Saturday, July 28, 2012

Moving to new site:

He is ours.

He legally bares our name.

He looks so much bigger.

His contractures are much better than we thought! His knees and feet and elbows are very contractured, but his hands and wrists are barely affected! (Unlike what we were expecting based on his picture!)

And he has enough muscle to crawl! Much more muscle than we expected!

And he's so cute!

His strawberry mark is gone and now there's just a scar there from what we think was a small surgery.

He doesn't know how to eat. So we'll have to bottle feed for a while. I requested breastmilk for him and am waiting for a donation.

He loves to snatch glasses off our faces.

His sister calls him her baby.

We were told he was at a nine month old level, but in the couple of weeks we've been with him he's now more at a 12 month old level!

He is so loved. I never thought I could love someone this much who did not come from my body.

We're about to do our best to make up for the first two years of his life.

We're moving updates from this blog to our permanent blog:

Thank you all for everything.

*at peace knowing my baby is safe and loved*

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Give us time. A heads up.

I wanted to write something about how weird we're going to be after Roland comes home. Just to warn you all. (Yes I know we're weird now! But we're going to be MORE weird. Yes that's possible. No I'm serious. Shut up!)

Ahem. We're going to do things like give him a disgusting, germ-covered, nose-insulting blanket (that he used in his birth country) and let him snuggle his little face into it. It will never be washed. We're going to sleep with him for months before moving him to a crib. We're going to be giving him a bottle (even though he's two) for a ridiculously long time. I'm going to wear/carry him constantly. I'm going to play an insane amount of peek-a-boo. We're going to shelter him a ton, especially at first. We're going to do a daily massage twice a day where our phones will be off. And worst of all for all you Roland fans dying to meet him, we're going to hoard him like Smeagol with the ring.

This will all be temporary (not temporary enough for grandparents) and with a definite measurable goal in mind: our son's healthy emotional development.

There's a great article here about what newly adopted children need who have come from institutional environments. I encourage you to read it in its entirety to answer many questions you may have about our new and strange parenting behavior. Children like Roland can develop attachment disorders, PTSD and behavioral issues. We had to take several classes on this as part of our Home Study. That's why I need my loved ones to hear me on this.

I had researched about all this before committing to Roland. In fact we had started on a Home Study while I had a job that I commuted to every morning. I had five years with this company and foresaw many more, but I knew that the best thing for a displaced child was a mommy who was home constantly with him. I immediately gave my notice (once we were serious about adopting) and was offered a position at home to accommodate the change in our lives. (That right there was a God-send.) I fully realize that doing my job from home while having an upset two year old strapped to me will be difficult, but for the sake of bonding I need to do it. (I had a dream once that I won the lottery and never had to work again. That was glorious.)

You see a child needs to bond to a primary caregiver. Roland does not have a primary caregiver, never has. For the sake of Roland's future wife and friends and for dealing with the harsh treatment for his disability he needs to develop healthy attachments now. It's just as bad for a child to not attach to anyone (and self sooth and not want to be touched) as it is for a child to attach to EVERYONE believe it or not. Both are unhealthy and lead to lots of issues you can research on your own if interested. The healthiest thing is to just bond with your immediate family, and more so with one caregiver (mommy). That means I can't hand him off to people as much as I will desperately want to. To quote the article, "YOU ARE THE ONLY CAREGIVER!! You always bottle, feed, bath, dress, change and most of the play. If friends and family want to help let them walk the dog or clean your house, wash bottles or do laundry, bring food or make you tea. No baby-sitters and no sending the baby away for respite. Until your baby is firmly emotionally attached to you, NO ONE the baby doesn't see daily should hold or even touch him or her, and even those that the baby sees daily should hold him or her at a very minimum."

And when we notice that he's fully attached to me, that may change after each and every medical appointment or surgery.

Roland may fight the entire process. (Yes I will be wearing an unhappy child most likely, and will have to watch for signs of overstimulation. We have resources and know to see a counselor if things don't improve over time.) I will need help. I will need someone to call when Rolly won't stop screaming in my ear and all I want to hear is, "This is temporary. You did not cause his problems and you can't fix them. But this is your job now and you can do it." (Avoid saying things like, "You signed up for this." Because however true that is, I will probably cold cock you through the phone.)

This is not a job I am uniquely qualified for by the way. Not even one I'm particularly good at. (I don't sign up for nursery at church. Sometimes I see the nice nursery lady with the sign up sheet and dive behind a table.) I really believe I'm being led down a hard path, just like when Laelia was first born, that will lead to the most incredible destination. I will be stretched to do things I don't do well. Help me through the dark times. Understand when I can't do anything for a while. And please please please please please band together and love on my daughter through this. You have my permission to take her to Disneyland for a day or buy her anything. Lots of play dates. Seriously. My love will multiply for my children but my attention will divide, and not always evenly.

We will be treating Roland differently than we treated Laelia at his age. He's been through a great trauma of being given up and he will go through another trauma when he is taken away from everything he knows and is brought home. Then add to that the surgeries, castings, medical and dental appointments to reverse two years of neglect and he's going to need a healthy way to deal with the hardships and grief. He's going to need to know how to ask mommy for comfort (by crying) and receive that comfort (be soothed by my touch, voice and smell). He's going to need me and he cannot feel loved through this if we don't bond like crazy. Since Laelia did not experience any of that trauma she can be parented in our usual manner. For example, Laelia gets timeouts if she acts up. These work great for having her calm down and control her behavior in order to be part of the fun again. Time outs don't work for a child who was thrown away and neglected. In fact they can damage him. This means that Laelia can be sent to her room, but when Roland acts up *I* get a timeout with him.

We're not going to do this perfectly. I promise you that at least once in this process you will look at us and shake your head in disagreement about something. We will have all the worries and stupidity of new parents all over again. But we have lots of advice and counsel already in place. What we need is support.

And chocolate. Lots of chocolate. If I'm not super fat by the time Roland is bonded to me you've all failed me as friends. ;)

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm under spiritual attack... there I said it. Darn trolls.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." -Ephesians 6:12

Okay I am up way too late and I'm way too tired to be writing. Who is letting me blog in this state?

Well since no one is stopping me, I want to rant a bit. I have this one pet peeve that I have no idea where it came from but here it is: saying I'm under a spiritual attack.

(Disclaimer: I have lots of religious-y pet peeves: from sermons on tithing to using the word "Christian" as an adjective. I don't like these things, but I could totally, absolutely be wrong and often am. Keep that in mind as I wax on.) 

(Oh and when did this become such a religious-y blog? Someone shoot me.)

I figure if God is so big, like on the scale of Thinker-of-the-Thoughts-that-Aren't-Our-Thoughts magnitude then it's kind of arogant to say that I know his will. (Yep he definitely wants me to go to this college or get pregnant or adopt or own these jeans.) But worse yet is when things go wrong and we then turn that into "And since it's not working out that way it must be a spiritual attack by Satan himself, because Lord knows the prince of darkness doesn't slither out of the hole unless someone like me tries to do the Good Lord's work. You see, God told me to do this thing and now that this thing is hard I'm under spiritual attack because I'm so special I warrant a total focus from all the powers of darkness. I'm so so so special. Look at my specialness and weep."

Thus I'm rarely able to say I'm going through a spiritual attack. Because let's face it, we live in an imperfect world and stuff just goes wrong because it's spiraling. It doesn't take some giant effort to make this process hard. Hard is kind of guarenteed.

So after all that it brings me great displeasure to say, I think I'm under spiritual attack. Maybe?

My blog moderator has told me that there has been a rise in troll (online bullying) activity lately on my blogs. (Trolls be warned! I don't read you and I don't see you and I don't respond to you... like I'm doing... right... now. *ahem*) I guess they hit my daughter's blog too. In fact we got a virus a little while ago. Ugh... trolls.

You can tell it's a troll when they 1.) attack your character off the bat, 2.) call your child ugly or bring up your child in a negative way, 3.) use bad grammar or spelling mistakes, 4.) take the conversation 180 degrees away from the topic and/or 5.) outright lie. You see trolls feed off responses and want you to engage them. They will say anything! They will do anything! If outright lies won't get you, they will misspell a word and know the English nazi mother you grew up with all your life WILL NOT LET THAT STAND! *pant pant*

"ur adopsion" <---------- feel it... it burns

The saying, "Don't feed the trolls!" is going around the interwebs warning that you CANNOT reason with a troll. No response is good enough. Nothing you contribute will make it better. You just get more and more polite and state facts and try to beg for common sense (all the while getting super frustrated and praying for their souls) and they are on the other end laughing. "Yay attention! Look at how mad she's getting! Look at her try to teach me how to spell! Ha ha ha."

But us Reece's Rainbow families are just a special lot I guess. We've attracted a mutant troll.

Recently the same people/person trolling this blog and my friends' blogs has decided to take it to the next level. They actually took steps to write letters to disrupt our adoptions. Yes, you heard me. They claim to have written them to my son's birth country and the USCIS.

Now everyone tells me not to worry and that it was a waste of postage and this happens because we go public with our adoptions (usually because we need to fundraise) and it attracts the crazies. Well, I'm one of the last public adoption blogs left out of my adopting friends and have you seen me posting much lately? I can't say when we're going to travel. I can't post pictures once we get there. I can't do anything until my son is safely home. Because someone is out to get us. The thought is unnerving.

These trolls have also used Spokeo to look up our personal information. They claim to have done this for each and every family adopting special needs through RR. Because what this adoption was lacking was a good old-fashioned stalking. 

To answer your question, yes it's being dealt with by RR and others. It's not just being ignored because too many people are living in fear and hiding their blogs and being harrassed. But I'm saying that our response (as writer, and as reader) is to ignore them. (Thankfully that's what moderators are for!) Charles and I don't have an online business they can mess with and none of our information on Spokeo is even close to accurate (we're old and rich?! Woot!) so we're staying put for now.

So why am I saying to ignore trolls while I devote an entire blog post to them? Well lately the trolls have been claiming (on nearly every blog, including university articles and random forums) that the photolistings we used to find our son are illegal.

The hard thing about vicious people is that you wonder just how much of what they're saying is truth. A good troll will have 90% truth and then some great 10% baloney. The whole "it's illegal over there" accusation worried me. It's not illegal in the US, but is it illegal in my son's birth country? I mean until now I've never studied their law! I was happy I could find them on a map!

I was provided with the law from my son's birth country that clearly says that photolistings (speficially the one used to find my son) are good and legal (whew). Here's a link to another fellow adopter who has written out the law on her blog and she's taken out the country name (that we're not suppose to mention so that's why I'm always saying "my son's birth country") and replaced it with *****s so it's safe for me to share. (Notice that it's in the country's language/alphabet and then translated into English so you can check the translation using Google translate and don't have to take the adopting family's word for it.)

Resolution 905 paragraphs 46 and 47 actually ENCOURAGES photolistings. In fact I found a photolisting of my son IN his birth country! His own country photolisted him! It's not illegal here or there or anywhere. And every rule is being followed.

Another family who is in my son's birth country right now just finished court where a judge ruled that they are the proud new parents of two adorable kiddos with special needs. When the judge asked them where they found their children, they said, "On a photolisting on Reece's Rainbow." The judge then threw a fit? Oh no wait, the judge smiled and said she wished there were more families like them and granted their adoption in minutes. Why? Because she knew that photolistings are encouraged and helpful and certainly not illegal.

As the link above says, "We filled out the above mentioned papers called "Child Specific Petitions" and filed them with the government agency in our girl's country. If we could not preidentify a child there would be no document such as a CSP."

I also have a picture of our adoption facilitator standing next to three Reece's Rainbow posters (riddled with pictures of children from photolistings) IN the Department of Adoptions over there! They are up on the wall! NOT ILLEGAL!!!

We are legally allowed to show our child's picture, name, status, age, siblings (if any), siblings' ages and any special needs. I'm even really allowed to tell you my son's country, but just trying to stay on the safe side. :)

So anyway, I'm just hoping that anyone who reads the trolls' posts and comments will notice their bitterness, their attacks (often name-calling the founder of RR and the facilitator in country), their lies and even their grammar and spelling errors so that they can be seen for what they are. It's hard though. Even I had to second guess myself. I mean these trolls will say photolistings are illegal and even link to the law that says it's actually legal! They trust no one will question their sources or click on those links and translate it into English. Nope, we just take their word for it! And... yeah, I never did click on their links for myself either. (I just cried to my support group. Yep. Part of the problem.)

So there's the trolls, and there's the stress and there's my work situation and there's so many other things I *can't* talk about here that just add up to me finally thinking I can be a total snob and arrogantly claim that we're under a spiritual attack. (I just threw up in my mouth a little.) Because true or not that's sure what it feels like. Like we're pressed in on all sides. It just took stalker trolls looking up my personal information and sending letters to stop my adoption for me to admit it. Well that, and this chipped nail. Because you never chip a nail when everything is going right.

And this spiritual attack has got to be worth like 4,500 Jesus points. We may even level up after this. +5 HP or something.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prayer request... but you're all on your own.

So another blog about prayer. I'm obsessed, what can I say. If I were God I'd strip me of all this control all the time just so I prayed constantly.

Today I've been praying every hour at the top of the hour. It has changed my perspective tramendously. I have of course been praying for Roland (who we've been calling Rolly, like trolley) and my sweet Laelia and my handsome Charles, but I've also been praying for a lot of my friends. And I realized after talking to a few of these friends that there are things we just can't pray for ourselves.

As many of you know there is a wait between our two trips to Rolly's birth country. During that wait Rolly will be all alone with no visitors. He won't get the Mama loves and cuddles he will have gotten used to while we're there for our first trip. What will he think? What trauma will that do to him?

Then I'll fly back solo a few weeks later and get him. The second trip will cost more money in flights and living expenses (which is why I'm going alone to save money). It will also cost time and energy.

You see there's this thing called a manditory ten day wait. That means that even after a judge in a courtroom has told us that Rolly is ours, we still have to fly home without him and wait the "ten days" which can take several weeks depending on lots of things.

It's like saying, "He's yours! Now say goodbye and go home without him."

It will be hard. Harder than hard.

But we are fully expecting this.

But in really really rare cases (like rarely if ever) they *have* in specific cases we don't necessarily absolutely qualify for (but never in Rolly's region so I've been told) waived this ten day wait.

Now imagine with me for a moment what would happen if the judge waived that ten day wait for us. It would mean we were never separated, we got to all come home as a family. No worry of causing PTSD to my son. No worry of breaking his heart or frustrating him or abandoning him. No worry of traveling alone for a new trip by myself. No worry of last minute fundraising for these expensive flights. No second trip. No more time off of work. No more delaying medical treatment. No working out babysitters while I'm gone. It would be wonderful.

But it won't happen. It just won't. We're expecting to make two trips and follow every rule.

But it doesn't hurt to pray for it, right?

Except it totally hurts to pray for it. I can't in fact. Praying for this would get my hopes up. Praying for this would change my attitude from one of, "I will do any hard thing you want, Lord, to get my son" to "Why couldn't you give me this one request?!" So I can't pray for it. And I don't. I keep my prayers to that of asking for God's will and strength to do what he wants.

But that's when my friends step in. Lauren was the first I told this secret desire to. She promised to pray. It lifted my burden almost immediately! That gave me the courage to share this request with some ladies at my church, " see there's this ten day wait thing..." and they all were praying!

But also friends have come to me who have their own things they can't pray for. It would make them angry/sad/depressed/crushed if God said no. So that's where I can come in for them!

I've been praying that JH gets the home she's hoping for. The specific one. The one that she wants. Because she doesn't want to be let down, but she also doesn't want to pray for more than God's will in where to plant her family. But her heart yearns for it. So I can pray so she can remain content.

I'm praying for JD's cancer surgery. That they get it all without needing to do radiation. Because that is something she's willing to go through, but of course doesn't want to. (Talk about a 'take this cup from me' prayer!) And it hurts to pray for escape from the harsh treatment because what if God says, "No"? What would that do to someone's morale who is recovering from surgery? But I can pray for it so she can focus on getting better whatever comes.

I'm praying for PK. She has an addiction that is terrible and life-ruining. It's scary. So darn scary. She cries and prays for the desire for this substance to just go away, and gets crushed when it just won't go away (it may never go away). It's heart-breaking. But praying for strength to handle it and strength to get treatment for it is good for the soul. That's her focus while we step in and pray it just all goes away.

So every hour at the top of the hour I pray for these things, and others. Will I be disappointed if they don't work out? Of course. A little. But they would be crushed.

So I don't want to pray for the ten day waiver because I would be devestated if something I prayed hard for didn't work out. When I pray for something I imagine what it would be like. I just can't go there. It's not realistic or healthy, like the person who instead of working hard just thinks and prays for a million dollars to fall in their lap. My spirit groans for it, but my thoughts can't go there. Instead I pray for my attitude and for being open to every possibility, no matter how hard. So I need y'all to pray for this impossible thing. I need you to shoulder the disappointment since there's no chance it will work out. But I need you to pray so that I know the request is out there. It would just make me feel better. And I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We know the when.

We got a phone call this morning (5:30am this morning) that we've been waiting almost seven months to get. We now know when we will be accross the ocean meeting our son! We're not allowed to publicly announce it, but let's just say it's soon.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Chip In

So I'm sticking ye old Chip In back up. See it in the upper right corner? Turns out flying during the summer is a lot more costly than flying during the winter. (We first started calculating how much this would cost in December.) Living expenses go up a bit as well. Tourists. Well, I guess that's what we are too. :) Ugh, it just feels like a bait and switch every time we calculate for this adoption. I wish things didn't change so much! It does not help that I have control issues. ;)

We're about to wipe out our savings and checking accounts to adopt this precious boy. That's scary. We're about to fly thousands of miles across the sea into another culture, language and world. That's scary too.

Soon little guy! You are worth it.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I just want to blog about something I suck at: prayer. I suck at prayer. Bringing me face to face with the needs of my son makes me sick to my stomach. It just reminds me that he's without a mommy, he's without proper nutrition, anything could happen to him, etc. Instead my prayers turn into, "God... Roland." And that's always uttered with a very whiny inner voice. (I would have said "pleading" but "whiny" is closer to the truth of it.)

Prayer makes me feel out of control, and I like the illusion that I'm in control. I'm also afraid God's plans may be different than mine. That thought alone makes me want to hide under my covers instead of pray.

We had a scare that my son was no longer available for adoption a couple months ago. It was unfounded. One bad thing about being in the inner circle is that you learn things about where your child is that are not comforting, and you never get all the information. Did you know bombs went off in my son's birth country not too long ago? Yep, terrorists. More than once.

Our friend (a sweetheart) who has really encouraged me through this adoption drama just "lost" her daughter. They were about three weeks from getting their travel dates. That little girl is no longer available for international adoption. This is the second time this has happened to them.

It could be I'm thinking about my friend's daughter, and it could be I'm worried about the unknowns (and more likely it's what I warned y'all about--I'm going crazy during this time of waiting) but I feel this need to pray for Roland. And I suck at praying. And so I'm blogging instead. Can we say avoidance? :)

There's obviously many things to pray for. Roland is in a place where the likelihood of getting infectious disease is very high. He'll come home with at least one form of worm, flesh bacteria or "problem." He'll also have bonding issues. He'll have stress from moving his environment. He'll have eating issues. And all of these could be permanent or very temporary.

But I'm feeling the need to give my child up to God. I don't have control over this situation and I need God to do ALL the heavy lifting. Not just for sickness or health, for emotional or psychological healing, but for every aspect of my son's situation.

I'm unsettled. And the crazy part of me is worried you'll read this and pray for me and forget to pray for Roland. If you only have five minutes to pray, forget me and pray for my son!

Or, you know, pray for whatever. Don't let my crazy affect you. ;) I'm also projecting my own hardship with prayer onto you all. Five minutes. Pshhh.

I was reading Seven, the book that's not about adoption by Jen Hatmaker. And one part made me about choke on my own breath. She was going through the adoption process at the time she wrote the book (she finished the book before she had her adopted children in her arms) and she included a random story about that process. I'll quote it here:

"During the first week of October, I suffered inexplicable sadness for our Ethiopian kids, yet unknown to us. I couldn't quit crying. I couldn't stop worrying. I felt heavy and dark without knowing why. With tears burning at the slightest provocation, I threw my emotions into the Facebook ring for some backup. From adopting friends a common thread rose up: 'God is prompting you to pray for your children for some reason. You don't know them yet, but he knows they are yours. Intercede for them this week; then write these dates down. Once you receive your referral, check their paperwork, and you might discover divine timing.' A slew of similar stories were posted.

"So Brandon and I prayed desperately for our kids. Were they losing a parent? Were they suffering? Were they tender and lonely? Were they especially hopeless? Their need was unknown, but the ache was acute. So I cried the tears I just knew they were crying, and I begged Jesus to be so near, so gentle in their young, tragic lives while they waited for us, wishing a family wanted them but too afraid to hope."

"[...] We discovered our referral was one gorgeous, unbelievably perfect five-year-old girl. She was beautiful in every way. Brandon fell especially hard. With her little chicklet teeth and her shy smile, it seemed we might finally get a 'gentle child,' which required adoption since our gene pool squashed that characteristic. [...]

"I went three weeks back to those dark days full of prayer and sorrow. I confirmed the dates then searched this beautiful girl's file:

"It was the week she was brought to the orphanage.

"Shipped twelve hours north of her village, her people, everything she knew to a crowded orphanage with children and workers who spoke a different language, it must've been devastating. She must've felt so alone. At age five. Except Jesus never leaves His little ones, His most vulnerable. He was there in the scary van ride north. He was there in her confusion and fear. He was there as she was assigned a bed and communal clothes and had her beautiful head shaved. He was there that first heartbreaking night. And He made sure we were there in spirit, too.

"I'm telling you, we felt her grief. We carried her turmoil. We cried her tears. Jesus made sure we sat watch with Him over her. He invited us into the vigil He was keeping on her behalf." (pages 199-201)

I have felt this before (recently) and when I finally asked the person I was praying for if everything was okay it wasn't. I knew it wasn't. Even though I knew nothing at all. Sometimes it just works this way. It's not voodoo, although I'm making it sound like that, but it's obedience to pray. To keep watch. To be a little intuative and senstive to others. And I need to stop blogging and get to it. Prayer time. Ooh Facebook! Going now. Ugggggh. Hard.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A defense of supporting adoptions

"Do you have any idea how many people you could help with that money? You're wasting it on one child!"

"I only give to local charities or my local church since the Bible says to. So I cannot support your foreign adoption."

"Why should I help you expand your family?"

"If you can't come up with your adoption fees ($25,000) on your own then you shouldn't be adopting. You should provide for your own child not ask others to."

"Children are better in their home country, even in institutions. You should give that money to the country instead."

These are some of the things that have been said to me after we decided to adopt a child with arthrogryposis and save him from transfer to an institution. In this blog post I hope to shed light on why I believe with my whole being that adoption should be supported.

"Do you have any idea how many people you could help with that money? You're wasting it on one child!"

I hope to argue that an investment into an orphan's life, foreign or not, is a valid investment that is not inferior to a charitable act which spreads the financial net a bit wider to help many. I consider both not only valid, but also on equal footing.

My husband and I support the efforts of AMF (Against Malaria Foundation) to provide malaria nets to those who live in malaria infested parts of the world. Statistically for every $2,000 given to AMF, one life is saved from the deadly malaria virus. We found out about this through GiveWell, a website who reviews charities and shows a top list of those who do the most good with your dollar. This appealed to us greatly since although you cannot put value on a human life, you can put a dollar amount to saving one human life: $2,000.

Feeding America is another charity that has my heart. Because of pooling their resources they say for every $1 donated to their cause they can turn that into 8 meals for hungry families. Personally I like Feeding America because it meets a very basic need in my own community.

My two examples are suppose to show that money donated to great causes can ease the suffering of many people, maybe even save a few lives. So how is that not superior to pouring $25,000 (the cost of our adoption) into one life? An excellent question for the philanthropist.

Firstly there must be some consideration to the longevity of giving. One meal feeds one person one time. One mosquito net covers one family's bed until that net is destroyed by daily use. Giving a child a lifelong home, parents, medical treatment, therapies and an education has a lasting positive impact that can't be easily quantified. Children who go on to be contributing members of (a wealthier) society, generate income and help support others cannot be overvalued. Because of the situation in Eastern Europe an institutionalized child goes from being a drain on society and having zero potential to having unlimited potential once adopted. Because it is hard to quantify the potential of this adopted child it is hard to argue charitable giving towards adoption as more valuable than charitable giving to a broader source. But that is my point exactly: $25,000 can save 12.5 people from malaria. $25,000 can save one child, plus any others he has the potential of helping in his lifetime. And that could be less than 12.5 or many, many more.

"I only give to local charities or my church since the Bible says to. So I cannot support your foreign adoption."

I appreciate the idea that one saves their money to support their immediate family first, then the community around them, and then, in an ever-widening circle, strangers in foreign countries. But I also believe we should reverse that circle of support when the poverty of strangers is vastly greater to our own. (I'm assuming my readers' families are not starving.) The Bible text that was referenced during this conversation was 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

In the context of 1 Timothy 5:8 they are discussing who should care for the widows in their community. They conclude that this falls to the children and grandchildren of these widows, and if a widow has no children, then the church community will care for her. In other words, a person who lives as he pleases while his widowed mother is suffering in poverty is a bad person. Paul implies that even the unbelievers know how to take care of their own mothers.

What is not stated here is the exclusion of helping foreigners. 1 Timothy 5:8 only applies to my adoption if I chose to start the adoption process while my widowed mother or grandmother was suffering financially.

As far as the Bible stating to support "your own" (the Greek word for household there is oikeios but can imply your own local charities, groups, people of the same faith, or blood relatives), I have found that is true, but not to the exclusion of foreign aid. (In fact God's heart is with the foreigner as I will attempt to prove shortly.) In the early church there was a structure in place kind of like communism on a small scale and Paul sums up how it worked beautifully in 2 Corinthians 8:

13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.

A lot of giving in the Bible (New Testament) has to do with this set up. Although we do not hold this kind of set up in churches today I do see many good people supporting those in need in their communities.

As for God's laws regarding the foreigner, the conversation moves beyond a few epistles and goes all throughout Scripture. In fact God demands care for the foreigner and the orphan in many of the same passages. The foreigner is sometimes called "the alien" or "the stranger." The orphan is sometimes called "the fatherless" and can be a foreigner or a local member of the community.

(I include a lot of Scripture to make a point about what the Bible actually teaches regarding my foreign adoption. Feel free to skip or skim.)

Deuteronomy 10:18 - He (God) executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the foreigner by giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 14:29 - The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the foreigner, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Deuteronomy 16:11 - And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger (foreigner) and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.

Deuteronomy 16: 14 - And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger (foreigner) and the orphan and widow who are in your town.

Deuteronomy 24:17 - You shall not pervert the justice due a foreigner or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.
Deuteronomy 24:19-21 - When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the foreigner, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the foreigner, for the orphan, and for the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the foreigner, for the orphan, and for the widow.

Deuteronomy 26:12-13 - When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. You shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.”

Deuteronomy 27:19 - “Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.” And all the people shall say, “Amen.”

Jeremiah 7:5-7 - For if you truly amend your ways and your deed, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave your father forever and ever.

Jeremiah 22:3 - Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”

Zechariah 7:10 - And do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.

Malachi 3:5 - "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.

Psalm 146:9 - The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.

(Okay I'm done.)

Everyone will pick and choose between foreign support and local support depending on what they value and who can use the most help. I'm not really here to advocate one over the other. But I do believe the heart of God is clearly for the orphan, the widow and the foreigner. My adopted son fits two of these three categories. Soon he'll fit none of those categories as God intended.

Moving on.

"Why should I help you expand your family?"

If you are part of a belief system that obeys the Bible then you are commanded to help the orphan and the foreigner, also the poor and the hungry. My son fits all those categories so is an excellent choice. (We're fully funded by the way, this was something asked a while back.) If I'm in your local church community it would be a biblical example played out. If you hold no spiritual beliefs then I could argue adoption as a way to better our community due to the cultural flavor my son brings to it. He also informs others about what family really means. And having physical disabilities, as has been argued, can help others in the areas of understanding, acceptance, compassion, perspective and responsibility. All in all I never thought fundraising for my adoption was a selfish act, nor do I expect everyone to help. But having people be offended at my fundraising baffles me. Why should you help bring my son home? For the same reason you should do any good thing. That's all. Don't then.

"If you can't come up with your adoption fees ($25,000) on your own then you shouldn't be adopting. You should provide for your own child not ask others to."

Ah yes, the "only rich people should adopt" mentality. I've also heard, "Fundraising for your adoption is just like welfare," and "If you can't come up with the money for your own child then you shouldn't be adopting at all. Period." Of all the above statements/questions I'm responding to in this post, this is the only one that was said unkindly. So as a lawyer would approach a hostile witness, I feel free to be blunt.

First let's define our terms. You may define "rich" differently depending on how much money you have. But let's put it this way, it costs between $25,000 to $45,000 for a foreign adoption. If you make $25,000 a year you are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people on earth. If you make $35,000 a year, congrats and welcome to the top 5%. $45,000 would put you in the top 1.72% of the richest people on earth. Do you get where I'm going with this? Coming up with a year's income in order to have a child qualifies you as a rich person.

So the above statement really boils down to this: Only rich people should adopt.

So far no one has come out to me and said this, but it's easily inferred.

We in the adoption community jokingly refer to the initial costs/fees of adoption as the "ransom." We don't have it, but we have a limited time to come up with it. And they have our child. Now I'm not here to defend how the money is used by lawyers or foreign governments, or to say there are no abuses in the system, but rest assured the price of adoption fees will not be going down, and they are necessary to move a child's life, residential status and future to an entirely different country. Not having this initial sum does not mean we cannot support a child, even one with extreme medical needs. In fact a homestudy must be done that assesses the financial stability, overall health, home situation and emotional maturity of both adoptive parents by a licensed social worker. After we've been stripped down and laid bare by professionals (over a period of weeks or months), I'm hard pressed to hear we're unworthy by anonymous people on the Internet.

So those who do not believe we should adopt because we "cannot provide" are not accurate since we have been vetted. But really the issue is that we did not pull out of our pocket the entire ransom for our son which only the top few wealthiest people on the planet could. (In our case we did empty our savings account, get a temporary second job and budget for a while so harshly that we couldn't buy milk or bread. That last sacrifice didn't last, but a healthy budget is in place now.)

Tell me something. Should minorities not have children? Should those making less than $30,000 not be allowed to become pregnant? Does equality matter? Does family matter? Are children dying in institutions for lack of parents important? I'm not saying you will agree with me on all these issues, but I'm saying a disagreement shows a prejudice I cannot begin to reason with.

The rich get all the breaks.

"Children are better in their home country, even in institutions. You should give that money to the country instead."

And lastly, there's this statement, "Children are better where they are." It was said simply, gently and thoughtfully, which just made it worse. I've found that people who say this have never done an in-depth study on my son's situation. Allow me to illuminate his situation.

You've probably read blogs about the torture that goes on over in Eastern Europe to those with disabilities, maybe you've seen a video about it, maybe you've read about a life saved from it or maybe you know nothing at all. I can't begin to go into all the abuses happening over there, or even point out which orphanages are doing it better or worse, but I can give you a picture of it using my own son's example.

When my son turns five years old (maybe four, maybe three, or in one case I read about, two) he will be put in a car and driven screaming and crying or quiet and terrified to an adult mental institution out in the country where no one visits and no one has to deal with the imperfect people who live there. Now my son does not have any mental disabilities, but this is where people in EE who look different are thrown away. It's a system so mired in political and social gunk that fixing it seems impossible, although there are small efforts to do so. As it stands now, only adoption can save these kids from this fate. Children transferred to the institution have PTSD, they are not held, they are tied down in cribs (even into their teens) and changed once a day. Sometimes not changed on weekends. They have sores from lying in their own urine and feces. They have no one to talk to. They chew on their hands and arms and rock themselves for stimulation. They are fed what amounts to a cabbage stew crammed down their throats. Some institutions are better and some are worse, but the term "good institution" is an oxymoron. I've heard statistics from 85%-95% of children who are transferred die within the first 12-18 months. I hear it's the higher percentage if you have Down's syndrome. They are buried in the backyard.

In a provocative work called, "Death Camps for Children" those who have been to these places (that still exist even years later) report what they've seen:

“When we arrived at the orphanage we were met by older children without coats, they were begging us to give things to them and not to the directors. It is very hard to write about the rest of this part of the trip. I cannot give a step by step account because we were all in a state of shock. We spoke to the director about our program and he told us that he knows the children need more but he said, ‘I cannot ask my workers to do more, they work very hard, clearing the road, shoveling snow, cleaning the floors and the children, they have not time, they must work very hard all day and then they must dig graves and bury children.’ What do you say to that? Still, the staff took us around to show us how it is. Words don’t come to mind, most of our team was crying and could not stop. Dark hallways, screaming, children clustered together in freezing rooms, some in strait-jackets, haunted looking crying, asking if they were good, asking for food. Water dripping from the dark ceilings, mold everywhere. We held children who were 10 and 13 years old in our arms like infants. One team member said later that she never knew that humans are like fish and will only grow to the size of their environment. One team member threw up outside. Children never leave their beds in some rooms. These children are ages 4-16. In other rooms they leave to go to a room with just a bench and nothing else in it. They hold each other -rocking one another. I have never seen such deprivation and our photographer said it best when he said it was a concentration camp for children. Sorry, this is such a hard part to write but I looked in the eyes of many children who are dying. Their tiny bones fit into the palm of my hands. Their skeleton faces begging for help. No one in our team has really slept since. We talk about it but just end up in tears. I promised the orphanage staff we would come back with a team of people to help them. They are counting on it. The director told one team member that 20 years ago he asked for help there and the soviet minister came and visited. The visiting soviet minister told the director, ‘why do you keep these animals alive? You can kill them, you know how to do it you are a doctor.’ He never sent any money or aid to the orphanage.” (

For those who say to leave them where they are, because even if their own society does not consider them fully human it's better for them somehow, I leave you with these images from

But it's a situation not without hope. Here's some hope from one of my favorite adoption blogs.

This is ten year old Katy suffering in her institution. (She weighed 10 pounds.)

This is Katy six months after being adopted. (She's up to 27 pounds.)
So you tell me, should we leave them there?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Got word this morning that we are officially submitted!!! *happy dance*

Remember the post when we said we were done? Well, all our stuff was sent off and we've been done with our part, but our wonderful team in U has been working hard. They took our 48 documents (totaling over 150 pages) and translated it all. Then they bound it into a ~350 page book and stitched it together by hand. Our adoption is now in the hands of the U government! As of TODAY!!

Now we wait.

I didn't know waiting would be the hard part, but it kinda is. Mostly we're waiting on a paper system that's antiquated (think America in the 1950s) and done by hand in books in filing cabinets. One of the other moms took a picture of the binders of books during her DAP appointment and found out that they weren't backups, but they were originals! No computer. No fast paced process. But a personal process. A beautiful by-hand, poured over and personalized process.

A slooooooooooooooooooooow process. *being dramatic*

Don't they understand that I'm ready to go RIGHT NOW. To quote RR, "This is THE hardest part about the entire process…you’ve been approved! Your child is waiting! YOU are waiting! Why can’t they hurry up? Don’t they understand? Believe me, we have all been through this."

Yeah, waiting. Still waiting. Going insane... ;)

We should get a travel date in 7 to 8 weeks from today.

*insert whiny voice* But I want it now!  (This process has turned me into Veruca Salt.)

In exciting news I found out we were submitted at the same time as two other families. Travel buddies! I may get to see the adoption/rescue of two other boys from their institutions!

This is Ryan. He has noonan syndrome.

This is Josiah. He has down's syndrome.

Our son has arthrogryposis, but none of these three conditions should ever land a child in an institution. Holy Moses NO NO NO. Just look at these guys! How? Why?! What?!

*breathing again*

But I can't wait to meet their mommies!

I'm not looking forward to the traveling part, but I am looking forward to the this-being-all-over part. Soon these crazy adoption pregnancy pains will be over and I'll be looking into my son's eyes. 


At this rate I should get him home right before he turns two!

This process went reasonably fast because we had support from YOU. You did this! I know families who had to wait to apostille documents or pay for fees, but we were completely blessed by our friends and family and buddies on the interwebs. I can't thank you all enough. Some delays took place that were going to happen anyway, but no delay happened due to financial lack. Wow. Thank you so so so much. The twelve billion future pictures of Roland will be dedicated to you all. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Roland's crib

Grandma and Grandpa stayed with us this last week to help get things ready for Roland. We talked about where to put him and decided to put him in Laelia’s room since he’s coming from an orphanage where he’s used to (and comforted by) sleeping with other kids. Once he’s ready we’ll move him to his own room. In the meantime Laelia has been super excited about having her baby brother in her room. We cleaned it all out to make room and changed the colors from pink to red.

The cleaning process. Laelia is not helping. :)

I hope to switch out the curtains to something more true red or neon green to match the rest of the room, but for now it's done. I found out that I'm dangerous with a can of red paint. :)

Roland's crib! My dad took it apart and made it shorter so it would fit in the space. Notice the dangling toys that will work as Roland's OT for the first few weeks. And this was my first time with a stencil and paint so I realize the letters are all doing their own thing.

Goofy pictures of all three of us. Can't wait to get this little boy home and take more pictures!

I painted the mirror and top of the stuffed animal bin. I also switched out the pink girlie baskets in the bookcase for red ones.

Here's the whole room! Roland's crib is to the right. I painted the knobs to all the dressers.

My dad put in a ceiling fan since it's getting hotter. I added the red.

It's all done and ready for Roland! Eight more weeks?!! Come on!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I found out today that Mother's Day is celebrated on May 13th in my son's birth country. There's a woman out there who gave birth to my son who is most likely seeing others around her celebrate being moms. Wow. What could she be feeling? Adoption by it's very nature is a blessing that comes from trauma. Many who give up their children for different reasons like poverty or because that child has a disability can still visit them in the baby house. I wonder if she's fighting with herself to visit? I wonder if she hasn't given her decision another thought, for her own sanity, until this day popped up. She can't know I exist. It will be two more months before I'm even allowed to travel there. Does it eat at her that he's still without a mother? Does she know how thankful I am for her?

Will she ever know that her little Yehorchyk is my precious, beloved Roland?

Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life and the second taught you to live in it.
The first gave you a need for love and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name,
One gave you the seed of a talent the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.
One gave you up--it was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me through your tears, the age old questions through the years,
Heredity or Environment--which are you the product of'
Neither my darling-neither; just two different kinds of love.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's all done. We're done!!!

When I was 15 I got my driver's permit. It was a piece of paper that allowed me to drive. It was the most amazing document in my little world, and it was on a flimsy piece of paper of all things. I remember on the drive back from the DMV (yeah, did mom let me drive? nope) I worried about how to hold it in my hands. I was worried I would wrinkle it and then not be able to drive. And I was so nervous I was sweating on it! Eep! So I switched it from hand to hand as I studiously wiped the other. I didn't even notice that we had made a quick trip to the thrift store where both my grandmothers worked on our way home.

We walked in the thrift store (Snowline Hospice) and MY MOM MADE ME LEAVE MY PRECIOUS PAPER IN THE CAR. I stressed over where to hide it. I worried about thieves breaking into our car while we stood a few feet away. All of my thoughts, heck, my whole psychic being was focused on our car where "the precious" waited for me hidden under the passenger floor mat. (Because the glove box would be the first place they'd look!)

These were the thoughts going through my head as I waited for my husband today in the Postal Annex parking lot. For one thing like five people walked past who all looked like car thieves, so I can hardly be blamed. ;) I held every document I had collected over the last four months, minus what we'd already sent to my son's home country, in my arms. It was my life on flimsy paper. We'd had almost 50 documents notarized, driven to L.A. to be apostilled, and scanned for verification several times. The medical forms had to be redone twice, the tax forms twice, my employee form had to be redone three times, our homestudy changed, etc. This represented the last of it, all fixed and pretty. And it was all on flimsy pieces of paper. And I was sweating.

I kissed it before I mailed it. It was part of the official directions I was given, for luck. ;) I prayed silently over it, but my thoughts were so stressed I could just think, "Uggggggggggggggggh!!!" I'm sure God interprets crazy. ;)

We mailed it.

It should arrive next week.

It will take at least two weeks to translate and make it official.

Then we wait (oh so) patiently until they let us travel. We're hoping either late June or early July, but it depends on their whim.

It's done. *passes out*


And even though I owe so many people for helping us through this process, this shout out goes to Nancy. If not for Nancy, our state side adoption helper, we would be so overwhelmed by this process. Both my daughter and husband had major surgeries during this paper chase, and we had major delays of the random variety. It put this whole process about a month later than we'd hoped. But Nancy never let us stop. In fact she was famous for these kinds of back and forth correspondences:

Me: Hey Nancy, we just got our marriage licenses! I drove to Placerville to pick them up. Then I drove to L.A. to get them apostilled! (Several paragraphs of that process/headache deleted for space.) But now we finally have them! Yay!

Nancy: Great! Now where are you on these? (Sends list of A BILLION other documents.)


In fact last month I sent her this artful rendering of herself entitled, "Nancy is the best." I include it here for your enjoyment.

Thanks Nancy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

USCIS rocks!!!

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is awesome. We didn't get their letter with an appointment for fingerprinting, but instead of "oh well" an officer called us and made sure we could get this paperwork expedited. (Dr. van Bosse in Philly had written a letter to help us speed up this process and they had not only read it, but wanted to help!)

The officer asked why I had missed our appointment if this adoption was special needs and a medical case and all that. What letter? I thought this phone call was going to tell us our appointment date, not that we'd missed it! What to do? I immediately got off the phone and burst into tears... for a long time.

It's hard for me to be on top of everything going on around here. Laelia's IEP is coming up. My husband is just finally getting his brain back (he had surgey and the pain meds make it hard to concentrate so I've been solo on a lot of this stuff) plus there are still a few things Charley can't do physically that I have to do for him until April 17th when he's recovered, plus I have a job (part time) and a house to keep up and all that. It was just getting overwhelming. Charley's job is to sort through our mail, but it's just one more thing that he was doing the best he could but he wasn't at 100%. We also have a friend staying with us who was bringing in our mail for him, but since Charley wasn't doing it he forgot she did it and then it sat in an untouched pile. Along with many other responsibilities this was one I should have taken over for Charley but just didn't think to. I found the two unopened immigration fingerprinting appointment letters under two unopened birthday cards.

Our officer suggested we just show up without an appointment. So the very next morning we showed up at the immigration office after dropping Laelia off at school. Oh and I was sick with what turned out to be a tummy bug. So it was not fun. Charley and I could have combined our physical and mental abilities that morning and still made less than one fully functioning person.

Now you *need* an appointment to even go into the building, and the letters we had in our hands were for four days ago, but everyone was completely understanding. The front desk guy (who weeds out people who don't have appointments, etc.) was super nice. The wait was surprisingly short. The lady who did my fingerprints said she even saw a special on TV about the kind of foreign special needs adoption we're doing and then she told me God would help us. And he certainly was!

The next day after fingerprinting our officer called back to say she got our results that she went out of her way to be watching for and we were going to be approved with immigration! (This usually takes a few days or longer for the results to even get back to her office, but she was waiting for our results and moved quickly.)

We just got our letters with appointment dates today for fingerprinting on April 24th. I laughed because we're already done and approved and don't have to wait the extra two weeks!

This puts us about three weeks away from being completely done with our approvals and paperwork and apostilles and all that. (Three weeks away from Step #15 in the adoption process.) There was some kerfuffle with our state police clearances so that's probably the thing that will make this process take the three weeks. But I see a light at the end of the paperwork pregnancy.

USCIS is awesome.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Adoption updateness

We're still waiting on immigration (the US side of things) and a federal fingerprinting appointments that should be ready in a week or so (hurry up!!!), but we've compiled half our dossier and had it apostilled!

Every single document so far in this process except for one or two (no joke) has had to be redone or re-notarized including our freaking home study. It has been frustrating. Once we get a form back, we notarize it and scan it and email it to our adoption team. Then after it's approved we need to get it apostilled by the state. So I got a sitter to watch my husband who just had surgery a couple weeks ago and my daughter and then took off for LA to get my 19 documents apostilled last Friday. The trip took a total of 8 hours. According to Google maps it *should* have taken two hours one way. TRAFFIC WAS TERRIBLE!!! Highway 101 should be renamed Parking Lot 101. But on the plus side I found a wonderful brown rice and tofu bowl place that also served blueberry banana smoothies. Worth it.

Once apostilled I then scanned them all and sent them to my adoption team again. Thankfully only one of my apostilled documents has to get redone. To apostille something just means that after it's perfect and notarized then I have to get the state of California to stamp it and confirm the notary. I practically cried to the state employee, read her a list of common apostille mistakes (I'm sure she loved me) and then told her how important this was. Poor woman. 

So we're going to send off half the documents to U (my son's birth country) and then send the rest when all the people we're waiting on get around to getting back to us. I'd say we're about a month away from being done with it all before waiting for travel dates. It seems to be taking 6-8 weeks lately for people who are totally submitted to get travel dates so now our new timeline is being done with paperwork by Mother's Day and traveling this summer, hopefully in late June or early July. Everything subject to change. As always.

I'm so sick of being paper pregnant and ready to hold this baby boy! Thanks to a wonderful friend (thanks Samantha!) we have a lot of boy clothes and a bouncy seat and a couple of small car seat bases and hopefully soon a crib! I LOVE LOVE LOVE hand-me-downs! Thanks to another friend (thanks Barbara!) we have a great bottle for feeding Roland and access to baby food if he's past the bottle stage. My daughter is talking non stop about her brother nowadays since she was told that after daddy's surgery we'd be gearing up to see him. Little did we know a few things would go wrong in our paperwork game so that we'd still be collecting stuff at this late date. (State police clearances are our fault, but there are a bunch of other things that are just plain not our fault and we just have to wait.) But we're ready and working hard. Almost there.

Want baby. Now.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

And where are they now?

We are still waiting for our federal fingerprinting appointments. (That is Step #12 in the process.) We sent them a medical expedite letter and everything. WAITING IS HARD. In the meantime we are gathering our dossier (pronounced doss-ee-ay if you don't want to sound dumb like me) documents (Step 13) so they'll be ready to get apostilled (Step 14) so we can submit them (Step 15) and wait a long time (Step 16). We're doing all this to get to Step 17 which is traveling to meet our son. Our new timeline says that this may happen in two or three months. Right now we are distracting ourselves from this long process by having lots of surgeries. Everyone in my family has had surgery in the last month and a half except me. *knock on wood*

So there's our update. We still have no word on our son's condition, no recent picture, no information whatsoever, and no families in country have been able to visit him that I know of. There was a scare that he was taken somewhere which turned out to be another child and me freaking out and not accurate.

Fun fun, right?


This is a blog about semantics. Symantics are a kind of dark magic that can negatively charge the tone and meaning of some pretty inocuous words. Words like "orphan rescue."

We're a fan of the newspaper. My husband works for our local newspaper. We've recently been in our local newspaper. We know the reporting work and effort for accuracy that goes into these pieces. When the Hometown Weekly, a newspaper serving Massachusetts, posted a story on the exact process we are starting it was exciting. (We found out about it here.) Hey! We are also going through Reece's Rainbow! We were also able to raise the necessary funds quickly! We also hope to rescue an orphan! It was like reading the next steps in our own story. It was entitled, "Saving Andrey” and talked about his rescue from the orphanage.

But lately I've been hearing from several people, both those who have adopted and those who know nothing about it, that apparently it's not appropriate to use the word "rescue" when referring to your adoption. Ever.

I disagree. And I realize I'm disagreeing with people I respect so let me explain why. Of course you wouldn't say you "rescued" an orphan in all cases, but definitely you can say that of these adoptions from EE. For some of my close friends, the term "rescued" applies exactly to their situations. One of my friends (who is part of an advocacy group with me and four others) rescued her son from a mental institution. It was hell. He is healing. Slowly. But he was rescued. Period.

Oh and the adult mental institution with the horrible conditions was her little boy's punishment for being born with stiff joints. He was six.

The country that my friend's little son and my own little son are from offers no hope for children with disabilities. If I imagine my daughter in an orphanage like the one my son is at now, heading for either a lying down room (if he's not in one already) or an adult mental institution in a couple/three years, it makes me panic. I would never leave her there. I would pray everyday that she would be rescued.

Here's a quick post about conditions children like my son are in or will soon face.

So why not call it rescue? You've only heard my side, but (if I can do it justice) I'll give you the other side's point. Saying an orphan is being rescued brings thoughts of ethnocentric "White hero" US families swooping in and taking these children out of their cultural heritage. No one likes that. And if you have a religious affiliation then it's almost worse.

I would hope no one would interpret what I'm saying as a cultural or religious superiority. (Eww.) For one thing my own country did the same thing to our "undesireables" only 60 or so years ago that these countries are doing now. When I talk of rescue I'm talking about discarded, abandoned and orphaned children from countries where there are a lack of resources. These countries also suffer from a broken system the people inherited from those who saw children with disabilities as having no hope and no future. They are seen as "less." Less worthy of love. Less than human. And while I'm encouraged at how things are getting marginally better, they're still broken. The only way I know to help my son is to adopt him. Giving my money to help better fund the orphanages (and we have and that's a good thing) does not fix the problem, and it doesn't save my son from the life he's living. There are still orphans in orphanages after all. Those without the focused love of a parent suffer mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Institutional living is harmful.

There are so many stories of children coming out of that situation and starting to grow with no medical attention or special treatment other than having someone love on them. Love brings physical growth! Neglect stunts growth. Wow. Our physical bodies respond to experiencing love. So amazing!

From the president of Reece's Rainbow from this article, "When I found out what happens to children with Down syndrome and special needs when they are born abroad," Roberts said. "There is a very high rate of abandonment. They are transferred to mental institutions at 4 and a great many of those children do not survive their 5th birthday."

That's another thing I will mention. These children die. By the droves. Being transferred to the institution is like being led away to death.

These children in many cases have been thrown away, either thoughtlessly or after much grief. Then they end up in a place that amounts to a baby warehouse where they are often given only two diapers a day, they are not held or rocked as newborns, their cries are not answered--it's not logistically possible, bottles are propped and the care they receive would not be described by you or me as "basic." Imagine (as one of our adoption classes had us do) a long line of high chairs, maybe 30 or so, and one caregiver giving one bite to each child as she makes her way down the line of children who, like my son, cannot feed themselves. Now they have 20 or 30 minutes to eat before they need to move on with their schedules. If a child spits out his food ten chairs down do you think he gets to make up that bite? Does that make this orphanage worker mean or cruel? No! It's the system these children need saved from. 

There is an orphan crisis.

And I think the people who disagree with me calling it "rescue" mostly just don't want us to ever treat our son like he's some lucky champ who will owe us for the rest of his life. I can guarantee we will not make Roland feel "forever grateful" or that he owes us anything. He will not be treated like some ministry we've signed up for. He will be part of our family. In that way our adoption of him is selfish! Yes selfish! We GET to be his parents. The rescuing part is something we would do without a second thought for anyone in our family. When people tell us how lucky this little boy is (and he is getting an awesome big sister so they're pretty correct on this front) we often add how lucky we are too!

After his rescue and initial recovery from his former life, he will become just a typical part of our family. Our goal is to be boring. :) It's true. One of the biggest worries we had when Laelia was born was that she would grow up to be an inspirational speaker! I know that's nutty, but we strive to give our kids normal childhoods. We will of course celebrate each of Roland's successes just like we have with our daughter (and these will be special and inspirational), but we will not raise them any differently than we would any typical kids in our family.

I want to end with this link of a blog post I just loved. In preparing for all of the post-adoption "stuff" and as I study about what's to come I realize how my attitude and thinking have completely changed from when we first committed to Roland. This adoption that started out as half rescue and half baby craze has become a deeper, more meaningful thing to our family. Sometimes we think we can swoop in with our capes and save children with our love. But the fact is that our family will grow and change with the contributions this little man brings with him. And we will find ourselves rescued from the "less" we once were. It goes both ways.

I hope others will help rescue these orphans from situations that range from lonely to terrible. It is a worthy thing to do. And a great need. And I hope these children get the chance to save us from our apathy and short-sightedness. I long to see us all do for each other what we were meant to do.

So because I think we can agree on the basic points let's put semantics aside and focus on rescuing adopting these children. They need it.