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.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And the winners are...!

Third place winner is:

"the cain family."

The Cain family has won the sign language package!

Cains, please email me at rolandquest(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing addess.

Second place winner is:


(There are two Sarahs playing so the winner was the one without a last name who gave $10 one day ago and left the nice note.)

Sarah please email me at rolandquest(at)gmail(dot)com and give me your last name and address (and which color you'd like your heart to be) to collect your prize.

Sarah, you win the heart!

And the grand prize goes to:

Lisa has won the $100 Apple gift card!

Lisa please email me at rolandquest(at)gmail(dot)com and give me your address and last name to collect your prize.

Congrats to our winners! And thank you to everyone! We raised $510 towards Landri's adoption!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Giveaway until St. Patrick's Day!

A big thank you to everyone who has participated in the giveaway so far! We raised $257! That at least covers the prizes so thank you! But we have another $3743 to go. The chances of winning one of our prizes is really good right now. Go here to donate. Just check out the list on the right to see who all is playing. Not much competition!

Remember every $5 donated is an entry to win.

For whatever reason PayPal was not set up so a lot of people couldn't give. Well my husband finally figured out how to set it up and now it's working! Because it was down for a day we have extended this giveaway for a day. Now we all have until March 17th at noon to get our entries in! All giving is secure!

My family put our heads together and decided to do a giveaway for this family. We are contributing all the prizes. Roland is fully funded for his adoption, but I remember all too clearly the panic and worry that accompanies not having all the financial barriers down. Our deadlines were all months away at the time, but this family's deadline is THIS MONTH. So please help me help them. It would mean a lot to me.

Thank you!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Apple giveaway!

The above cartoon is the story of Landri's parents. (Remember sweet little Landri?) Landri is a beloved princess with arthrogryposis who lives at home and enjoys her new ability of sitting up like a big girl. Landri's parents can and do provide for their daughter. They can afford her special needs. They could even afford her adoption. They went into this with heads, hearts and finances where they should be. (That's more than I did. I could not afford my adoption in the least without help. There are lots of people who have stock in my son. ;))

Well the story didn't end there. The attorneys fees and adoption agency fees were all triple what they were told they would be. After they emptied their pockets they were still $3,788 short. And time is running out for them to pay it.

This giveaway is to cover that final amount. And it's a last minute effort!

For every $5 you give to their adoption fund, your name will be entered into a drawing. If you leave them a little note after you donate saying you shared their link (This one --> on Facebook or Twitter then you get another chance at a drawing! (But you must first donate at least $5!)

If you've already donated to their account you are included in the drawing! As long as I can see your names and comments on the side bar.

The giveaway ends March 16th (Friday) at noon (California time).  

 First prize will get an Apple gift card worth $100! (That's $100 closer to that new iPad you want!)

The second prize is a handmade stained glass heart in any color the winner chooses. (Just give my cousin Laura a few days to order the glass and whatnot.) It will be about 6 x 6 inches.

And the third and final prize is a five-book bundle from DawnSignPress. If your kid is learning American Sign Language then the Signs for Me book is a good vocabulary tool to use! (Okay I know a lot of adults that learn from this book too!) The ASL Babies series are for little ones and make great gifts. :)

Okay so go here to donate to Landri's adoption! Then share on social media! Win some prizes! You have until Friday! (Your chances are good.) Go go go! Let's totally bless this family! (And let's hurry!)