Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Dennis!

This is Dennis. He will be 3 in December. But instead of having cake with his family, he will sit in an orphanage. He won't get to go trick or treating, or open presents on Christmas. Because in his country, kids with Down Syndrome don't have any value. They don't see these kids as who they are and who they can become.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It is a month to celebrate all the people you know who have Down Syndrome.
Many countries don't have this. Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria. They don't really understand the blessing that their children with DS are and can be. So this month, I will feature one child every day (well, maybe not EVERY day... as often as possible) who has DS, and hope that his Mommy sees his picture.
Please appreciate the people you know who have a little something special.

On the first day of October, I happened to run into S, a woman I know who has Down Syndrome. She is an amazing person. She doesn't work with us anymore, but she still comes to visit. She gets to work. She gets to visit her friends. She gets to have a birthday party, Christmas with her Mom. Because her mom gave her the chance.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cookbooks and Norwex

There are three families that are especially special to me. Duncan's family of course. They still need prayers, for funds and a quick, smooth trip and transition into life with one more son.
Another family: The Quinn Family. They are adopting Autumn, who has down syndrome, and she is such a cute girl! Right now, they still need fundraising, and there are several ways you can help! There is the Traveling T-Shirt fundraiser. I've got the shirt now, and it has been all over the country! If you donate at least $10 here, it will be sent to you so that you can write your name on it, and be a part of their adventure! As of now, me and Mommy are the last stop. I would love to get an email from Ashley that says "Don't send it back to us yet! There are a few more stops!" 
Another fundraiser for them is one I'm doing: a cookbook called The Extra Ingredient. It is a cookbook with awesome recipes (even Nonie's banana pudding, and Mamaw's eclair,) and even information about international special needs adoption. This is still in the makings, so there are a few (okay, a lot) details to be worked out, but if you are interested in buying one, leave a comment here! ALL of the money raised will go to help bring Autumn home! 
The other family is the Rogers family, who are bringing home Mason and Bernadette. They will be leaving soon to go pick them up, and still need funds. The awesome part about this family? They just got home with Clare and Malachi, who were adopted also! Erika sells an awesome product called Norwex. It is a natural way of cleaning. No chemicals! Mommy had a Norwex party, and I went thinking "Well, no way this stuff is gonna work better than bleach." Well, guys, I was wrong. I have been scrubbing scrubbing SCRUBBING my shower and kitchen sink with bleach and scrubbing bubbles and cant get the nasty stuff out of there! (PS nasty stuff in kitchen sink=paint drops. Shhhh! Don't tell Papa!) But guess what. What those harsh chemicals couldn't do, NORWEX COULD!!! Just a little blue sponge, like a Magic Eraser, with no harsh chemicals, cleaned paint droplets out of my kitchen sink, and off the floor in my bathroom. You can find more info about Norwex, and all it can do here (my mom's blog,) or here (Erika's blog.)
These are three amazing families, doing their best to bring home their children, brothers, and sisters. They all will appreciate any prayers you can send their way. 
Well, I was going to spell check this, but since I can't find the button, y'all will just have to deal with my atrocious grammar and spelling :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, Duncan!

Happy birthday, Duncan! His last birthday as an orphan. Well, he isn't really an orphan anymore-he has so much more "family" than he could ever imagine! If only he knew his mom is counting the days til she meets him.
Oh, how I'd hoped to tell him happy birthday myself. We might even be sharing a birthday party. But his family loves him sooooo much! (God knows what he's doing!)
Please continue to support and pray for Duncan's family.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ella and Allie Clark, and Keegan!

The Clark family has been waiting and waiting and waiting. They have even met Ella and Allie! Can you imagine how impatient they must be getting? They are $3000 from being fully funded and they have a plan together for $1300. That leaves $1700 that they still need before they leave to pick up their girls!
Have y'all heard about the Finishers? Long story short, they have helped several adoptive families, including the  Reeds, Coles, and the Rhodes, who are very special to us. 
Anyway, the Finishers have an $800 matching grant available for the Clark family. This will bring them SO close, if not completely fully funded. Anybody feel like helping out? If you do, you can do it here. But hurry! The matching grant ends TOMORROW night at 11pm! If you can't donate, please pray for a good outcome!
On another note, Keegan has a family! He stole my heart when I saw him, maybe because he is so young. He could even be mine. His birth parents may even be around my age. Please pray for his family, that they will have a smooth process, and for him a smooth transition into the family!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Today is Sam's birthday. His 16th birthday in an orphanage. Does he have a cake? Will his friends sing Happy Birthday? Will he get to open presents? Will he get to blow out candles and make a wish? If he does, he will probably be wishing for a family. He doesn't know that his wish will be coming true within a few weeks! What a birthday present that will be! He doesn't know how many people are thinking "Happy Birthday, Sam!" today.
Think about your 16th birthday. It was happy, right? You were probably showered with presents, money, kisses, hugs. But in an orphanage, it is a scary birthday. If not adopted (or at least filed with USCIS) by 16, they are turned out to the street, or put in a mental institution. At 16. Just a kid. Fending for themselves.
Sam is one of the lucky ones. Many of the older ones, especially the boys, are picked last if they are picked at all. Let's help make this year the last year of lonely birthdays for these orphans. Maybe you're not in a position to adopt, but you can still help. You could pray. You could give a few dollars to an orphans grant. Everything helps. Anything helps.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How Special They Really Are

What is a special need? Most people think "down syndrome". They don't realize that in other countries, people with just a slight difference are considered special needs.
Sam has amniotic banding on his fingers, so his fingers look different. When I did some research, I realized that it's more common than you probably think. 1 in 1,200 babies are born with it. Considering that there are millions and millions of people in the world, that's a lot of babies with amniotic band syndrome. And guess what? The ones born in America aren't put in an orphanage just because their fingers are different. They're just like everybody else. It's not a special need here.
Duncan has cerebal palsy. So he is in a special need orphanage. He uses a walker, and can move around just like everybody else, if only a little slower, and he may have a little trouble with stairs. Again, not a special need here.
 We already know how special the boys can be. They have changed my family forever (in a good way). 
Look at Estelle. In her country, HIV is a special need. (I'm still not seeing a special need.)Why is she in an institution? She can't help it that she has HIV. She doesn't get a chance at real education, a real boyfriend, anything. She should be in school, counting down the days til summer vacation, ordering her yearbooks, choosing classes for her first year in high school. Not worrying if her forever family will ever come for her. Not worrying that she will be thrown out on the street when she ages out, and being without the medicine she needs.
Steven, with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and HIV+. So he's in an orphanage. Instead of starting kindergarten. Instead of learning to read, and wiping boogers on girls during naptime (oh, wait, was that just my kindergarten class?), he's in an orphanage, waiting. (Special need? Maybe special medicine, but that's it.)
Keegan, with down syndrome. He's only a year old, and going to an institution if someone doesn't come for him  soon. He WILL be such a blessing to his family when they find him. Keegan is who people think of when you say "special needs." But really, he just needs a special family, who will love him just the way he is. I used to work with a woman who has down syndrome. I remember someone whispering to me the first time I worked with her, "That's S. She's special." This scared me, and I avoided her, (which I now regret.) I never would have thought that she would end up being so special to me, even two years after she quit working there.
Guess what? With the exception of FAS, my family knows someone who has every condition in this blog (or something close). These are successful, wonderful people. Parents, hard workers, business owners. Not what these countries think they are. 
These kids just need a chance. A chance to prove they're not just fragile little burdens on society. A chance to show everyone what they can do. A chance to make a difference. A chance to know God and everything He can do. A chance to show how special they really are.
Can you help give them their chance? Sam and Duncan, they have families on the way. They'll be home picking on their brothers and sisters and flirting and getting to start high school next year. But Estelle? Steven? They're still waiting. Waiting for their chance.
I'm not saying to go adopt them. Adoption isn't right for everybody. But you can donate. You can pray. Anything.  Please don't just say "Oh, I can't help" because you can help. God didn't leave us as orphans. He adopted us into His family. How can we sit back and let these orphans sit in orphanages, institutions, be thrown onto the street? We can't. We just can't, it's that simple.
John 14:18
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Go Count The Waste.

Tonight at work, I counted the waste and looked at all the leftover food we had to throw away. What would y'all think when you saw 20 chicken tenders, 10 pieces of bacon, and 3 spicy chickens? "Don't throw that away! Starving kids in India would love to have that!" It's just what some people say when you waste perfectly good food. But tonight I realized that its not just something you say. Its real. There are starving kids everywhere, who would seriously love to have the stuff we throw away. How come we can buy a drink from a machine, and ice cream at the store, and name brand bread instead of Walmart brand, but we can't help to save some of these orphans? Be happy to have the choice of water and ice cream and bread at all!Yes, some orphans are well-cared for. The boy's orphanage is pretty nice, from what we know. But they're not all so lucky. Some of them are starved, or only given enough nutrients to keep them alive, but not to grow like they need to. Some are forced to lie in their beds, with wet diapers and vomit. Is this how you would let your child live? Here is the story of an orphanage in Pleven, Bulgaria. I can not imagine how these kids feel. They must be so scared. Help feed these orphans! This is so sad. Why not take the $1.50 for that drink, the $4.00 for the ice cream, and put it towards an adoption fund? For a month, or even a week. Whether it be for the Picketts, the Rogers, the Quinns, or maybe, just maybe, your own child's adoption? These are just a few of the families who are so special to us. Anything makes a difference. Whether it be $5, $10, $100, or a note letting them know that you're praying for them, it all makes a huge difference.
 Matthew 25:37
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
God is in everything we do. We may not see Him, but He may be that starving, thirsty orphan. Let Him lead you. Let Him show you what He wants you to do. Don't fight it. "IF I had the money, IF I had the time, IF I had somebody to watch my kid." IF, IF, IF, I, I, I. You can't just do it when it's convenient for you. Because it's not about you! It's about helping to make a difference. He will provide the money, the time, the babysitter. Don't waste time waiting for it to make sense. Take a step in faith and let God hold your hand. He won't let you fall.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Feel like helping an adopting family today? The Picketts are in the process of bringing their children from Eastern Europe, and they need your help! Click here to find out how to enter their AWESOME giveaway! You could win a Thirty-One bag, a book wreath, teardrop hoop earrings or a framed silhouette. These are only some of the awesome prizes!
You could also help the Quinn family. They have a Traveling T-Shirt fundraiser. Just donate $5 (or more?) and leave them your address to mail it to, and you can sign the t-shirt for Autumn. Not only will this help bring her home, but it will also give them a visual reminder of just how many people have helped! You could even help them with their Flapjack Fundraiser. Even if you aren't close enough to volunteer, you could still donate the $10 for a ticket!
How about helping the Rogers family bring home Bernadette and Mason? They just got home with Clare and Malachi. Having gone through the adoption process before, they will really appreciate any help! You can help them by participating in the giveaway Mandy is doing for them here.
Of course, all of these families will all appreciate any prayers too. They are all following God's call to care for orphans, and it can not be easy! Let's keep them encouraged!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Can you see them as your brothers?"

I never knew there was an orphan crisis. I never realized that orphans in other countries were treated so badly, discriminated against for having "special needs." Until my Mom showed me a picture. "Could you see them as your brothers? How crazy am I?" Of course I thought she was crazy (I even told her so). Daddy would never go for that. But he did! All of a sudden, I went from the oldest of 4, to the oldest of 6! We were so excited to meet Sam and Duncan. Special needs, my foot! They just seem like normal boys, waiting for their families to come find them. Waiting for MY Mommy and Daddy to come get them! My brothers as soon as I saw their pictures. 
Could this really be real? We were so excited. I was driving my husband crazy. All I could think and talk about was my brothers! Duncan and I even share our birthday! The fundraising! The time limit! The traveling! Their rooms! So much to plan! So much to prepare for! They have become a part of our family. We started getting to know them (even though they couldn't get to know us.) We even got Sam a soccer ball. 
So can you imagine our heartbreak when we realized things weren't going to work out? We couldn't just wait and see if things "might" happen on time. They need families now, before they age out! So even though we are still missing them, we are thankful for their new families. They're not going to be each others brothers, but they will be somebody's brother! That means more to us than anything. My mom still uses her blog (check it out here.) to advocate for other orphans. And Sam and Duncan will always be my brothers. <3 I dream of meeting them someday.
 But why should our adventure stop here? Psalms 94:16-17 says "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence." We need to stand up for orphans! We need to rise in faith and help! We will not let their souls settle in silence.
God has started my family on a path. I only wish we knew where He has us heading. But, time will tell! He has some awesome plans, that I do know.