Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Little Story About Us - Written by my Pal, KD Mc

This here's a little story 'bout a friend named....

(ok, Carrie)

And she happens to be one of my bestest friends in the world..
We actually learned to live w/each other Before we decided we liked each other
Now.. that there would be some most excellent advice for married folks if you ask me
'cause you gotta live w/em like Forever!!

Anyway.. this is Care and we have decided we will always have to be friends cause we just know waayy too much about each other .. or we might have to kill the person if we part ways...

I can't even begin (nor would I ever admit)  to all the crap I got  her into and she got me out of in those indiscretionary days I'm proud to say our kids will never hear about cause we will both be senile by the time they are old enough to think up such questions.  You see.. we both had our kids so dang late in life that we could possibly be so old and senile we won't even know we Have grandkids.  Ok.. so that's really me I'm talking about cause Carrie really has it all together.. 

To know her is to love her.. She's got the greatest laugh and biggest heart out there.  And she was quite fortunate to marry a terrific fella who shared her same beliefs.  
This is Carrie and Lee and their brood of future domestic inheritors.
She's got a few traits that I really admire.
Don't let those huge baby blues & Irish red hair fool ya.  She's the very best Spanish interpretor you want hanging around when some trash talking hispanic fellas are chatting merrily away about you in a restaurant.  And her response line to them as you quite calmly and ever so cooly make your exit is priceless. 

From the first week I knew her, she told me she had never lived outside of her hometown.  And she had always wanted to move away and see the world.
Dang!!  She wasn't kidding.. She moved clear across the pond and into the desert with her little family.
And not only is she cool under pressure.. She also doesn't SWEAT!!
This photo was taken while she and her family were living abroad in Abu Dhabi and the heat made the 104 degree heat we are experiencing feel like a February breeze.

But they are stateside again now living on a farm.  She has broadened her brood to include things that say "Moo!" & "Look What I brought for supper"

And she homeschools her oldest and now her youngest child too.
Her middle she sends on the bus cause he's a lucky fella and he gets to hang with his friends at school.
Nathan was born in the Fall of 2004 and was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome.
He's such an incredibly blessed precious guy cause his parents saw immediately and right through the lovingly special gift that God had placed in their charge but more so in their hearts.

And as if running a farm, homeschooling and all just isn't enough..
Well she has recently taught herself how to quilt quite well..
Oh yea.. She's even entered some in contests.. the luck!!

So you see.. we both had careers first then families while Old..
While I'm off house hunting (No not the HGTV where you get 3 choices)
I'm actually Looking for my house under all the dust, crap and junk.
And my Thing 1 & Thing 2 are like this:
This is what she's blessed with or is it her sills?
and better yet this (while out in public no less)
Arghh.. some moms have all the luck~

So while mine have me yearning something to console my nerves..

What does she want? Oh you'd never guess..
Just really 2 more who really need blessed..
you see "Lindsay"
and "Shawna"
are waiting in a far away land
where the people don't see them with hearts, love or homes
They treat them with futures of institutions so cruel..
to eat nothing but gruel
But ones where they are left without love, stimulation or any
hope of developing into the girls God needs them to be
They have so much to teach us, to show us and prove
That they are far better than me or than you
All because they are special and born with DS
They are treated so loosely as if they don't matter
When Carrie & Lee and others scream chatters!!

We will take them to love
To hold oh so dearly to teach
from guidance above

I can't think of a better family to open their hearts, homes and
love than this family...
They wanted to adopt one until they fell in love with both girls.  You see
these two precious girls are best friends and have probably
been the only thing keeping them sane and ok in the conditions they are in

They are fighting a fast moving clock
For anyday now the girls can be moved into
a regular institution with adults with other problems as well

Please help this Exceptionally Wonderful family
bring them home where they will be nurtured and loved

Times are hard.. $5.00 can go along way
All donations may be accessed thru the link to the right
and they are completely tax deductible..
if you can't find that..then please pray that
they can get them home..
Hopefully by Thanksgiving of this year
two very special girls will be celebrating the best gift all
A loving family that anxiously awaits..

Please pass this along if you feel so inclined
Every little bit helps

*Care.. please note that no incriminating photos were used for this presentation
and I'm not sure the statute of limitations has run out on some of those things we won't discuss..
Love ya my dear dear friend!!

Update on Teri Lynn and Josiah

 I just read on another blog this evening that Teri Lynn has recently been adopted! Praise God! I'm so glad to know she has a family and no longer in an institution. So many people prayed, cried and were so moved and generous on her behalf.

It seems information from her country was slow to make it's way down the pike. Since she was adopted outside of a connection with Reece's Rainbow advocacy ministry,  if you made a donation to Reece's Rainbow for Teri Lynn's grant fund in the recent appeals for her, you may contact Michelle with Reece's Rainbow (michelle@reec...) to discuss if you might like to reallocate your donation to another waiting child/ren or receive a refund of your donation.

And please continue to pray for precious Josiah. He's still waiting and still needs a family. He needs a Mommy soon to kiss that sweet face.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A sobbing mess!

All I can say is I am an absolute sobbing puddle of THANKFUL tears right now...

Our Reece's Rainbow FSP just received a significant donation today that will help to bring our girls home.

Thank you seems so incredibly inadequate to express my deep appreciation for their gift and their help.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I've just updated our ladybug to include this and a few other funds that we have received this week.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Busy and Productive

So, it's been a busy and productive week around here...We accomplished a TON of paperwork!

Monday, we took all three of our kids to the post office and renewed their passports. I could hardly believe it's already been 5 years since we ordered their very first passports to move overseas. They took some cute pictures! We stopped by the Texas DPS Headquarters office and had our fingerprinting done for our state criminal history checks. Then we stopped by to have loads of forms signed and notarized. I'm sure the poor guy doing our notaries had cramps in his hands after signing so many forms. Then we mailed off our first small batch of documents via DHL to our country of choice in Eastern Europe. That was a busy day and I was plain pooped when we finally returned home!

Wednesday I got an email that those documents arrived to their destination! Wow - DHL got it there within 48 hours!

Friday, I got the finalized copies of our social worker's home study report in the mail! This is the last piece of the paperwork that I am needing to send off our application for immigration approval to adopt two children. USCIS will process our application, request more fingerprints, and then send us a Form I-171 with our approval. In adoption circles, this is referred to as your GOLDEN TICKET!  This is the document that will permit our girls to be adopted by us and they will receive US Citizenship when we land back in the States and go through the Customs and Immigration checkpoints.

So I will be mailing a package next week to USCIS and praying for speedy processing and a prompt reply.

I'm hopeful that we will be able to complete our dossier (dos-ee-ay) and send it off by the end of August. That will give us a possible travel date in late September or October some time. That could possibly have our girls home by Thanksgiving! Wouldn't that be special?!

The country is still working on transitioning their adoption authority from one agency to another. Their legislative cabinet has voted and graciously allowed adoptions to continue during the changeover. Close to the time we submit and travel, they should be close to handing the baton off to the new agency. Please pray that they will be able to make this a smooth and seamless transition for those of us who will be well into the process at that point.

So hurry up and wait, yet again! :)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Matching Challenge! Let's Help!

UPDATE 7/21 - 12:15pm - Oh my Goodness! Her grant is now over $16,500 on Reece's Rainbow and I hear that it does not yet reflect the $5000 worth of matching grants that have been promised to her the donors. God is Great and I can hardly wait to see the family that will commit to give her a great life!

UPDATE: 7/20 - 9:45am - Woohoo!!! Teri Lynn's grant fund is over $10K now! But don't stop giving since this is only about 1/3 of what her family will need to bring her home.

UPDATE: 7/19 - 8:45pm - Her grant fund is now up to $8800. Just $1200 will put her at $10K!

So many people are sharing and praying and spreading the word all over the place about little Teri Lynn and her bleak situation. In just a matter of a couple of days, there is now almost $7500 in her own adoption grant fund! It was only about $300 last week. God is so amazing! What a blessing for the family that will say YES to her!

Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom just shared that one of her blog readers has issued a MATCHING CHALLENGE. They will match dollar-for-dollar for the next $2500 donated to her grant in the next few days! If we can do it, Teri Lynn will have over $12,500 in her grant fund to help her forever family go get her and bring her home!

Contributions to Teri Lynn via the Reece's Rainbow page are tax deductible. If you decide to make a donation soon, it can easily be doubled by the matching challenge. Even a $5 or $10 donation WILL make a big difference for this child and for her forever family.

She NEEDS to come home and be a little PRINCESS, not the prisoner I see in this second picture.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Surpise That Makes Me Smile!

We had some paperwork progress this week and we'll be sending off our first little batch of important papers to Eastern Europe on Monday. Yipee!

Then, while I was relaxing on a lazy Saturday and checking in on some blogs for other little Reece's Rainbow darlings, I happened upon these pictures... What a sweet surprise! And it's not even my birthday!

Shawna - April 2011

 Lindsay - April 2011

Sans the big brown bibs! Oh my goodness, how precious! Makes me smile really big!

I can't wait to get these little ladybugs home!  I've been smiling at these pictures all afternoon!

I have to thank Amy for sharing these pictures. She and John adopted their two little punkin's from the same place. Sonya and AJ ("Dusty") have been home 2 full months now and, after a little stop at the hospital for some specialized care, they are growing and settling in just beautifully. Now they get LOADS of TLC everyday from Mom & Dad and their brother and sister!

And, yes, it's obvious that we'll eventually have to schedule some time with our ophthalmologist to see about eye care and probably some corrective surgery for them. It's a shame because the strabismus (crossed eye) could have easily been treated and corrected when they were much younger by patching the other eye. This would prevent the loss of  functional use in the lazy eye. But such is the life of an orphan in this situation. They are provided very little above the most basic medical needs. No one believes that they will ever amount to or be able to do much of anything, so why bother with much, if any, therapy or treatments. Poor funding for these facilities has it's part to play in those decisions, as well. But that doesn't make it right...

But we have it in our ability to make a difference for these two precious girls. That's where we're headed. And with God's help, they will have that future and hope that He promised.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Please continue to pray with us during this time. I have a list of our current prayer needs under the tab on the top of this blog. We've had one big one answered already! He's listening and He's answering!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meet Teri Lynn and Josiah

When I think of moving, it brings to mind two different sets of thoughts. There's the excitement of a new place, a change of scenery, a new home, and new things to see and do, and starting over. Then there are the sad thoughts of leaving friends and family, your old neighborhood, your church, familiar stores and restaurants, and starting over. Depending on how you approach it, it can be an exciting, good thing, or a sad, not-so-good thing, or a mix of emotions somewhere in the middle.

But the idea of moving - for children in an orphanage, well, it's not so good.

Meet Teri Lynn. She's listed on Reece's Rainbow. She's 5-1/2 years old now. Isn't she cute? I just love the pig-tail in her hair and her cute little cheeks. I'm not sure exactly how old she is in this photo.

Somewhere between 4-6 years old, most children are moved from the baby houses they start out in to a mental institution that houses people from 4yrs old to older adults. Some might be moved to a facility for older children with special needs before they are moved to the adult facility. As expected, Teri Lynn was transferred to an institution.... and this the most recent picture of her now....

BREAKS MY HEART! She looks awful! I really had to look hard to be sure it was the same child. She looks so sad, not that she was even smiling in the first picture, but it's as if you can see the life and light just drained from her eyes. They shave the children's hair for easier keeping and I'm sure to prevent lice. The ratio of caregiver to child increases dramatically and they do not have the stimulation of attention or toys to keep their minds active and growing. They have to fight to survive being the smallest and newest children there. They will likely have the older children taking food from them. Many children who are transferred will die within the first 2 years of being transferred due to severe neglect and losing the will to live.

 And meet Josiah. What a precious, handsome little boy! He's just turned 7yrs old.  If I hadn't already been drawn to our girls, he'd definitely be next on my list of favorites! He was transferred from the baby house to the institution last fall.

Last April (2011), an adoptive family was visiting their child when they recognized Josiah. She wrote this about him: "Josiah was transferred to his current place in October, 2010.  He has lost a noticeable amount of weight. He is desperate for personal attention and stimulation.  The caretakers at the orphanage really do not know what to do with him. He is very outgoing and has a huge smile for anyone that is willing to give him the time of day. He gets along well with the other children in the groupa and listens well to his caretakers. He walks and runs, and plays, and feeds himself, but he seems to have slipped into survival mode here and is regressing fast.  I feel VERY STRONGLY that he needs out of this place!"

Will you please help to share their stories and PRAY that a family will find and choose them. They need families desperately to rescue them from this horrible existence! You can also consider a donation to Teri Lynn's Grant fund or to the Older Boys' Grant to help a family bring them home. No gift is ever too small.

I cringe at the thought of Shawna or Lindsay meeting with this fate. And they are so very, very close... We've been told that they will be moved to an institution in the Fall. That is why we are working hard and praying harder that we will be able to submit our petition to adopt and reach them before they are moved. Please pray we can reach our girls before that happens.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hurry up and wait!

I found this quote in my inbox today, and I just had to chuckle. It was so perfect...
"Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits."
– Thomas A. Edison
 I'm learning and understanding that it's the rule of the adoption experience... hurry up and wait!

I'm glad we lived overseas for 18 months and that was the rule of the way things were done there. Hurry up and wait. And I learned to get used to it, and not get into too much of tizzy. It didn't make anyone move any faster. If you asked when something would be done or delivered, the answer was almost always "After tomorrow." With the challenge of language translation, it was never clear if that was intended to be tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or just some random day after tomorrow. Then there was the other answer, "Inshallah" which basically translates to "If God wills it." I never liked that answer because it usually meant they weren't making any promises.

So we are in a bit of a waiting mode now for others to finish their parts for our adoption paperwork. Once that's finished, I can send off the next stack of bureaucratic forms to our US Immigration Office and that will take some more waiting while they process that. In the waiting, I'm working on other documents that I can complete to get ready for the next "hurry up" step.
I'm glad for those experiences, because I can apply what I learned to this situation now. I just remind myself not to get into a tizzy, laugh when I can, keep praying, and know it's all going to work out. God has promised me that. I like His promises because I know I can count on Him to keep them.

I'll keep my sneakers on and hurry up while I wait!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Great News!

I just got an email that has makes me so SO HAPPY!!! Doing a little happy dance over here!

Shawna and Lindsay's country has voted to CONTINUE processing adoptions for the children with special needs during the department closure and reorganization! That is amazing news! It's great news for so many families that were put on hold to wonder and wait. Especially for those that supposedly "missed it" by less than 2 weeks. God is so good!

There is still some more PRAYING to do...The government needs to expand the list of approved or qualified special needs for children under 5yrs old to be adopted internationally. There are many, many kids with significant needs who will have to wait much too long if that list is not expanded.

Of course, we are plugging away at our paperwork and getting things together. We weren't anywhere close to submission, so the delay just meant it would be a bit longer before we could. But now, this means that we will not have to wait until October or November to submit our petition. We can do it just as soon as we have everything ready! August, maybe? That's what I'm shooting for. That means that it's entirely possible we could complete our adoption by the end of the year! Oh, happy tears!

That also means we need to kick up the prayers for financial provision. After reading about George Mueller in England, I know God can do it!

Please keep us in your prayers! God is listening!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Beautiful Lady

Myrtle Hornsby Callan

Today I remember a blessed treasure. She was a sweet lady, and dearly missed.

 Today is my great-grandmother's birthday. She joined Jesus in her eternal home just 4 short years ago, only 3 weeks following her 105th birthday. She was a such a sweet lady, and I hold onto my memories of her with a deep fondness.

The thing I remember most about her was her joy! She always had a smile, and she always had a positive outlook on things. She loved to travel. She loved her family, and we all loved her. I've always said that I would be doing great if I could have that same positive attitude when I was her age. That's certainly one of my goals. I don't want to grow up and be remembered as a grumpy old lady.

Myrtle loved history and teaching, and telling family stories from the past. She also taught History at the Texas School for the Deaf for over 30 years. She was never deaf, but she loved teaching and loved children. Her favorite was Texas History, of course. At her 100th birthday party, it had to be the biggest birthday party I'd ever seen or attended. Maybe 200 people there, or more. There were many people who came out that day who knew her from the school, former students and coworkers. And Myrtle was watching the ASL interpreter during the speeches. It was fun to see her signing back!

I look back and marvel at the changes she saw in our city and our country over the years she was here. Her grandfather was one of the original settlers who joined with Stephen F. Austin to found the colony that would later be known as Austin, TX. She's witnessed things from Comanche Indian raids to computers and cell phones, and everything in between. Just amazing!

I was blessed that she was able to be at our wedding, at 98 years young! She was also able to hold each of my children as babies. I only wish I would have asked more questions and started working on my family tree genealogy a long time ago while I still had her as a wealthy source of information.

She was a beautiful lady, inside and out. And I still miss her.