Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ahnja Pick up and One Month Update ( a little late lol)


Ahnja was next on the pickup schedule.  I was worried.  I knew what she had been told about US being the ones to leave her.  I also knew that she was older and in a group home where she likely had some attachments.

When we arrived and went up to the "flat" that they lived in there, the other children had gone away the day before on a vacation and she had been left behind with one staff.  She was happy to see herself on the camera, but very unsure of me.  I have no idea what could have been told to her after Brent left or right before I arrived.  She was happy to call me "Mama" after just a few minutes.  There were lots of hugs and she gave me pictures that she had prepared for me.  Then she was NOT happy to be told she needed to leave with me.  The psychologist was assuring me that she'd be fine.  Ahnja cried and I felt so badly for her.  I also knew that she would be fine later and I knew that what she didn't know is that there was no real future for her there.  Down Syndrome is still a very big deal there.  She was scared of going somewhere new, but her future there would have been much scarier.


I do not have videos of picking Ahnja up.  The couple that went with me had their hands full with the 3 children in the van.  I could have asked the driver with me to video, but I did not think that would be fair to her.  She was much older and more aware.  I wouldn't want someone to video me transitioning into a brand new life with some crazy lady who spoke a language I didn't understand.  We got her into the van with promises of going to get ice cream first thing and still not terribly happy.  Thankfully, that changed.  The pictures I'm going to post of her with the ice cream show how quickly that occurred!  Her personality came out quickly and she was back to her amazing self in no time at all.  She has attached wonderfully.






This was right after we got back to the hotel and she realize she had a "bebe' "!
See how happy she was by her first outting!
She is doing great here at home!  The first several visitors that came over made her get very quiet.  Then when they got ready to leave, she said "Chow" and tried to push them out the door.  After the were out the door and getting in their cars, she would go out and be very friendly.  We realized that she was afraid they too would "take" her.  We encouraged visitors to come more, so that she could see that she didn't have to leave with anyone.  She is very friendly when people come now!  

She has quite a few words that she says.  She repeats everyone's names and sometimes uses them on her own.  She says "No", "Stop it" (mainly to Cody or Anita!  lol), "I love you", "Goodnight", "Tickle", "Yes", "doll baby", and several other words.  She knows body parts and can repeat them.  

She understands almost everything that is said to her.  She claims to NOT understand the word "clean".  roflol  When you use that word and point to toys (like you do every day), she has no clue what that means.  Thankfully, Destiny is glad to take her hand and model how she needs to help with that task!  

She has a huge personality!  She is very loving.  Lots of kisses, hugs, and playfulness from her now!!  She is very bossy.  I've had to remind her a hundred or so times that she is not in charge of Anita.  (She was left in charge of other children at the group home, so this is only typical for her to need to learn this.)  She can be somewhat sassy and have an attitude, but she gets over it quickly with a timeout.  
Ahnja and Destiny have become so close and the best of friends!
 Destiny is actually bigger than Ahnja by several inches and a clothing size,
but Ahnja sits up tall to make sure she looks taller.  lol

Here is a little "Ahnja footage"!

video



Monday, August 27, 2012

One Month Update for Anita and her Pick up Pictures and video

Ok, this is late of course, but you're still getting it.  lol

Anita was the first child that we picked up on July 17th.  As we pulled up to the gate I could see children outside playing.  There was this gorgeous little boy that was showing his strength for getting out and I immediately noticed that he was a little boy that a friend is adopting.  I was not expecting to see Anita right off and I was wanting to be sure I could tell his Mama about him, so my attention was on him.  THEN THERE SHE WAS!!!
Right outside!  She knew she was suppose to be "going" somewhere and she was ready.  She was NOT happy when we had to go back into the building.  Then I got to see her mad side as the caregivers made her go back inside while we all did paperwork.  She screamed the entire time that we did paperwork just about.

The videos are loud, but here is one where she is at her calmest besides when we were finally "out" of that gate that held here inside the orphanage.  Once in the van she calmed down nicely, because she was "going" like she was suppose to.

video

Here is Anita now!
video
(If you are wondering, Dayton is telling Julianne that they don't want to see 
whatever is on tv that she keeps turning back on.  lol)

video
Anita and Julianne are hysterical together!
They have a blast!



She was said to be nonverbal. 
She is already saying words and even a phrase or two.
She only says them when you don't try to get her to.
(Go figure with that "extra" stubbornness)
She's said "I love you" a few times.
Goodnight has happened twice.
Today she said "Go, Go, Go" 
with the hand motion she did in the video above.
She is quite the mimic and that is what I say 
when I shew her out of the kitchen when I'm getting things out of the oven 
or when I need a moment along to actually go pee 
or change clothes.  lol
She is VERY animated.  
She will mimic any motion.
Sometimes you can tell by her movements and the way she holds her mouth
that she is mimicking the way the caretakers in the orphanage
talked and motioned when they taught her to do something
like put on her shirt
or eat her food
or anything.
She keeps us laughing!











Saturday, August 18, 2012

Some One Month Stories

Ok, I'm a couple days late, but things are busy.  I hate to miss any moment with them to sit and blog, so I do it at night.  That means that I'm exhausted and sometimes decide bed is more appealing.  Then other times I want to blog, but words to describe the wonderfulness of this life and these 18 kids is hard to even put into words.  Other times, honestly I'm so ticked that kids are waiting and people who claim Christ aren't lining up to get them out of those orphanages and institutions that I can't write anything that would sound nice and decide maybe to keep my fingers off the keyboard.  Now there are my excuses, but that isn't what this post is for, so let's learn a little about the kids!

Aleshia and Keith were our first "Gotcha Day"!  I haven't shared as much as I had hoped to so I thought I'd catch you up on that a bit.  We picked up Aleshia first on July 16th.  There was a newspaper reporter and camera man there who wanted to know and understand better the "why" of us coming for her.  How do you explain to people that their society is throwing away the most wonderful members of it???  How do you nicely say "I came because you didn't want her and I couldn't stand to live without her"?  It was difficult to think of how to answer their questions, because all I could think about is that she was THERE and so was I! The people there were so nice and genuinely happy to see her be loved.  That institution truly cared about her and did the best they could.  You could hear children in the place and there were kids outside playing.  It wasn't a family, but she received the best they had the ability to give her and for that I am very thankful.

Here is a video of the moment that I first got her into my arms:
video
 (Can you hear my friend Jackie exclaiming how beautiful she is? <3 )

Then we had to hop right back into the van and hurry off to go get Keith!  You'll see in the next picture that she even got her clothes changed while we drove!



Keith's place was very different.  It was full of kids and 4 times as many lived there as did where Aleshia had come from.  They paraded a few children in front of us who looked healthy, but I knew it was NOT how the kids there looked in general.  I know of many children who have families coming for them there and they do not look healthy.  My sweet boy was so thin and had spent his 5 years there in a crib receiving barely enough care to stay alive.  Floors after floor of children and yet it was QUIET.  

Here is a video of our first moments together:

video
(Could you see Jackie's husband Doug holding Aleshia?  Yes, he was already wrapped tightly around her tiny crooked pinky finger! lol)

After that we had to jump into the van and head for the capital city to get their passport pictures done!  



Aleshia seemed to enjoy riding in the van, but we had to keep working to keep her upright.  She is 6 years old, but still not sitting up independently.  (We are waiting now for results of some tests on her hips because there seems to be an issue with them.)  She is very opinionated too and let us know that from the beginning. Jackie and I even managed to change her diaper while riding in a van!  Yes it was quite the experience as it wasn't just pee!  lol 
(There is tiny Keith in his pajamas back at the hotel)


Poor Keith, on the other hand, was not use to the sun.  He cried every time the sunshine touched any part of his body.  He was not use to being held and he had to be held in the van.  He was squirmy and Jackie and I did a lot of passing him back and forth.  Thankfully he got use to being held and was spoiled within just a day or so!  <3

Now, here are some of the "now" pictures!





Aleshia has the seat now that is pictured above. 
She can sit up and be in the middle of things much better that way.
She is still very interested in Keith.
She has the most gorgeous smile.
The seat has also helped her gain some back strength, 
since it doesn't support her back like a wheelchair does
This has allowed her to be able to sit up well on a couch
or on the bed if her back is against the wall.
That is improvement and we hope to see her get much stronger!

Now for Keith's mega transformation:
The picture on the left on the top is a picture I shared with you before.
Brent was visiting him and those are size 18 months pajamasa that were HUGE on him 
and not even wearable.
Brent donated that pair (along with many others he took).
On the right of that picture is Keith now with a size 18 months of the same brand and style of pajamas.
I bought those at the same time to have here, but they are a different pattern.
He is wearing them and they fit now!
He wore a size 18 months outfit to his kidney specialist appointment this week.
He wore a size 6 to 9 months (some smaller), when I picked him up.

The picture on the left of this is Keith without clothes when Brent visited him.
He looked the same when I picked him up,
 but I don't have any good pictures of him that way as things were very hectic.
The picture on the right is of Keith tonight!
Yes, that is what love can do!

Above and below pictures were both taken tonight as well.
He has gotten so strong that he can sit up with little support.
He can also support his weight while just holding my hands and stand up now, 
but I don't have a picture because I'm the one holding on!  lol


And that is what Keith thinks of his new life!

All the kids are doing wonderful!
I'll try to get another one month update up soon for Anita, Ahnja, and Nicholas!

Thanks for following along with our journey and the part you all played!

If you'd like to watch the miracles God can do when you step out in faith, then contact Shelley at 
shele337@gmail.com 
or go to 

Many children are waiting
 and you can change their lives 
and be more blessed than you can ever imagine!

Please don't leave them all alone!

Go check out these kids in particular:






Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Difference Love Makes

Well, all of the children are continuing to do VERY well.  I really am going to try to have a full update on here the first part of the week on everyone.  We've been very busy watching the Olympics.  We got some glimpses of Bulgarian athletes that we could root for and of course were rooting for the USA.  That meant popcorn, candy bars, and other snacks were in full force - much to the delight of our newest family members!!!

Keith has grown so very much already!!!  He weighed 18 pounds at the doctors appointment that we went to on Thursday, which meant he had gained another 2 1/2 pounds in the 2 weeks since he was weighed on those exact scales!  Our scales weigh him 2 lbs heavier (what we weighed him on before one of my other updates) and he weighs in at 20lbs on those scales.  *This means that I like his weight on our scales and I like my weight on the doctor's scales!!!  hahaha*

Watch this video and see one of his favorite things to do!

video

Yes, my sweet boy LOVES to laugh!
He laughs around his bottles.
He looks up when he is in his seat just waiting for a few tickles to get him going!

There are two special children still waiting in the horrible place that Keith came from.
Many of the children have families coming for them, 
BUT these TWO still wait
and their time is limited
because their files will be going back soon!
They have nothing to laugh about.
No LOVE.
No ATTENTION.
No Mommy on the way.
NO HOPE!
Unless someone steps out in faith 
and allows God to use them.


THIS IS PENNY.
She is 12 years old and only weighs 21 pounds.  
She still takes a bottle and has never had even a small chance.

THIS IS PAYTON.
He is 8 years old and only weighs 17 pounds.
In May 2012, after treatment through the medical fund, he was diagnosed with severe malnutrition. He has been placed on a specific feeding regimen to address this issue. He is currently almost 8 years old and weighs just 17 pounds. He has also received lens implants to fix his cataracts. He has spent the majority of his life in a crib. He shows an interest in what is going on around him and enjoys attention. He needs a family that will help him to reach his true potential.

These two children's files are only with the agency for a short while.  
Their time on Reece's Rainbow is short lived.
They need YOU!
What can you do?
Share this post?
Pray for their safety and that God sends a family to them?
Adopt Payton?
Adopt Penny?
Prepare a homestudy to bring home another waiting child?
Donate to help another child come home 
(neither has a donate button because their files will go back soon)?
Ask God what He wants you to do!!!!
He wants you to do something!!


video

That is Keith's laughter.
Dayton was trying to film him last night laughing, 
but Keith kept crawling into his lap . . . 
which put him up too close.

Imagine this laughter though . . . 
coming from your living room . . . 
where Penny
or Payton
are learning of love 
and family. . . 

I can't adequately describe the joy that it brings 
to me as a Mommy
but I promise that if you experienced it
then you would want to share it.

You'd want more Mommies 
to know the joy of hearing a child
who spent their lives imprisoned 
behind the bars of a crib
LAUGHING, 
REACHING, 
CRAWLING,
AND 
LOVING!

You'd want to get every child out of 
THAT PLACE
and all the places like it.

PLEASE HELP PENNY AND PAYTON!!!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Go Check These Out

There are some really neat auctions going on right now that would allow you to do some great shopping (maybe Christmas shopping even, since I have started and auctions are great for that!) and help children come home to families!

Here are just a few to go check out:

This is for the Matthews family.  They are adopting Christina, who use to be in the same place as our Keith.  She has been transferred now, but spent way too many years there!  This auction ends on Friday the 10th of August, so hurry!
Click here for their Auction!

The Cole family is bringing home two beautiful girls who have waited way too long.  Lots of beautiful bows to bid on and lots of great prices too!
Click Here for the BOWS Auction!

The Rosencrant's are adopting 2 beautiful girls with some big medical needs from the horrible place our Keith was in.  They have a Scentsy fundraiser going on that you could purchase from to help their family get those wonderful girls home for the love and medical attention that they need so badly.
Click here to go buy some Scentsy!

The Pickett Family is in the process of bringing home two wonderful children as well!  They have a great auction going on HERE!

The Van Nice Family are bringing home two beautiful children.  We met the little boy at our Anita's orphanage and he really wanted to come out of there.  I think he knows Mama is coming back for him soon!  Help them out and buy some great stuff at their Auction Here!

The Rogers Family is in country right now and visiting with their wonderful blessings.  They are adopting two older children and just recently had brought kids home.  God called them to turn right back around and they did!  Go check out this Auction to benefit their family!

There are lots more families fundraising and believe me that is a wonderful way to help change the lives of children and families.  It reduces the stress that these families feel financially, but is also such a huge encouragement to them!!!

More updates on our children will be coming soon.  I need to find a hand to take more pictures!!!  lol

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Look What Keith Can Do!

Well on Wednesday (just 16 days after leaving that horrible orphanage that he was in!) Keith began to crawl!!!!!

video




Then yesterday (Saturday), he began a new Olympic routine to get around on the hard floors more quickly.  Watch him crawl and roll!  He only does this when he's not on carpet.  lol  I think he gets the Gold Medal for most creative method of getting around!
video

Isn't he just the cutest thing?????  We think so.  Everyone is doing great.  I'll post more as time allows.  Right now I have a tiny 5 year old on the go who has a lot of time to make up for and loves to head straight for things that he shouldn't!!  (I really love my life!!!  GOD HAS BLESSED US AMAZINGLY!)