Friday, December 30, 2011

Find My Family Friday - Andrey

Guess whose grant is up over $1000?! Yep, the little guy whose grant took six months to reach a mere $200 now has over $1000 in his grant fund! (you can read more about Andrey here, here, here, here and here)

Although he still has such a long way to go, I was so excited to see Andrey’s grant pass that $1000 mark not only because that money will help with the cost of his adoption but because it means that people are seeing his face, hearing his story and their hearts are being moved. I don’t know who has been donating or where are all this newfound attention is coming from but it gives me hope that maybe 2012 will be the last year Andrey has to spend without a family.

Please, keep donating, keep sharing his story and keep praying for this sweet boy’s family to find him.
For more information or to donate, click here.

Andrey is listed as “Aiden” on Reece’s Rainbow;
in order to protect his identity, when sharing about him on your own blogs, facebook pages, etc. please use his Reece’s Rainbow name

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Andrey's Song

Back when I was volunteering at the orphanage, one of my favourite things to do was sing to the kids. More than just singing to them, I loved to sing words of hope and truth over them. I had a sort of repertoire of songs that I would sing and as I sang my prayer would be that, despite the language barrier, they would understand the meaning of those words in the depths of their soul and that they would fill them with strength, hope and peace. For some of my kids I had a special song that belonged to them. Although I might sing that same song to the other kids as well, it had a special meaning for the child it belonged to, words that captured the truths I so desperately wanted them to know, and I sang it over them as often as I could. I never came up with just the right song for Andrey though… until I came home and ordered a copy of the new Matthew West CD. From the very first time I heard the song ‘To Me’ I couldn’t help but think of my cuddly teddy bear and I knew that I had found Andrey’s song. 

Today is Andrey’s birthday. Yes, my cuddly teddy bear turned five years old today… Oh how I had hoped that he would spend this day with his forever family (and I know they feel the same way) but in light of all that has happened, I am just so thankful that he is still there waiting for them and so thrilled to announce that Andrey will be meeting his new family in just a couple of weeks! I don’t know why Andrey was left behind when all the others were taken but I feel like this only goes to confirm what I have believed for quite some time now – God has great plans for Andrey and his adoption will be the catalyst for them all.

To my sweet, cuddly teddy bear:
Oh how I wish I could have been there today to sing these words over you (along with a round of “Happy Birthday” of course!). Nevertheless I am rejoicing today because very soon you will be home with your forever family where you will experience the truth of these words every single day.
Precious boy, I may never get a chance to sing this song over you in person but these words will forever be the prayer of my heart.
I just can’t wait to see God’s plans for you unfold… I believe it with all my heart, you are going to change the world!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger…’”

Luke 2:10-12 

Wishing you and your family a Christmas filled with wonder;
may you experience devine joy this Christmas and may you find Jesus, the humble Savior, just where He said He would be...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Find My Family Friday - Igor

Last month I told you that I was working on an interview with a mom who adopted a little boy who reminds me in many ways of Igor (you can read more about Igor here, here, here, here and here). Today, I am happy to introduce you to Shelley, mama of 7 including four children with special needs adopted from Eastern Europe. One of Shelley’s children, Xander, is diagnosed with Autism and exhibits many behaviours similar to those I have seen with Igor. I want to make a couple of things clear though… First and foremost, every child is unique. Second, Igor has not been diagnosed with Autism and while he does exhibit autistic behaviours, these could be symptoms of an undiagnosed genetic condition and not a result of Autism at all. Xander and Igor are without a doubt different in many ways however I also see many similarities between them. That said, I thought it would be interesting to hear from a mother who is parenting a child with similar challenges as Igor. So, without further delay, allow me to introduce you to Shelley and her incredible son, Xander…


Could you briefly introduce yourself and your family?
My name is Shelley. My husband, Robert, and I currently have 7 kids. Three of our children are “home grown”: Jakob is 12, Olivia is 9 and Zoie is 6. Our other 4 children were adopted from Eastern Europe. Xander is 8 years old and was adopted from a baby house orphanage in Ukraine in August 2007. He has Down syndrome, Autism and bilateral clubbed feet that were repaired post-adoption. Grifyn is 8 years old and was adopted from an orphanage in Serbia in April 2008. He has Down syndrome. Kullen is 9 years old and was adopted from a mental institution in Bulgaria in April 2010. He has Down syndrome. Annikah is our newest addition. She is 6 years old and arrived home on December 3, 2011. Annikah also has Down syndrome.

What information were you given and what did you know about Xander before you met/adopted him?
We first heard about Xander on Christmas Eve 2006. We knew that he was 3 years old and that he had Down syndrome and unrepaired clubbed feet. We knew that he was in a baby house in Ukraine and that he was due to be transferred to a mental institution in August 2007.

How did you know that Xander was meant to be a part of your family?
With Xander, I just knew. It’s hard to explain. I looked at his photo (we’d been sent photos of several children at the same time) and it was as if God whispered in my ear, “That is your son.” That was it. There was no convincing me otherwise. He was meant to be our son. My husband and I talked about it for days (he was interested in a different child). But, the feeling inside of me was so strong that Xander was “the one” and my husband finally said that if I was that convicted about it, then clearly we were supposed to choose Xander.

What were your greatest fears/concerns about making Xander a part of your family?
At the time, we were very worried about his feet. That’s almost comical to think about now. But at the time, it was true. We were WAY more worried about what it was going to require to get his feet fixed (surgeries, therapy, etc) than we were about any of the issues involving his cognitive impairments or behavior.

What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced with Xander?
Without a doubt, it has been his behavior and the Autism diagnosis. Xander has a lot of sensory issues. He has a lot of auto-aggression (harming himself). It has changed the way we parent and just how we think about life overall. Trying to figure out what motivates him, what “sets him off” and what works to help him make progress has been an ongoing theme in our family.

I know that Xander struggles with self-harming behaviours, what effect has that had on everyday life in your family and what have you done (therapies, medication, etc.) to help manage those behaviours?
Xander has gone through cycles with his behavior. We’ve tried a variety of techniques, therapies and interventions to help him over the years. We’ve learned that it’s very important that we address his sensory needs and that we give him tools to deal with his frustrations so that he doesn’t resort to the auto-aggression. Over the years, Xander has received Occupational Therapy (with a focus on sensory processing), speech therapy (with a focus on gaining communication skills to express his wants/needs/frustrations in some way other than harming himself), physical therapy and hippotherapy (horse riding therapy). He responds well to deep pressure touch, so we’ve also used brushing therapy. We focused on his sensory needs….what he really likes/what calms him, what he seems to have an excess sensory need for and what sensory things cause a negative reaction. We created a “sensory diet” for him, where we were able to “feed” the things that helped to calm him and to also better control (and if possible, eliminate) the things that caused a negative reaction. We also use “first/then” speech with him and a lot of sign language and visual cues when communicating with him to relieve frustration. Xander now has a “sensory room” in our house that we’re still “building” based on his sensory needs and preferences. In August 2011, Xander started taking a prescription medication to help with the auto-aggression. It’s currently working well at controlling this behavior and as a result, we’re seeing progress in other behavior areas as well. Xander also takes Ginko, which he’s been taking for almost a year now. The Ginko helps with the “normal” stimming behaviors (hand flapping and such) and also seems to help with his desire to communicate. He’s much more verbal while taking the Ginko.

Describe the progress Xander has made in the last four years of being in your family.
Xander came into our family the week of his 4th birthday. He weighed 16 pounds and wore 9-12 month clothes. He drank out of a bottle and could sit up. That was it. He now weighs 50 pounds, walks, says some words (and uses sign language to communicate), feeds himself (and eats everything!) and so much more! He’s learned to make eye contact, he’s very affectionate (toward people that he likes…he’s picky!) and he has the most genuine laugh (that we hear a whole lot more now!).

What are your hopes and dreams for Xander's future?
We continue to work with Xander on self-help skills. I’d love to see his communication skills increase so that he can express himself better. Mostly, I just want him to be able to manage his sensory needs in a way that allows him to function in the world safely and happily.

How have your lives been impacted by the addition of Xander to your family?
We’ve had to learn to look at the world different…at how even the most basic things can impact a person that struggles with sensory issues. It took getting to know Xander’s needs….what he loves, what helps him and what things cause him stress and anxiety. Once we acknowledged those, it wasn’t very difficult to adjust our home and our schedule to help meet those needs. We do have to think through things more in depth. For example, before going somewhere (especially if it’s going to be in a crowd), we have to think about how it might impact Xander, which of his “triggers” may be set off there and what we can do in advance to set him up for success.

If you knew then what you know now, would you still have chosen to adopt Xander?
Quiet honestly, I’m VERY glad that I didn’t know everything then. It would have scared me to death! When I list out all of Xander’s needs, it sounds VERY overwhelming to anyone that’s listening. But, when you’re in the moment, being his mom, it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. He has some unique challenges and some frustrating behaviors. But, he’s also VERY lovable. He has things that he loves to do and those things bring him such joy. He has THE BEST laugh in the whole world. It’s sweet and sincere. When he giggles, everyone around him can’t help but to smile too. There are days when it’s tough to be Xander’s mom. But, he’s made me a better person and a better mother. He’s taught me that when everyone else says, “He can’t”, “He’ll never”, “You may not ever see progress”, etc that if I really listen to him and what he’s showing me and telling me with his behaviors and his limited communication, I CAN help him and I CAN reach him and he CAN learn and make progress. There are days when Xander is downright exhausting to parent, but I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

What advice or suggestions do you have for any family who might be considering making Igor a part of their family?
It may be the toughest thing you’ve ever done. But, it’s also going to be the most rewarding. You will have the opportunity to watch a child that spends most of his time locked in his own little world literally blossom before your eyes.


So there you have it, some of the challenges and the blessings that lie in store for the family that will be fortunate enough to call Igor their own. If you think that may be you, please don’t let Igor’s behaviours scare you away. More than anything else he is just a sweet little boy who needs to be loved. If you know that God is not calling you to be Igor’s family, would you help his family find him by sharing his story, donating to his grant fund and keeping him in your prayers? For more information or to donate, click here.

Igor is listed as “Brody” on Reece’s Rainbow;
in order to protect his identity, when sharing about him on your own blogs, facebook pages, etc. please use his Reece’s Rainbow name

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Last week three of my angels became unavailable for adoption. There is a priest in Ukraine who has a lot of political power/influence. Over the past 10 years he has run a private orphanage for approximately 250 children. Recently the priest was given funding to establish a “nursing home for disabled children” which will house 100 additional children. The facility is now open and the priest has been going from city to city selecting children. On Wednesday he selected three children who are very near and dear to my heart…


As far as we know, Dima, Liza and Bogdan are now living in this new orphanage and are no longer available for adoption. Ever since I heard the news I have felt a mixture of panic, nausea and a profound heaviness in my spirit. All reports state that this is a good orphanage where the children will be well cared for. Their physical and medical needs will be taken care of and they will even receive an education. But no orphanage can take the place of the family which every child deserves. This place is far from the mental institutions where these children would have ended up had they not been adopted (which I am extremely grateful for) but will my babies ever have someone to kiss their foreheads as they tuck them into bed each night? Will they ever someone who will make them their favourite food on their birthday? Will they ever have someone who makes them feel like the most special person in the world? Will they ever someone to whisper in their ear, “You are chosen, you are special, you are mine”?

Two of these children had families committed to them whom I believed with everything in me were handpicked by God just for them. I don’t understand this. This is not the way it was supposed to be. I am angry and confused and I wonder how I will keep doing this. Although it may not make sense, in many ways I am hurting as much now as I did when I left Ukraine only this time, I didn’t even get to say goodbye. One day I’m receiving regular updates on “my” kids, following along as their families work hard to bring them home and excitedly looking forward to the day I will get to see them in their arms. The next day they’re just gone, never to be seen or heard of again. Yet while I grieve, there are families that are hurting even more than I am. Mommies and Daddies and brothers and sisters who were anxiously awaiting the day that they would welcome a precious child, already a member of their family, into their arms and homes forever. Dima, Liza and Bogdan are only three out of approximately 50 children who were taken, many of whom had families coming. Please pray for these families who are mourning the loss of their children. Pray for all the children who have been taken away from everything they know and brought to a strange, new place. Pray for the staff at the new orphanage, that it truly would be as great a place as everyone says it is and that they would be filled with love and compassion for these children. Finally, pray that somehow, in some way, God would be glorified in all of this and that the good plans He has for these children would not be thwarted.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Find My Family Friday - Maxim

I don’t have any words today so I’ll let the pictures do the talking (you can read more about Maxim here, here, here and here).

All I’m going to say is why has no one chosen this precious little boy yet?
He is sweet and funny – a smart, active little boy who is perfect in every way!

Where is Maxim’s Mommy?!

And don't forget his irresistible giggle...

You can help Maxim’s family find him by sharing his story, donating to his grant fund and remembering him in your prayers.
For more information or to donate, click here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


After nearly ten months of being back home, I finally have a real job. I’ve been working for two weeks already but things have been so crazy lately, I haven’t even had a chance to tell you about it… I’m working for child protection in the province next to mine, a little over an hour away. I have not moved, nor do I plan to at this point, so it means commuting back and forth each day. It’s not ideal but after 7 long months of looking, I had to take what I could get. To be honest, there are many different things about this job that do not add up in my head when I think about what God has called me to and the promises He has given me. Nevertheless, when I was offered this job I had a great sense of peace that God wanted me to say yes. I am doing my best to continue to trust Him, knowing that my future is in His hands and He has already mapped out each step along the way, even though He often only shows me one step at a time.

A while back as I was reading through the book of Exodus, I was drawn to this conversation that Moses had with God. At God’s command, Moses was getting ready to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. Understandably, Moses was a little nervous and he made the following request:

“Moses said to the LORD, ‘I know that you have told me to lead these people to the land you promised them. But you have not told me who my assistant will be. You have said that you are my friend and that you are pleased with me. If this is true, let me know what your plans are, then I can obey and continue to please you…” (Exodus 33:12-13)

“Let me know what your plans are, then I can obey and continue to please you…” Oh, how I can relate to that prayer. If I’ve prayed it once, I’ve prayed it a thousand times: “God, just tell me what you want me to do. If you make Your will clear then I’ll obey You, no matter what it is. Just please, let me in on the plan…” But do you know what God’s response to Moses was???

“The LORD said, ‘I will go with you and give you peace.’” (Exodus 33:14)

That’s it. He didn’t tell Moses how He was going to do it or when they were going to get there. All He said was, “I will go with you” and that was enough for Moses.

This is the passage I find myself coming back to over and over again. Whenever I want answers to questions such as “why do You have me in this job?”, “how is everything going to come together?”, “when am I going to see the fulfillment of the promises You’ve made to me?”, etc. I hear that gentle voice whispering to my heart: “I will go with you”. And I am learning that that is enough.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Find My Family Friday - Victoria

This week’s Find My Family Friday brings us back to Victoria (you can read more about Victoria here, here, here and here) however this week, instead of telling you more about Victoria, I want to tell you about a little girl named Ella.
Ella is a beautiful 5-year-old girl who, like Victoria, has visual impairment. Ella’s mom, Jill, blogs about their family here and I was so touched by this post that I read last week, I just knew I had to share it with you today:

Let it Rain

***Originally written in July, 2009 and taken with permission from***

I remember this moment very vividly.

I just stood there.

I stood in the doorway of the freshly painted nursery we had just finished decorating for our new baby girl. Ella had been born 5 days before, and this was the first time Erik and I had been home since her birth. We were packing our things to head up to University of Michigan Children’s hospital in hopes that they could tell us things the Doctors here just could not. We had been told Ella would be blind, yet we were still not sure of the status of her brain or her tiny beating heart. The unknowns of our daughter’s condition loomed heavy over us.

I just stood there.

Staring at all of the beautiful toys, blankets, clothing and other gifts I had received at my baby shower. A countless number of children’s books. A cute mobile for the crib that had a mirror attached to it. All of the artwork I had hung on the walls in bright, bold colors. I fell to my knees as I sobbed.

I said to Erik, very seriously, “We have to take ALL of this back. Right now! She cannot see any of it. How will she ever enjoy these things? How will she enjoy anything in her life? How? Tell me!!!”

I craved answers. I needed a plan. I wanted to have control over a situation that I had absolutely no control over. Ever the voice of reason, Erik told me with an almost unbelievable calmness, “No, Jill. It will NOT be like that. I promise.” (have I mentioned how much I love that man?)

I wanted to believe him. Oh, how I wanted to believe. It was exactly what I needed to hear. But as we stood there in the doorway of the nursery, holding tight to each other, his warm tears eventually mixed with mine as they flowed silently down his cheek.

We had so many feelings of doubt…fear…uncertainty. And why wouldn’t we? The news of Ella’s condition was so fresh in our minds and hearts. We had little knowledge. We had little experience. We had no idea what our future would hold…


I am so thankful to God that those days are far behind us!!!
As Ella often says, “Whoo-Hoo!!”

That moment occurred a little over three years ago & I am happy to report that I am a mere fragment of the person I was that day in the doorway of Ella’s nursery. (I know the same goes for Erik!) Every day since Ella’s birth has been an adventure in learning, growing, changing and coming up with ways to maximize each experience she has in her non-visual world.

Not that Ella needs much help maximizing anything. She is 3 going on 13 with an independent spirit and a sense of humor that just amazes us. Her grasp of language is well beyond her years and her thirst for knowledge continues to grow every day. She is loving, caring, kind, sassy, brave, hilarious, smart, playful and thoughtful. Some of the things she does and says lately just leave us absolutely in stitches. She wants to TRY everything, DO everything and does not for one minute think that she shouldn’t or can’t do anything that any other child can do.

She is very interested in relationships lately – who is related to who and how and what is the proper term for that relationship. She always wants to know what Street or Road we are on when driving in the car. She will hear my blinker and ask, “Oh, you are turning. What street will we be on now?” If a new song comes on the radio, she wants to know what the name of it is and who is singing it. At snack time, sometimes she will ask for something crunchy, smooth or bumpy instead of naming an actual food. She always tells us what we are wearing by feeling our clothes. “Oh, you’ve got on a tank top.” A t-shirt. bathing suit. a towel. jeans. shorts. a skirt, etc. She is so curious about everything. She always wants to know if people are boys or girls or young or old. “He’s and she’s” she calls people. “I am SO good at my pronouns!!” She exclaims. She wants to know what colors things are. Pretty amazing, I know. Don’t make the mistake of calling her “baby” either. She will say, “Oh, mommy…you mean big girl.” Of course I did, Ella.

My sister and her family were home for a visit earlier this month. My 4 year old nephew, Rylan, wanted to play the Wii in my parent’s basement one afternoon. I was going to take the other kids outside for a walk.

“I want to play Wii too Mommy,” Ella said. “I want to bowl with Rylan.”

I asked her, “You do? Really?”

She replied, “Mommy…why wouldn’t I?”

And so she did. With a little help from Daddy, which she did not enjoy. Miss Independent wanted to do it all by herself. And even though she faced the wall instead of the TV while she bowled, she swung that Wii controller and had the time of her life. I sat in amazement as I mentally added that to the list of things I never thought my blind child would be able to enjoy. (Kudos to my nephew Rylan as well for punishing Ella like he does to all of us who try to play him in Wii bowling. The kid is crazy good!)

We took a family vacation to southern California last month to visit Erik’s parents. We took the kids to Disneyland in hopes of bringing alive all of the episodes we’ve watched of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel. That’s right. Ella watches TV. She has her favorite shows and enjoys them very much.

Turns out, Ella had a better time than most of the kids in attendance at Disneyland that day. She had a constant smile plastered on her little face as she waited patiently in line to meet her favorite characters or ride all of the fun rides with Daddy. It was an absolute thrill for her and she was still singing “It’s a Small World After All” as we walked back to our car at 11pm that night. She loves to tell people, “I met Minnie, Mickey and Goofy! Donald must have had the day off.” Again…I mentally added it to my list as a realization washed over me. Who was I to ever put limits on her enjoyment of life in the first place?

I will never be able to define my girl Ella in one short journal entry, but I can say with 100% certainty that while she will experience the world a bit differently than most, she will always be doing it to the full extent of her little heart.

A marvelous example of this happened yesterday.

I was driving the kids home from running errands when the sky opened up in a terrible downpour. The rain was coming down sideways, making it very hard to drive. The booming thunder crashed all around us. I could hardly hear Ella’s sweet voice from the backseat as she was saying something. I asked her to repeat herself.

“Mommy, when we get home I want to feel the rainstorm.”

I said, “It is raining really hard babe. Like, really hard.”

“I know,” she said. “I just want to stand in it.”

Ok, Ella. If you say so. I got her out of her carseat when we pulled into the garage and put her down on the floor. “Walk straight ahead and out of the garage if you still want to do it,” I told her.

She took a few steps and within seconds was being pelted with the unrelenting drops. She giggled uncontrollably. “Whoo-Hoo!” she yelled. “I am getting soaked!” She held her little hands up in the air. “I love this!” she screamed.

She just stood there.

Laughing, whooping, wet and cold and loving every minute of it. I sat in the garage and thought back to that girl in the doorway of Ella’s nursery that day. Oh…the things I would be able to tell her now. I would tell her that it will eventually be OK. That time will heal all her wounds and worries and that her heart will be stretched out and filled up in ways she can only dream about. I would tell her that with her daughter’s help, she will learn to see the world in a different wonderful way. I would tell her that it ends up that sight is merely one of your 5 senses and absolutely non-essential to living a healthy, fun-filled life.

Erik was right. It has NOT been like I thought it would be. Ella enjoyed those baby toys and blankets when she was little and has continued enjoying her life ever since. In her own special and unique way. Just like any other kid her age. I thought of how I stood there long ago and looked out at Ella standing in the pouring rain with her hands raised to the sky. It was as if her smile was speaking to me.

“Why wouldn’t I, mommy?”

You are so right Ella Elizabeth. Why wouldn’t you?

Let it Rain.


Like Victoria, Ella is sassy and spirited, smart, brave, and playful. Like Victoria, Ella doesn’t let her visual impairment stop her from doing what she wants to do. Unlike Victoria, Ella has a family who loves and celebrates her and gives her every opportunity to be all that she was meant to be.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I know that visual impairment can be scary but I had to share this story with you in hopes that it will open your eyes to the beauty and the wonder of parenting a child with visual impairment. This past week not one but two blind children appeared on the Reece’s Rainbow My Family Found Me page… God is indeed stirring hearts towards these precious children! Would you join me in praying that Victoria would be next? You can also help Victoria’s family find her by sharing her story or donating to her grant fund.
For more information or to donate, click here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An answer to prayer...

I want to introduce you to Chris and Julie Faulkner, God’s answer to the prayers of so many…

You see, Chris and Julie (along with their three beautiful girls) will soon be Denis’ new family!

Chris and Julie have been involved in orphan care in Mexico for the past six years or so which has served to burden their hearts for the orphan (don’t you love how God has been preparing the hearts of Denis’ family since before he was even born?!). A missionary friend of theirs from Mexico sent them a link to Reece’s Rainbow back in October and Julie spent the evening pouring through the profiles of waiting children. Denis was just one of over a hundred profiles that she looked at but she kept coming back to him. They started praying and contacted Reece’s Rainbow for more pictures. When Julie saw me in one of the pictures she prayed that she would be able to find me and when she did, she considered it to be answer to prayer.

As you all know, when it comes to Denis, time is of the essence. God has made it clear, there is no time to waste. Last week we finally got to see new pictures of Denis. As good as it was to see him though, I couldn’t help but cry when I saw one picture in particular… I cannot show that picture but I will say that Denis' hands were being restrained and tied to his body with a bedsheet, similar to this:

One look and my heart cried out in brokenness, “My baby’s in a straightjacket!”. I know why they use them (to protect the kids from scratching themselves, etc.). I have seen several kids in that orphanage in “straightjackets” while simultaneously being loved on by their workers. I know that they use them with the best intentions and that it is not cruel and malicious as it may seem in a simple photograph but still, to see my baby restrained in that way… I could not take it. This is why we are fighting to get this boy home with his family as soon as possible.

The Faulkner’s are hoping to submit their dossier once Denis’ country reopens in January or February and are praying to have him home before the summer. As you all know, that is going to take a lot of money; roughly $25,000 to be more precise. So many of you have been praying for a family for this little angel and now that he has one, you have one more opportunity to be a part of his story. Every day and every dollar counts for Denis. You can donate to Denis’ family’s grant by clicking here. If/when you do you can also be entered into Jane’s Christmas artwork giveaway over at Flight Platform Living so when you donate, please click on over here and let Jane know. Finally, please hop over to Chris and Julie’s blog, introduce yourself and follow along as they work to bring their son home. I know that they have been so encouraged by the army of people who have been praying for their little boy and would love to “meet” you! Last but most definitely not least, I cannot end this post without asking you to continue to keep “my” little angel boy in your prayers, that God would hold him close and give his family all they need to get to him soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Find My Family Friday - Andrey

Unfortunately, I have nothing new to report about Andrey (you can read more about Andrey in my previous posts here, here, here and here).

Andrey has nothing new to report either.

Day after day it’s the same… confined to a walker because the orphanage does not have enough staff to keep him safe if he were to roam around freely. Instead he spends his days chewing on toys, his hands and whatever else he can find to pass the time and ease his boredom. No opportunity to learn and develop and become all that he could be. No mama to kiss those scrumptious cheeks of his, no papa with safe, strong arms to protect him as he runs and plays. Instead he just waits. Waits for the day when someone will see his picture and say, “That’s my son!” and will cross the oceans to whisk him away to a life much greater than he could ever dream.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has donated to Andrey’s grant fund. In the past month Andrey’s grant has grown more than in all six months before it combined! Still, he has a long way to go. If you have a few dollars to spare this week, every little bit truly does add up. If not, will you help me spread Andrey’s picture and story? You never know, the family who sees his picture and says, “That’s our son!” just might be someone you know, or the friend of someone you know, etc. Finally, the simplest yet greatest thing we all can do is continue to keep Andrey in our prayers and ask that God would bring his family forward quickly. For more information or to donate, click here.

Andrey is listed as “Aiden” on Reece’s Rainbow;
in order to protect his identity, when sharing about him on your own blogs, facebook pages, etc. please use his Reece’s Rainbow name

Thursday, December 1, 2011

He's at it again...

God is at it again... Setting the lonely in families, just like He promised He would.
Last night I saw a most beautiful sight – this sweet angel's face on the My Family Found Me page!

Denis - Soon to be Orphan No More
Over the past several months I have seen several of "my angels" find families. Each time I am filled with joy and excitement yet deep down in my heart I wonder, when will it be Denis' turn? Out of all my kids Denis is the one with the most urgent need for a family, the one who seems to be most quickly running out of time. I have pleaded with everyone I could think of to help spread his story, pleaded with God to bring forth a family yet nothing seemed to be happening. Then about a month ago I heard from a family interested in adopting Denis. Right from the start I could tell they were serious yet even as the hope rose up in my spirit, I refuse to let myself get all the way excited until the child's face appears on the My Family Found Me page and its official. Well, there he is, it's official and I couldn't be more thrilled to announce news so good it deserves to be shouted from the rooftops... "MY" ANGEL BOY HAS A FAMILY!!!

To my precious angel boy:
Out of all of "my angels", you were the first one I noticed; the first one I held, the first one I sang over, the first one I prayed for… the first one to capture my heart. And when the time came for me to say goodbye, you were in many ways the hardest for me to leave behind. The tears I cried for you in the days and weeks after I handed you over to the workers for the last time could have filled an ocean. Not a day has gone by since then that I haven't thought of you, prayed for you and wondered if you would ever again experience what it is to be held close in safe and loving arms. You, sweet boy, are a fighter, that I know and I pray that God will give you the strength to keep fighting just a while longer. Your family is coming and when they get there they will protect you and care for you and teach you what love really is.
So hold on precious boy, pretty soon you will be safe in their arms forever.

Thank you to everyone who donated to Denis’ grant fund, shared his story and/or prayed for his family to find him;
whether he knows it or not, you will forever be a part of his story.

As you all know, I cannot reveal who Denis’ family is until they appear on the New Commitments page but I look forward to “introducing” them to you as soon as they do. In the meantime…

Four down, four to go… Wow, God is indeed at work in the lives of “my angels”. Let’s keep praying them home!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving with the Lococo's

I had such a great time with the Lococo family these past few days. As I mentioned, Patty and I hadn’t exchanged more than a couple of e-mails before she invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them but I felt so welcomed and at home amongst her family, as though we had been friends for years. They are a beautiful family whose hearts truly beat for “the least of these” and I was so blessed to be able to spend time getting to know Patty, Tom and all six of their wonderful children. It was an amazing three days filled with laughter, lots of good food, a beautiful hike up a local mountain and many hours of heartfelt discussion around orphan care, adoption, missions, and special needs (not to mention some sweet moments with little Julia).

I thought I’d share a few pictures… As some of you may know, I’m not much of a photographer so although I had my camera with me, it never came out of my suitcase. Instead, I just took the lazy way out and stole these pictures from Caleb and the rest of the family :)

Anyway, I start a new job tomorrow (more on that as soon as I have the time and energy to type it all out) but in the meantime I just want to say thank you so much Lococo family for a really great few days… officially my best American Thanksgiving yet!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Find My Family Friday - Igor

I have been working on an interview with a mom who adopted a little boy who reminds me in many ways of “my” Igor. Unfortunately, that post will not be ready for today so it will have to wait ‘till next time. In the meantime, I want to encourage you to go over to Jane’s blog and read her post entitled, “So Your Child Self-Harms!”.

I have been sharing a lot about Igor’s self-harming behaviours lately and while I want to be honest so that Igor’s family can be prepared as possible, I also worry that all this talk of Igor’s severe head banging will scare potential families away. Yet Jane has a daughter with Smith Magenis Syndrome who exhibits fairly severe self-injurious behaviours and she wrote a beautiful post this week about the challenges and the joys of parenting her child, just as she as. I thought of Igor the whole time I was reading her post and so, while we wait for what promises to be a very informative interview with another adoptive mama, please go read Jane’s post then come back over here, look back at some of my old posts about Igor (you can do so here, here, here and here) and see Igor, not an unknown ‘disease’ or an illness to be cured but Igor – wonderful and beautiful just the way he is.

For more information on adopting Igor or to donate to his grant fund, click here.

Igor is listed as “Brody” on Reece’s Rainbow;
in order to protect his identity, when sharing about him on your own blogs, facebook pages, etc. please use his Reece’s Rainbow name