Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Disability Rights International

We Need Your Help to Protect the Rights of Children with Disabilities Around the World


Dear DRI Supporters,

Several weeks ago, I visited a baby house in Eastern Europe. It houses about 130 infants and small children, a third of whom are children with disabilities. Most babies are eventually returned to their birth parents, put into foster care or are adopted. But not the babies with disabilities. They have nowhere to go. Among children with disabilities, almost 30% died last year.

I walked with trepidation into each dark room. In the middle of the day, not a sound. Not one child crying. They learn quickly that no one comes. One room after another, children with disabilities lay dying. Hydrocephalus and spina bifida are left untreated, despite the fact that the country has the means to care for these conditions. I was told that doctors will not perform surgery on children with disabilities who "have no future." And many die from lack of touch and love, despite adequate food and heat.

One six month old baby with hydrocephalus still haunts my dreams. The condition (caused by a buildup of spinal fluid in the head) can easily be corrected by the insertion of a shunt. But instead, this little boy had a "burst" -his head blew a hole from the pressure. He lay in his crib dying an agonizing death.

6 month old in Tblisi Baby House
6 month old boy whose head recently burst due to untreated hydrocephalus. Doctors expect the boy to die "anytime."

Millions of babies and children around the world are suffering the same fate-left to grow up in institutions without the hope of having a family. Many are denied medical care and left to die. We need to stop this. Segregation from society - or leaving children to die - is a fundamental violation of international human rights law and must not be tolerated in any society. That is why DRI is working towards the end of the institutionalization of children with disabilities worldwide.

This can change: doctors and societies need to understand the value and human rights of every human being's life; governments need to support families to keep their children with disabilities at home by providing financial support, inclusive education and respite care; and international donors, including the US government and the European Union, need to stop funding segregated services and more institutions to shut away children with disabilities. Children with disabilities have the right to grow up with a family and live as part of society - just like other children.

It's that simple.

DRI is training disability activists, educating international donors, getting the word out to the media, and holding governments accountable for human rights abuses worldwide. Please click here to make a contribution to support our work. We need your help. We really do.

Warmest regards and much love.


Laurie Ahern signature
Laurie Ahern,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera Kit GIVEAWAY!!!

Want a chance of winning a Nikon D3100? Well then this is the place to go to enter to win one. The best part is you will also be helping bring a sweet little 7 year old boy home to his forever family!!! A little boy who sits in a not so nice place waiting. He has waited 7 years! Please check out this fundraiser and give so that a little boy can be home for Christmas with his forever family. It really is a win win for everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Family Of 15!

And that is not counting our four legged kids!! Now who would have thought adding 2 teenagers to a house that already had 2 teenagers living in it would be anything but pure bliss????? I would have to say without a doubt that this has been the most challenging adoption adjustment period for all of us. As if adding a 16 year old girl who has lived in an orphanage for the past 9 years isn't enough for one to handle, we then bring along her 14 year brother who has lived in an orphanage since he was 5. It's been interesting to say the least.
It's the little things that I wasn't prepared for. The way neither of them want to wear warm cloths because they don't like them. I'm sure it's because they are not used to them coming from Colombia South America where it is summer all year long!!! They wont eat because they don't like the food. While in Colombia I told them that food was going to be a big adjustment for them because it really is different. Oh, just try bringing a 14 year old boy shopping for some cloths. I couldn't figure it out until I asked him if he EVER got to pick out cloths before?? Of course he hadnt, he lived in an orphanage where they just give you the cloths! I was just used to buying our newly adopted kids their cloths and putting food on the table and they ate it. Then to top it off I have Kaylee asking why she didnt just get to go pick out whatever she wanted to wear when she first came here! Really Kaylee??? You were 11! They are 14 and 16. Can't really dress them in Garanimals now can I! Oh, and by the way my dear Kaylee, I did bring you shopping and let YOU pick out what you liked!!! Ah, teenagers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Language, food, cloths, self esteem, rules, school, family, all of it is so much different when adopting an older child.
Other than all that I think things are going pretty well. If getting on the wrong bus after school, boys asking for phone numbers, thinking you don't have to do chores now that you have a mom, thinking one can play video games for hours on end and is the "American" thing to do, getting talked to by the assistant principle for not eating lunch and then when he is trying to explain to you why food is important you ignore him and he flips out, run in the bathroom crying because tata or mom try to explain rules, and sleeping on top of you covers so you don't have to make your bed in the morning are all considered things going well, then yes, things are going very well!!!!
All in all, they are home and this is where they want to be and where we want them to be. They are good kids and family is such a foreign thing to them. So sad. I just hope and pray that in the short time we have to raise them it will be enough. That they will "get" what a family is. That they will feel what a family is. That they will forever know that this family, their family, our family will be here for them always.





Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sometimes You Have To Let Go and Let God

Okay, I admit it. I like to be in complete control of my life. That is probably why I don't like to fly, actually HATE to fly. I can't stand driving with anyone. Kind of a perfectionist. Worry about anything and everything and I am not a optimist. Thank God that Ken on is extremely optimistic, very laid back and is a takes it as it comes kind of guy.
The last month has been a learning lesson for me. A lesson from God. A lesson I'm having a hard time learning. It started with my Kurbis losing her eye sight. Completely blind with a condition called SARDS.


She used to chase squirrels and watch them jump from tree to tree. Horse around with my other 2 four legged kids and she loved to watch TV! So to say I was feeling bad and sorry for her is an understatement. I had no control over it. I couldn't fix it for her and it made me feel horrible that I couldn't.
Then after getting a 2nd opinion for Denis and planning his heart surgery we postponed our trip to South America to pick up our kids.

We were supposed to leave the end of July. We had a date. But I had no control. Denis needed his surgery after one more heart scan and then a heart cath. It was a no brainer, but still I had to call 2 kids in South America and tell them they had to wait just a little bit longer.
About three weeks ago I called my dad to see how things were. My dad is EVERYTHING to me. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. he has been there for me when no one else has! I love, love, LOVE him. He told me he wasn't feeling well and for the next 2 weeks that was the answer he gave me when I asked. I went up there one weekend with Kaylee and Roc to clean, do laundry and try to get him to eat or drink. Why not go to the doctor you ask? Because he does not like doctors. I know, I know, who does. But he seriously does not like them. In all my years I never saw him go to a doctor. When he went to the dentist he never had Novocain for any work he was having done. Root canals, teeth pulled, cavities, nothing. Once he was side swiped by another car. He was brought to the hospital and left, with broken ribs and bruised all over. So Ken and Roc went up there last weekend making a stop at the hospital first. Ken asked what could be wrong by giving them the symptoms. They helped answer some questions and said he really should come in but if he was of sound mind there was nothing we could do. THREE hours is what it took Ken and Roxana to convince him to go in. He had not eaten or drank for 2 weeks. He was dehydrated, blood sugar was high which was making the kidneys work WAY to hard! UTI, High blood pressure and not a good looking gallbladder. After 5 days in the hospital Ken drove him back to our house so I could make sure he takes his medication. And NO, he does not make a good patient. Once again, no control. I didn't want my dad to be going through this and would change places with him in a second!!!
We have our appointment in South America next week so what better way to teach me that I have NO control than to have Denis go in for his heart cath and have problems with it. His first heart cath was cancelled and rescheduled for the following week. We brought him in and brought him home the same night. The next day he was feeling great. It was the next day after that though that things went down hill. He stopped eating and drinking, could not keep his eyes open and was running a small temp. Brought him in on Wednesday and Thursday the decision was made to do his heart surgery that day.



I'm actually glad it happened this way so I wouldn't have been worrying the weeks prior to him having to go in. He is doing wonderful! He is pink, not blue any longer! His eyes are bright white and he is warm to the touch. He always was cold and out of breath. He amazes me every time I look at him! He takes it all with no worry! A lesson I am still learning.
Kurbis is learning to live without seeing with help from my other 4 legged kids and all of us. Dad has a follow up doctor appointment next week. Denis may need a pacemaker. We will know more later in the week but he can live a long, long life with one. In fact his surgeon has one! And through all this I am learning to Let Go and Let GOD! If you think of us through out your day, please send a prayer up to the Big Guy!
Thanks!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Long Overdue

Sorry, sorry, sorry! Every time I try to get a update of the kids post in, something comes up!!
We were supposed to be in Colombia on July 26. I think I emailed some of you that it was June 26 but that just goes to show you how busy we have been, I cant even get date right any longer!!! Anyway, it was July 26 but Denis needs his surgery done so we postponed getting the kids until September 26. That was not a phone call I wanted to make telling Ingrid we would be a little longer! She has already waited over 2 years for us and I was not sure how I was going to tell her or how she was going to take it. I should have known better! She told us that yes, she was upset but that her "brother" needed to have his surgery so that he could start growing and be healthy. I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am of her! Her only request is that we call her more. We already call once a week but we can certainly call more to let her know that we are for sure coming for her and her brother!
We brought Inna in for her first doctor appointment and after the first meeting the doctors seem to think she has Spina Bifida. Hmmm....I think a Ms. Leah told me thats what it sounded like!!! Obviously lots more doctor appointments are set up along with therapy for getting some of that muscle back in the lower part of her body. Between Denis and Inna I think I should maybe just rent a room at the hospital!! LOL!!
Nothing is going to stop that girl though, and I mean NOTHING! I cannot believe how she keeps right up with her siblings! Be it running up and down the stairs or playing outside on the trampoline or at the park on the jungle gym! I tell ya, the girl has got spunk!! Her favorite thing still are the animals! She love, love, LOVES them! She has been home 6 weeks and she knows all of our names, and when I say all I mean the animals too of course!!! Learning her ABC's and counting. Knows how to spell her name and say all body parts like nose, ear, arm, leg....you get it. She is still getting used to some of the foods and hates milk. She will drink it though when she is trying to wash down something she doesnt like to eat!! hahahaha! She loves tacos, any kind of pasta, chicken, baked beans fresh fruit and ice cream. Not big on any kind of beef or pork except hot dogs and really doesnt like bread. So all in all not bad! Her favorite thing to say for the last two weeks have been "come on mom"?!?! You know, can I have some more ice cream mom? No, thats enough. Come On Mom! Can I lay on the floor for another hour with the dogs instead of going to bed? No, time for bed. Come On Mom! Do I really have to go to the bathroom instead of playing? Yes Inna, go potty. Come On Mom! Silly girl! Oh how I love her!! She seems to be bonding with us but the U of M adoption clinic thinks it is a good idea that she not start school right away in fear she may bond with the teachers. Because she has spent so much time in the orphanage we thought we would keep her home a few more months before heading off to school all day. We are teaching her what she needs to learn and it also gives us more time to show her that this is home and we are her family forever! it may be a little hard for her to understand why all the other kids are heading out the door with backpacks and not her, but she will eventually get it. Here are some pictures of her with Jerlin who is 7 and Dani who is a small 5 year old. You can see how tiny Inna is at 9!! She will get there though. With the love of a family to help her along the way there will be no stopping her!!!




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One Year

It has been busy around here the last couple of months. I went back to work so not a lot of time for blogging. But this post is our "home one year" post so I wanted to share how far the kids have grown and learned in a year. It has gone by fast and sometimes we think we haven't taught them enough but after looking at the before and after photos we can't get over just how far they have come.
Joshy - Still not potty trained but working on it. He really could care less unfortunately but that is how Josh is. He would rather be playing army with the boys or jumping on the trampoline, swinging, listen to music, playing the keyboard, watching sponge bob or wipeout, chewing on ANYTHING or eating! You get it. He really has no time for trying to learn to go potty!!! UGH!!! The boy has no fear and LOVES causing trouble for his teachers at school. Josh and Artem are in the same class room and Josh is BY FAR the instigator!! Artem follows Josh's lead in whatever he is up to. Not always a good thing either! He is healthy and had all his dental work done so he has a bunch of silver(stainless steel)in his mouth! The kids say he should be on a James Bond movie. But the most important thing is he is Happy! When he first saw Inna come through the door the two were inseparable! They remembered each other and it was obvious. They were in the same group at the baby house and I knew they played together all the time there but wasn't sure if they would remember. We were happy to see that they did and how well they play together today.


Dani - Dani is the boss of all the kids......so she thinks! hahaha! She eats very slow unless she LOVES the food, which is far and few between. She starts school this fall and that should be interesting. She absolutly LOVES Charley!!! I brought her and some of the other kids up to grandpas and after a day of being there I asked her if she wanted to call home and talk to the other kids. She did and talked with them and then Charley got on the phone. She started to talk to him and then started crying and telling him how much she missed him and if he missed her. Very sweet to see the bond between them. All we hear everyday is Charley this and Charley that, Charley, Charley, Charley! She is a very messy little girl and HATES keeping her room clean! In fact her favorite thing to do is change cloths 20 times a day and make a mess out of her room. She shares her room with Jerlin and Inna who are not all that happy with her fashion changes! More surgery for Dani is scheduled once we get home from South America. She wants her chin fixed up only because Charley pointed out to her that the doctors can and should fix it! I swear, if Charley told her she were 15 and was going into the 10th grade in the fall, she would believe it!! Now if we could just get Charles to start telling her some legitimate things we would be set!


Artem - What can I say about our Artem, the boy who I wasn't sure of. I LOVE him so much but honestly he is a stubborn one. He is almost potty trained and is very smart. He is just the little boy who HAS to have things HIS way in his OWN time! Frustrating! He is teaching ALL of us patience! He is very healthy which we are thankful for. He loves school and is a good boy there when he is away from Joshy!!! LOL!! He loves to dangle things and playing with Denis. He doesnt like to play army with the boys but has learned to love getting wet on the trampoline. He HATES brushing his teeth and drinking unless he comes in from a hot day of playing, then he comes in and drinks about four glasses of water. But he only drinks when he wants to drink and we are trying new and different ways of letting him know he needs to drink throughout the day. He is picky with food mostly because of the texture. But once we get it to where he will eat it look out! The boy will eat and eat and eat! He uses signs correctly unlike his brother Mr. Josh! I often wonder where Artem would be if we had not brought him home. How he would have survived. Josh is the one who if he is hungry will take Artems food and Artem just lets him. I would have thought it would have been the other way around when first meeting them. Artem is very laid back and knows he is home with his family. And for that I am SO SO happy!



Denis - The boy who started us even thinking of adopting a child with Down syndrome. I remember the day when I first saw his sweet face and talking with Ken about bringing him home. Then another family committed to him and I felt a hole in my heart. Then when he became available again I knew he was meant to be our son. If it were not for Denis, Josh and Artem would not be here. He has come so far in 1 year and I can NOT even think of where he would be today if he had not come home with us. Doctor after doctor have told us that we literally saved this little boys life. When you hear something like that it tends to go in one ear and out the other, at least for me it did. Then when I look at photos of him last year I think that maybe we really did save his life?! When we first met Denis he could not even hold his head up. He was always congested and I remember the caretakers telling us he hardly ever has a dirty diaper. It took us time when visiting him to get him to focus on us and things around him and that did not always work. I remember on a few visits how scared I was that he would never make it home. Today Denis LOVES to laugh in his crib around 10:30pm every night. This has been known to go on until the wee hours of the morning!! He is the happiest little boy I have ever met. Denis loves life! When we first started teaching Josh and Artem signs we never thought of showing Denis. Then one day when we were making supper Denis was signing "hungry"! After his first bowl of food he then signed "more"! Okay, the boy is a genius what else can I say!?!?!!!



Our lives have changed raising these kids and we wouldn't have it any other way. To be able to give them the love of a family and see the bond between all the kids is a feeling I cannot explain. How lucky are we???

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

IMPORTANT!

How does one explain the emotions of leaving an orphan behind after returning home with your new son or daughter? It SUCKS! Their faces remain embedded in your thoughts constantly! You think about them, wonder what they are doing, what will become of them. Why you couldn't bring just one more home, or maybe even two. And if you did bring one or two home, what about the third or fourth. How do these children live out the rest of their lives? It goes on and on like that for me. I think to myself, what could I do once I get home that could change things for these kids, these motherless and fatherless kids. Kids who have nothing. Kids who are mentally or physically impaired. Once the kids leave the baby house, they live a life with no hope of a family to love them. These orphans live life that some of you cannot even imagine. I have seen it, other families have seen it.
When you live with these faces and questions running through your mind it almost becomes a mission for you to find a answer of how I, you, could help.
I am happy to say that I have found a answer. It is NOT the only answer but a GREAT start to my mission of finding a way to help the helpless.
Project TLC.
Project TLC is helping the children left behind. The children no one "picked". They have partnered with His Kids Too, an experienced, Christian charity recognized in the USA and Ukraine. When you donate to TLC it will be administered by His Kids Too! and are deductible as allowed by law. They occasionally work in concert with other Christian aid groups working in Crimea and are not officially connected to any other aid group or ministry.
It's easy. You can go here or here to learn more and GIVE! It doesn't have to be a lot, or it could be, but PLEASE give something! It is such a great cause.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh What A Day!


At 2:00pm June 10 standing in a real court room with a real judge and real judges chairs we became the parents of Inna Jean Fritz. This was the first time that the room we had court in was a real live court room. It had very old benches and chairs and stands. It was really cool! The judge sat in the middle on the tallest chair and two jurors sat on each side of her in the same exact but shorter chairs. The court lasted about 1 hour and then 1/2 later we stood as the judge reentered the room with her decision. After the judge was done reading her decision, she put her papers in a pile and started talking to us. She said how happy she was that Inna had a family and how wonderful we were for taking Inna and helping her. She said that she wished there were more people in the world like us. Then she started to cry along with the two jurors and she said she loved us. WOW! The hardest but also best part for me to hear was when the director was talking. First what she said, that broke my heart, was how she tried to convince the SDA and our facilitator for us not to come visit Inna. When the SDA called the director to make sure that this was where Inna was transferred to, the director told the SDA that we will not want this child that she has to much wrong with her. That we should not even come see her because it will be a wasted trip. The child is not a child to be adopted. It was then explained to the director that we already met the child last year and that we wanted to come. After she heard that she welcomed us to come. But the BEST part came when the director said this in court........When they arrived and were sitting in the room waiting for Inna to come in, I thought why are they here if they have met the child already and know what she is like. Why would they come for such a child. Then Inna walked in, Nance fell to her knees to grab and hug and kiss Inna. Nance pulled out a photo album of their family and Inna remembered the family as she saw the book of family photos from last year. I could not believe she would remember and I had tears in my eyes at the love I saw Inna get. I just could not understand it but it did not matter that I could not understand it because I knew right then that Inna's family had found her.
Her heart had been changed! She saw that we didn't look at Inna as a child with a HOST of problems but only as our daughter! Inna cannot write so she was in the court room to be asked if she wanted us as her mama and papa. Da was her answer. They asked her how old she was and when was her birthday but that was pretty much all. Inna started getting squirrely which I don't blame her, it was getting long for us too! After court we went and had a celebratory drink with our facilitator and went over a few things that will happen on our trip back after the waiting period. The three of us came home on June 11 and Ken and Roc will return on June 19/20 to bring our girl home.
Once Ken and Roc get home from Ukraine, Ken and I will travel to Chicago to get our visas for Colombia. You have to get visas when adopting from Colombia and you have to get them in person now!!!! Ugh!!!!!! We are hoping to leave around the 11th of July to go get our kids from South America.
And now, FINALLY, after 1 year of not being able to post our daughters photo, here she is.......

INNA JEAN FRITZ

Inna in 2010

Inna 2011



Thursday, June 30, 2011

Can You Imagine?

I'm sure all you adopting families out there know the thrill of choosing a child and then having the photo of your child linked to you. Linked to your blog so you can write about all the highs and lows of the months of paper chasing and all the emotions you are going through. Asking for prayers and getting feedback on all you are living. Even though there are no guarantees that your child will be available once you get to the country he or she is in, you still have peace of mind that nobody from the website can also "pick" your child.
Now lets pretend you chose a child and that was all the further it went. No link to show you are trying to adopt this particular child. No blog to share the journey with. In fact the child that you chose is still being advocated for to have a family come for them. Still on the list of available children that need a home.
Two things can happen with this scenario. First, the family who is working so hard on making the adoption a reality also has the added stress of wondering if another family in Canada or the US will chose "your" child to become part of their family. Second, if there is a "second" family working hard on making this child part of their family, someone, either family 1 or family 2 is going to be hurt and disappointed when the dream becomes just that, a dream. It's sad to think that this can happen especially when the people who are in "control" of the photos of the children KNOW. They know there is a family working hard and yet the child's photo remains where it has been for years......PLEASE ADOPT ME, I NEED A HOME AND I AM RUNNING OUT OT TIME. Yes, its sad that this can happen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do

We interrupt this blog site to let you know how and why we are blogging with old dates.
During this adoption our hands were tied. Tied in the fact that we could not be open about where we were, how far in the process we were, what city we were in, stuff like that. The reason will start unfolding in the next few posts as the rope around our wrists are loosened and we feel comfortable in sharing more. I wrote these blogs on the date it says, I just never posted them until now.
And I am writing this post today on Monday, June 27!
This post will always be on the top because of the date it was written, June 27th. So to continue reading about our journey to Inna you will need to read the post below this one.
Sorry for the inconvenience but it is what it is.
Now back to are previously read blog.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thoughts

A few weeks ago our translator helped us get a months worth of internet for about 12 bucks. So I am sitting here in the car on our way to Balta to visit our little sweetie! Yesterday while visiting Inna and the rest of the kids I was full of all kinds of emotion. I cant wait to see her face and pick her up to love her up but I also have a terrible time not doing that to all the kids. So what do I do? I do it to all the kids. Inna has us for the rest of her life, they don't.
This trip has been so different in many ways compared to last years venture. First its not a baby house but a orphanage for the "special" orphans. As children get older in any country the possibility for adoption for these kids fades. They really start to fade in this particular orphanage. They are older kids with special needs. Who wants them?
I have nothing but thoughts running through my head as we take these long drives back and forth from Balta to Kiev. We got a call yesterday telling us there was good news and bad news. Good news is interpol came, bad news is the SDA wanted one more paper that the mother had written stating she did not want Inna and that it was okay for her to be adopted. Well her mother had died a few years ago and our facilitator did not remember seeing that paper in her file. After some phone calls the paper was found but now it had to get to Kiev sooner rather than later so we could keep our court date for this Friday. So the orphanage director gave us the paper and we drove it to Kiev to give to our facilitator so she could give it to the SDA. If that's that kind of problems we have to deal with this time around....not a problem at all!!!
It's sad that we cant be more open about our journey but we cant, not yet.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hello Saturday







We had nothing but free time on our hands today. We are in Kiev because we have to be at the embassy on Monday for me to sign the I600 because I wont be coming back after court. Then we will head back down to Balta right after our appointment. So today we went to a few outdoor markets and bought a children's book for Inna to have when she gets older and a bunch of veggies for dinner tonight. We found a Domino's pizza and had lunch there along with 3 guys from Egypt! Then on the drive home we stopped and had the car washed. It was pretty dirty after all the driving we did and not all of the roads were paved so the poor car needed a bath. As soon as we walked in Ginea asked if we wanted to eat. They sure do like feeding us here!!! I miss Inna and the kids where she lives but I struggle with all the feelings I have after we drive away. The kids there are so sweet and precious and I worry and wonder about them. I cant even go there right now or I will be bawling again so lets talk about something else.
Our interpol hasn't cleared yet so we are hoping by Monday, Tuesday at the latest they have some news for us.Our facilitator also knows someone on the other end of the interpol once it leaves the SDA so we are working both sides to find it and speed it along to make sure we can have court on Friday. Oh, we got stopped by the police again!!! This time for driving on the white line when pulling out of the gas station. Our facilitator J was in the back seat pretending to be American. The cop wanted Ken to walk back to his car, J kept telling Ken no, stay in the car and tell them that the embassy told you to always stay with your car! The cop was just trying to get money off of us and did not want to do it in the open in front of all of us. Then V started pleading with him to let us go, in English of course, and that we had an appointment in Kiev. The poor cop was getting pretty frustrated with the whole situation and finally let us go. V told us what he was saying to his partner once we started to drive away and she just kept laughing. At one point there were two policemen there saying to each other, what English do you remember from school, try to remember something. To funny! We have been seeing lots of Ukraine that is for sure! It has been a journey of a life time!
The pictures are from Dominos and the deliver bikes, on the way to the orphanage and the kids dressing the dog with sunglasses. The social service building in Balta, A birds eye view of Kiev and Roc and Paul playing the accordion.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Anything but GROUNDHOGS DAY!

We have been busy! We rented a car to make things go faster and smoother and they have. It has also given us the opportunity to have the flexibility to do more things and go more places. We have seen LOTS of Ukraine and it has been fun! Roc had our facilitator watch the movie Dumb & Dumber with her. If you have not seen it beware, its dumb!!! This whole trip we have now been using excerpts from the movie to explain our journey. Like when Roman from childrens services needed a ride. Our facilitator told us that it was on the way back to Kiev so we gave him a ride. 11 hours later after getting to Kiev I showed our facilitator a map and asked her since when is here (where we drove Roman to) on the way to here (Kiev)?????? Dumb & Dumber line: Hey this guy looks like he needs a ride.......PICK HIM UP!! Needless to say we are having a lot of fun. We Skype the kids every chance we get and things are going well at home, thank God!
I wish I could be posting publicly/live but as some of you know that would be taking a risk of having Inna not come home with us. We want to be flying under the radar screen as much as possible. The team of facilitators that we used last year, one particular, does not care for us and he could, would, make life pretty unbearable for us if we let him! He has already warned our facilitator and its just better this way for Inna. I would be able to go on with life with my 10 soon to be 12 kids at home in America if that is how things turned out. But if I started blogging today then Inna's chance at a family would be jeopardized. So we are blogging this way for our Inna to be able to come home with us. Wow, and he says he does it for the children?! Really??? So for now we will continue doing our posts this way and once we are home you can read all about our journey. It has been so fun meeting new people, new friends that live here. We also have met friends of our new friends from other countries that are staying and visiting with this family. What an experience for us and I am glad Roxana is getting to do all of this with us. It will be special memories for her! Okay, I'm off to check my email to see if the embassy has gotten back to us. Pakah!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Same Thing Different Day

We are back in Kiev today, drove in last night around 11. Looked all over for a place to eat but everything closes up around 10. So we just came "home" and luckily had cheese and sandwich meat ready for us as we came through the door. Found out some sad news from home from one of my friends. Her little boy was in a lawn mower accident and is going through quite a lot of surgery's. Poor guy, his name is Blake and is 3 years old. If you could I'm sure they would appreciate some prayers sent their way. We are thinking court will be in a week and then we will come home during the 10 day waiting period. Found out that Inna has 5 older siblings, one who is 10, a brother, that is in foster care here. We don't think that will cause any kind of problem though but one never knows in Ukraine. I found out Jonah has a family coming for him!!! YEAH!!!! I took out my black bag that I carry to the orphanage. I was going to clean it out and bring just enough cloths for our one day trip back to Balta. When I took it out it smelled like the orphanage. It's such a different kind of smell. I don't like it at all!!! We are going to eat and then off on our 4 hour drive back to Balta. We will have a passenger joining us back to Kiev tomorrow (yes we are turning right around once we reach Balta to get some papers to be delivered back in Kiev). It's one of the workers from childrens welfare that needs a lift to somewhere, not sure where yet but he will let us know.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just A Day In The Life











OMG!!! We woke up bright and early to go get Inna and the orphanage doctor to go into town to get the paperwork needed for court on her health. We drove in and the same few kids come out from God only knows where to greet us before we even get out of our car. Ken went in to meet with the director again and to let the doctor know we were here and ready to drive into town. Roc saw one older boy smoking and pointed it out to me and I thought out loud, I hope that wasn't Kens cigarette that he just threw. I hoped Ken would have put it out in the ashtray! So we see Ken coming out holding Inna and I asked him what he did with his cigarette. He said he stepped on it, why? I said good, I thought that the boys picked it up to smoke it. He started laughing and asked me where did I think the boys got their cigarettes from. I said I didn't know and he then told me that the doctor gave them his when he was done with them!!!!
There is one boy here around 12 or 13 and he had a green type lizard thingy?! He kept trying to stick a leaf in its mouth to eat. Then he started flicking his head to get him to open his mouth. He kept showing it to me and one time put it down on the sidewalk by me to see and hear me scream when the stupid thing would try running away. He thought that was the funniest thing. I wanted him to be more gentle with the poor thing but that was like trying to tell my kids to stop leaving socks outside by the trampoline, it just wasn't going to happen!!! Finally one of the boys who thinks he is "in charge" came and took it from him. This boy walks around like he is so rough and tough and cool.. The kids here have a pecking order with each other. It is a orphanage of about 70 special needs. Some more severe than the others but kids none the less that have no where to fit into society so this is just one place where they are placed. I see them talking to themselves, hitting each other for something to do, throwing rocks or branches at each other. It's sad because they have NOTHING else to do! Some boys and a few, I think 2, girls play soccer. I think they only have 1 ball. Roc has been playing with them on our visits, of course she has!!! The older, cooler, boys ignore her but the younger boys are very talkative with her. Finally when the "cool" boys see how much fun the others are having with her the chime in and give her the thumbs down when she blocks their shot. The dogs here are Unbelievable!!!! I cannot believe none of the kids have gotten bit the way they are handled. The kids are so rough with them! One dog started barking at us so a boy threw a rock at him and he cried. I got angry and said nyet! Inna was going to hit one of the dogs and I grabbed her hand and yelled at her. Showing her and the others that they have to be gentle with them! Inna has listened to me along with the others so far. At least when they see me around they know they better be nice to the dogs! I brought kid sunglasses along for whoever wanted them and they were putting them on the dog! Inna is infatuated with animals! The first day she wanted to show us the puppies. She brought us to a hole with a wood cover on it for shade. She counted three puppies and asked where the others were. She then brought us way out to the field to another hole with wood cover on top. No puppies there. The boy who was afraid to take candy from us the other day was there and explaining to our facilitator that the puppies were moved to where we had just come from. But Inna was demanding to know where the other two puppies where! It shows me a few things about Inna. 1. She knows her math. 2. She is resilient and determined to get what she wants. 3. She cares about animals......the girl is going to LOVE her new home!!!! Lots of four legged kids running around! I had a rough first week here, I am not going to lie. I knew Inna was transferred and I figured it would be to a special needs orphanage but it has been hard!! What happens to these kids?? How can I NOT remember these faces that are imbedded in my mind and heart? I know a lot of parents going through this say the EXACT same thing!! It weighs heavy on my heart. I wasn't prepared for the location we are at either. We are in the middle of nowhere it seems! We wanted something to do after our visit today so we drove to Moldova! Yup, leave it to us to come up with that one! We drove on these horrible, pot holed, down to crushed rock roads. Sometimes when the road would turn into just dirt it seemed to be smoother and wasn't bad, but then parts of the road would appear and we would be back to pot hole city! The roads would sometimes get really narrow too. We came up on the border crossing and asked it we could drive through. She didn't understand us so she called her supervisor. He spoke very little English but wanted to help us. He said he didn't think we could cross the border here but he kept calling on his phone to someone or someones. We kept telling him that it was okay and we could just turn around but he said wait, wait, wait, I'll find out. He saw Roc taking a photo and yelled and shook his finger at her! He repeated himself several times to Roc and we finally told her to put the camera away! He asked us to park until he could find the answer for us and as we were waiting a guy came pulling up with camouflage on. He spoke better English and asked why we wanted to go to Moldova? We/Ken said we just thought it would be kind of fun to step foot in another country as long as we are here. He looked at us funny and said you can visit Moldova, just not at this border. He was very nice to us as all the people here have been. Ken then asked if we could at least take a photo of the "welcome to Ukraine" sign!?! They said sure! haha! To funny! They must think we are nuts! Maybe we are, I don't know? Then about 15 miles outside of Balta a stranded car along with a cop and a few older women were in the street. We stopped and rolled down are window because the cop was kind of motioning us to pull over. He started speaking really fast in Russian and we said nyet, English. He said ENGLISH???? Then he kind of laughed to himself. He said Balta??? We said yes so he just got in our car?!?!?! Ken figured that he wanted a ride to work because his car broke down but Roc and I were like, what the heck is going on here???? After he got out he said "thank you very much" in perfect English!! I bet he practiced that all the way to Balta! The poor guy, what day he was having. His car breaks down on his way to work in the middle of nowhere and the only car for miles is full of Americans who don't speak Ukrainian or Russian!!!! And we thought we were having a rough day!!! hehehehehehe! Roc and I were doing scenes from dumb and dumber all day. Hey, here is a guy that looks like he needs a lift.......pick him up.......Mock Ing, Bird Ing. Okay, you have to watch the movie! Seriously, Roc and I were funny today! Hoping for court next week we shall see how it goes. God only knows!!!
The photos are from today in no particular order. I just downloaded them and they came out this way and at the top of the post. They are from the beautiful countryside and things we saw, the cop leaving are car and the few photos Roc did happen to get at the border!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 28

Well it has been a few days but we finally have internet connection. What can I say about the lst couple of days that do not bring tears to my eyes and make my heart sad? Well I can say our facilitator is GREAT!!! This is such a different experience from last summer. Our flight in was fine and we stayed in Amsterdam the first night. Never actually walked in Amsterdam and looked around but this time around we did just that. It was fun and interesting. A unique group of people make up the Netherlands and it is really a beautiful place. Then the following morning we were in Kiev met promptly by our facilitator and driver. We are staying with friends of our facilitator. We pay a small amount compared to if we were on our own plus their is always a home cooked meal waiting for us morning, noon and night!!!! We even had accordion music to listen to one evening before Dinner. How cool was that! We took the subway, walked and then found our bus to bring us to the WWII Museum one day which was fun and took most of the day. We decided to rent a car since we did not have to go all the way to Odessa. It was a good thing we did because I have no clue how we would have gotten to the orphanage twice a day without having to buy the actually taxi!!!!!!!! No trollies or reliable buses here!! Our facilitator made a few phone calls and sure enough, she knows someone that knows someone that has a 5 room house and would LOVE for us to stay with them! So once again, home cooked food all day long. Except this time mama got to enjoy the homemade wine they make with every meal if she chooses!!!LOL. We went to the Social Services to talk to some people there first and then came back later in the day to pick one of them up to go to the orphanage with us. The woman who came with us previously worked at the orphanage for 5 years before getting her job at Social Service. She told us a lot about the orphanage since she knew so much about it from working there. It is home to around 70 special needs kids ages 6 to 18. Some of the children are orphans, some are not. The town we are in is called Balta but we still have to drive about 1/2 hour or more to reach the orphanage. There are 3 orphanages in Balta, 2 in town and ours which is out of town.
This post will probably be long because I am going to tell you about where our girl has lived for the past 9 months.
We drove for what seemed like 1 hour on these roads that were full of pot holes like I have never seen before. I'm from Minnesota so I've seen a mean looking pot hole before but seriously, this was ridicules!!!!! Swerving back and fourth from one lane to the other, it was more like an amusement ride of some kind. We saw MANY horse and buggy's as this and walking are the main way of transportation out here in the villages. Then we turned onto a small dirt road that lead to the orphanage. Kids were outside doing different things. Once they saw the lady we were with they remembered here from working there and some of the kids came up to give her a hug and talk with her. She was very kind and really cared about these kids. She talked with them and asked how they were doing. It was a very nice thing to see. Then we went into a big room and people just started coming in to "witness" the first meeting. Our facilitator explained to them that we had met our little girl last year and played with her almost everyday. The head lady at the welfare place did ask us if we knew how special needs she was and how would we be able to take care of her and the three special needs we adopted last year. We told her that even though it does take more time bringing them to doctor or therapy appointments they are just as much or little work as our other kids. No biggie! She seemed okay with that answer. She did have more things in her file that we were not aware of but by no way would that or did that change our minds about her!!! She was ours and we were hers!
The older boys at the orphanage latched onto Ken right away. All the kids who saw us were following us.
There is no fence around this building. All the baby houses seemed to have fences around them. Where the lost boys are has a fence around it. No fence here. I'm not sure why they would need one anyway, there is NO PLACE to go! On the ride there I kept thinking what she must have been thinking driving all this way from the only home she has ever known. Were any other kids with her from her baby house or was it just her on this long journey. I was crying the whole way there on and off. Trying to tell myself its not going to help anyone with me crying! But then I would think of her all by herself and it made me sad and a little guilty that we could not get to her sooner somehow to make this not have had to happen to her. I knew she was scheduled for transfer in September but we just couldn't make it happen until now. Would she remember us? Would she remember Dani, Josh and Artem? There were a total of 6 or 7 people in the room but once our Inna walked in it felt like only her and I were in the room!!! I went down on my knees to make it easier for her and just kept saying her name over and over as I was hugging her. She looked out of sorts kind of, not the little girl I remembered with so much life and zest in her. She didn't remember us but was happy to see someone who obviously knew her. I pulled out the photo book I had from last summer with her playing with us and the kids and you could see in her eyes that it started clicking. She didn't want any other toys at that moment and just wanted to look at the photos. It then hit her, she said, through our facilitator, that she had thought where we were where did we go last year?!?! She really remembered Joshy and one of the caretakers that was in one of the photos from childrens day last year. She then got it. She pointed to me in the photo book and then touched my shoulder and said mama. She did the same for Ken then, pointed him out in the photo book and then touched his shoulder and said papa!!!! She remembered!!!! She doesn't get that she is coming home with us. She askes everyday if we will be back tomorrow. There is no one there that keeps the other kids away while we are visiting with Inna which is really okay with me. All these kids need attention and some loving! Once in a while Inna will get jealous and grab us and sit on our laps to show we are there for her, but that's her right now, its her turn to do that. She has waited far to long for a family and it's her turn now.
The kids are older, like I said, and most have issues. What exactly they are I'm not sure. I think a lot of people would just say its a place where a bunch of misfits live. But it is not that. It is so far from being that. These kids that live here don't see a lot of people. So we are something rare and special that has come through. They follow from a distance and watch. I offered one little boy candy who had been following us with Inna all day. He kept saying nyet every time. He saw the other kids take me up on my offer, but every time I asked he would shy away and said nyet. Finally after about 2 hours there I gave the last box of candy to a boy who took the box quickly to stand by a tree by himself hoping no one else would see he had the candy. They did and they all started going towards him to get some. The boy who would not take candy from me grabbed a few pieces from the boy walk away and started eating them. As he was eating and opening more to eat, he looked at me and said spasibo! If that alone does not change a person forever, I don't know what in life will! A lot of the older kids want so much to be next to us but are scared of us. The littler kids swarms us. One little boy was begging Ken that we should be his mama and papa! How can that one not change you???? Then there was the 12 year old girl who was being picked on another older girl. They both had special needs which were obvious. The way one would repeat things over and over and over and then talk to herself while the other one just laughed and laughed at her and also was talking to herself. It was just sad. So then I grabbed my hand lotion and big body spray out and had ALL the kids that were around come over to get some.....including the one girl who was being picked on. I showed them how good it smells and to rub the lotions all over. They loved it!!!
I needed a little breather so I asked Ken to try to keep their attention while I just walked to the end of the property and back. Well it was like a scene from Monty Python!!!! I would walk and knew they were following because I could here footsteps behind me. So I would stop and turn around and there was a group of about 6, 7 kids all behind a tree. So I would walk some more, stop, turn around and they would stop behind another tree!!! That was the only humor Ken and I got for the day. It was just so obvious I was not going to have any kind of breather/break!!!! So back I went to play and take pictures of the kids so they could see themselves on TV(camera) hehehehe! They loved it.
On the ride back to home I just broke down thinking what will happen to these kids? Why were they here? What would become of the kids that seemed mentally okay but maybe not physically? So many questions, so many thoughts, so many decisions. I just decided to let go and let God! I learned that long ago and now more than ever this is what I needed to do to get through this adoption. Once I get home I will do something to make a difference for these kids left behind! I am trying to connect with the people I need to connect with to make a difference.
After all the adoptions we have done I now know that I need to be doing something that will help all the kids left behind. I can no longer tell myself that I'm to busy or I have done my part. So I have started. Meeting people that will hopefully be able to help me help the kids. We are here for awhile longer and I will definitely be networking finding even more people to help me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting - May 25

Talk to the kids last night. Actually I stayed up all night searching for info on where we will be traveling to and the orphanage our little one was transferred to. The more I read the harder it was to get to sleep! So needless to say I was awake all night. It is definitely harder this time around because there are so many more kids at home telling me they miss me and when am I coming home and showing me notes and cards they made for me. Ugh, its not even been a week!!! Then I found out that when Lica was mowing she left the gate open. We have a big fenced back yard. Well there are five dogs, my 3 and the 2 brother puppies we bought grandpa from the shelter (another post). So they thought one of the puppies ran away but he was under the deck the whole time. I reminded Lica she has to check the gate so nobody gets out. We will be leaving around 3:00 to head for the region and hopefully get to give our big girl a huge HUG. I will get to wrap my arms around our little somebody that I haven't been able to do for 1 year!!! Cant wait! It wont be so hard saying good bye to the family we are staying with because I'm betting we will be back staying with them while doing embassy stuff!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

2ND DAY & APPT DAY - MAY 23, 2011

Our appointment with the SDA took only about 10 minuites! Nothing like the 2 hour appointment date we had last year. One of the head ladies that works at the SDA was walking in the hall as we were walking into the room to have a seat. She was very excited to see us again as she remembered Roc right away. Remember back in 2008, Ken and Roxana came here to try to hand in our dossier without a facilitator! This women has seen us almost every year for the last four years! She must think we are nuts or something but she gets a huge kick when she sees us again!
We are staying with a family that are good friends of our facilitator and I cannot tell you how kind they have been to us. They have three grown boys and a daughter who is 14 so Roc is in heaven. Their daughter speaks a little English but otherwise the two girls communicate by Google translate. They have been watching movies and funny videos on you-tube.
We found a few things out about our little one that we didn't know but we were not overly surprised by any of the new details. She has been transferred from where we saw her last so it will be interesting to say the least! Roc is out running around with our facilitator who is picking up homework from her daughter that is being sent by bus. We had lunch at TGIF after our appointment and then waited outside for the taxi driver that drove us to the SDA. Why were we waiting for THAT driver?........Roc left the camera in the car. So our facilitator made a call, not promising anything, to see if she could get the camera back. They found the camera but it would take a few hours because he had clients in his cab.
So that was our day today. So far so good. Kids are doing well at home as well. James wanted to know if we were done and coming home tomorrow!! He had a tough time last year with us gone so long. We promised him not this time, not that long!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

IT'S TIME

Well the time has finally come. Three kids from two different countries are waiting for us to come bring them home! I said I wanted them all home by the end of June and it looks like that is just what is going to happen. Please pray for my kids staying behind. Family and friends holding down the fort while we are gone. And also all my four legged kids who will wonder where I am. It definitely gets harder to travel when we are leaving so many more kids at home! But SO worth it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

iPad Giveaway

Two of the cutest little twins I have ever met live in Eastern Europe, in an orphanage, waiting.
The great news is that they won't have to wait much longer!!! In just 3 weeks and 2 days they will be able to wrap those tiny little arms of theirs around there mama and papa for the first time!
As we all know, the cost of bringing these little ones home is crazy. So for the next 13 days Alex and Ray will be trying to raise some more funds to bring Max and Lena home. Please go check out their blog and read about this sweet family! They are so close and we can all help them with a donation, small or big, to show our support by clicking here. It will be two less orphans in the world and that is what this is all about!

MAX & LENA for the Darrow family–Hutto, TX

Ramon (Ray)and Amber (Alex) have been married 7 years. They are blessed with 3 biological kids. Their oldest Ian is almost 6. He is sensitive, intense and passionate about everything, and loves to take things apart and figure out how they work. Chava is almost 4. She loves gymnastics and taking careful care of her dolls, including regular diaper changes. Micah is almost 2. He loves whatever his older siblings are doing, but most of all he loves trains and helping mommy and daddy in the kitchen by stirring and tasting. Ray works in IT at Dell, Inc. Alex takes good care of the kids at home full time, and also is starting to homeschool Ian.

Ray and Alex were completely surprised when the pieces starting very quickly falling in to place to adopt. Alex had shown Ray a waiting child on RR that had caught her eye, when he surprisingly responded that they could consider adopting. After a week or two of much discussing and dreaming they formally started down the path to grow their family. They have felt a particular affinity to HIV+ kids, and look forward to bringing Max and Lena home where proper nutrition and medical care can make a world of difference in their prognosis.

5/4/11—APPT IS MAY 30

Follow the Darrow family's adoption journey on their blog at http://iveyrock.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Like to WIN a DRR 300 ATV????

Well.....Remember Irina? This is her with her mama back in February.


You might remember this photo of her!
Anywho, the Allen's are bringing home another beauty. Her name is Addison. A lot of divine intervention has been happening for the Allen's to be able to bring little Addison home!
They have a awesome give away going on right now to help raise the remaining funds needed to bring their newest daughter home. Just click here to read about it.
Even if you can't give anything, please leave an encouraging comment and let them know your prayers are with them.

Something Fun

Casey Wiegand is a freelance artist. She sells the majority of her work through local galleries and her website. She loves doing commissions and loves to share her life through her blog. If you stop by you can expect pieces of her perspective on life, faith, kids, marriage...with touches of art, creative inspiration, projects and things she loves along the way.
Now meet her artwork:
Photobucket
Her paintings are AMAZING...
and you can find TONS of items to fit your style at her shop HERE.
Guess what! Today you will be entering to win a
$25 shop credit for one of her paintings!!!
{What a perfect Mother's Day gift for mama!}
To Enter:

1.Follow Casey Wiegand's INSPIRING blog HERE
2. Like Casey Wiegand's FB page HERE
3. Repost via twitter/blog/or facebook!
4. Follow The Shine Project
4 possible entries!

About Me

I married my high school sweetheart 26 years ago. Ken and I and have ten of the greatest kids from different parts of the world. We are hoping to bring a few more kiddos home! Throughout the years in our adoption journeys it has made us want to bring some kind of hope to these kids. This blog will hopefully allow us the opportunity to advocate for some of the orphans in the world. Join us in our journeys and the day to day happenings in raising 10 kids.....and counting.