Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Calling All Angels

There's a little prayer I prayed as a kid that goes like this:

                                          "Angel of God, my Guardian Dear,
                                       To whom God's love commits me here
                                                 Ever this day, be at my side,
                                      To light, to guard,  To rule, And guide."

In the Catholic Church, we believe in these things called Guardian Angels. Angels from Heaven that are our named protector who watch over us along with God in heaven. Everybody in the entire world has one.

While all of us aren't exactly real Angels, many of us in this beautiful world of orphan ministry do our best to watch over, protect, and even save the little children who have no voice. Our greatest objective is to find a family for all of these children, even if we can't adopt them. To advocate for them, donate to their adoption grant, etc. And so I'm asking all you Angels here on earth to protect, watch over, pray for a little boy I have to speak up for:

This is Jonah from Reece's Rainbow. Isn't he a handsome little guy? He's cognitively, he's perfectly normal. But some fused fingers and cranio-facial issues immediately discredit him in his native country. The problem is, he's just turned four, and yep, you guessed it, is facing transfer. To a mental institute. Mrs. Nalle, who many of you know for her Orphan Advocating, adopted her son Aaron from there. She has seen it in all its full, depressing state. She knows best what Jonah is facing.

But I still want to put in my two cents for Jonah, unawares of his dreary circumstances as I may be. Please do all you can to find him a home. Pray for him, donate for him, advocate for him, all that you can. I'm calling on all of you Angels for this amazing little boy's rescue.

A quick postscript- good news, however, Masha has a FAMILY !!!!! Yay!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Ride- Part 2

Little did I know that picture was going to go onto the Reece's Rainbow website and blogs that followed Reece's Rainbow and saw the picture. It has become my little contribution to  Reece's Rainbow and Sonya's hopes of finding a family. But it sparked something else as well.

Before that, I had never seen, heard, our played with an orphan in danger of that unspeakable fate. By the time I had met Julia, she was already ours by law and we were merely waiting for the loose ends to be tied up. But this was different. I knew Sonya was close to transfer by some amount because she was able to stand pretty easily and was definitely alert and pretty smart. But the next day when the Adoptive mom who had originally told me about her told me she was five, my heart sank. while this orphanage keeps the kids the longest they can (6), Sonya only has a year. A year.

And so then and there I found my true inspiration: I was able to enjoy a family and the compounded joy of bringing home a family member, while Sonya had a crib and some nannies who would only be able to have her for another year. And yet I've never met a happier little person.

Jesus said in Mark 10: 15 "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of heaven like a child shall not enter it." Here was a living proof of that before my eyes. While Sonya probably doesn't have the opportunity to go to church or know about her Savior personally with prayer, she was a perfect example of happiness and love unconditionally given to anyone who would give her attention. It made me see just how amazingly strong someone can be- and how much that attitude can give you faith, make you stronger, love more, be a greater person.

And the fact that one little face brightened up that whole room showed me just how much difference one person could make. It's what compelled me to continue to try and help rescue orphans, even after my family had completed our own rescue mission.

Which brings us to today. I'm amazed at the fact God has blessed me with 21 people who are supporting this mission on Facebook and the ten of you that follow me here on Blogger.  Your support means an ton.

I'm honestly not sure at all how God will use this ministry me and my companions are starting, but I hope He will and that I will make the difference I hope I can. But for now, I'll sit back and enjoy The Ride.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Ride- part 1

A note: I am going to tell this in two parts, because it is rather long, but be assured, this is not the end of the story :)
By December 25th, 2010, I had already been on a certain car ride many times. I had made it with just my dad and our driver, I had made it with my dad, our driver, and our facilitator. I had even done it with another adoptive family. But on the way back from our destination on Christmas Day, 2010, I began the journey to a new part of who I am today. 

This year me and my dad spent the American Holiday season (Ukrainian Christmas is 12 days later, on Epiphany) in an area of Ukraine on a rescue mission. A mission to bring home a little girl who my parents had already spent a month fighting for and bonding with in a country where we didn't speak the language, and had to rely on our facilitator's ability to translate our words to the Judge of my sister Julia's district. Julia's case was especially different because of her Down Syndrome. Here in America, Down Syndrome may not be as widely respected as it deserves, but it is considered the ultimate degrading for a child in Eastern Europe. The children are lucky if they ever leave the hospital with their families. In most cases, the facilitator of the nearest orphanage comes to get them. From there, they get 4-6 years in what is known as the Baby House before the Institution. I will not begin to show you the videos, describe in great depth the fact of just how bad these places are. They can be, and most of the time are, a living hell. It can break the brightest. Maim the strongest. Kill the weakest.

The one portal of hope for these kids is adoption. Probably international. As I said, Down Syndrome (or any special need really), is an impediment, a flaw, something that cannot be treated. There are simply no facilities or services for these little gems. But thanks to organizations like Reece's Rainbow  that advocate for these children, there is a chance.

That was how we got involved. Through Reece's Rainbow. Julia had stolen our hearts in July of 2010 and we had pursued her adoption ever since. Now, on December 25th, 2010, the day of Our Lord's birth, she was being rescued. But other things were meant to happen that day as well.

In these orphanages, there are groups known as "Groupas" Each Groupa is normally divided by age, sometimes how affected they are. In Julia's orphanage, there is one room where kids you would take to be no more than 12-month-olds, but can be as old as 6, lie in cribs 24/7 because they are the "imbeciles," the ones most deeply affected. I had never met anyone in Julia's groupa, save one little boy I nicknamed Bruiser (who seemed to lead the group) who had escaped the main room one day and crashed into My Dad and I's visit with Julia. I had heard names, briefly seen pictures, all that great stuff. I had even seen the videos I mentioned before. I had a grip of what went on, but  I had always been a little lukewarm in concerns to the passion with which I fought for the cause. When we went in, Julia was sitting contently in her crib on the other side of the room. I went over and said hello and giggled with her for a second, then the plump little nannies scooped her up out of her crib to get her dressed in the outfit we had been required to bring.

One thing that is universally excepted about Ukrainian orphanage nannies is they are a hoot in the way the run around the room like crazy rattling things off in Ukrainian/Russian trying to keep everything in stark order. That said, I didn't want to enter into the fray of my dad and the Nannies all gathered around Julia trying to dress her and all that. so I went over to my buddy Bruiser. Something tells me Bruiser had just been told he wasn't in control of the place woken up from a nap and wasn't in an amicable mood. Right next to him to the right of me, however, was a little girl who had been jumping at me like crazy. The second I turned around and grinned at her, I swear rays of sunlight beamed from her infectious little Smile. I quickly realized from the combined knowledge of an adoptive mom in the region with us as well as the nannies calling to her that this was Miss Sonya from Reece's Rainbow. I said her name, questioning whether or not I was a complete lunatic for playing a guessing game with a child's name I barely knew. Luckily I was right. Que more rays of sunshine eminating from smile. I played with Sonya over the rail of her crib for a good 5/6 minutes, playing what I call the "cheek popper" game. I would puff my cheeks and then "pop" them with her fists enclosed around my thumbs. Priceless laughter. I realized the nannies were nearing the end of their last dressing of Julia and I waited for Dad to get all the nannies' attention for a photo.

Now one thing you should know about me (if you don't already) is this: I am a complete photography geek. Taking pictures, reading up on the latest gear, making slideshows, you name it, I love it. Shortly before leaving I had been gifted a beginner "pro" camera (i.e. one of those big cameras that isn't something you can fit in your pocket and requires you to have pretty deep pockets) that I had probably taken about 6,000 pictures with already. I motioned with my camera at Sonya and Bruiser and attempted to communicate what I was after to a young nannie who nodded her head yes. My picture of Bruiser came out relatively well, but my shining moment was Sonya's picture. And that began The Ride.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This is Antonio

Hello everyone I'm Josh. You can read more about me on the Who's the Team page. One little boy I have been following is this little boy.

His name is Antonio. Is he a little cutie-pie or what. I saw his picture and my heart just dropped. I thought to my self, How could a little boy this cute not have a  family? If you could pray that this little boy will find a family that would be nice. I just thought I would let you know that he has $2330 in his account. I know it's not a lot to a whole adoption but every penny counts. So tell people you know that are interested in adoption about him. I would love to get on to the My  Family Found Me page and see his little face there.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Little Heart Movers

Well, as the saying goes, when it rains, it pours! The floodgates of Heaven have opened up for us this week in so many ways!

First and foremost, that silence I talked about in yesterpost was broken on Wednesday when the Judge gave the two families one trip through their process a COURT DATE! Needless to say, my friends the Hooks (one of whom is one of our team members here) are ecstatic as they prepare to finally bring their little girl home! The Davis's (Kirril's family, i.e. the little blond boy with glasses) will have their court date a week before the hooks, and then the Moreno's (Adopting Baby J, who has the brown hair) will be anxiously awaiting their first trip after these two adoptions are finalized. Pray for a speedy process for all involved!

Now some of  you may be asking what my title means. And I'm about to explain that.

A Heart Mover is my personal synonym for an Orphan. One little face that can move your heart to action because maybe you see the pain in their eyes. Or the happiness in the face of so much hardship. Or the strength beyond what they should have had to endure. But nonetheless, your heart reaches to them, and they change you, through one little interaction, glance, photo, or video. And you move.

From my personal experience, a Special Needs  Adoption such as the ones I have seen entail two sets of Heart Movers. the first is that little face (or faces) that sucks you in. So much that you know God has called you to this, and you have to move. And, somehow, God gives you what you need to act on it. And only a couple months later, you get to meet that little person (or people, as the case may be), in the living flesh. You hold them, squeeze them, kiss them all over just to make sure they are actually there. And as your journey to bring that little one home starts to end, you meet this other little one. One who, for me, you want to help so badly. But you know you've just completed one journey that is only just beginning. So you resolve to do as much as you can to help them in their dire situation.

For me, that little one was Sonya. you can find her on "Our Orphan Loves" page, or you can see her face as our Facebook Profile Picture. she is as smart as a whip and very funny.When we were picking up my little Sister Julia, who has Down Syndrome on her gotcha day, I didn't want to add more confusion to my Dad trying to help the caretakers dress Julia. So I walked around. Waved at all the little kids in their cribs. One of them grabbed on to me. Literally. Got my attention with her infectious, giggly smile, and the rest is history. I got to spend the next ten minutes playing with her in her crib, blowing up my cheeks and then "Popping" them with her little hands. She thought this was hysterical. And then I got to take that picture. That picture is something I am so grateful for. The orphanage workers were kind enough to let me take that before I left, and it has been a major help in getting Sonya some  good circulation through the community. I'd hardly admit to it unless someone asked me outright, but  I consider it my little contribution to helping Sonya get home.

And there is another Little Heart Mover I ask you to pray for: This is a little girl named Masha. She moved the heart of my Mom's good friend Mrs. Spitz, as well as her friend Jill, and Mrs. Nalle of the well-known Micah Six Eight Blogspot, otherwise known as the story her son Aaron. And Masha is moving countless others with her story. She has mere days before transfer to the mental institute, and God called some generous benefactor to grant her a $16,000 (count the zeroes) grant. While the remaining 10,000 is no small amount of cash, it is much more possible now. Please Pray she can find her family soon. The scary reality that  a group of God's precious treasures can be left in cold metal cribs, uncared for and unloved, is truly saddening. But God can find a way.

                                 You lived among the least of these
                                          The weary and the weak
                      And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.
                                     All my needs you have supplied.
                                  When I was dead you gave me life.
                              How could I not give it away so freely?

              And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
                                     Follow you into the world.
                 Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
                                  Follow you into the World.

Leeland featuring Brandon Heath, "Follow You"