Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Mission

I have a new mission in life. . .

. . . to get Chloe to keep a barrett in her hair!!!!!

And just wanted to share this cute picture of Sadie. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kirill's Story

Please read the following story - cut and pasted from another blog. You can visit the blog HERE for pictures and more information. Spread the word. We need to help this family, some how. . .

Kirill's Story

Please feel free to share the following on your blogs. It is a summary of our adoption journey so far. Please help us spread the word. We are hoping somehow someone will be able to help us.

Two years ago Greg and I began praying for God to do whatever he wanted with our lives. We handed him a “blank check” so to speak, and told him to cash it. He opened our eyes to children with disabilities wasting away across the ocean in Eastern Europe. We joined God and started our adoption journey.

Our family is more than equipped to handle a child with special needs. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I am a member of the Board of Directors of Best Buddies of Alabama. I have volunteered for RISE and Eagles’ Wings. All of these organizations serve individuals with special needs. My husband I have close friends and family who have special needs and we are a big part of each other’s lives. Our wedding party included some of these special people. Our involvement with individuals with special needs led us to adopt a child with special needs; specifically, we chose Down Syndrome.

As we prayed over the faces of thousands of orphaned children with Down Syndrome, we ultimately chose a little boy named Sergey from Russia. Eight months later, as we neared the finish line of our adoption, one of Sergey’s family members in Russia stepped forward to adopt him. We were heartbroken for our loss, but God showed us that we were following him, and his ways are perfect. We knew we still wanted to adopt, so the way we saw it, two children would find homes because of our journey…Sergey went to his family and now we would choose another child to come into our family. We took great comfort in knowing that God could see this when we first committed to Sergey! We were honored to be a part of his plan.

Shortly after losing Sergey, we received a new referral with a grainy photo of a four-year-old blond-haired boy wearing pink glasses named Kirill. We were instantly in love with him. We had to re-file a lot of our paperwork because of the change in referrals and regions of Russia, but we were fast and we thought we were looking at three more months at the most until we would have Kirill home.

That was well over a year ago.

Since then so many things have happened. A tragic story of an adoptive mother sending her child back to his country alone on a plane with a note pinned to his shirt rocked our world…he was from Russia. Adoptions in Russia came to a screeching halt. Kirill’s region stopped processing adoptions for eight long months. The judge refused to accept any Amercian adoption cases until an official treaty was signed between the United States and Russia.

Even though we wouldn’t be able to finalize the adoption in court until the treaty was signed, we were allowed to go visit Kirill and sign our official petition to adopt him in August 2010. We fell more deeply in love with him. This was our son.

During that time, we found out that Kirill is the first child from his region EVER to be adopted with Down Syndrome. A birth mother keeping her child with Down Syndrome is unheard of in this area of the world. Adoptions of children with Down Syndrome just don’t happen there, these children are literally hidden away from society in orphanages and mental institutions. As our process continued, it became apparent that Kirill would be a pioneer. If our adoption was approved, it would pave the way for other children with special needs to be adopted from this region.

Then, a miracle happened around Christmas and the judge in this region suddenly changed her mind and began processing American adoptions again. We were elated. Could this be the light at the end of a very long tunnel? I was somewhat nervous about Kirill being the first child adopted with Down Syndrome from his region, but our agency was very confident that if we got a court date, our adoption would be approved. In seventeen years, they had never had a case rejected IF the family was issued a court date. We were told not to worry, so I didn’t. After meeting the judge’s requests for several supporting court documents, we were finally granted a court date-March 17, 2011. St. Patrick’s Day…I was thrilled. This would be our new favorite holiday! Our son was coming home!

Our other son, Clayton, who had just turned three when we started this adoption process, has prayed fervently for his brother. He is now almost five. When we told him Kirill was coming home, oh my…we had an excited big brother on our hands! At one point he even went to his room, dumped out his toy cars and divided them into two stacks…one for him and one for Kirill.

Last week, as we sat in the courtroom and suffered through five agonizing hours of difficult questioning, we were not prepared for anything but an approval of our case. Two doctors, two social workers, and the Minister of Children’s Services all made very strong statements on our behalf. They fought for us. Hard.

But when the ruling was read, the judge said, “Your application to adopt is rejected.” The basis given was that Kirill was “not socially adaptable” due to his “medical condition” and he was better off in an institution than in a home with a family. As the judge read her ruling, she stated several times that we were a good family, that we met all the criteria to adopt a child, but that she would not approve our adoption because Kirill has Down Syndrome. She told us that we could adopt another child, because legally our application had no problems according to Russian adoption law. She said she would approve our adoption for a “typical” child, but not this child. Why? The only reason? Because he has Down Syndrome. Even though we were approved by our home study and by the USCIS to adopt a child with special needs. It makes no sense whatsoever. Denying a child a family because he has Down Syndrome is a violation of human rights at its most basic level!

It was like a terrible dream. We were so unprepared for this outcome. As we left the courthouse in a mental fog, the doctors and social workers that had testified came to us and said, “If you appeal, we will fight for you. Appeal. Fight this decision.” Of course we were going to appeal…I could no more walk away from our biological son, Clayton, at this point. Kirill is just as much my son.

So here we are, asking God to move the mountain that is standing between Kirill and us as we appeal to the Supreme Court in Moscow. There are also three other families who are in various stages of adopting children with Down Syndrome from Kirill’s region; one of the families has a court hearing set for next week.

We are hoping that someone will hear our outcry and help us bring our son and these other waiting children home. His adoption will set the precedent for many other children in his region. There are 98 children in his orphanage with special needs alone. It is one of many orphanages in this region that houses children with special needs. This is about more than just one child, the lives of hundreds of children with special need are at stake. Please help us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Call to Action

So I've been stirred lately. Stirred by the drama going on with the angels abandoned by their parents and left to be institutionalized like worthless pieces of trash thrown into the dumpster. Stirred by something I find hard to comprehend. I'm speaking of the fate of many children with Down syndrome and special needs in other countries, where these special children are not valued. I mean, maybe this isn't an issue in the states because there is more advanced medical care and therefore more early detection and abortion, but I'd like to think the human race is better then that. I would like to think we have learned to value the lives of children with special needs. I know I have. I was raised better then that. Anyway,this is obviously a HOT issue for me and something that I feel I MUST address and become active in. I haven't figured out how or what to do yet. I'd LOVE to adopt, but that is just not in the cards for us right now. Maybe some day. . . until then, I have to figure out HOW to get involved and it starts with this post and hopefully the education of some. I urge every one of you to follow this link HERE to read more about Reeces Rainbow and see all the waiting children thrown to the way side. And I urge you to get involved, if you can find it in your hearts.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Feeing better, Visitors, and Prayers

Chloe's been feeling MUCH better lately. She still has her cough and now a runny nose too, but the fever is gone and she's back to her old spunky self. Her new Physical Therapist who observed her at play on Thursday was impressed with all her wonderful skills. The biggest skill we need to work on, she said, was safety awareness!!!! I said "you mean because she head dives off the couch?!?!" That's a BIG one! During her monthly team meeting it was fun for me to report all she's been doing lately - adding more signs, actually SAYING a few words (like "hi", "dada", "go", "stop", "dog" and "down"), using empathy to comfort friends, walking with more confidence, etc., etc. The list went on. This is a proud mama post. Gotta have those once in awhile.

Last weekend my cousin Peter came to visit from NYC. My kids REALLY enjoyed having him here. Chloe, Xander and Sadie all warmed right up to him! My dad also made it by for a visit. The kids call him Grampy or the G'Man. ;)

Please pray for our dear friend Dillon who underwent open heart surgery yesterday. He is doing GREAT and was extubated today, but he still needs positive thoughts, prayers and mojo until he's home and resting comfortably! His picture is on the right side of the blog. He's VERY special to us!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I am writing with a huge favor!! I am sure that many of you are familiar with Lera who has been waiting to be adopted from Russia for what seems like FOREVER!! Her family had an appointment this week to go and meet her for the first time and it got rescheduled because they still don't have enough money. The amount they need keeps going up and even though they have almost $20,000, they still need another $20,000. Here is the really bad news!!! Lera was just transferred to an institution. We all know how horrible this is!! I am hoping to spread the word to get people to help donate to her Reeces Rainbow account. This is so urgent!! Everyday she is in that institution is a day too long!! Below is the link to their donation page. Thanks for any help you can give for Lera!!

Donate NOW!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sick Again

So Chloe's got bronchiolitis and has been sick again all week. She's been in pretty good spirits despite a temp of 101 and a nasty cough. Doc sent us for chest XRay on Thursday since he heard a crackle, but XRay was more consistent with bronchiolitis then pnuemonia, so that's good news. She's been fighting it pretty well and remained a happy camper up until the past two nights when she's been the most out of sorts we've seen her in a long time. But the good news is she woke up this morning seeming back to her old self. Hopefully we're on the upward trend now.

Here's what happens when you cough REALLY hard! Notice the red spot in her eye? It's not from her eye surgery, but is new from coughing! Poor baby!

Feeling better, but look at he right eye. :(

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

I have a secret. It’s one I probably shouldn’t admit to, but admitting your problem is half the battle right? My secret is. . . I’m addicted to my kids. I know, that sounds totally corny. That’s not how I mean it. I mean I’m addicted to having kids. Not the physical birth part. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some GREAT birth experiences and there’s nothing like feeling your own baby move inside you, but that’s not what I’m addicted to either. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, because I’m often overwhelmed having three kids, yet here I am wanting MORE! Yes, it’s true, I want another one! (My mother AND my husband are gasping for air right now). So I’ve been pondering the reasons for why I might possibly want another one and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m addicted to the love that I have and receive from my kids. . . from being a mother. Phew. I already feel the weight lifted off my shoulders. So what does this mean for me? Number 4, you’re probably wondering. . . I honestly don’t know what it means yet. I’ve just figured out what it is that I like/love/thrive on. It’s just nice to make a little sense out of this draw I have to MORE kids! And I have to think I’m not the only one out there!