"I prayed for this child and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him" 1Samuel 1:27

Monday, November 29, 2010


A few weeks back, i posted something from a bloggin friend who just returned with their son from an EE institute. Julia and her husband spent 6wks. in Aarons country and witnessed day in and day out the lives these boys lived. This is not an easy read but it is the truth and it is necessary to get this out to as many readers as possible. WE can make a difference. Its what we are suppose to do. Please read this and search your heart to see if YOU could help.

There is more to the story of The Sad Reality. I didn't want to write it, and just by thinking about it, I am already slipping into a funk that only God can heal. But the story needs telling. So here it is: The Sad Reality, Part Two.

We walked the mile to and from Aaron's institute sixty-five times before we were finally allowed to cart him away to freedom. Sixty-five times we entered those shoddy gates and trod those uneven walks. Sixty-five times we struggled to accept the sights, sounds and smells of a hidden world that shook us to the core. Sixty-five times we walked, watched and grieved.

It is difficult to describe the despair I felt every day as we passed a shed filled with boys who had absolutely nothing to do. It filled me with grief when some of them cried out, "Mama!" hoping that I could offer them the same escape I was offering Aaron. It was hard to process this world, in which survival of the fittest reigned and played out every day between boys of widely varying sizes and ages-- a world in which hitting, fighting and abuse is normal and goes largely unchecked. Beyond that, how could we face the reality of the hidden boys, the ones we only glimpsed, the ones whom we knew lay behind closed doors in their cribs-- silent, lonely, attention-starved, stiff, far beyond any hope of release-- dying?

We couldn't. We just walked back and forth to and from the institute, holding hands, supporting each other, joking about anything we could find, scheming about our blog posts, biding our time until the wheels of bureaucracy turned far enough to allow us to go back to our safe, predictable world with Aaron in tow.

Aaron's institute housed older boys from a wide area of his country. So far as we know, only a few had any family in town, and only about two or three of these had any visits during our time there. Because of this, his institute wasn't well set up for visitors. There were no indoor visiting rooms at all, and for outdoor visits there was only one designated area: a painted steel gazebo with rotting wooden benches, situated just outside the administration office's door.

Aaron quickly got tired of this gazebo. After a year of confinement, he was ready to explore, and we were his passport to freedom. For our part, we preferred the gazebo. It was our assigned visiting area, the only place anyone ever really gave us permission to be. We were safe there. No dogs bothered us there, and no one shooed us away there. Each time we followed our wandering fugitive out of that gazebo, we knew that we were setting ourselves up for trouble. And we did get into trouble, more than once.

We finally reached a compromise with Aaron. We gravitated toward a neutral spot at the center of the institute, a sort of crossroads from which we could see nearly everything that was happening there. We could see the main gate, so we wouldn't miss the arrivals and departures of the institute's vehicles-- in Aaron's opinion the most important events of any day. We could see the dining sheds in which the boys took meals and snacks (picture below, at Rob's back). And we were on the paths by which all three groups of outdoor boys reached these sheds, so we could watch and join their parades to and from meals. Just down the path (to Rob's right) was the shed filled with the moaning boys, the lowest-functioning of the outdoor boys. Beside us was the building in which they slept. We didn't really like being there, but Aaron was happy there, and at least when we were there no one could accuse us of spying.


And so the crossroads became our new home at the institute. By accident or design, we received an unspoken, tenuous permission to spend three hours every day at the center of a secretive facility. We saw nothing of what went on behind closed doors, but everything that happened in the open, we saw. That's how we came to see the second part of our sad reality.

In that lowest functioning group of outdoor boys, there were three older ones whom we got to know. They had a job carrying things back and forth from their shed area to their building, strange benches with multiple holes, so we saw them every day. All three were precious. One laughed and called out to Aaron and to us with glee every time he passed. His vocabulary was limited, but he always spoke with gusto. His legs were bent at odd angles, and one was much longer than the other, so he hobbled up and down the path each day; but he always laughed and clapped his hands, filled with joy. The second was silent, lost in his own world. He stared at us from a distance and gave us crooked smiles. The third was a sweet angel with Down Syndrome. He was short, bowlegged and as gentle as can be. Alone of the three, this one would wander over to spend time with us. He gently handled and played with Aaron's toys. He spoke to us softly. He was a perfect gentleman in his behavior. Unfortunately, in his person he was anything but gentlemanly. His smell was overpowering, and when he offered his hand for us to shake, we could see why: his hands were stained with excrement.

At first we assumed that he simply didn't know how to take care of himself. We also assumed that the caretakers gave older boys like him much less help in taking care of themselves than they gave the younger ones. It wasn't really surprising that a boy of his age and in his condition would need a bath.

But later, we began to understand that all three of these boys were dirty every day. And we knew that Aaron's institute had a good staff that wouldn't put up with filth. One day, every boy at that institute got new clothes in preparation for a visit from a psychiatric professional, but these three boys were still dirty. It took us forever to understand, finally, what was happening: The mysterious things the boys were carrying every day were potty benches. These boys were washing out potty chairs every day and moving the benches back and forth from the building to the shed. They were responsible for cleaning up after 20 boys every day, probably twice per day. They were the boys from "the picture," all grown up and graduated to the next logical step in their sad existence.

We already knew that the older boys performed essential jobs there. Aaron's institute was poor, and needed every available resource. They had to put the boys to work. We had seen some carrying water from the outside well, carrying laundry and setting tables in the sheds before meals. The luckiest ones worked with the hired caretakers on the grounds, bringing in food or keeping things neat. The unluckiest, our three friends, scrubbed the potty chairs. They did their job with an innocent willingness that brought tears to our eyes. And they carried the marks of their job everywhere they went, in the form of filth that in their circumstances was just too hard to remove.

Why do I share this? Why is poop so important? Because of the indignity of their situation. There is nothing wrong with requiring the boys to work; in fact, it is probably a benefit for most. But for these three sweet boys to end up in this sad situation, doomed to hold the least desirable job at the institute for who knows how long, is just deeply sad. It lowers them to subhuman status. As we said before, their plight is a result of poverty, not of neglect. Those caretakers do the best they can with what they have, and they work hard. Where there are no plumbing facilities for so many boys, someone must scrub potty chairs. The only practical way to solve the problem would be to remove these boys from their untenable situation. They simply shoudn't be there in the first place. If so many boys were not cast off at birth, doomed for life to impoverished institutions, then no one would have to scrub potty chairs for 20 boys at a time. If more people in their country and ours would open their homes to these children who have been orphaned through no fault of their own, then no one would have to suffer degradation like this. If the nutty bureaucracies of their country and ours didn't set up so many hurdles in the adoption track, then more of these poor kids could find homes and families of their own.

Nearly every child in the Eastern European orphanages (baby houses) who has a mental or physical disability is transferred to an institution like Aaron's by the age of four, five or six. All are stowed away in these underfunded institutes, in villages far off the beaten path. They receive no education and no therapy, so they make no progress. They will live and die at these places or the even worse adult institutions that await them.  They have little to no hope of ever leaving. It is their sad reality.

And as long as they live in such places, the unlucky ones will get demeaning jobs like these. When we finally realized what was going on, our next thought was that this would probably be Brady's fate. He fits the profile. If no one rescues Brady, then he may very well spend his days scrubbing potty chairs and carting benches-- when he could be doing so much more. Poor Brady. How sad to have so little hope for the future when you're only six.

That's why we're still shouting about all of this months down the road. It's why we often find ourselves discussing, agonizing, praying and struggling with our memories and stories.  It's why we want the church to march into these places.  Where the church has entered, there have been life-giving changes for the boys and girls inside these institutions. We need the church to march into Anani*v. We have no idea how it will happen, or when. We are two very small people with a bit of knowledge and little else. We don't know where to turn. We cry out again and again for God to send families for Brady and Heath. We can't believe that God would open those gates for us, leave us there far longer than need be, show us all of this hurt and then leave the situation forever unchanged.

All we know to do is pray, advocate, yell, holler, scream and shout. It takes a lot of time, and it's exhausting.  Sometimes it seems pointless and fruitless. But those poor boys need a voice. They need someone to cry out for them. The Lost Boys of Anani*v need to be found.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Please....we need you

This is Marina and Yuri.......they want and need a family so bad........could it be yours??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010





Monday, November 22, 2010


The Ukrainian legislature is in the process of voting on a bill that would suspend all intercountry adoptions from countries without bilateral agreements with them. This includes the United States. The bill passed a first reading and vote, but must still pass a second reading and be signed into law by the president. News is that the second hearing and vote will come the week of DECEMBER 14-17. It is also understood that if it passes, it will include suspension of all adoptions in progress.
The entire situation is complicated and messy. A bilateral agreement is a good thing in the long run but the way the bill is written adoptions would stop until the agreement is worked out and that could take months or yrs. and bottom line is many of these kids don't have months or years. Just afew weeks ago a Reece's Rainbow family brought home a precious little 7yr. old girl and she weighed only SIXTEEN POUNDS. She had been drugged in her crib to keep her calm. The doctors on our side of the ocean cried when they saw her. She didn't have months or years. Right now there are families IN COUNTRY, with their kids, waiting for court dates and holding their breath that they receive their court dates BEFORE this vote. Others have all their paper work in and are waiting for travel dates. They too are holding their breath that they get to their kids before this vote. Many families and many childrens lives are riding on this bill. So, i am asking that you
mark this date on your calendar and every time you see it PRAY.
Pray for the families who are sacrificing so much to get these kids out in time. Pray for the men who will be voting for the bill that they will have the grace to consider the "least of these" in their country- both the special needs and the harder to place older kids- that they would spare their lives and futures by placing into bill, wording that would allow adoptions to continue while they continue to work towards a better system for all. Pray that God will move in their hearts like He has moved in the hearts of the families who are trying to get these kids out of these institutes. PRAY PRAY PRAY!!
The little ones below ALL HAVE FAMILIES WHO WANT THEM. These kids are being affected RIGHT NOW. Their families are on their knees. WE can join them and pray these babies home.


Friday, November 19, 2010


Six months ago, this little 5yr.old girl lay in a crib in an EE orphanage. She was malnourished, painfully thin, sores all over her little body, bumps on her head from banging it against the bars of a crib, drugged, and completely out of it. She weighed only 16 lbs.

Now look at her!! She has gone from actually being a baby who could hardly sit up, to a thriving precious little girl who now has a twinkle in her eye.
Being confined to a crib for 5 yrs. left her very frail and weak. She could put no pressure on her legs at all. But now she gets up and can stand on her own for afew seconds and then blops back down again. She tries so hard. The little girl that had been written off as being useless, a burden to society, without any abilities, with no hope at all, is proving them all wrong. She is showing them that with a whole lot of love, good nutrition, sunshine and fresh air..........anything is possible. Her mom said people tell them all the time that, "Hailee is so blessed that you rescued her."
Yeah, whatever.
Hailee's mom, just like me, knows the truth here........WE are the ones who've been blessed!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Brady is a tiny six year old who has already been transferred from the relative safety and comfort of his baby house to a mental institute for boys ages 6-18. He is a friendly, active and energetic little fellow. His DS has given him a tongue thrust that makes it difficult for him to swallow, but he manages.
Brady is the youngest boy in his group at his underfunded, understaffed institute. There are only 2 workers to manage all of the needs of the 26 very needy boys in his group. Because of this, the boys are restricted all day, every day. Brady is not free to run, play, jump or climb. There are no swing sets, slides, toys or books for him to enjoy.Brady has reacted to all of these restrictions as any other freedom-loving toddler would: he has become an escape artist. He ducks under the outstretched arms of caretakers to get away from the dull existence they impose upon him. He dodges the grasping hands of the older boys in his group a hundred times a day as he runs for the door.
Why is Brady so intent upon escape? Because he knows that there is a better life for him somewhere. He has not lived at his present institute forever. For five years, he lived at a baby house with children of his own age. He had toys. He had a playground and daily activities. He watched mothers and fathers come to visit. He watched adoptive parents come to gather other children into their homes. Brady knows what a mother is, and he wants and needs one so badly that he will climb from his chair up onto the table, trying to fold himself into the arms of a visiting mother.
The caretakers at Brady’s institute call the Down Syndrome boys their “Sunshine Boys” because they are the only source of joy in that dull, desperate place. Brady is the best possible example of a Sunshine Boy. He will add joy to any home. He has a heart full of love, and he is ready and willing to give that whole heart to the first mama and papa who offer him  go get him. .


These are not my words but i couldn't agree more " God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with a disability doesn't TAKE a special family, it MAKES a special family."  With the holidays just around the corner, this time of year always makes me really think how thankful i am for my family. Thankful that they too see how this special child has made us stronger and more aware of the 'important' things in life. Raising a special needs childs may not be for everyone............but for everyone that isn't........man, what a blessing you've missed out on.  


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This is a post done by a bloggin friend of mine, Julia Nalie. They just got home with their new son Aaron who had been transfered from a "baby house" to a mental institute for older boys. This happens when the kids reach 4yrs. You can read more of her blog at Micah Six Eight It doesn't matter what the disability is. Whether physical or mental, if they are not adopted from the baby houses, they will end up here. This is rather long BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
Our first days at Aaron's institute were overwhelming-- the chaos and craziness, the unnerving sights, sounds and smells. We could hardly take it all in. We wanted to run and hide, play with Aaron separately in some safe corner away from all of the disquiet. But Aaron delighted in his new-found freedom, and he wanted to roam the grounds. Although he had lived at his institute for an entire year, he had seen only a small part of it. So he set out to explore, with the three of us in tow. It made us uncomfortable. We weren't sure the staff wanted us spying out their secrets, and we were embarrassed by some of the things we saw. So we tried to contain Aaron, keep him in our assigned gazebo up by the gate. But Aaron's legs could not be contained, and we had no parental authority with him as yet, so we walked.

His favorite new route took us past the shed where the lowest-functioning boys spent their summer days. They had absolutely nothing to do but wait for the next snack or mealtime. They all sat on their groundcloths, staring, moaning, crying. At first, we could hardly bear to look.

Around the corner was a large building which, we were told, used to house Aaron's group. It was crumbling, but the caretakers still used parts of it. On the far end was a shed for the institute's tractor and wagon. The near end contained what we thought were broken-down bathroom stalls with rows of potty chairs. Because it was doorless and dilapidated, we assumed that it was being used for storage. For several days, as we walked that way so that Aaron could see the tractor, we walked right by that shed full of boys and right by those filthy bathroom stalls with their rows of potty chairs without ever connecting the two. We thought we were seeing a junk pile. Our minds couldn't grasp what we were seeing.

Aaron also wanted us to see his friends from his group, the highest group. He wanted us to see his world, and he wanted his friends to see and share his new toys. We tried to stop him, but in the end we always went along. Because of Aaron's persistence, we were forced to face the uncomfortable sights, sounds and smells of his world all through those first weeks. The caretakers were uncomfortable with our presence, embarrassed by what we might see, but they didn't stop us.

Once again, much of what we saw didn't register. It was too chaotic to grasp at first glance. So the first time we rounded the corner and found Aaron's group all sitting on little chairs around the grounds, we didn't immediately understand. Our minds could only absorb it in small pieces. It took us a while to realize that we were seeing "The Picture," the one at the top of this post, in real life. It was a sad reality, shocking because we knew that our boy had lived this way for a year, but also softened because we knew the hearts of the caretakers.

I've prayed and considered how best to tell this part of our story. I don't want to sensationalize our experience, and I don't want to horrify anyone. I am not interested in raising an uproar, even if I could. I only want people to know about the plight of the children who aren't adopted from the baby houses and end up being transferred.

(I I didn't post the picture she is referring to but you can see it at her blogspot.)

Monday, November 15, 2010


It's official..........Christmas time that is!!! As we came into town this morning,Cole yelled, "Look!!!", and then broke into a tune...."Christmas times a comin, Christmas times a comin!" The reason for this excitement??? All the street lamp posts were wrapped in garland and colored lights. He was so excited and said, "now we can get all your stuff out!" Sooooooo, guess what we're doing!!!


Cole is getting excited as Christmas is just around the corner. Forget that Thanksgiving isn't even here yet! Nope, he has already gotten his stuff out, part of my stuff out and taken a tree to school for his room.(bet his teacher just loves me!) However, we did use the pretty day to put some Christmas lights down the driveway and to pacify Cole alittle. He helped for the biggest part of it and then was off to something else. I have to admit, i love Christmas too. I love the music, the lights, the family coming together, the smell of the tree........yep, he gets it from me i guess.  But even with all the things i love about this time of year, i can't help but feel somewhat guilty and sad too. If you know me, you know i love my family and they are my life. I can't imagine what life would be like if i didn't have them, especially at times of the year such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, you know when family is SUPPOSE to get together.  I can't help but think about those that don't have a family, those that have no one to share this time of year with.  I got a package in the mail Sat. morning and as soon i as opened it, the tears started pouring. Well, actually, the tears were already flowing because i had just come from the funeral home where i went to say my final goodbye to my good friend Jimmy Harlan (a super good man) and then i saw what was in the package. A Christmas ornament off the angel tree from Reece's Rainbow, and on the ornament was a picture of precious little Gavin. Wow, this little boy will be spending this Christmas in a institution just like he has for the past 3 yrs. My heart just broke for him and the others.  My thoughts right then were this........i was sad because i was gonna miss jimmy, and i hurt for his family, but i knew that jimmy was now healed and had gone to a much better place ..........little Gavin on the other hand has much healing that needs to be done and he has not gone to a better place.He just recently went from a baby house where the care is better to a mental institute for older children and the care IS NOT better. Alot of these kids only survive this move maybe a year or two at the most.  Its so hard for me to grasp this........its much easier to not know these things.......its much easier to just enjjoy the lights, and the music, the smell of the tree, and the family all coming together to share food and gifts and love at this time of the year......THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS. The reason for the season.........JESUS........"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."

Friday, November 12, 2010


I have always been drawn to the less fortunate, the unloved and the unwanted. Just something i was given i guess. But not until Cole's adoption did i become aware of the plight of the orphans. i have kept up with the happenings in the international world of adoption throught the years but only in the last 8 or 9 months have i become aware of  reecesrainbow.com   It has gotten ahold of me and won't let go. i call this a "God thing." I was suppose to come across it........I am suppose to do something with it. If you know me, you know what i want to do.......yes.....again. I think about it during the day and i think about it during the night.  I hear their cries. Take a minute and go to REECE'S RAINBOW and look around.........it could change your life......... for the better.
                         "Once our eyes are opened, you can not pretend you don't know what to do......God, who weighs our hearts and knows our souls,  knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
                                                                                                                             Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Me

It is with a heavy heart that i am writing this right now. A wonderful man that has come to be my good friend is laying in a coma waiting for the angels. We were told it could be 5 min. or 24 hrs, but i know it will be when the Lord is ready for him and only then .He and I talked at great lengths 2 wks. ago about our plans and Gods plan for our lives. He has always been a supporter of what i feel i'm suppose to do. So, i'm going to go ahead and write what was on my mind this morning before i knew that he had taken a turn for the worse. i love you jimmy......your a true servant of God.
Again as my mind was working (yes, it actually does work from time to time!)while driving home from taking cole to school, i was pondering the thought of "why me" again.  not in a negative way, but in a thankful way, a blessed and lucky way. Why would the good Lord allow me to have this special child?? its certainly not because i'm special in any way.  i told my church on sunday that i am not a super person.....not a super mom or wife, and certainly not a super christian. i think the only super thing i am is a super sinner and i can make a pretty good hand at that.  so why someone like me??  well, i think maybe because its people just like me that God has used for years and years.  you  know, the hurt, the weak, the scared, and certainly the sinful.  when God called on me to bring this special child into my family i was in the midst of all the above. But as i questioned the call, He provided the answers over and over again until i said, "ok.....here i am....i'm "all in." i am nothing special......never have been and never will be.......i just said "yes" and He did the rest. sooooooo, maybe i'll quit thinking like "why me" and i'll start thinking like "why not me!"  and if  "why not me"..........then how bout, "WHY NOT YOU!!!!!"  just sayin!

Monday, November 8, 2010

thank you Lord

15 Yrs. ago today, a very tired but thankful momma and grandmomma landed on USA soil with a precious baby boy. SAMUEL TADAS COLE began a new life with his forever family. once lost but now found. thank you Lord for allowing me to be his mom and thank you for working through him to teach me so many things about love and life and what really is important in life.......the journey continues.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


i don't know for sure how to do this "blogging" but i'm trying to figure it out as i go so please be patient with me. my hope and prayer is that i can raise awareness and be a voice for the millions of ORPHANS in this world.  so come follow along as i share my heart and my passion for "the least of these" and also share with you the blessings that come with opening your heart and home to these precious kids. every child deserves a FOREVER FAMILY.   maybe that family is YOU.