Sunday, July 31, 2011

Five Loaves and Two Fish

I always love meditating on scripture in Church every Sunday Morning. It's like a perpetual gold mine, always finding some new nugget of golden knowledge to make you think a little. Today's Gospel reading was one of those days.

Almost every Christian (and even a good amount of non-Christians) know the story of the Feeding of the 5,000. Jesus has been preaching to the crowd for quite some time, and everybody's ready for a meal. One problem: They don't have any food. OK, well, maybe that's not entirely true. Somebody brought along 5 loaves and 2 fish. But this is 5,000 people we're talking. And scripture tells us that's not even including Women and Children. How on Earth are they going to feed 5,000+ people?

Jesus tells them to bring that small amount to Him. and by the time he's through and everyone's fed, there's 12 wicker baskets of leftovers. That's a LOT more than 5 loaves and 2 Fish.

As my Pastor was talking about the scripture in his homily, he raised an interesting point: Jesus had taken something VERY small, one little meal, and turned it into a feast. Something big.

Within the last couple weeks, I've had the pleasure of seeing a lot of fellow advocators reaching fantastic goals. Tori just completed the first Worthday. My friends at the Guardian Angels have raised over $300 for a family in need of some funds. I am INSANELY happy for all of my friends who are reaching these incredible heights. But then I think back- what have I done?


We prayed a couple kids home, didn't we?

We've made some slideshows, gotten a healthy crop of followers...


I'm VERY proud of those goals I have reached. But at the same time, they can seem a little on the short end of the spectrum in comparison. We haven't raised any money yet. We haven't changed the lives of 900 orphans. But then I think of whoever it was on that day 2000 years ago that brought their five loaves and two fish, that small amount of food. They couldn't have fed 5,000+ people with that! They couldn't have fed 50. But they willingly gave it to Jesus. And He gave it back 1,000 fold. So for now, I'm willing to trust that if we give Jesus our little ministry, we can do even greater things than we already have. Things that will Glorify Him even more.

With 2 Weeks for 200 coming to a close on Tuesday, I'm fervently asking everyone between here and Heaven to pray and share. Share and pray. Anything you can. Thank you for following us on this adventure. Now that we have truly trusted Jesus to multiply us as He will, what will happen?

Speaking for the Silent Promotional Video from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Girls and Hearts

In the past, I've talked about how I wish more guys would turn their heart towards Orphan Ministry. I'd love to see more "spiritual big brothers" in the same way that girls are like these children's "spiritual big sisters." Trying to stand up for them and protect them like a big brother would save his little sibling from a bully, or a big sister would kiss their baby brother's boo-boo. But far be it from me to ignore the tons and tons of fantastic girls out there who ARE doing their best to make a difference and are already leaving a greater legacy in their teen years then some do in their lives.

One of the reasons I LOVE doing big collaborative projects like my Slideshow with the Lindquists or 2 Weeks for 200 is just that: the collaboration. I love meeting/working with other people in the orphan world who in turn are willing to support you.

I'd like y'all to meet the Guardian Angels, or more specifically, (L to R) Caitlin, Amanda, Madison, and Genesis. Amanda and me are acquaintances within the Advocate community, and she's great. She makes some pretty kicker slideshows too, and she LOVES her adorable little brother from Russia, Mr. Vahnya Josiah!! What I love most about reading their blog is the sheer amount of energy, vigor, and passion these four have. After literally starting less than a month ago, they've already done a fund raising event and raised 105 smackeroos! THAT's gut and gumption right there. Check out their blog! They were kind enough to mention the 2 Weeks For 200 campaign on their Facebook page, so we wanted to return the favor and show the sense of community all of us advocators have!

Next we have John 14:18-4 Girls 4 Christ! 4 girls who have banded together to help save orphans. And being as that's the same team #'s as Guardian Angels, I guess the best things come in fours! :D I met Kaitlyn and Sammy-Kate (Bottom left and Top right, respectively) a couple months ago, and both of them are fantastic! Kaitlyn is about one of the most joyful people I've ever met. She's constantly writing how much she loves the life she is blessed with, and I LOVE that attitude! You can check out both her personal blog and her personal advocacy blog there. Sammy-Kate has her own blog too! You can find it here.

While my next compatriot might not be a team, she is her own one-woman-advocating army. I had the pleasure of meeting my awesome friend Molly at the Reece's Rainbow get-together this July. That week, we all officially agreed she was the "Big Sister" of us all. We all loved her to bits. Me and Molly have totally different political views. We have absolutely different views on Religion. We acknowledge it. But in a way, Orphan Care and Special Needs is a funny type of glue. Despite those differences, we respect what we believe and put our heads together for some seriously huge plans for our future Orphan and Special Needs gigs. For all you want in passionate writing on orphan care, special needs, and LOTs of other things, check her out! She's a blast.

Another friend within the RR Teen Girl community who deserves a TON of credit for her endless efforts is Sarah B. I had the pleasure of meeting her mom, "aunt," and precious little brother Elijah when I went to Ukraine in December. Sarah blogs, knits, and fundraises more than anyone I know. And for somebody who's only 13, she's got the maturity and strength of character waaaaaaaay beyond her years. Through the blog I linked in her name, you'll find your way to her other blogs and ways you can contribute to her work!

Finally, it wouldn't be a "Girls who love to advocate and blog" post without mentioning two insanely talented girls I have the honor to know. My sister Elizabeth is really getting into orphan care and the community therein! She was really interested before, and after the RR reunion, she was officially hooked! And you might like to get a taste of her writing since I hope she'll be posting here in the near future! Finally, but certainly not least, my awesome friend, fellow advocator, and fellow team-mate here on S4TS, Tori. As of right now, Tori is on a mission in Peru, lovin' it up with all the kids at her beloved Segrada Familia, I'm sure. All of her posts are just so on-the-nose, honest, and passionate. Don't pass up the chance to read about all of the awesome things she does/discovers!

Wow, 4....8....9,10......11,12 girls blogging for Orphans! Wow, that really is a TON, of orphan blogging girls......

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Chance to Begin Again (redemption of adoption)

I have heard adoption be called many things. I have heard it called Ransoming a Child. I have heard people say (and I personally believe) it is a call from God. Whether or not all people who adopt or are in the orphan world are Believers, God has a plan for us whether we believe in Him or not. But one word I had always kind of been puzzled by when describing adoption was Redemption.

I knew adoption could save a life. I knew it could change it. Both through my own experience and watching those of others, it's pretty awesome to watch a child come out of their shell and realize this isn't another pit-stop on the road of life. That they are there to stay. But redemption seemed like a verbal overdose. I mean, Redemption? Being redeemed?

Within a short period of time, I'll have the golden opportunity to meet the first adoptive family ever to grace Speaking for the Silent with their presence: the Hinzes. John, Amy and their fantastic four kids mean a world and a half to me. At a time when I seriously questioned why I had felt called to start a blog for little kids no one was adopting, they stepped in and gave me hope. Their adoption of Dusty and Sonya wasn't just the saving of two Orphans-no-more. It gave me encouragement and the strength to feel God telling me that Sonya and Dusty would not be the last two orphans Speaking for the Silent would have the pleasure of watching come free of orphanage life and into their forever families. Indeed, at this moment we have both the Eubanks family and the Lindquists on the way to their sweetest lovies. The Eubankses for two more girls out of Sonya and my sister Julia's group, the Lindquists for Josh's prayer warrior child. God really does bring the people that will bless and teach you the most into your life.

If you know me personally, you know I get REALLY hyped for momentous occasions such as these. It races through my mind. Visions of what it will be like play out over and over. I'm an eccentric, and I know it. But sometimes my OCD eager anticipation brings about thoughts. Deep thoughts.

Example in said momentous occasion is as follows: One night, just as I was about to go to bed, I got a hunch. With all of the things that meeting these awesome people signifies, I figured a trip down good ol' memory lane was in store. I went to their blog and started back at their first post from across the sea. From there I fanned through every post and looked at every picture. Words cannot describe the difference.

And even my own little Julia, in the 7 months she's been home.

Seeing those photos and the changes in these three children that will soon be reunited nearly brought me to tears. For these three children, adoption wasn't just saving a life. It was a chance to begin again. It WAS redemption. From a place where their full value and potential was not or could not be realized, they are loved. They are valued. They laugh. They smile. They know what it means to love and be loved. To take a meal at a normal pace and savor the food. So who is to say adoption ISN'T redemption? Here's one more who believes it is.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Thankful Heart

The 2 Weeks for 200 project continues to build momentum. Facebook Page? Up to an ever-growing 135 likes! Promo Video? A pretty formidable 92 views! And the Lindquist Family's Slideshow- a whopping 200 views. simply phenomenal. But notice something interesting- and thought provoking. Out of all the stats I just listed, the Lindquists sit nicely on the top. And honestly, I think it all comes back to one thing:

A Thankful Heart.

Growing up as a kid, one of my favorite shows was the Christian cartoon series Veggie Tales. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a bunch of animated vegetables (faces, voices, and everything but arms and legs) telling stories. Sometimes they're Bible stories, sometimes they're just cute little stories to teach a lesson about Life. One of the classics was an episode called Madame Blueberry, which talked about a lesson in thankfulness. At the beginning, Madame Blueberry is (literally) distraught over the fact that her neighbors have nicer kitchen appliances and other household items than she does. So when a huge mega-store (aptly named "Stuff Mart") opens next door, you can guess what happens. After completely buying a sales pitch from some of the business men at the store,  Madame gets everything she does and doesn't need. But on the way home, she sees a poor family who live in a small tree house (remember, this is children's television) as opposed to the mini-mansion she lives in. Upon seeing them, she hears the child in the family singing a little song

"Because a thankful heart is a happy heart, I'm glad for what  I have, that's an easy way to start. For the love that He shares, and He listens to our prayers, that's why I say 'thanks' every day"

The success of the "2 Weeks" project would not be possible without the Lindquists. That slideshow I collaborated on with them brought so many people together and made me trust God so much deeper. And when all was said and done, I can't say I've seen many more people quite as thankful as Mrs. Lindquist was, just for taking a couple days to work on something to bring their sweet boy home. She has spread the word, shared the video and S4TS everywhere, and to see all of their hard work alongside me bring so much joy to them, really does make any sacrifice I might have made so worth it.

But most of all, their thankful hearts are what is really endearing. For a task that was simple, and even more so, enjoyable, we have heartily loved working with them. And we thank them wholeheartedly for their efforts to help us here at Speaking for the Silent.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Great Awakening

"One man wakes, awakens another, the Second one wakes his next door brother, Three awake and rouse a town...And turn the whole place upside down. Many awake, will cause such a fuss. It finally awakes all of us. One man awakes with dawn in his eyes, surely then it multiplies, surely then it multiplies."
Leeland, "The Great Awakening"
Alternatively, I could have titled this post "Me of little faith." But this is far less about me than it is about those amazing things that have happened in the last couple hours. 
While you probably know from past posts that our team has a boatload of families we know personally and love deeply, we really have to thank our new friends the Lindquists (first half of their name links to their blog, second links to our post on them) for their insane level of gratitude and support since meeting them last week. If meeting them has taught me one thing, it's that some friendships are best formed in wee hours of the morning during cramming time. Getting their slideshow done has been a journey in and of itself, and you can read more about it here on their blog. Quite frankly, I'm squeezing out my last few drops of energy just to get this post out, but oh well, that's Orphan Care! :D
The story of the last few days and all it involved and taught me is a post for another day. But what I can say for sure is that I've learned to trust God on a higher level then before and seriously learned what it means to work hard for Greater Good. 
I'm being painfully honest when I say I was unsure what to expect when I put the 2 Weeks for 200 project out there. Would it crash? Would it excel? The first few days in, we got a few more Likes and our Promo Video's success was a little bit choppy, although it wasn't horrendous. Reminding myself it's NOT a popularity contest or that I have to get 200 Views, Likes or whatever to make a difference was a toughy. But I truly believe we have a God who not only hears our prayers but brings people into our lives who will help us in that  time, as a sign of God's Providence right here on Earth. 
When I first spread my wings with this site, God gave me the Hinzes (who I'll have the pleasure of meeting soon!) To show me not only were there people who cared, but people who would support me and befriend me therein. This time, God brought along the Lindquists. In the same way the Hinzes, along with some other friends, brought me success by spreading the word the last time I prayed for a surge, the Lindquists have brought it about just as well. Sharing the link to the 2 Weeks project on Facebook and their blog, the Lindquists (along with my ever-supportive and faithful parents) have literally provided over 20 new likes on Facebook, TONS of new views on the promo, and even a couple new followers right here on Blogger. Indeed, the few that have awakened each other to the call have woken the entire town, as the verse of christian band Leeland's song says at the top of the post. It has truly been a Great Awakening to the call for Orphan care. How many new voices will we gain to raise the shout? Well, let's see what God has in store for us.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Explaining the Call (2 Weeks for 200)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Orphan Ministry is a special calling for a special group of people. While that doesn't make it exclusive or anything of that sort, Ministry requires superhuman amounts of emotional strength and perseverance. And if you don't feel compelled or driven, you'll probably find that this isn't quite your thing. No matter, though, everybody has a different calling in life. God knows where you'd fit best, and if it's not orphan care, its not Orphan Care!

At the same time, though, I feel like not enough people- especially guys, Christian and non-believing, try and get Orphan Care. Even if they're not called to it, at the very least, care of orphans falls into  the category of Human decency.  But anyway, I digress.

The purpose of following God's call in your life is, from my humble perspective, a matter of being a prophet for it and getting the Word out. Not just THE word (cue thunder and lightning) like the Gospels, but proclaiming that which God has drawn you towards to the rest of the world.

And in order to do that, I've made a short Promo Video, explaining our mission and what we're all about.

Speaking for the Silent Promotional Video from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

My hope is that through this video, the blog can get more circulation in a far easier fashion. I know I write insanely long posts. I thank all of you wholeheartedly who forge through them. But in a society of tweets and 420 character Facebook Statuses, I needed something short and sweet, yet affective.

Which brings me to the meaning of the title in Parentheses. Today, Tuesday, July 19th, I'm putting out a request for everyone to share Speaking for the Silent in some way, for the final two weeks of July. Yes, I'm aware that the final Tuesday is technically August 2nd. Oh well. In those two weeks, I'm asking every single one of you to share Speaking for the Silent in some way, shape, or form, and my hope is that by the end we'd have 200 likes on Facebook. If we can get a couple more followers on blogger, or even 200 views on the Promo Video, then by all means. But the purpose of this goes beyond numbers and statistics: the purpose of this is to spread word for the Plight of the Orphan and bring as many people as we can close to what I humbly believe is a large part of the Father's heart. Let's see where we can go!

Thanks a TON in advance,


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another Fantastic Family (Constant Influx)

So, for those of you who braved this post ('cause it was a long one), you'll know that the team here at S4TS have been blessed to get a chance to meet/support a large network of families in the Reece's Rainbow community who are either in the process of adopting, have completed an adoption, or are going back for a second time. They're all seriously awesome, and we love 'em to bits. Shortly after I did that post though, I had the opportunity to get in touch with another fantastic family, in the never-ending, Constant Influx of fantastic families entering adoption.

        I want y'all to meet the Lindquist Family, who are going to get....


This is a slightly more recent picture, so allow me to connect some dots for you who don't recognize Mr. McHandsome here.

Ethan's former picture looked like this:

And Josh posted about his prayer warrior child, who looks like this!

This is the Ethan JOSH HAS BEEN PRAYING FOR!!!! I was excited for him when Ethan got a family. And being that after the Reece's Rainbow get-together I friended THE Andrea Roberts on facebook (who's friends with just about everybody and their brother who knows Reece's Rainbow) I figured it might be worth a shot to see if I could find Ethan's new mom, since Josh would be ecstatic to know Ethan's new parents knew who he was and that he'd been praying them together. So as God would have it, I found and messaged Ethan's new mom Connie. And let me tell you, I LOVE this family. In the same way I admire young and childless couples for stepping out into the deep waters of adoption, I admire families who already have a child with DS and step out in faith again. The Lindquist's biological daughter blessed with the extra chromosome, Sophina, had six surgical procedures in her first six months of life. SIX procedures, people. Including open heart surgery. On a six-month-old. I did mention six procedures right?

I give the Lindquists an insane level of credit for the step of faith they're taking with Ethan. Being from one of the hardest Eastern European countries, they're going straight into the "deep end" of adoption as it were, since this country is easily one of the most expensive countries around right now open for adoption.

So, do me a favor, and go to their blog and give them an encouraging comment, re-post the Family Sponsorship Page on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog, drop some cash in their fund. Heaven knows they'd love all and any support they can get!

Speaking for the Silent, lovin' on adoptive families from January 2011 to eternity and beyond!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Cost at Which it Comes (Before and After)

Part of what  makes things here in the Reece's Rainbow World go round are stories. Moving Stories. Heartwrenching stories. Sometimes, even happy stories. The latest in this set of stories, however...

ain't one of those happy stories.

I want y'all to meet miss Terri Lynn, a little girl, who, if you saw this photo, would probably say is pretty healthy-looking for being in an orphanage. Ironically, we selected her at random for our S4TS Facebook collage.

Sweet, right? I totally think so. Anyone within this world of Special Needs Orphan Care is probably more than aware that these children live with the threat of being transferred to mental institutions where they just can't or won't survive, let alone live happily. But, praise God, most of the kids available for adoption rarely ever meet this fate, or for a long time, at worst.

Our dear Terri Lynn has not been so fortunate.

A few days back, I created a little "now and then" photo of my little brother Addisu to celebrate his two-year anniversary of being home. It was amazing to see a tiny little peanut now a big little man.

If only I could say the same for our dear Terri Lynn.

Who has went from this...

To this.

My throat constricts with a golf ball-sized lump when I see this. Sometimes I feel like I'm using that threat of institutes and their horrors as just that: a threat. A threat to get things moving. To make somebody jump into action. In some cases it might be necessary to do so. But on another hand, doing that desensitizes it. You forget just how what the cost of institutionalization is: that it doesn't just shut a child out of the world. It breaks them, shames them, dismisses them as "Unlovable" and "useless" in the opinion of their culture.

This is why we move. This is why I do what I do, and devote all of my emotions to getting involved and deepening my relationships with others involved. Terri Lynn should NOT have to endure whatever situation she is currently living in. But she serves as a reminder, a visual, as to just how dear the cost of one life in an institution is; it's not just lost potential, or one more life lost for no reason.

It's a thorn in a heart of their Father in Heaven. So many causes need assistance. So much indecency and conflict explode around us that MUST be solved. But a Father's heart is close to all of his children. And no matter what way you might be helping, you ARE changing some piece of the world, large, small, or somewhere in between. And for me, Orphan Care is that little way I can change things. Maybe it's the same for you. Maybe it isn't.

But the question is this: now that you know, what will you do, how will you react? Will you do anything it all? I hope you will.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Advocation Station

Should I rename Speaking for the silent the Advocation Station? LOL, just kidding. Speaking for the Silent isn't just my catchy, self-penned name. It's got biblical roots in Proverbs 31:8, which reads "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." In retrospect I could have named it after one of the many verses that says something along the lines of"Unless you are as the least of these, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven," Since I heard that verse as clear as day when I stood in the Ukrainian Orphanage where I first felt a serious call to orphan care. But this isn't a post about names. This is an advocating post, pure and simple.

There are literally hundreds of families in the adoption process through Reece's Rainbow right now, and much as I would like, I cannot keep track of all of them. Even Andrea told me she has a full day trying to keep up with all of them. But there are a few who catch my eye for whatever reason. Maybe I've met them. Maybe their story just hits me in all the right places. Maybe their fantastic writers that give, honest, humorous accounts of their adventures. Some of the people I'm gonna plug are just advocators like myself.

First off, we have the Gibson Family, adopting our precious Antonio, now Carter. Jake and Ashley are followers on Facebook, and there's a million different reasons I just love how their journey has progressed. Firstly, Antonio has been a little RR cutie we had hoped and prayed for for months. Secondly, it ends up I actually know close friends of his parents (the Birshbach family) and actually met his new Grandma in Ukraine! Most of all, though, I have a quirk for young couples adopting. As a young person trying to make a difference, young couples that don't have 20 years of marriage under their belts and throw themselves into this crazy test of faith and love just make me smile a little wider. Check out their blog, by one of their fundraiser T-shirts, do whatever you can. They're awesome. And in case you're somebody blessed with a photographic memory, I talked about the funny coincidence of how they found S4TS in this post a while back.

Next we have the Spitz Family, going back (for the 2nd time!) to adopt Sweet Michael, now Gavin. Ah, where do I even begin with the Spitzes. Well, for starters, my family has been blessed to know them for almost a year. Our moms have connected so well you'd think they were sisters. Both  of our dads were in the Marines. Us kids? Well, for people who didn't know each other from Adam, we hit it off pretty well. Getting to meet them this summer at the RR reunion was fantastic. We didn't have that much time together, but we treasured the time that we did. I admire them for so many reasons- but their steadfast dedication to their call stands out the most. The Spitzes originally committed to a little girl on Reece's Rainbow known as Lyla. A few months into their process for her, Lyla's medical conditions took a turn for the worse, making her adoption status impossible until she is doing better. To watch the Spitzes re-commit and complete one adoption process, and go back for another blessing, and still remain faithful to
dearest Lyla, well, it shows, to me at least, that God's got his hands on them. And as luck would have it, I had coincidentally added Gavin into our Facebook Collage photo shortly before they committed to him! Ah, God and his sense of humor.

Next we have the Eubanks Family, Adopting Shawna and Lindsay. The Eubankses are special for so many reasons. To start, they are adopting two little girls from Julia's Orphanage, who I had hoped and prayed could all be resuced along with my dear Sonya. Now, it seems like that is a reality! Carrie and Lee were kind enough to e-mail me months before they officially committed because of financial reasons. We are so honored they thought us worthy to know way ahead of time, and we support them wholeheartedly!

Coming down the home stretch of our list, we have the Tadema Family, adopting Baxter, an older child who's one handsome dude! I don't really know the Tadema's or their story as well as I should, but I had a friend tell me about them and ask me to get the word out.

Which brings us to our next honorable mention- my new but close friend Taylor! One of the afore-mentioned Spitz clan, for only having met her for a couple days, she made such quick friendships with everybody- she's definitely your social kinda gal! Anyway, she came home and started a blog- and literally made how much she had enjoyed meeting my family the topic of one of her first posts. Anyway, She's a fellow Ukraine-lover, fellow, special needs advocate and an awesome writer. Nowhere will you find a more honest and heartfelt account of a teen/young adult trying to seek out her calling.

And speaking of great writers, ya gotta check out my good friend Molly's Blog. Molly is an inspiration to me for a lot of reasons. A) she works with older special needs kids and LOVES it. Not an easy task at times, let alone with vigor and love. She also showed me how far the power of one can go- literally raising awareness, money, and all else to bring the small RR celebrity, THE Mr. Aaron Nalle home to his loving family!

Last but definitely not least is my sister Elizabeth- she's a girl in love with her God, her family and her Life, and I love her to bits! If you want the shorter, sweeter version of what I normally post and much much more- she has a far better ability to get her point across in fewer words and STILL write a fantastic post!

In the world of RR, that love for special needs people is like a superglue between us. We all help each other out and rejoice in the good and in the bad. And to all those associated with the RR community that have supported us here at S4TS, this is our favor for you! Thank you all so much and God Bless!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Hi everyone! It's Josh. Sorry I haven't blogged for a while. But I just HAD to do a post about this! Ethan, this boy who I was a prayer warrior for:

or in his most recent picture:

Has a family!!!!!!!! There's no information on who his family is yet but, at least he has one!!!! I am SO SO SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED! I can't believe it! I am overjoyed!!!!!! I am sending out a prayer request for his family!
             Another family I am asking for prayers for is this little boys family:

Please pray for for the Spitz's. This is their fourth adoption. I had the pleasure of meeting them at the Reece's Rainbow get-together. I think I've never loved an entire family this much! Please pray that they will be able to get this boy home ASAP! I mean look at his face, isn't he just so cute! He deserves to be home with a family who will love and care for him. See ya' later!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A New One

Well, as some of you who I've had the privelege of talking with personally, I adore making slideshows. The art of combining the beauty of pictures and music in perfect synchronization together for an even higher sense of meaning is truly exhilarating to me. As you will know from reading my last post, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the first ever Reece's Rainbow get-together in Cooperstown NY. For those who are thirsting for more or don't have the time to read my miniature novels, here's a personally comprised slideshow of all the beautiful happenings! Of course, I have to thank my good friend Molly and Andrea Robert's sister Vicki, my photographing compatriots that helped to make this slideshow possible!

Reece's Rainbow Reunion 2011 Slideshow from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shards of Heaven

I'm back. From Cooperstown, from vacation, but most of all, I believe,

from Heaven.

No, I didn't go into cardiac arrest and come back from the great beyond, or have a dove fly over my head like the Holy Spirit was lighting me on fire for God. while I have had those experiences, I believe God gives you the experience you need when you need it, and I could feel him working in different ways on this trip as opposed to others.

When I first heard about Reece's Rainbow, I admit I kind of rolled my eyes. I am not the same person I was two years ago, and Orphan Care was far from my niche, my second nature, etc. I doubted the power of one person with inspiration to move mountains. I'd say my first example of that was when a college student named Molly raised money, awareness, and just about everything in between to get a little boy named Aaron home to a family. Not only did she make a difference for that one little boy, but she made friends with one fantastic family. As I got the updates on the story through my mom, saw all the little miracles that surrounded our little group, and became seriously changed after visiting Eastern Europe myself, I inched my way in. In some ways, Sonya and the Hinz family were my Aaron and the Nalles. The child that kicked me into gear. The family that came along. One event leads to the next. I'm not who I was, and I wouldn't be anyone different.

When I first heard about the Reece's Rainbow get-together, I was downright giddy. I was pumped. Then reality (read: anxiety and fear) set in, and I wondered what it would REALLY be like. Obviously meeting Andrea and Reece would be fantastic. The reason for all of us doing what we were and becoming who we are. But what about the other people? Would there be any? There aren't near as many families in the North from RR as there are in the South. What would the kids think of me? Would the younger ones look up to me? Would the ones my age and older get me? Not many teens/young adults get me, my personality, my mission, my facebook posts :P

My family arrived a couple of days before the rest of the group would. We got the lay of the land and everything in between down pat, and welcomed Reece, Andrea and her younger son Owen with open arms on thursday. From that moment I realized there was a different click to this group- for being the founders and inspiration for so many, Andrea was just like the rest of us. She wasn't afraid to get right down in the grit and play with the kids, while at the same time being the face of a growing ministry. As more and more families started to arrive, it became apparent we were all in the same boat: families that followed a call to attempt an incredible task and had been blessed to make it through. I also began to realize something else: it took little to no effort to trust theses families. I quickly began to realize how truly close we were because of the bond Special Needs forms between companions- one of shameless love, of utter compassion, and total self-sacrifice for one another. I began to see the shards of heaven then.

Easily the #1 reason we were blessed to have the reunion held in New York was a place called Pathfinder Village. Pathfinder(s) is devoted entirely to helping people blessed with Down syndrome to flourish and thrive- and does so with complete triumph. We were blessed to hang out with many of the residents for two days, and I can honestly tell you no one can make you laugh, move you to tears, or change you as quickly as and completely as they do. They are the real shards of heaven, the little sign of what the happiness of love and heaven is like: one that has no fear, no bounds, no shame. Simple, selfless, love.

              My Dear friend Nick and my passionate Special Needs compatriot Taylor. Nick has been blessed with Down, and Taylor's got the heart to love those who have it.

                       Have you ever seen such pure and shameless joy?

                              The One and only, precious and spunky Reece Roberts!

                            A group of the residents from Pathfinders- never were there closer friends.

Shards of Heaven did indeed fall down on us there in our tiny mountain getaway. And we were blessed to be there to witness them.