other children there need out.


Please share this post and share these kids. I don't think people realize the full extent of how bad the bedridden wards and laying down rooms can be. Our family has been there before and is going back. We have seen it firsthand. And sometimes I think we can't even comprehend it. Please help these kids get home to families, and hope with us for a change that will help the kids who can't be adopted.