Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 25--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for God's provision for your church's orphan care ministry. Ask Him to provide people and prayers and money and food and supplies to give the orphans all the care they need.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Blessing of Down Syndrome

This was written in a new parent handbook. It was written
by Roxanne Powers and written for her good friend 2 days after finding out about
her daughter's Ds. She said to use and share :-)

Hi! I am a child with Down syndrome. I have an extra chromosome-
I think because God knew I would have to deal with all the extra love I have.

My eyes are slightly almond-shaped- I think because God knew
That it would make it easier for them to crinkle when I smile.

My little finger turns in a bit- I think because God knew
That it would make it easier for me to grasp another's hand.

Some children with Down Syndrome have heart murmurs- I think
That's because their hearts are so filled with sharing that it's bound to be a
little noisy!

I move at a little slower pace- I think that's because God wanted other people
To slow down a bit- to savor the sweetness I have to share.

So, you see, God made me from a special recipe;
He made me by His own laws- for a very special cause.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 24--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for any church staff members and leaders. Ask for the Lord's hand of blessing on their lives. Lift up the health and safety of them and their families. Ask also that the Lord would break their hearts for the orphans in your community.

Day 23--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask the Lord to strengthen the faith and resolve of Christians working in orphan ministries.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 22--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for families who have members living with HIV and AIDS. Pray for the children orphaned by this disease. Ask God to provide treatment, care, and support through the church.

Please pray for families who are currently in the process of adopting children who are HIV positive as well as the beautiful kiddos with HIV on Reece's Rainbow and other sites who are still waiting for a mommy and daddy.

Our Addendum was delivered

Yes indeedy, that lovely document was delivered yesterday at 4:15 pm. That's a relief!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Joys of Paperwork

Our addendum arrived at USCIS this morning but I'm not sure the post office was able to deliver it. I think I may have messed up again (imagine that! --smile) because I wanted to be able to track it so I spent the extra 70 cents for delivery confirmation. The tracking info said that delivery was attempted and the USPS left a notice at the address. Does that mean someone from USCIS will have to go down to the post office to pick it up or ask to have it re-delivered? Now THAT would definitely not speed up the process. Bummer.

I got worried a night or two ago because in re-reading the pink slip notice we got from USCIS, I was afraid they might actually be requesting a whole amended home study rather than the simple addendum that I was so happy to put in the mail on Friday. However, this morning Carla told me that she thinks the addendum will be fine. What a relief.

I have re-typed all the dossier documents that had Kevin's old passport information in them (since his updated one has arrived in the meantime) and have re-printed the medical forms. The medicals expire every 6 months so Carla is suggesting that we get them up-dated so everything will be as up-to-date as possible when we (FINALLY) send our dossier. I plan to wait until I know we have USCIS approval before I take them to our doctors (just in case there are other issues with our I800A application, I don't want to lose precious time off that 6 months window)

Day 21--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for government leaders in your country. Ask the Lord to burden their hearts for the orphans. Ask that they would feel compelled to protect and provide for orphans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 20--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray that the Christians in your village, town, city, and country would believe and live out the truth of Proverbs 14:31: "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Cost of an Adoption

Writing about money is kind of embarrassing to me. It seems indelicate somehow. Yet it is such a real part of adoption. AND it is possible that God is calling someone to pray for our finances or even to donate. I know that the times I have contributed to someone else's adoption monetarily, I have felt like I was truly a part of their adventure and doubly rejoiced when they traveled to get their children. I wouldn't want to cheat someone out of that blessing :) :) :)

A special needs adoption using About A Child is estimated at $19,000-$22,000. Before you gasp in shock and assume that this money is being used to line the pockets of some shyster in a dark back-alley somewhere in Eastern Europe, here are the price break-downs provided by AAC. As you can see, the different areas can have a lot of variation. The country program fee is used for things like translation of a ton of documents from English to Abby's language and probably half a ton of documents from her language to English, lots of document fees, court fees and I'm not really sure what all. I have an itemized list but can't remember what all it includes at this second.

AAC Estimates/Our Actual Costs (Paid So Far)

Case management fee: $3,000/$3,000 ($2650)
Homestudy: $350 + mileage / $650+mileage ($600+$75.20) includes required educational classes
Homestudy Hague Review by AAC: $250 $250 (0)
Four required post-placement reports: $1,000/ $800 ($800)
Country Program Fee: $10,000 /$10,000 ($2000 pd + $1290 saved)
Passport for adults:/ $110 ($110 + $5.29 for picts)
Passport for child: /I'm not sure how much this will be
USCIS application: $720/ $670 ($670)
Fingerprints for USCIS: $160 for married couple/ $160 ($160)
Medical and police clearances, marriage license, birth certificates,
other dossier documents: $100-$300/ $320.20 ($305.20)
Notary and Apostille: $150-$500 / $200-250 ($30)
Visa for child+immigrant visa security surcharge: $400/ $404 (0)
Child's medical evaluation: $100/ $100 (0)
Travel & Lodging: $5,000-$7,000 / I don't have a clue yet. I just saw Jan tickets for $1280 per person, round-trip

Other Expenses:
Reece's Rainbow: $275 ($275)
Photocopies/Mailing/FAX/printing: total unknown ($218.21 so far)

It is amazing to me that in the months since agreeing to adopt Abby, God has helped us pay almost $6,550 toward her adoption and save another $1290 toward the program fee. Our most immediate needs are for apostilles, program fee (total due by first travel), and actual travel costs for our first trip which I'm thinking could be in January. If you'd like to contribute to Abby's adoption fund, please click on her picture to the right. All funds donated through Reece's Rainbow are tax-deductible and are actually donated to Abby, not specifically to us. When I last checked we had $5 in this fund. (Thank you so much to whoever donated it.) This is a protection of your investment because, if for some reason we could not continue her adoption, the money would stay with her and bless her new family.

Day 19--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for your Pastor. Ask God to provide him with resources, encouragement, courage, and a strong prayer team to support him as he seeks to live out James 1:27: "Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us."

The Updates are on their way to USCIS

Today we received the addendum to our home study from the Boise office and I mailed a copy of it along with the original home study to our assigned officer in Missouri.

I do hope this is all they will need to process our I800A form.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Update on the Adoption/Home Front

Well, we still don't have the addendum in our possession. I guess there was a mis-communication and apparently our caseworker thought I was still going to come and pick up the addendum from her office. So it didn't actually get mailed to Boise until last Tuesday. On Thursday I emailed the Boise office to give them a heads-up that the document was coming and got an automated response saying the office was closed for the rest of the week. So yesterday I emailed again: yes, we have the addendum but the person who needs to sign it is out of the office. Today, I emailed but got no response.

We did get Kevin's new passport yesterday (YES!) which means I need to re-do all the documents that had the old passport info on them. I'm glad I hadn't got them apostilled yet.

Also Carla from About A Child says she recommends that we go ahead and update our medicals before we submit our dossier since they will be expiring in January. I know this is wise advice but honestly right now I just feel worn out with trying and trying to get our paperwork done and feeling like I'm going backwards. Two weeks ago, I thought we just had 2 more papers to go; now I need about 8. Sorry, right now that feels like 8 million but I know my outlook will be brighter tomorrow because everyone who reads this is going to pray, right??

Since October 1 I've been home-schooling James. It's funny cuz my Yahoo ID is schoolmothe2 and I'd been thinking I really need to change that because it hasn't been accurate for some time. Well . . . . it fits again. Actually James is now enrolled with Idaho Virtual Academy which is an online Idaho public charter school but we've been using old Alpha-Omega curriculum for Bible, History and Science and one of the math textbooks our kids got while dumpster-diving at the school a few months ago while we've been waiting for our supplies. Yesterday we were able to access some of the preliminary how-to videos and today we actually used on-line stuff for French and Math. We already got all the computer equipment and tomorrow we are supposed to receive all our other "stuff"--textbooks, workbooks, and whatever else. I have used IDVA before. It is a LOT of work, you have to log in at least 5 hours of instruction daily and be making satisfactory progress in all the core subjects but I think it is EXCELLENT. You also take part in all state testing. It uses the K12 curriculum and William Bennett's name is closely associated with that--he's the one that does "Children's Book of Virtues", etc.

Day 18--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask the Lord to raise up respite care providers to support and give relief to the caregivers caring for orphans who are waiting to have families adopt them.

Wow, what a cool request. Our Abby is actually not in an orphanage but in a family-type setting. So while you're praying could you please pray specifically for her care-givers as well?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 17--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask for forgiveness for Christians around the world who forget the orphans and forget to heed I John 3:17: "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 16--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray that because of God's mercy, He will provide caregivers and counselors for children who have been abused.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 15--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for yourself as a church member. Ask the Lord to lead you on, that you might walk in obedience. Ask God to show you how to encourage your church family or youth to care for the needs of orphans.

Good news: Today I took Orphan Sunday posters to a nearby pastor who is excited about having his church collect items for an orphanage in Mexico.

Today I spoke with our youth leader about the Nov 5 Desperation Band simulcast available through especially for youth and college age students. He already is familiar with this band and is very interested in having our kids participate.

Step by step.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 14--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray that your whole congregation will believe and be convicted by Proverbs 22:9: "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." Ask for the Lord's blessings on those who share their food with orphans.

Here's Another Picture of our Abby

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 13--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask the Lord to lead the lawmakers in every nation to protect and provide for orphans.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Anne Marie--Let Her Death Not Be in Vain

Today we who are part of the Reece's Rainbow group received word that little Anne Marie, an orphan with Down syndrome who has been waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . . in Eastern Europe . . .

Waiting. . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . .for a mommy and daddy to commit to her adoption
. . . waiting . . . and waiting . . . while people on this side of the world were advocating for her, trying so hard to raise money for her adoption grant . . .
. . . today we found out that she has moved to Jesus' house and many, many of us who never knew her in person are mourning her passing.

These children cannot wait forever. Many of them are truly in life or death situations--even ones like little Anne Marie who looked 'healthy' just a few short months ago.

Please, while we mourn, let us all step up our efforts, our prayers, our passion, our urgency to find homes for these children. While we were waiting for more money, a bigger house, a more secure job, a lightning bolt to strike us from the throne of God--Anne Marie ran out of time. Please don't let Anne Marie's death be in vain.

************************************************The following post was written by a fellow-member of Reece's Rainbow who actually got to meet Anne Marie this summer while adopting another child. She has given me permission to share part of the beautiful tribute she wrote for this precious little girl.


...devastated, crushed, just hurting....

Anne Marie...Anya...has gone to a far greater place. She is now in the loving arms of her Father. She is in the arms of her Savior, Jesus. . . . Why then does it hurt so much to all of us who advocated for her and loved her here below?

Anya was a beautiful girl, born November 25, 2005 in Eastern Europe. She had Down syndrome.

She was likely born to parents who were shocked, fearful and felt helpless. She was likely abandoned at the local hospital, as most are, and stayed there for two weeks before she was moved to the regional hospital until she reached two months of age. From there she went to the region's orphanage. The same orphanage as our sweet Stas.

A beautiful picture that Heather made to advocate for AnneMarie.
She is another person that would have gotten her had she been able.

Born with a heart defect, which likely could have been repaired had she been born in the the U.S. or a healthier society, Anya entered a low-stimulation room and stayed there day after day. Her days and nights were spent in a crib. Mostly likely she slept in one crib and played in another. In the warm months she made frequent trips to the doctor's office in the orphanage to get IV hydration. She was not allowed to walk because "it was too hard on her heart." When families would ask about her she was waved off as a piece of filth. The caretakers, who seemed very kind, would point to her heart, draw a heart on their own chest, scowl, and wave their hand at her as if to "shoo" her away, and let me know she wasn't worth taking. Their hand gesture let us know that she wasn't even worth our inquiry. They were quick to point us to another child or of whom was sweet Taya. She had her forever family coming for her shortly...praise God!

Anya had weaseled her way into our hearts before the trip to go get our precious Stas, but after meeting her and spending time with her (though not enough) she bedded down in our hearts. My daughter Lizzy spent some nice time with her and has some beautiful pictures with her playing "patty cake", "peek-a-boo", and giving her a little hand massage. I'm glad she got to experience this little innocent soul. Anya touched her deeply. I haven't told Lizzy the news yet and know she will hurt deeply.

One warm summer day while visiting Stas we brought lotion, baby bath and baby powder to Anya and Taya's group. We saw their group once or twice a day sitting outside under the tree in little umbrella strollers. Many lay in portable cribs or buggies. There room was on a lower level by an outside door which allowed them to bring strollers and cribs outside for fresher air. Feeling a little brazen, I put lotion on my hands and started giving some mini-massages. First to Taya and then to Anya....oh, that felt so good....for me. It was fascinating to see little Anya come to life after that massage. Her senses were awakened. She craved attention. Every time we walked by she watched our every step. Every picture we have, with her in the background, she was watching intently.

I ponder why it hurts so much for us that loved her so much. Don't we want heaven for all people? Yes. Anya was loved and we WAITED for her forever family to find her. . . . Anya represents every other child in Eastern Europe with Down syndrome or any other disability whose life here on earth will be snuffed out because they were not born "typical." They were born into a post-communism society that is repressed and unable to care for the "least among them." The society doesn't know what to do with these children/people. In communism, the focus was on productivity, and from a work-force perspective, they weren't productive. So...they got sent away. There are those in Eastern Europe who advocate for their own children or others with special needs and we can pray that someday they welcome these precious children and learn that they are the best teachers we have. Of course, we in the U.S. have a lot to learn too...with an abortion rate of 90% among those discovered to have Down syndrome our hearts are not where they should be yet. These precious children are teachers of our souls. They do our heart so much good.

By the age of 4-6 years old, children in Eastern Europe with special needs are transferred to mental institutions. Their prognosis is bleak. I have been told that 80% of these children die within the first year of transfer.

If you see this post and are moved, please pray for these children. Go to and see if you are being called to adopt one of God's special children. Yes, it is expensive. The reward is unbeatable. These children need a loving family. A mom to hold them in their sadness and praise them in their accomplishments. They need a dad to love them and cherish their goodness, throw them in the air and make them giggle. They need siblings to be their lifelong cheerleaders and unconditional friends. Might you be that family?

Here is Anya....look at her inquisitive nature. Look at her giggle when Lizzy just waved at her. I wish I would have ripped her out of that stroller and just hugged her and hugged her....

Rest in peace sweet Anya!

Day 12--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray that God, the Defender of the orphan, will rise up and secure justice for the oppressed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 11--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray specifically for any orphans you may know by name. Pray for their health and safety. Pray for their shelter. Pray that they will be brought into loving families who will provide for their education.

Ruslan for lots more names

Monday, October 11, 2010

Please consider donating to my friend Tammy

You can read her blog post from today:

We met Tammy at the Orphan Summit in Minneapolis this spring. She and I wore our Reece's Rainbow shirts the same day. I have so enjoyed following her adoption journey, and have been inspired by her words of faith in God and impressed by her endless fund-raising. She and her husband are scheduled to leave for Eastern Europe in just 11 days to adopt a sweetie named Mayah and still need about $10,000 dollars. AND to make the story even more exciting and to give God an even bigger chance to show off, they decided today to adopt a 2nd adorable little girl--Sveta-- while they're at it. While she lives in the same country, she lives in a totally different region. Completing this 2nd adoption will pretty much double their in-country expenses.

We know that God can do it--but we also know that He uses people--people like you and me. He could miraculously mint the money himself and just put it in their wallet BUT in his kindness he let's us mortals "help" so we can also share in the excitement when we see the end product--2 little girls safe and secure in their very own family.

Day 10--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask the Father to set the lonely in families. Pray specifically for families in your community who may be in the process of adopting an orphan. Ask for God's provision for all of their needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 9--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

I don't know about you guys, but these prayers are really touching me. They are powerful.

Today, pray that God would break the heart of your city's pastors with the plight of orphans. Ask that He would convict them to lead their churches to pray, go, and love in Jesus' name.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 8--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest from your church and community. Ask Him to call Christians to go to the "fields of the fatherless" to experience the joy of caring for orphans as we are commanded in Isaiah 1:16-17 "Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 7--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, thank the Lord in advance for all that He is going to do to bring glory to His name in your church and community. Thank Him for the care He is going to provide for orphans through your church.

Our Addendum/Our Trip to Boise

On Wednesday my child abuse clearance came through from Arizona--woo!hoo! It looked like it was just in time! My plan was to drive over to our caseworkers office about 45 minutes away and get the notarized addendum to our homestudy that her secretary was staying later to give to me. Then I'd be able to take it with us to Boise on Thursday and get it counter-signed/notarized by some other official person in A New Beginning's main office--AND--send it on its merry way to USCIS. My thought was that if they got the notice that we'd done our fingerprints and our required addendum at the same time that it would not cause a delay in getting our approval.

My caseworker said I should come "right now" if I wanted to make it in time. Well, you know that "right now" is not exactly immediate if you are taking 2 little guys with you--gotta go potty, find shoes, all that kind of stuff--but we did get out the door in fairly good time.

We sailed off down the free-way and the car made a funny noise, so I switched off the radio and then the air conditioner--the funny noise stopped so I figured I'd solved the problem. I did notice that the gauge was reading HOT but for some reason I thought there might be a problem with the gauge. The steam out from under the hood and visible in my rear-view mirror changed my mind. I then pulled immediately to the side of the road.

Bummer! No way to get the paper in time. I called the case worker (so she could let the secretary go on home) and then Kevin. Kevin wouldn't be able to get there for at least 2 1/2 hours. Thankfully Dad was available to drive out and get the little boys and I and to help me get the suburban off the road (the State Police had stopped and informed me that if the vehicle was still even a teeny bit on the pavement after dark, that they'd have to tow it)

Then when Kevin got home from work, he grabbed Caleb, Steven and I and we headed back out to the car. (Sorry, I realize a suburban is technically a truck but I always refer to it as a car) The older kids had already headed to the homecoming football game which we usually attend as a family. Kevin quickly discovered that a serpentine belt had come loose (he'd replaced the alternator on Sunday when same vehicle dead quit on me and thought he just hadn't got it tight enough). It was 8:53 so we called ahead to a parts place in Burley that routinely closes at 9:00--the guy agreed to stay open until we got there. The belt was just $18 or $19--'easy fix' we thought. We worked our way back to the vehicle and I held the light while Kevin strained to get the belt in the right position. Finally, we were on our way. But the cheap repair was not enough. As Kevin drove he noticed a more serious problem. The radiator seemed to be toast. So we had to park the suburban off the road at the next exit and come home. Got home about 11:15 pretty discouraged.

Thursday morning we all got up and worked to get our stuff loaded into the motor home (the toasted suburban helped us make up our minds whether to take the motor home which has a major gas-drinking habit or to stay in a motel--because the motor home is the only other vehicle we own that will hold all of us) You know how that goes trying to make sure everyone has blanket, pillow, jammies, shirt, pants, underwear, socks, toiletries as well as whatever food out of fridge and cupboards we could throw in for easy meals. Our fingerprint appointment was scheduled for 11 am in Boise. Unfortunately before we could really get on the road we had to go through Twin and leave the keys at the towing company. 1st stop--gas for the fuel hog. 2nd stop--the towing company had changed locations. 3rd stop--no one there--Kevin called and the person was out of state for cancer treatment :( 4th stop--we don't take the keys here, you have to go to the office down the street and around the corner. On the way to the 'corner' we found the office of the towing company that Kevin really preferred anyway so that was the 5th stop--gave them the keys and the insurance card. Good grief. (On the way to Boise the repairman called--he'd already checked out the car, verified that the problem was indeed the radiator and said it will cost $399 to fix the jewel)

We did eventually make it to USCIS-- late but there nevertheless. They were expecting about a hundred cars quite soon for a citizenship ceremony so hurried us through (our motor home was taking up too much space in the parking lot) I'd say we were both in and out in 15 minutes. That was by far the easiest, least time-consuming, least-hassled part of the whole trip. So Abby-Sweetie, mommy and daddy are working hard to get to you.

I want to publicly praise God for the cool way He has attended to the entertainment of our children this summer. With an international adoption in progress our extra funds are pretty much non-existent so this really blesses my heart that God cares so much for our kids that He does this extra stuff. 1) The Lagoon. Earlier in the summer 3 of the big kids got the opportunity (because of our relationship with another church for a special needs support group) to go to the Lagoon for $10 apiece--we're talking food, housing, entrance fee everything--and then got their $10 back once there for spending money! 2) Also a couple months ago James got to go for free with a friend to a performance of the Blue Angels. The friend knows one of the pilots personally so he got to go to the VIP area, get autograph, go up in a helicopter, etc, etc. 3) Yesterday--Historical Museum in Boise--entrance is FREE the first Thursday evening of every month from 5:00-9:00--guess what day we 'happened' to be there?!! 4) Today--Discovery Center we discovered is FREE every Friday compliments of Fred Meyers--guess who enjoyed that venue for a few hours ?!! And our over-night camping space was free--close to the WalMart parking lot. I just think that is pretty cool

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 6--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask the Lord to help your church family to live out Proverbs 31:8: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 5--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, pray for the fatherless in your community. Ask the Lord to protect them and to care for them and to defend them and keep them safe.

In answer to Alice's question about the source of this prayer guide, please go to and click on resources. There are so many things at this site <> that can assist any person in putting together an event--large or small--for their church, community, neighborhood for Orphan Sunday, November 7. And if you plan ANY event you can advertise it and pin it on the map located on that site.

New Family Picture

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 4--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask the Lord to help your church congregation to feel His heart for the orphans as seen in Psalm 68:5-6: "A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families . . ."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 3--40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care

Today, ask God that of the 2 billion Christians in the world, 7% would show hope to a single orphan, looking after the child in their distress. Ask the Lord to convict the church around the world that if we did this, there would effectively be no more orphans. Ask the Lord to show each of His followers that we can each do something.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bah humbug--the beautiful pink slip from USCIS

Well at least I know that someone at USCIS has looked at our application because today we received a lovely pink slip from them requesting more information. Nothing major--it just all takes more time.