5 Months Home

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We have spent the past 5 months (and two days!) with our precious new addition.  Boden “Heath” is doing so well, and is making progress at every turn.  Just since November he has gained 10 pounds, is figuring out drinking from a straw, he is feeding himself (very messily :)), He is taking lots of steps on his own, and is able to focus on things and people so much more than when he got here.  He loves music, bouncing, chocolate, kisses and hugs, being outside, and having a brother and sisters.  I absolutely love getting to know our new son, and discovering his personality as it slowly unfolds.  My firstborn has hit the ground running with her older little brother.  She is amazing, and her heart and compassion never fails to…well, amaze me.  She made the comment a few weeks ago that she could help people like Boden as a job when she is older.  Man, I love that girl.  The youngest two are doing great, too.  They are so close to starting to read, and they soak everything in around them.  I love my kids.  I love watching them, listening to them….seeing their eyelashes, or ringlets….everything about my kids has me absolutely in love.  Everyday I am so thankful to God for his good gifts to me.  I don’t deserve any of it.  None.

We were  hesitant when we started this process.  We didn’t know what the implications would be for our family.  I will say that there have been some tough times the past few months.  We are learning to be Boden’s parents, and he is learning how to be in a family.  But this has been easier than we first believed it would be.  Boden fits right in with us, and we have hit a new normal….a much slower-paced normal, but normal nonetheless =)  Boden was napping the other day, and the three bios were helping with dinner, and it occurred to me that I don’t remember what it was like before he came along.  It kind of makes me want to thumb my nose at the naysayers that were out there….even people who seemed supportive to our face, and went around to everyone else talking like we were crazy.  I could say, “Nana Nana Boo Boo…..we didn’t ‘bite off more than we can chew’, and we are absolutely in love with this sweet boy.” I could say that…but I won’t ;)

Boden has had several trips to different doctors.  His heart is completely normal, all blood tests are normal ( with the exception of slightly low calcium), he had oral surgery today, he is starting PT/OT very soon and speech to follow, among some other things.

We have had big changes, and it set the ball in motion for more possible changes.  If you pray for our family, could you keep us in your prayers?  Change is hard, but sometimes necessary; and there quite a few that we will be making in the near future, Lord willing.

Sorry that I stink so bad at blogging.  And I am sorry there are no pictures. I haven’t figured that out yet, and all my pictures are on my phone.  Just take my word for it–Boden is precious and beautiful…and so are all my other kiddos….and so is my hubby =)

 

Rememberance

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I sit here, trying to write something poetic or eloquent, and I feel like I can’t write anything to do the lost children of Eastern European orphanages any justice. So I guess just bear with me while I barrel my way through this.

There are hundreds of thousands of special needs children given up to the state in Eastern Europe and other countries.  For whatever reason, be it a culture of unnacceptance or genuine fear/concern for their children, parents are handing over their children to be raised in unloving, harsh, animalistic conditions.  At a certain point–usually around age 6–the children that haven’t been adopted are transferred to older institutions and orphanages.  Of those kids, if their disabilities have prevented them from sitting up on their own, they are doomed to a life in a laying down room. 

A laying down room is just what it sounds like.  These babies are sentenced to a life in a crib–if you could call it a life.  Cries are ignored, children lie in their own waste, they are barely fed…..this goes on until their muscles atrophy, their poor bodies stiffen, and they die.  (Conditions are so bad in these rooms, that outsiders are rarely allowed to enter.) They live their whole lives in a crib until they die. Unless they are adopted. Few are.

This brings us to today.  In an Eastern European mental institution, where my son, Boden Heath lives out his days, there was a little boy named Hanson.  Hanson was in a laying down room, and he was lost to this world until he passed away.  His body was likely carried out and buried in a grave at the institution, and it was like he never existed.  But today we remember him. 

An extraordinary man in Canada has advocated for Hanson while Hanson was still alive, donating money, goods for fundraisers, praying for him.  This precious man has put together a High Requiem mass in honor of Hanson.  Not only that, but the other Lost Boys of Heath’s institution are being honored and prayed for as well. 

We were not able to be there, but we remembered these boys here in TX.  We are so grateful that everyone has included Boden Heath in this vigil.  Please remember the kids that are still waiting for families to find them.  I have posted a candle to my Facebook wall, but in this moment, I can’t figure out how to put one on my blog, so I hope this tribute of sorts is enough. 

Please pray that Boden Heath will remain safe as we tirelessly work towards him.  We have received our USCIS (immigration) approval, and it will be sent to his country soon. That’s it. Then we wait for an appointment date to find his file, so we can have permission to visit with him.  We are so close!

Sorry I am such a bad blogger.  Things around here have been crazy busy.  I have a feeling it won’t calm down anytime soon.  Thanks for all your support!

 

Mehgan

Brett

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This is Brett.  Brett is one of tens of thousands of lost, abandoned, and forgotten children in Eastern Europe.  He has a very special story.  You see, when I say abandoned, I mean he was in every sense of the word abandoned.

When Brett was found the day he was born–August 23, 2001–he was found in a field.  Left to die.  He was found with bug bites covering his entire body, hypothermic, unresponsive, and his tiny newborn body was in shock.  He was taken to the hospital, treated, and he recovered.  The stranger who stumbled across him saved his life.  But saved it for what?

Brett is currently living his life in a mental institution because he has Down Syndrome.  He is spending his days neglected, hungry, and alone…..not too unlike how he was found when he was born.  This can’t be all that there is for him. 

Brett’s life is precious.  All of these orphans’ lives are.  Today we scream at the top of our lungs for someone too look his way and notice him.

There is so much movement on Reece’s Rainbow lately. People are being led to adopt these children. More people are feeling compelled to donate to these childrens’ grants.  Maybe God saved Brett for such a time as this.  Maybe it is his time to be found.  To be noticed.  To be brought home.

Maybe he was saved for you.

Brett needs a home.  He needs money in his grant.  Maybe a family isn’t stepping forward for him because the financial aspect of adopting is so daunting.  Right now he has a grant of over $2500.  The Reece’s Rainbow community is so awesome, that the money will come.  Don’t let the money be a deterrent.

Brett can communicate non verbally, he is flexible, and doesn’t seem to be aggressive.  He would make a loving, wonderful son. 

If he doesn’t find a home, Brett will live out his days in a warehouse built for boys, and then he will die the same way he came into this world–alone. 

Pray for Brett. Donate to Brett’s grant on Reece’s Rainbow.  Look at Brett and remember him as you go about your daily life.  Open your home and heart  to Brett. 

http://reecesrainbow.org/1146/brett-b-396

 

 

Moving Along

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For those of you watching and following our journey, we have had some progress lately!

Last weekend we held a garage sale, and were able to raise over $800! I just want to give a huge THANK YOU to those of you who donated items to us, and those who came to shop.  I have also been working on seven foot rulers that I sell as growth charts. I ended up having 9 orders for those, and I’m putting one in an auction.

PROGRESS:  Last week I was able to wire my money to the RR  facilitation team.  This week we have started our online adoption training, my draft for my home study will be submitted, I have gotten proof of mortgage/homeownership, our copies of marriage licenses, and got my car inspected (not that I need that for my adoption, but it’s progress!).  I also got my first 8 forms notorized and apostilled, and they are headed to Eastern Europe at the end of the week!!!

Thursday we are going to apply for our passports. I was going to do that last Thursday, but I have a gigantic fever blister on my lip. It’s still there, but I am trying not to be too vain because I really need to get it done.  On a side note, when I had my C-sections with all three of my biological kiddos, I got fever blisters each and every time.  I told Caleb I knew Heath was mine, because he was giving me fever blisters too! haha

I am wondering though, if anybody struggles with the same feelings that I do.  Feel free to let me know if you do, so I don’t feel like a nut!

I want to spend every wakeful minute working on the adoption, and probably could because there’s so much to do. But I’m a full time mom to three and a house keeper.  At the moment, I feel like I’m neglectful of my kids, and my house is a wreck! I am pulled so many directions, that there are times when I just sit down and cry for a minute.  I did stop yesterday and play outside and ride bikes with the kids.  It was so refreshing.  I guess I’m not sure exactly where my main priority is or should be.  Heath is my kid, too, and I need to do everything in my power to bring him home. We’re working through it, and we’ll all be OK.

I will say this. The online adoption training is making me anxious. Thanks a lot, social worker, for making us do it even though our country doesn’t require it! At age twelve, apparently the brain prunes itself, and that has me concerned that Heath is going to be harder to break through to.  Has his brain lost all the connections that it needs to connect with us and new experiences? Please pray for my poor baby and that his mind will be ready to handle us and his big changes, and that we will be there before too much longer.

Also pray for Caleb and me.  We have always and still do have such an incredible, extraordinary relationship. We are fiercely devoted to each other, and loving each other has always been easy.  I am constantly conscious of amount of love I have for him, and it never ceases to amaze me.  And I see that love for me reflected in his honey colored eyes (he looks at me differently than everyone else.).  When we started this process, our friends–who are in country now–advised us to not lose each other through all the paperwork and red tape.  I halfway thought he was crazy, but I understand now. With our three kids, housework, the broken lawnmower, and his long crazy hours, I feel like I don’t see much of him. We miss each other. And there are times when he is home, and we’re not busy,  that I am so stressed out, that I find my self biting his head off about silly things, or we just pass smooth out–haha!  Pray that we don’t lose each other….and maybe that we can have a date night before too long =)  We are still us. We are still good. We are just caught in a whirlwind.

Thank you all for your prayers. Thank you for loving our Heath, and thank you for loving us.  It is so amazing at the support system that we have through RR. All of you mean so much to me.  Y’all are a special kind of people.

Mehgan

 

In the Throes

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So far for our adoption, we have done a home study and all that goes along with it, wired money to the country we are adopting from, had physicals and blood work done, had a garage sale, and more. I know we are just in the beginning stages, but it is so easy to feel completely overwhelmed (especially after the stack of papers I printed out yesterday sits in front of me). I have even told my husband that I thought this adoption process might just be harder than my three pregnancies!  I feel like a baby complaining about it. I have to take several deep breaths to calm down here lately, and I keep telling myself that God is control of this whole situation, and He is directing our paths.  And the onslaught of support that we have received from friends and strangers alike has been such an encouragement!

We are on our way to bringing home our new son, Heath.

Heath is a lost boy in a Eastern European country with no family of his own (until now!) He is a sweet, tiny little boy with Down Syndrome.  We know/have gathered that for six years, Heath has been in an institution where he has shared a wheelchair with another boy.  He hasn’t had a book or a toy. He hasn’t been loved on by anyone.  He is quiet and overlooked.  He can sit up, so he is not in a laying down room, so he gets to go outside and sit to do nothing.  By a friend’s account he is a chubby-cheeked boy who sits in the dirt playing with a piece of string for hours on end.
I am a stay at home mom, and I must admit, I get bored sometimes. I hate to do nothing.  When I get bored, you can bet we are going to find something to do! I cannot imagine my whole life being about nothing. Sitting, waiting for nothing to happen day in and day out.

There is another family that has seen Heath in 2011, I believe.  They said he looked like he was “be-bopping” around in his communal wheelchair.  This is all we know about our son.  We don’t know if he can walk or talk.  We don’t know if he has any medical problems aside from or as a result of the Down Syndrome that he has.  We don’t know if he is alright.  Nobody has seen him in 2 years, and there has been no update available for him, either.  We have taken a huge leap of faith with the decision we have made to bring him home.

But we do know this:

Hundreds of people have loved Heath for several years.  God has had His hand on Heath since he was in his mother’s womb.  God has worked in our hearts to bring us to this adoption, and all of the rallying and support and donations to Heath’s grant was a miracle given to us by God to make this possible.  We are moving in forward in faith, trusting that Heath is OK, and that before too long he will be in the empty chair at the dining table, sleeping on the bottom bunk of the bunk beds (that we need to buy/find!!) in Sawyer’s room, and riding behind the driver’s side seat in the van.  I imagine him in all of these places, and I cannot wait for my baby to actually be here!

Our FSP through Reese’s Rainbow is fully funded. That’s a huge part of the battle!  We will get that money when we receive travel dates, so all of our travel and in country expenses will be covered–thanks to all the loving donations from people around the country.  We are now working on our state-side dossier which will include a ginormous stack of papers, fingerprints, USCIS approval to bring in a foreign child as a member of our family, passports, apostilles, certified copies of various certificates, and much much more.  Caleb will also be losing one or two paychecks during our travel.  And Heath will need quite a bit of medical attention when he gets home.  We will need to have his heart, ears, teeth, eyes checked, among lots of other things (possibly a wheel chair).  I have had people ask how they could help. We need prayers most of all. But if there is any of you out there that would like to contribute to our adoption journey, we could accept those through the mail or PayPal as a gift. You need to understand, though, that these donations would be to individuals, so it isn’t tax deductible.

We are not alone in our journey to adopt. There are so many families that have been called to this as we have.  Please pray for them. Donate money to them. Support them in any way that you possible can.  Even a kind word can mean the world to a family in the throes of adoption.  This is a long hard journey, full of bumps and victories.  You can donate to families’ sponsorship pages through Reece’s Rainbow, and all of those contributions are tax deductible.

There is an AMAZING giveaway going on right now at covenantbuilders.blogspot.com that has a very high odds of winning, and it directly proceeds several families and children that are a part of Reece’s Rainbow.

Sorry if the link doesn’t work…I am still figuring this out!  Bear with me, please!

Please pray for my sanity, my children, our process going swiftly and smoothly, my husband’s stress level, Heath’s safety, and most of all that God continue to direct us in everything that we do, and that this is all done soley for His glory.

Mehgan

Hope > Fear

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*Caleb writing

Thank you all so much for the support, we have been blown away by the tidal wave of support Heath enjoys that has spilled over onto us.  It’s almost comical to think of this poor little guy, minding his own business, totally unaware or the shed tears, prayed prayers, sacrificed dollars, and mountains being moved on his behalf, and all of this before we ever knew about him. Not many people on this earth are at the same time so lonely and destitute, and yet so loved and advocated for.  If he only knew..

For reasons sufficient to Himself, God has apparently decided to rescue this one particular boy, who is utterly and completely helpless to do anything about his situation.  God puts on display His Power and Glory by conquering mighty things with lowly things, by valuing those things which have been despised by man in his wisdom, and using them to shame that wise man.  When we take up the case of the widow and orphan, we imitate God in His care for the helpless.  And I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that He has commanded that we do this not only for the benefit of those He would have us help, but in order to remind us of our own state as sinners in need of redemption, utterly helpless to do anything about our situation, and we might rejoice in our salvation through Jesus.

We are so glad to be able to build upon the work that so many have done before us, and participate and rejoice in this work, so that His Name may be praised.  He has enriched our lives already through the baby steps we’ve taken so far, and we look forward to what is to come with fear, and yet hope that is holding it down.

Soli Deo Gloria

Deciding to Internationally Adopt a Special Needs Child

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I had no idea that tens of thousands of children were being abandoned by their parents because of special needs that they have. Until I found Reece’s Rainbow(RR). Now I am aware of this problem, and I cannot stand idly by and  do nothing. When I stumbled across RR, we had been praying that God would use us how he best see fit in order to glorify Him through helping others. The kids’ pictures and profiles tugged our hearts, and we felt a burden to help in someway. We didn’t think that it would be adoption–I mean come on, it’s expensive, and we have three kids on one income. We don’t have an extra thirty grand sitting around. But then we saw a picture of a little boy from an Eastern European country, and our hearts broke. For days we cried over the despair of all these kids’ situations, but this boy stood out to us most of all. And then we saw that we wouldn’t have to come up with $30k. Could we really do this, then? No, what about our kids? It was crazy, right? But every time that we tried to talk ourselves out of it, we realized that it was for selfish reasons, and we knew that if we didn’t do this we would be being glaringly disobedient to what God was calling us to do.

God put a love in our hearts for a boy that lives on the other side of the globe, that we have never met. So as long as God is still leading us, we will follow and go get this neglected, lost boy and bring him home.

The past week or so has been an emotional roller coaster. We have made an official announcement that we are pursuing adoption, and that has been met with mixed reactions. For the most part, people have been so supportive…in words and donations that will go towards a future fundraiser. However there have been a few people  that do not understand our new calling, and are not really supportive. We are praying that these few will come around and rally with us, and love our new son as we do.

We have our home study scheduled, and the overwhelming amount of paperwork is now lying ahead of us. Even so early in the stages of this adoption, God has moved mountains. It is so clear that His hand is in this.  Please pray for us as we face the unknown of international government, institutional behaviors, and everything else that goes along with this process. When we are officially committed, and have the OK, we will put up a picture of our boy and his RR name.