The Family

The Family

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lighting A Candle..... In Memory

Today many people in the adoption community are lighting a candle for one sweet boy, a boy whose life was cut short all too quickly.  He was called "Hanson" and he was a Lost Boy..... A boy whose short life was lived out lying in a crib, trapped in an institution. He spent his days in a laying room. No one to love him or care for him, other than feeding him two or three bottles a day and giving him about that many diaper changes too.

Such a sad existence.  Such a sad way to live a life.  And even sadder, there are many more just like him in orphanages all over the world. They die every day without anyone ever knowing about them. They suffer like Hanson did, enduring life rather than living it, and just waiting to die.

God has called this sweet child home, and today we remember him.  There will be a memorial service held today at 3pm in Canada for him as well, organized by a gentleman with special needs who love and prayed for Hanson all those miles away. He said he knew that if he had lived in Hanson's country he might have suffered a similar fate. So this is his tribute to him. So very touching.

And today we are lighting candles to remember Hanson and the other orphans of this world who have died without the love of a family. There are so many.  People talk about the possibility of children dying in orphanages, well it really does happen. Often.

You can read more about Hanson, the service being held in his memory and the Lost Boys HERE

Please light a candle today, and say a prayer for these sweet children who deserve to be remembered.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Picture!

Here is the latest picture of our boy!!
Taken just a couple days ago at his orphanage by a family there visiting with their soon-to-be daughter
So grateful for the blessing of a photo, 
sent from across the world.

You might notice that it looks like he has a cast on his leg.  Well, he broke his foot somehow and is now having to hobble around on crutches.
Oh to have him home during a time like this, to get him good medical care and take care of him!
We can't wait to get there, but we are so thankful for little updates like these.
They mean so much.

Please continue to pray for him, that he might stay well until we get there.
Thank you!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

He Has Graduated

Normally a child's graduation is a happy time.  Pre-school graduation, Kindergarten graduation, High School graduation.  All reasons to celebrate, a time to be proud of all they have accomplished.
But graduation from an orphanage??
Not so much.
Rather than a time of celebration, for most orphans this is a moment in time they have dreaded all their lives.  Rather than a rejoicing, looking forward to their future,
they are scared.
For many, they wonder where they are to go now?  What will they do to survive?  Where will they live, how will they make money??
For a few lucky ones, they will be enrolled in a trade school, but those opportunities are few and far between.  Many end up on the streets.
Well, last month was graduation time for our sweet Ianto.
Even though he just turned 15 this spring, he has completed 10th grade at the orphanage school and is now done.
He will be required to leave the school at the end of August.
The thought of sending a 15 year old out to live on his own or take care of himself is mind blowing to me.
Ianto and his orphanage director
Luckily for him, he will be one of the ones entered into a trade school.  We have no idea for what though.  Each child is assigned a course of study, whether they like it or not.  That is what they will be trained in.  At least it is something.
But just look at these pictures?  Do these kids look happy?  Cheerful?  Elated that their schooling is complete and that they are on to the next adventure??
See him in the back??  :)
Now granted some of that is cultural, they don't ham it up for the camera a lot like we do, but they usually at least crack a smile.  I know, I have been there, met these children and taken quite a few pictures of these kids.  They usually LOVE photos!
I just can't help but feel the dread inside each one of them when I look at these pictures.  Instead of it being a time to celebrate, it is a time of worry for many of them.
They realize that most of them have lost their chance at ever having a family.
We want to relieve this hopelessness from at least one child.
Our future son, Ianto.
Hanging out on the playground equiptment

Getting food for their graduation celebration

 We are trying desperately to make sure that we get to our sweet son as soon as possible so that he does not have to spend too much time out on his own in the trade school.  Trade school is different than the orphanage.  Very different.
We know he wants to be adopted.
We have met this boy many times and grew to like us very much.  And we like him  ;)
Like isn't even the word.
He deserves a chance at a better life and we want to give that to him.
He deserves a family, just as all of them do.
He deserves to be loved and cared for and protected.
He shouldn't have to do it all on his own at such a young age.
He shouldn't have to worry or be fearful.
A few weeks ago Ianto was told by a friend of ours that he has a family. 
To say he was overjoyed might be an understatement.
He went around to all his teachers and friends and told them goodbye,
that he was leaving  :)
Well hold on buddy, not so fast!
But you see, he was happy!!  He has something to look forward to!
A way out.
Now he can have some peace, because before he was SO worried.
He knew what was going to happen to him and
he was scared.
He wants out.  NOW.
So you see, this is the reason we need to get to him quickly.
He is waiting.  He is being sent away at the end of August.  So soon.
And we can't wait to bring him HOME!!
Thank you to those who support our efforts, it means a lot to us.
If you are on Facebook, we have a fundraiser going on right now to help us raise money to bring him home.  We are selling homemade paracord survivor bracelets. 
Style A
Style B

 You can place an order by emailing me at
They are $15 for one, $25 for two plus $2.50 s&h
You need to let me know...
-Style A or B
-Color:  Gray, Gray and Black, Rainbow Multi, or Blue and Yellow like the Ukrainian flag.
-Size: Men's or Women's
Include your name and address for me to ship it to and a copy of your Paypal receipt to show you made a contribution to our FSP.  That donation can be done HERE.
Thank you!!
And I just have to say, for those who truly don't understand why we are doing this, I am sorry.
I know sometimes there are criticisms of adoption, especially adoptions being done by larger families.
But to my way of thinking, larger family is better than no family at all.
Better than a life on the streets.
And we have so much love to give.
Thank you for all your continued support and prayers!  Please pray for Ianto during these next few months.  He is the one who needs your prayers the most.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hear Ye... Hear Ye!!

Over the past few years, Tim and I have had our lives turned upside down and our hearts completely ransacked-- in a good way-- because of orphans.  These children who are alone, without a family, without a home, without good medical care, without love.  They have changed us.  They have forced us to step out of our comfort zone, make bold moves we would have never dreamt of before, learn to do things we never thought imaginable, WANT to do things we never thought we would.  They have also drawn us into a closer relationship with God, a truly faith-based relationship built upon doing HIS will instead of always catering to our own.  This has been an incredible blessing to us and to our family.
To put it mildly, our eyes have been opened, and our hearts have been broken because of the orphan, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
That all being said, let me introduce you to a very special young man.  He is listed as "Ianto" on Reece's Rainbow, and he is going to be  Our Son!

Our road to Ianto has been an interesting one, one full of twists and turns.  It has been formed over time with amazing details, as only God can do.
You see, I originally met this young man during our first trip to EE for the adoption of Charlotte and Atticus.  Tim, Schuyler and I went to visit the older children's orphanage as some of you might recall me writing about, the same orphanage where our kids Bronwyn and Leo would eventually be adopted from, and now where we will return for this adoption as well.
I remember vividly the first time I laid eyes on him.  A tall, skinny boy with a mullet  ;)  who thought he was so cool.  But he was polite and respectful, sat with us and a bunch of other children, happily eating the goodies we had doled out- fruit, candies, cookies.  Treats these kids seldom received.  Yet he wasn't greedy, he took only his share and no more, he passed treats back to the other kids.  We could tell he was a really kind boy.

 Schuyler and I had the privilege of hanging out with him more when she and I returned again with our friend Natalya to the orphanage for a weekend visit.  Natalya and her church friends were there to hang out with the children as they did every Saturday... playing games, teaching Bible lessons and giving many much-needed hugs.
This Saturday Natalya was also coming with a little extra something for the kids- some new socks.  I cried as she passed out one pair to each child and saw the gratitude in their faces, over receiving one. pair. of. socks. 
And again, there was Ianto.  He hung out with the group on those Saturdays we went to visit, eager for a little attention and affection just like all the other children there. Here he is in the torn blue shirt.....

When Tim and I traveled back to EE that following fall for the adoption of Bronwyn and Leo, we again got to spend lots of time at the orphanage.  Much more time than on the previous trip as our kids were actually at this particular orphanage this time.  We visited every afternoon playing games and soccer with the kids, doing crafts and just hanging out.  There was always a crowd of boys and girls there with us but one thing remained constant while I was there..... Ianto. 
He was quick with a smile and a hug.  You could tell he just craved the affection.  He told me many times how he wanted a family, how he wanted to go to America like so many kids from that school already had.
But for now he was happy to spend his afternoons with us, playing the iPad and wrestling with Tim  ;)

We talked about Ianto a lot while we were there... about what a good kid he seemed to be and how if we had been approved for three at the time I would have begged to take him home with us as well.  And Tim often remarked about Ianto's uncanny resemblance to his childhood friend Jamie.  Even showed me a picture of him when we got home so I could see the similarities.  :)

So as time went on and we were back home now getting the newest members of our family acclimated to our home life, we saw several months later that Ianto was listed with RR.  One of our good friends who had been in EE with us during the previous adoption had returned to the orphanage with a mission team and had compiled lots of information about him so that he could be listed.  First and foremost on that info sheet was about how much he wanted a FAMILY.
Shortly after, one stepped forward for him. I was happy that he would now have a Mom and Dad of his own, but inside a part of me still wished it had been us.  Shortly later, due to some different circumstances, the family that had committed to him had to back away.  When we found this out Tim and I knew it was time to talk.  We both knew this amazing boy, we both loved his quirky and fun personality. And we felt fairly certain that he had taken a liking to us as well. 
Would we?  Could we go back again??
We approached our kids about the possibility of having another brother, especially the two who had lived there at the orphanage with him for many years.  Bronwyn in fact has known him since she was very little and the two of them were in a different orphanage together.  Both Bronwyn and Leo attested to the fact that he was a good kid.  He hated the orphanage and never felt like he fit in.  He didn't like being around the rough kids, or the ones who smoked and drank.  They knew he wanted outta there.... bad.
So again, as they have now four times before, our children gave us their approval and with that we committed to bringing home a new SON!!
Now what would be an adoption without its complications??  Especially an international one!
Well I am happy to say that we hit the ground running, and luckily have not encountered any roadblocks so far.  Praise God!  And, half of our dossier is already in his country being translated!  Yeah!
However, we recently found out some news which causes us great concern.
You see, children in this country age out at the age of 16.  That means they are sent away from their orphanages having "graduated" and the lucky ones get enrolled into some sort of trade school.
Well unfortunately for Ianto, even though he just had his 15th birthday in June, he was somehow ahead a grade and therefore graduated this past spring.
We had NO idea that this was going to happen.
So now, the director has informed us that unless we can get there by the end of August, Ianto will be sent to a trade school.
There is no way that we can get there that fast.  The various papers for our dossier have all been sent off to the respective "powers that be" and now all we can do is wait for their completion. To top it off, we have been told that some things like USCIS and FBI clearances are running a little slower right now.  So, as best we can, we have no choice but to be patient.
BUT, once those papers do arrive they are being sent off immediately to EE for submission.  We don't want our precious boy to have to wait any longer then necessary for his family.  As it is, by the time we get there, he will already be out on his own... living who knows where, having to take care of himself, being responsible for himself completely at the ripe old age of 15. 
With that said, we need your help.
I can't even stress this enough.
We have been blessed over and over again when we adopted in the past.
We have seen God's people spring into action, helping those of us who are trying to give a father to the fatherless.
And this time our need is just as great.
Actually, more so.
We are starting from scratch.
Having completed three international adoptions in the last 2 1/2 years we know we will need financial help to bring Ianto home where he belongs.
This is our sweet boy's last chance.  Literally.
Over the next couple months we will be fundraising as we did with our previous adoptions.  We are brainstorming right now on some different ideas and will make sure to let everyone know what we come up with!!
In the meantime, if you feel lead to make a donation, our FSP is up and running on the Reece's Rainbow website.  As soon as I get a linky button, it will be posted in the top right corner of this blog.  For now you can go HERE and it will take you directly to our FSP.
Please remember, no amount is too small!!  It all adds up and gets us where we need to go- to our son.  We are grateful for any amount that you feel lead to give.
As always, we covet your prayers as we begin yet another amazing journey in our lives.  It is a journey born out of love for these children and a commitment to do all we can for them, and as always it is God lead.
We know that He is in control of this, as with everything.
We thank everyone in advance for their love and support.  We know you will be behind us just as before and we are so grateful.
It is never easy to step out and do that which is considered unpopular, or even "crazy" by some.  But knowing that this is what God would have us to do makes it all worth it.  HE is the one we strive to please.  He is the one who gives us the strength to do what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do.
Thank you again to everyone, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday to our sweet boy Atticus!!

Today he turns 3!!


He has weathered a huge storm this year....
But he never let it steal his JOY

Throughout all our hospital visits....

And doctor appointments......

Being poked and prodded, spinal taps and bloodwork.....

Throughout it all he has done great!  He is such a trooper.

He has reached so many milestones this year!  Feeding himself, crawling, signing, verbalizing, pulling up
and walking around the furniture...
So many things he was never able to do before, never given the opportunity to do.

He is growing into such an amazing little boy!  Full of laughs and happiness!

Our little "Froggy", we love you SOOOO much!!
We are so thankful that God saw fit to make us your parents,
to give US the gift of having you as our son.

We continue to learn from you each day.  
So many lessons to be learned from an innocent child
about love, trust, and joy.

On this, your third birthday, we thank God that you are safe, healthy and 

We are thankful for the doctors who have been treating you over the past year, 
the therapists who have helped you grow and blossom and learn,
the friends who have prayed for you
and the family members who continue to love you.
You are such a GIFT.

Happy third birthday little man.  
We can't wait to see all you accomplish 
this next year! 

We love you!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Just a Few Days.....

For those of you who might not know, my husband Tim and oldest son Evan are heading to Ukraine on a mission trip in less than TWO short weeks! To say they are excited is an understatement. Both Tim and I definitely feel that since our adoptions, we have left a part of our hearts in Ukraine with those children still hoping to be adopted, and with the ones who have aged out and are struggling to make it on our own. We both believe that our job there is not done. In fact, it is hopefully just beginning, and he and Evan can't wait to get back and START!

This mission trip they are going on is our first step, our first toe-dip into the waters of serving those children abroad who have no homes, no family, no one to turn to. The lost ones, the forgotten ones, the un-adopted ones..... This is the beginning of our mission for them.

People love to say, "Well, you can't save them all." And sadly, they are right. No matter how many we or others adopt, there will always be orphans. It is a fact. So that begs the question, then what can we do for them?  Tim has always said that I am the "Plan A" - adopt and advocate.  He is the "Plan B"- when adoption doesn't happen, how do we help?

Well, this trip is his first opportunity to help. He and Evan are traveling to Ukraine with a group of fellow Christians to help remodel and restore a home, turning it into a place for teenage boys who have aged out of the system to live and learn how to support themselves. A home and school in one. They will be studying agriculture so that they might learn the skills to sustain themselves and turn a profit.

Tim not only wants to help with providing these kids with a home and some security, but with a future... a way to support themselves for the long term. You know, the whole "give a man a fish, teach a man to fish" proverb mentality. You can only give these kids so much until they have to eventually learn to make it on their own.

So with all that said, we need YOUR help. Time is running out, as I mentioned they leave on the 13th- less than two weeks from now, and they are still short on funds. These funds simply cover their airfare, travel in country, lodging and meals. Nothing fancy, very basic.

I have put a link at the top right corner of this blog which will take you to the video they have made about their trip and fundraising needs. Please click and watch, and if you are able, donate. Getting them there enables them to be part of the manpower that works to change these teenage boys' lives. You are indirectly helping those kids work towards a better future for themselves, and the boys who come after them.

And if you are on Facebook, please visit Tim's page at My Mission Trip to Ukraine for additional information.  I am sure he will be posting pictures and updates on there once he arrives as well. It will be a great way for you to keep up to date on the team's progress and see exactly where your donations have gone. :)

Thanks for your support, consideration, and as always, your prayers, that this might be a successful venture and change the lives of these children for the better!!