Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Zoo Part 2

Come on baby giraffe....


Come on....


Come get our food....



Just a little bit farther....



Score!!!


WOW!!

Inside the budgie pen.... two older brothers had fun making friends...

 







This place is beyond words!!



Papa and the camel...

Right after this picture was taken... the camel decided that being fed by hand was for the birds...
It snatched the cup out of Rob's hand and drained the contents!! 


Aaron feeding the goats....

 

Heading home...

Feeding all the animals was hard work... good thing I have a strong Papa to carry me!!

 


Praise the Lord - CAROLINE'S DOSSIER WAS SUBMITTED TODAY!!  Thank you for praying! 

Please keep praying for VICTORIA and for her family.  She is still in fairly serious condition.  They have been told that her body was in shut down and she would not have survived much longer without intervention.  Thank you thank you to all those who have reached out to the family in so many tangible ways.  It has been such a blessing to them to know that they are not alone during this extremely difficult time.  If there are still people out there who have time and energy and live in the Atlanta area... the family is NOT turning away help at this point.  Meals, babysitting, housekeeping (Catherine has NOT been home for 7 week - her house is in desperate need of some tender loving care), donations etc.  Please go to Carrington's Courage to let Shelly know you are available to help!!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Changes are Hard

Changes are hard.  We are creatures of habit and so we tend to like things to stay the same.  Even if the change is for the better.  The fear of the unknown causes us to hold tight to what is familiar, afraid to let go.

In the adoption world, where everything is constantly changing, families feel like they are forever standing on shifting sand.  Just when they think that they have things under control, the ground around them moves and they are knocked off their feet by the unexpected waves washing in.

Over the last month, some major changes have taken place in Aaron's former country.  These changes are supposed to be for the better.  But it is difficult to trust what you can't see.

Basically what is taking place is that the way they are processing adoptions is completely changing.  The State Department of Adoptions (SDA) is being closed as of July 11th.  A new agency, The Ministry of Social Policy, is taking over. This would not really be too big of an issue IF everything was set in place to make the move as seamless as possible.  Unfortunately the law requiring this change basically came out of left field and the reality - The Ministry of Social Policy hasn't actually been established yet.  So in two weeks the agency that has been processing adoptions is closing and the new agency taking over still needs to be established.

It is a bit stomach turning.

Right now, according to the records over there, 139 families are currently in process to adopt children from that country.   Some of them are CURRENTLY in country.  The rest have had their paperwork submitted but will not receive travel dates until AFTER the country opens back up to international adoptions.  Considering that many of these 139 families are getting more than one child... well - you do the numbers....

On top of that... there are hundreds more waiting in the wings, hoping that things will change quickly and easily so they can submit their paperwork and go get their children.  It is absolutely heartbreaking.

I have not said much on our blog about the changes because it has been so uncertain.  Instead I have been quietly watching and praying and grieving for the families as they try to stand on the ever shifting sand under their feet.

Each day that goes by means their little ones sit alone and lonely across the ocean.  It is difficult to not want to just cry out in frustration.

On top of this heartbreaking news... the other major change that is taking place is that many of the children who were considered special needs, no longer qualify under the new rules.  As an example, children with Cerebral Palsy NO LONGER qualify under the new rules.  Children with CP will have to wait until they are five before they become eligible for adoption.  The special needs list for children under the age of five is short.  It leaves off many Reece's Rainbow children and sadly, because of this, those children have had to be temporarily removed from the site.

What can we do?

We can pray, people.  We can pray.

Prayer Number One

Right now there are 33 Reece's Rainbow families (43 children) who are currently in that country working on getting their children out.  Many of these families have passed court which means their children are free and clear.  Praise the Lord!!  (Two families passed TODAY!!)  A number of families have court dates within the next week or so and unless things go awry - they should also be free and clear before the July 11th closing.  A few of the families are on the wire and these are the ones we need to seriously lift up in prayer.  Please pray for ALL 33 families but especially those who are in the last group.  The best way to follow these families - follow who is at what point - and keep informed on their progress is to go to THIS PAGE.  These are the 33 families - these are the 43 children.  Pray these babes home, church.  By July 11th - court needs to happen for all the precious treasures on that page! 

Prayer Number Two

From what I understand, the SDA is still accepting dossiers from the families who have sent their paperwork.  Tomorrow is the LAST day they will accept these dossiers.   If the dossiers are submitted and accepted, then  they may be 'grandfathered' in.   That means that they may not have to drastically change their paperwork to meet the new requirements and IF their child does NOT make the special needs list - they still may be able to adopt them under the OLD rules.  It is a LONG SHOT.  But we serve a God who has proved to us again and again that He is in the LONG SHOT business.  It is in that LONG SHOT that we get to see Him move mountains.

  Sweet Caroline's family is one of those families trying to pass under the wire. 



She's one of my favorite babies over there.  Please pray that a whole host of dossiers are able to be submitted this Thursday and PLEASE PRAY that CAROLINE'S DOSSIER is in that pile.    She is NOT on the new special needs list.  If she is not submitted tomorrow... well... I'm just not going to go there with those thoughts.

Prayer Number Three

Please please pray that the special needs list is expanded.  It just plain needs to be expanded. 

Prayer Number Four

Please pray that the transition from the SDA to the new agency is quick and painless.  Pray that it will improve the adoption process and streamline it.  Pray that the decisions made will be in the best interest of the thousands and thousands of waiting children in that country.

Prayer Number Five

Pray for the facilitators who will be out of jobs for the months it takes to change over the agencies.  I know many people think that the facilitators are making tons of money off adoptions.  Rob and I know this is NOT true for the vast majority of those men and women working over there.  Many of them live hand to mouth.  Our facilitator was not only trying to pay her own bills but also was supporting her father and her mother who has cancer.  Being without work for months on end in our country is tough.  In their country it is disastrous.  They need their jobs.

Prayer Number Six

Please pray for all the hurting families who are standing on the shifting sand on this side of the ocean, looking across the waters, grieving the closure, wondering if they will ever get to cross to the other side.  I hurt deeply for them.  I read their blogs.  There are so many children over there who HAVE families who WANT them.  So many being loved from afar.  Please pray that God will bring them comfort and grant them much peace. 

Pray Church

To put it all into perspective - This morning I read my sweet friend Adeye's blog about another country that also closed so they could revise their adoption regulations... THAT WAS THREE YEARS AGO.  It is still closed.  Did you catch that?  Three years closed.  Adeye is begging people to pray for that country and I join with her in that plea!!  I also am begging you to recognize how shifting the sand is in these countries.  Closing a country for adoptions is scary.  Sometimes they don't open back up again.  

Please church, pray. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Zoo Part I

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, history-curriculum-creating, chaeffeuring, cooking, cleaning and laundry-sorting Mom. 

Surrounding me all day, every day are three noisy, messy and hungry boys who are always talking, always wanting something, always needing to go somewhere, always bouncing off the walls.

Even so, I wouldn't trade the shoes in the middle of the floor, the piles of laundry in front of the dryer, the filthy bathrooms, or the bikes and debris scattered across the yard for all of the clean, quiet and boy-empty houses in the world.

 (Although I would like my house to stay clean for more than a few hours once in a while!)

I love my boys. And when they are not here I feel like a part of me is missing.

This week that part is Elijah.



He left on Sunday for a week at Boy Scout camp, and I have spent the last 48 hours missing his constant chatter.

I miss him.




In anticipation of a week without Elijah, and because Aaron had absolutely no clue what real animals look like, we decided to spend a nice Saturday afternoon at the Richmond Zoo.

If you live in Virginia and haven't seen the Richmond Zoo (and if you can afford it-- we couldn't, but went anyway), we recommend it highly!



Aaron went on overload a few minutes after we got there.  There was so much to see! 



Although he looked at everything we pointed out to him, he tended to focus on the more familiar.



He ignored the orangutans out on the island, and instead focused on the large fish who were chowing down on the bits of food he was tossing into the water.



And while we were checking out these beautiful creatures.....



Aaron was focused on a man driving a tractor and a wagon in the fenced in area behind them.

If you ask Aaron what he thought of the zoo, he will immediately start talking about the train and the sky lift.





He rode the sky lift like a pro, swinging his feet with the best of them! Stunned us!

Yep, the rides were his favorite. However, there WERE some magical moments with Aaron and the animals, and I have pictures to prove it....

But those, Aaron fans, are for another post.


Monday, June 27, 2011

My Jonah CAN Smile


Oh Yes he can!!

Smiling and Laughing and Bubbling over.

Giggling.

Overflowing with glee.

If they could bottle his joy they would be able to fund his entire adoption.

With every breath he is taking he is drinking in the reality that
HE HAS A PAPA.  HE HAS A MAMA.

It is more than his little mind can comprehend.

And so he just laughs with utter abandon.

Sweet Jonah.  The serious little guy who was headed for a mental insitute.

The little one nobody wanted.

Cracking his new Mama and Papa up with his mirth.

If that picture doesn't make you want to go out and adopt.... I honestly don't know what will....









Family in Need

Remember this baby?  Sweet Moira (Victoria).



Well she is currently in the Children's Hospital of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

She just plain needs our prayers.



So does her family.

They also need anyone who lives in the Atlanta area to drop what they are doing and be the hands of Christ for that family.

Shelly Burman, who just finished going through the same nightmare with their daughter Carrington, has volunteered to organize people to help the Ferrones through her Carrington's Courage blog. 

If you live in the Atlanta area - please contact Shelly through that blog and let her know what you can do to help. 

If you don't live in the Atlanta area - then consider helping the family out financially.  They could definitely use every single donation made at this point. 

There is a chip-in on Carrington's Courage.

Please let's rally around this family - through prayers, financial support and hands on loving!! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Updates....

Two little girls have now crossed the ocean and are US citizens!! 

Francesca and Victoria (Moira)


Unfortunately (and definitely NOT surprising).... Victoria went straight from the airport to the hospital as she was severely dehydrated and extremely malnourished.

Thank you for praying these babies home.  Please keep praying for them in the coming weeks.  Their blog is HERE.  Please let the family know you will continue to hold their little ones up in prayer. 

Guess who met his Papa yesterday???


Oh yes - That is JONAH!! And he was beside himself with joy when he was told that he has a Mama and a Papa now.

 I have been given permission to share their blog with you so you can now follow along with them as they bring Jonah (Vitaly) and Alina home.

Please go on their blog and and let them know you have been praying for their sweet boy.  It would bless their socks right off their feet to discover how many Jonah fans are out there!!  Use Google Chrome to make comments.  PLEASE!!  It would also bless them to know that your prayers will continue to cover them as they work to bring both children home. 




Friday, June 24, 2011

Hard

I'll be honest.  Some weeks blogging is really hard.  It isn't for lack of words.  It is because I have too much on my mind and in my heart.  I get completely overwhelmed with my thoughts.   How can I say everything that needs to be said?  How I can put on paper what is swirling around in my head?  Some weeks blogging is hard and right now I am in a hard period.  There are five posts that I have begun but cannot finish.  I have that many more that haven't even gotten that far. 

It doesn't help when I see images like this:


Owen and Cole

Two little boys who are in desperate need of families.

Last year when Rob and I were across the ocean, one of the first RR mom's we met was Sherry White.  She and her husband were adopting three treasures.  Yes I said three.  But their hearts were broken by all the babes they left behind so THIS YEAR they went back to get TWO more.  Five treasures rescued.

Five treasures rescued but so many left behind.

Each day that Sherry is visiting with her two newest babes she is encountering these two little guys.

Owen and Cole.




How can I get my brain around the reality that two of these little guys in the picture above have Mama's (the one with the camoflauge hat is Sherry's and the one with the monkey has a Mama coming soon) and two of these little guys face transfer ANY DAY?

How can I go about my day knowing that they are asking SHERRY to be their Mama?

Where are their Mama's?? 

Who will cross the ocean for Cole and Owen?

And when I get e-mails from heartbroken families because they are unable to complete their adoptions.... When they beg me to advocate for the child they had to let go....


Carlene


A little girl who has ALREADY BEEN TRANSFERRED.

A little one who needs a Mama and a Papa willing to cross the ocean to go rescue her from a life in a mental institution just because she was blessed with an extra chromosome.

I mean - look at this baby girl!

 

Does she honestly look like she belongs in a mental institute?

 

But that is where she will remain.


For the rest of her life.

Unless someone crosses the ocean!!

Someone go get her.  Rescue her from a life behind bars.
How do I find the words when I see kids like these?

My friend Andrea tries to find the words.

Every single Friday she posts about HER KIDS.  She is my hero.  She spent her last year ministering to the unwanted in several special needs institutes in Africa and in Aaron's former country.

She loved on the unloved.

And they responded.  They blossomed under her care.

But she had to come home and now she is shouting for her babes.

And I can't ever get through her posts on Friday without weeping.

This week was no different. 

I have wanted and wanted to tell you about Andrea and her kids.  She is a wonderful writer and every week she does an amazing job of capturing the personalities of the babes she left behind.

I have given up figuring out how to tell you about Andrea.  You are just going to have to go to her blog.  Every single one of you.  Go read her blog.  Bookmark it.  Pray for her kids.  Consider going and getting one. 

Or go get Owen and Cole.  They would make great brothers. 

Or Carlene.  Goodness me the joy she would bring to someone's household. 

All of these treasures.

They want Mama's. 

Cole and Owen ask daily for a Mama to come get them.

Papa's to carry them away.

Please pray for these babes.  Pray that God will raise up families. 

Andrea's kids.  Cole. Owen.  Carlene.  So many more.

The cast aside kids across the ocean.

Church - Please pray.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hide and Seek

Aaron LOVES playing hide and seek.


He anticipates this game for hours and bubbles over with joy for the entire time anyone is willing to play it with him.
 On his favorites list, hide and seek ranks right up there with eating candy.

That's high.



The only thing is, Aaron's version of hide and seek is a little bit different from what most people know as hide and seek.

He likes order and predictability in his world.

So, when he hides, he almost always hides in the same place.
Usually behind the door in my office.
And when Aaron is "It", he always provides detailed instructions so that his hiders will know exactly where they are supposed to hide.
That way, he can easily find them.



Even if they play ten rounds of hide and seek, he tries to send his hiders to the same hiding place every time. 
And he happily finds them there, each time.



With as much joy and surprise as if he had worked hard to figure out where they were.

Aaron plays hide and seek like a small toddler plays it.  With a deep need for sameness and security. 
With a fragile understanding that hiders can be found again. 
He doesn't want the game to be hard. 
He isn't interested in having his hiders disappear on him for any length of time.

He knows what it is to be lost.  Hidden.  Left behind. 
He knows deep within his soul what it means to be abandoned. 

He was a Lost Boy for six years.

So he plays hide and seek with his Papa and his brothers in a way that minimizes unpleasant surprises.

  And he makes sure that they can find him with ease.
Because the joy isn't in the seeking. It's in the finding!




And this is One Former Little Lost Boy who never wants to ever truly be Lost again.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blogger Comments

I know many many of you are struggling to leave comments on our blog and others.....
I was too...

It was driving me a bit crazy because we try very hard to support with comments those families who are in process to get their kids.  It is lonely across the ocean and supporting those families is a priority for us.

So for those who are struggling with the blogger issue... here is what I have learned...

The issue is NOT blogger but instead is INTERNET EXPLORER.



If you are using Internet Explorer as your web browser - you are going to have problems leaving comments on blogger.

The solution..... use another search engine when you want to leave comments.

I had to do this.  I did it kicking and screaming but it does help.

It isn't that hard to do.... just download - Google Chrome or another web browser of your choice (Google Chrome works great for me).  Then use that web browser to read your blogs and make comments.



If you are like me... you may have to do it kicking and screaming but honestly - I hate not being able to leave comments and we really miss getting comments from all you guys....

Not getting comments feels a bit like we are talking to an empty auditorium.

Boring.

Lonely.



Quiet.

Makes us wonder if ANYBODY IS OUT THERE????

Maybe we ARE talking to an empty auditorium....

Maybe you guys really HAVE left the building.

Maybe we really ARE alone....


Hmmmm...

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Dad's Girl

I just had to post these pictures....

Zara (Lily).

The little one my dad picked for his Christmas Angel.

The little one he has been praying for every single day since.

Her Mama and Papa met her this weekend.

Isn't she precious?




She actually isn't in the orphanage right now.  She's in the hospital.  She has the chicken pox!!

Thankfully they can still visit her there.  Her blog is HERE if you want to follow along....


And Guess who is officially home????

Our Christmas Angel.




....And look who is OUT of the orphanage....

Moira and her sister Nastya

(please keep praying them home as they are still across the ocean and their Mama is bringing them home alone!!)....



And finally....

I have been waiting ALL DAY to hear from Jonah's family.

They were supposed to see him today BUT found out over the weekend that he has had surgery on his hand/s and is in the hospital.

At this point I have no news to share.

My heart hurts to think of him going through surgery alone in the hospital.

Please pray for Jonah - for his family.




I will share more information when I am able.




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