Monday, October 31, 2011

Orphan Sunday 2010 Update

Last year, in the week leading up to Orphan Sunday, I did a post introducing all of the orphans living in the same city I was in who were listed on Reece’s Rainbow (you can view that post here). I imagine that most of you are familiar with that post as it is one of my most viewed posts of all time. Well today, one year later, I thought it would be neat to update you on where all those kids are now.

Out of the 12 children featured in last year’s post, four are now at home with their forever families, two have families committed to them who are working hard to get them home as soon as possible, two are not currently available for international adoption due to changing laws in their country, one is no longer available for adoption at the request of his parents and one is now resting in the arms of her Heavenly Father…

How awesome it was for me to realize that over half of the kids from last year’s post now have families – in just 12 months, five of them (including Dasha) have officially become “orphans no more”! Adoption is such a beautiful story of redemption… Here is what the families of a few of these kids have to say about how their lives have been impacted by adoption:

The Gneiser Family – Adopted Lucas (formerly Aleksey/Aloysha)
“We were called to adopt again with Psalm 68:6a "God setteth the solitary in families." We have been through seasons of challenges, stretching, learning, and growing in love. Adoption is a beautiful life changing event that takes time and God’s hand in love to bring the blessings to shine.”

The Burlingham Family – Adopting “Andriy”/Dima
“Adoption is hard. It is a labor of love. It will test you in every way possible and then a little more. It sounds horrible, I know. Then there is a child who waits. He waits for you. He needs you. He is counting on you. You are his one chance at a forever family. I have never met “Andriy”/Dima but he is my son in my heart. I would do anything for my children, “Andriy”/Dima included. He might not have grown under my heart, but he did grow in it. I will climb every mountain for this child. He has changed my life for the better in every way possible."

The Koenig Family – Adopted Eliisa (formerly Vika)
“We started the adoption process for Eliisa (aka Vika) in December of 2010. We brought Eliisa home on July 1, 2011. We thought that our family was complete and were not looking to adopt, but God had other plans for our family when He brought a picture of Eliisa on someone's blog into our lives. After learning her story and starting to research, we prayed many hours about what God would have us do now that He opened our eyes. We never heard about the plight of orphans in Eastern Europe nor did we ever realize that there are 147 million orphans in the world. We knew that the adoption process was not easy and that it was costly and very work intensive and that bringing a special needs child into our family would require a lot of love and patience, but we stepped out in faith that God would give us everything we needed because He called us to it. And He did! Did it change our lives? Absolutely!!! Was it easy? Absolutely NOT. Was it worth it? More than words can say!! Eliisa had already been transferred to an institution for older children. When children are transferred, they virtually lose all hope of ever being adopted and they also lose whatever potential they had to live a "normal" life. When we first met Eliisa, we were told that she was basically worthless and could not do anything for herself. Why would we want her? We knew God had her for our family and regardless of what she could or could not do, God had a perfect plan for her and for our family. Kids that are transferred take at least as long to recover the skills they had before they were transferred as they have been in the institution. There are countless children we left behind without any hope. When we first brought Eliisa home, she really could not do much for herself. But Eliisa has come a long way since then. She can walk independently. She can feed herself and drink out of a cup. She can make some signs to communicate with us. She has started school in a "normal" kids elementary school. She can say "mama." She can play with toys and has learned "cause and effect." There are some before adoption and after adoption pictures that illustrate how much she has changed in four months better than I could describe in words. Adoption is not an easy road. But when God calls someone to a task, He will provide everything he needs along the way. We cannot wait to see what God has in store for Eliisa and for our family.”

Before Adoption - click image to view larger
After Adoption - click image to view larger

If you were doing the math earlier, you may have noticed that two kids were unaccounted for in my “where are they now?” breakdown. That’s because there are two kids who are at exactly the same place now as they were this time last year; they are still waiting. Out of all the kids I featured last year, Victoria and Maxim had been waiting the longest yet here we are one year later and still they wait. Both Victoria and Maxim have already been transferred to institutions for older children, they can’t afford to wait much longer. As these families have so eloquently put it, adoption is a long and difficult journey filled with many trials and challenges but it’s worth it. These kids are worth it. Won’t you consider opening your heart to Victoria or Maxim or one of the over 147 million others who wait?

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy…”
Psalm 68: 5-6


Rick and Michelle said...

This post brings me to tears! How awesome it is that God would give so many of these children homes already! Now to find the parents of those that remain!

Rick and Michelle

Anna Theurer said...

Andrea, I love this post.

Btw, you won the "I Love You Through and Through" children's book give away on my blog. You can email me your address at and I will get to the book to you asap :)

Sarah said...

It's amazing how far everyone has come in just a year. My heart breaks for those still waiting though... what must be done to find them a family??? I wish someone knows the answer to that! :(

Anonymous said...

This is Trina Scoda over at
We adopted "vaughn" now Jonathon from 14. We are waiting for the laws to change so we can go and adopt "benji" the one with the purple stripe shirt on. If you have any pictures of Benji I would love to see them.
Have a great Thanksgiving :)