Friday, February 24, 2012

Find My Family Friday - Andrey

I am truly out of things to say about Andrey (you can read more about Andrey here, here, here, here, here, here and here).

I know that many people love him but somewhere out there his mommy and daddy have yet to realize that this little guy is their son.

Please help me get his picture and story out there so that his family can find him.
You can also help Andrey’s family find him by donating to his grant fund and remembering him in your prayers.
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

Friday, February 17, 2012

Find My Family Friday - Igor and "Jacob"

Two brothers.

Igor & "Jacob"
The younger one is in a specialized orphanage for preschoolers with special needs. As far as orphanages in his country go, this is definitely one of the good ones. There is a 1:3 staff-to-child ratio and the caregivers are patient and kind. The children are given one-on-one attention, the opportunity to learn, the chance to go outside and the ability to roam and play freely in their rooms.

The older one is also in a good orphanage, relatively speaking. The caregivers there generally care about the children and want the best for them. However, due to a much lower staff-to-child ratio and a lack of time/knowledge/resources, their practices are often based on ignorance, convenience and necessity rather than the best interest of the child. At this orphanage, one-on-one attention is simply not possible with groups of two dozen children with varying abilities being cared for by just one or two caregivers. What’s more, for reasons unknown, this brother was labelled “bedridden” and sentenced to a laying room. Instead of going outside and playing freely in his room, the older brother is confined to a bed with nothing to do day in and day out but listen to moaning and crying of those around him.

Despite being in one of the better orphanages, Igor is not coping well. Although his smile and hearty chuckle are precious beyond words, they are hard to draw out. Instead, Igor spends a good part of his day banging his head against the floor with such force that the thumps resound through the room leaving imprints on your soul.

“Jacob” on the other hand is just a happy little boy. He may spend his days confined to a bed but by some miracle, that has not diminished his joy one bit – he is just a little bundle of smiles and laughter!

Two bothers. So alike in appearance, so different in personality, yet on the inside they are exactly the same; just two little boys who desperately need to be rescued from a life of despair and be given the hope of a family.

Please, somebody, take that leap and rescue these precious brothers!
You can read more about Igor here, here, here, here, here and here and more about "Jacob" here.
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, February 12, 2012

One Year

Last week marked one year since I boarded a plane and left behind yet another group of children who had captured my heart forever. I’ve been procrastinating writing this post because the truth is, this past year has gone nothing like I thought or hoped that it would. I came home from Ukraine because I believed that God was calling me to settle down and establish myself so that I can begin bringing home children of my own. I’m not naïve enough to think that all of this would happen overnight but I was hopeful that by this time, one year later, I would have a stable job, a place of my own and maybe even be in the beginning stages of an adoption. Instead I find myself working in an unpredictable, one year contract position, still living at home and in many ways feeling even further away from adopting than I did a year ago.

This past year has been hard. I have struggled to come to terms with the suffering that I have seen with my own eyes. I have struggled as I fought and prayed for children I love so deeply, only to see my hopes and dreams for them come crashing down. I have struggled to find purpose in this quiet season of waiting. I have struggled with the aching emptiness of my heart and arms as I know that my child(ren) are out there somewhere, longing for their mama and I just can’t get to them. I have struggled to trust and have faith that God will do what He said He was going to do even when His ways don’t make any sense to me.

If I had to choose one theme verse for this year, it would be from John chapter 6. Jesus had just finished teaching that whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood would have eternal life. The people were confused, they were offended, they did not understand what Jesus saying! The bible says,

“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’…
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”

Jesus turned to the Twelve Disciples and asked them, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Then Peter responded:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Over the past year I have had many questions and very few answers. I have felt confused, yes, even angry when I simply cannot understand what God is doing. But in the end, my response is the same as Peter’s: “Lord, where else can I go? You have proven Yourself to me time and time again. Even when I’m confused and don’t understand what You’re doing, I believe and know that You are the One and Only God.”

I want to leave you with this song that pretty much sums it all up.
Yes, the past year has been filled with questions but in the end, I still do and always will believe in Him…

Questions by Steven Curtis Chapman

Who are You God
For You are turning out to be
So much different than I imagined

And where are you God
Cuz I am finding life to be
So much harder than I had planned

Know that I am afraid
To ask these questions
But You know they are there

And if you know my heart
The way that I believe you do
You know that I believe in You
Still I have these questions

Like How could you God
How could You be so good and strong
And make a world that can be so painful

And where were you God
I know you had to be right there
I know you never turn your head

You know that I’m confused
By all this mystery
You know I get afraid

But if you know my heart
As completely as I trust you do
Oh you know that I trust in you

Is it true that for every tear I cry
You cry a thousand more
Cuz you weep for those that weep

And are you, just holding yourself back
From crushing all the pain and evil in this world
For reasons we just can’t understand for now
But isn’t there a day of redemption coming

Redemption is coming
Quickly Lord, come quickly
Lord, come quickly

So who am I God
That you would raise me from the dust
To breathe your life and your love in me
You know that I believe

Friday, February 10, 2012

Find My Family Friday - Maxim

I truly don’t know what else to say about Maxim (you can read more about Maxim here, here, here, here, here and here).
Out of all of “my” kids, he is the one I’m most baffled hasn’t found a family yet.

He is happy, affectionate, playful, active and smart… not to mention cute as can be! Truly, he is perfect in every way. 
Is it because he’s already 7-years-old? Is it because he’s in an orphanage for older children with special needs? I honestly don’t know.

All I can say is that which I have said countless times before…
Please, won’t somebody choose this precious little boy???

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.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Find My Family Friday - Andriy

Last month I told about little Andriy. To me he will always be “baby Andriy”, one of my littlest angels but the truth is, little baby Andriy is not such a little baby anymore. In fact, he is over a year and a half already!

Natalie actually stumbled across Andriy while visiting the children’s hospital and recognized him as “my” baby. According to Natalie, Andriy continues to be developing very well. He plays with toys, is very interactive and continues to be the happy, smiley little boy I knew and loved.

If Andriy is doing this well in an orphanage, only receiving love and stimulation when his parents come to visit on the weekends, just imagine how he would thrive in a family that would lavish him with love, attention and opportunities every single day!

Please, help me make sure that my “baby Andriy” is home with his forever family before he outgrows that nickname. Share his story – Donate to his grant fund – Remember him in your prayers. For more information or to donate, click here.

Andriy is listed as “John Mark” 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, February 1, 2012

... Birthday Denis!

Last month was my angel boy's birthday.

As I was writing the title for this post I was going to write "Happy Birthday Denis!" but it just didn't feel right. Denis did not get to attend a party with all his friends and family. He did not get to eat cake or open presents or delight in his loved ones singing 'Happy Birthday' just for him. Instead Denis likely spent the day confined to his wheelchair, rocking back and forth just to pass the time. He would have eaten the same bland mush as every other day and gone to bed without a single indication that that day was special, a day worthy of celebration.
The truth is, Denis did not have a happy birthday.

But although Denis may not have known it, his special day did not go by unnoticed, uncelebrated. There’s another side to this story, one that reminds us just how much God, who knows the very number of hairs on each of His children’s head, cares about the small, simple things. You see, I knew that Denis’ birthday was in January but the day itself almost slipped by me. I wanted to see when one of my other kids’ birthdays was and was checking the document where I have all of their birthdays written down when I noticed, “Oh my goodness, Denis’ birthday is tomorrow!” – I had almost missed it… I assumed Denis’ family knew when his birthday was and dropped them a quick e-mail to see how they felt about me doing a birthday post in his honour as I know a lot of families like to keep their child’s birthdates private until the adoption is finalized.
Anyway, I e-mailed them to see what they wanted me to do and about an hour later I received this response:

Andrea… you are not going to believe this. I have asked about 4 times, and all different people (RR, etc.) if they could tell me when Denis' birthday is. No one could tell me. I had thought I had asked you, but obviously I hadn't. Lord willing, being his mom in the flesh real soon, how could I not know when to celebrate the beginning of his life?

I had decided back in December that I would just choose a date, but it turned out to be a hectic week, and Chris [her husband] was not here so we did not celebrate on the date I had chosen. This was so sad for me, and of course I felt like a failure...but the story is not over yet, because God is on the move and His plan is even better than mine!

Fast forward to this morning… I was having a hard time and asked Chris to make a cake for Denis. Later this afternoon I made the frosting and at 3:16 got done decorating his cake and took pictures of it. I cried. I sat down to upload the pictures and there is the note from you. [sent at 3:44, just after I realized that Denis’ birthday was the next day]

Tomorrow is his birthday! I have missed his birth, his first birthday, second, third, fourth. But PRAISE THE LORD! not his fifth!!!! AGAIN I SAY PRAISE THE LORD. Tomorrow we will eat a cake that says "Ryan" and has 5 candles on it. And I will celebrate the day he was born and rejoice in this little boy's life. Besides being right there next to him, nothing could be sweeter!

I had goosebumps on my arms and tears on my cheeks as I read Julie’s e-mail several times, in awe of God’s goodness. Denis may not have known it was his birthday but there was a cake, and a party, and two parents and three little girls celebrating their son/brother’s life. The significance of the day was not passed over by them and, more importantly, it was not passed over by God.

Denis turned five-years-old last month. That’s five years too many without a family. I want to make sure that that is Denis’ last birthday all alone. In honour of Denis’ fifth birthday, would you be willing to donate five dollars to help Denis’ family bring him home? You can donate to Denis’ family grant here. After you donate, don’t forget to hop over here and let Jane know that you donated so that you can be entered into the drawing for a beautiful piece of original artwork.

Precious boy… praying that this is a year filled with hope, promise and love beyond your wildest dreams.

I love you!