Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let's Hear It For The Boys! Part 2

Orphan hosting is near and dear to my heart. So are teenagers. I love kids of all ages but after many years of youth ministry I have to say teenagers are still my favorites.

In the USA we live in a consumer culture that in many ways caters to teens. Advertising, music and TV programs target teens now more than any time in history. Teens want the latest gadgets, have the power to drive music sales through the roof and are a huge target audience for movies that feature sparkly vampires. American teens are also surrounded with endless possibilities for their futures. College, tech schools, military or entering the work force right out of school. Even in a tough economy young people in American still have so many choices and the chance at a really bright future.

In many other countries teens are surrounded with the same consumer and future choices American kids are. But in other countries that are very impoverished not so much. And then there are the orphaned teens. For many of them the future is pretty bleak. I've shared the stats before and they are pretty easy to find. Orphaned kids DO NOT have the kind of choices other kids have. In fact many are told they will amount to nothing, they are 2nd class citizens and nobody will ever love them. Some may have the chance to get some training in a trade. But even in those situations there are people who try to stop them from make a decent life for themselves. They are either ignored or exploited. Shunned or taken advantage of. Abandoned or lied to about a supposedly wonderful job opportunity that will most likely get them killed. Many end up on the street or getting tricked into the human trafficking trade. I heard just yesterday that human trafficking is a $56 billion dollar a year business. That is more than the drug trade.

So for my "Part 2" of this series I want to advocate for the teenage boys. They are so overlooked and I can tell you from experience there are a bunch of really terrific boys in the New Horizons for Children hosting program that would love to come stay with a family in American for 5 weeks this summer. I can tell you this because we hosted a 14 year old boy at Christmas time and we love him so much we are now making him a part of our family through adoption.

New Horizons for Children is an international hosting program that bring orphans from Eastern Europe to the USA for 5 weeks during the summer and winter. It is not an adoption program. Many of the kids are eligible for adoption. But you are not obligated to adopt. What you would be obligating yourself for is to care for them, make them a part of your family during that time, show them a fun summer in America, and share the love of God with them. The hosting program is open to Christian families.

Here are some photos of some of the boys:

This is Valters and Viesturs. They are brothers and need to be hosted together. They currently have a $1000 scholarship towards their hosting fees.

This is Jevgenijs and Aleksandrs. Also brothers that need to be hosted together. They currently have a scholarship of $750.

Aleksandrs is considered host only because he is already 16. He would love to come to America for summer. he likes Football and Basketball and understand some English already. He currently has a $500 scholarship.

This is Raivis. He has a $500 scholarship and is also considered host only because of his age.

Grisha has a $500 scholarship and would like to be hosted by a family with other kids.

Alexsandr has been hosted before and loved America. He would love to come back and has a $500 scholarship. He is a a "last chance child". This means he will be 16 soon and is running out of time to find his forever family.

This is Mykhalo. He is a little shy, but wants to come to American and hopes someone will teach him how to swim. He currently has a $250 scholarship.

There are so many more kids. This year NHFC has several older and younger boys, girls and sibling sets. They also have a few kids with special needs that need to be matched with just the right families.

There are only 5 days left to sign up for hosting. If you want to learn more about these boys or see some of the other kids that need a host home this summer please go here and fill out the short form. You will then receive an email with a link to the photolisting with all the children available for hosting.

If you decide you want to host then fill out the pre-application and you will be contacted by a representative in your region to help you place a child on hold or answer your questions. The cut off date to sign up is May 4th. The cost to host is $2950 (minus any scholarship that may be available). You can make payments.

Please consider hosting one of these wonderful kids this summer. This really is a chance to bring the mission field right to your home and minister to a child who may have no hope for their future. Loving and caring for these kids helps them see that they do have choices, they can have a bright future, they are loved and appreciated and that they may even have a chance to find a family of their own.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Let's Hear It For The Boys! Part 1

"I love them all. How do I pick just one?"

This is a comment I see all the time on different blogs and Facebook groups that advocate for hosting or adopting orphans. I totally get that. If we had planned to host and adopt I would have been asking myself the same question. But we did not plan to host an orphan or adopt internationally. God just made it happen and put our son in our home. It was not really something we were seeking at all. It was a God thing and He did it. He is also providing for our adoption in amazing ways. Way beyond what we could dream or expect. God want this boy in our family. It was meant to be. Period! End of line!

But if we had planned to adopt I think choosing who would be one of the hardest decisions ever. God made it easy for us. He brought our boy to our front door. It was as if He was saying, "Here is your son, now adopt him." When I adopted my daughter I didn't have to look at photos and pick her either. She was family, she needed me. So I did it because I already loved her and wanted her to be with someone she felt safe with. I didn't want her to loose her whole family. The only choice I had to make was whether or not to say yes to the social worker wanting to place her with me.

Trying to look through a photo listing and picking just one child or even picking a sibling group would probably be excruciating for me. How do you know? I see comments like this from people that have already picked their child, "I saw those beautiful eyes staring back at me from the computer screen and just knew." WOW! That is so cool! Maybe it does kind of feel like the first time you hold your child and you just love them instantly. I felt that with our kids. With our daughter it was when she was born. I had the privilege of being in the delivery room. I was just her Aunt at that time but then the nurse put her in my arms. I instantly felt those Mama Bear feelings. Those "I love and am going to protect this little cub" kind of feeling. It was overwhelming and I knew at that moment I could never move away from her. I had no idea she would call me Mama 2 years later.

I felt it when our son came down the escalator at the airport. When he saw the little poster we made welcoming him to the USA with his photo on it, his face lit up. His smile made my heart melt and I was a gonner. As soon as I hugged him I was dreading the day we would have to send him back. We had seen his photo many times and God was already giving us a love for him, but seeing him in person and holding him for the first time sealed it in my heart.

So I have to ask those of you who first saw your adopted child on a list with dozens of other kids. What did it feel like? How did you know? People are looking at the Reece's Rainbow website everyday. They are looking for their child. Other people look at the photo listing for New Horizons for Children. They are trying to decide who to host. The information on the kids is so brief. But I keep hearing and reading that people just know when they see their child.

For those of you who has found your child (or host child) please comment below about how you knew. Was it a feeling or a nudge from the Holy Spirit? Did you print out several photos and pray over all of them? Was there some little thing written in their brief bio that caught your eye and made you know that child belonged in your family? Was there just familiar about a particular child? Or was it those beautiful eyes staring out at your from the screen?

There are some children who have caught my eye. We are not in the position to host or adopt another child right now. We are still in the process of bringing Andriy home. But, several times a week I look on the Reece's Rainbow and NHFC sites and I pray for and try to advocate for the kids. And I have to say I do have favorites. Is that wrong? Of course I love them all and want them all to find a family, but some just grab my attention more than others. Their eyes look at me from the screen as if to say, "help me find my family please". I can't go get them all. I wish I could go get more than we already are. Maybe someday we will. But for now I can advocate. So I wanted to share my favorites. Maybe the Mama or Papa of one of these boys will read my post and find their son.

Today I am going to share some boys from Reece's Rainbow.

Meet Kurt.

Ok. Now this is an easy one. I know why I love Kurt. He looks so much like my Uncle Richard did at that age. Those droopy cheeks and those sad, round eyes. If my Uncle had a son he would look just like Kurt. I know it.

Here is what the RR website says about Kurt: "Boy, Born September 2007. Kurt is a handsome young man with brown hair and giant brown eyes. He has very mild CP. He is able to walk on his own and is a delightful boy."

Just think about what a loving family could do to make Kurt smile so those droopy cheeks aren't so droopy anymore. He would benefit so much from physical therapy for his CP. He is able to walk on his own. Maybe he could run. I'll bet lots of hugs and kisses and I love yous would make him smile too. He is just precious. And he only has $10 in his adoption fund. :( Kurt's family where are you?

This is Russell.

Somebody has a good sense of humor because this little cutie looks like Russell from the movie Up. If you adopt him and actually name him Russell you have to promise me you will get this boy a dog named Doug. He is described on the RR site as:
"Boy, born July 2009
Eyes Grey
Hair dark brown
Nature calm
Down syndrome"

That's all we got for now. But he sure is a cutie pie. Just trying to picture him a little older and in a Boy Scout uniform makes me smile. Somebody please adopt Russell. He has $2610 in his adoption fund. That is AWESOME!!!!!!

Meet Travis.

Here is what his info on RR says about Travis:
"Boy, born October 2009.
Down syndrome, moderate mental deficiency, protein-calorie deficiency, convergent squint, left eye myopia (shortsightedness) of slight degree, umbilical hernia, open oval window.
Travis is active and independent child. He walks, knows his name, he plays patty-cake, his active attention is developing well, he is getting interested in toys (he rolls a ball, knocks with toys, etc.), shows his emotions -laughs when adults play with him, eats well from a spoon (not independently yet), drinks from a cup (with adults’ help), pronounces many sounds and syllables. They say he has a very good potential for development."

Did you read that? Did you see the words active and independent? I personally think that means that when Travis is in the room it's time to PARTY!!!!!!!! Look at his picture. What a happy kid. Who wouldn't want someone with that much joy in their family.

Meet Oscar.

Here is what the RR site says about Oscar.

"Oscar DOES have siblings, they are not available to be adopted.
Boy was born in December 2009
Diagnosis: Down syndrome
Oscar is a sweet boy who is newly listed. Praises that he is clear and able to find a family now."

Ok. This makes my heart break. He has a family. But for some reason he is not with them. I'm not going to judge. I've never been in situation where I would feel like I had to give up a child. But he needs a new family. A Mama and Papa and maybe some brother and sisters who will love him. Who will never give up on him. This boy is precious. He is only 2 and deserves a family.

Here is Jimmy.

Jimmy was born in March of 2007 and lives in a foster home and this is his latest update:
"Jimmy, now four years old, has been on the shared list for a long time … At the time his file was submitted, he didn’t even walk yet! Now he runs. When the file was prepared, he didn’t speak at all. He’s still a man of few words, but he does call those in his foster family by name … If his family doesn’t find him soon, they may move him out of his foster home to make room for another child who they feel may have a better chance at a family."

Jimmy has $2120 towards his adoption fund. Isn't is great that we have such a great report from his foster family?

Here is Sergei.

This is an urgent situation. "Date of Birth: November 2005
Gender: Male
Eyes: Gray
Hair: Dark
Character: calm
Sergei is a handsome young man with blonde hair. He is already 6 years old and has been transferred to the institution :( He needs out NOW. This is a GREAT region to adopt from, with a great agency partner. Single moms welcome. Please help us save Sergei’s life!
Because Sergei is now living in very difficult conditions, we do respectfully request that families be home study approved (or close to it) prior to commitment. Sergei’s needs will be even greater now that he has had to suffer this change."

Sergei has $10102 in his adoption fund.

Somebody please step forward for Sergei. He looks pretty healthy in his photos. But I can guarantee you that since he has been transferred to the institution he does not look the same. Being there is not that same as the baby house. The care is not the same.

This is Nathan.

I know it's hard to see a child that looks underfed with circles under his eyes. No child should look like that. If you go to his profile above you will see what he looked like just a few years ago. There is a big difference. This is what happens when a little boy with special needs does not get adopted. He will most likely get sent to an institution and/or be stuck in a place where he begins to lose his will to live or his given substandard care.


In the USA we treat our pets better than this. In fact you could go to jail if you don't feed your pet enough and neglect it. In some countries kids are treated this way if they have what might be a a disability of ANY KIND!

I will ask again. ARE YOU AWAKE NOW?

Here is what the RR site says about Nathan. "Boy was born in November 2004. God, please don't let this happen anymore! I can not bear to see these precious gifts wasting away before our eyes. God, help Nathan and all of these children find forever families…let the world understand the gift they are, that they should not be hidden away and mistreated like this :( Look at Nathan, as an infant, and what he has regressed into…neglected, malnourished, but full of potential and life, even still. God help him find a family who will accept him no matter what his needs are."

Go ahead take a look as his profile. You will see the before and after photo side by side. I dare you not to care ofter you see it.

Do I have your attention now? Children with DS are squishy and pudgy when they are healthy. They do not have circles under eyes and look like they are emaciated. This boy should be in a loving home with lots of hugs, kisses, a chance to learn and plenty of food.

James 4:17
"Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."

This is Charlie.

There used to be a little guy on the list named Josh. I admit he was my absolute favorite. I am happy to say he is now on the "My Family Found Me" page. I am so excited for him. I would pray for him every time I saw his photo. I really wished I could bring him home. But now he has a family that is coming for him soon.

So now I have a new favorite. I know it's not right but I can't help it. It's Charlie. OMGoodness he is so precious.

Here is what the RR website says about Charlie.

"Boy, born May 2007.
What a little sweetheart; his smile lights up his eyes!
Little Charlie has microcephaly and FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome)."

Now I looked up microcephaly and after what I read and saw it seems to me that Charlie does not have an extreme case of it. But I do not have any medical background at all. So don't take my word for it.

What I do know is that this little champ is almost 5 years old and he is so cute I could just scream. Where is his Mama and Papa? He has a whooping $50 in his adoption fund. I will tell you we deal with FAS on a daily basis at our house (and so does my sister's family) and guess what? It's not the end of the world. You adapt. You learn what your child's needs are and what resources are available. You learn not to take life so darn seriously. This boy would thrive in a loving family. There is absolutely no reason why this boy should not be adopted. The resources we have in the USA are tremendous and he would thrive here and be so happy.

UPDATE AS OF 5/2/2012: Charlie has a committed family. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!! As of today he still only has $50 in his adoption fund. This family needs funds to go get this precious boy. If you are able to help please go here to donate to his fund. Please pray that his family can raise the funds and get all their paperwork done quickly so they can bring sweet Charlie home.

So you may be asking yourself, "What can I do?" Maybe you can adopt. SO DO IT. Maybe you can't adopt. BUT YOU CAN PRAY, ADVOCATE AND GIVE. Over the past year I have met college age young people who would die for the chance to save one of these kids. But they are too young so they spend all their free time advocating. If you are one of those young people you can make a difference. Tell your older and married friends about these kids. If you are an empty nester and think you are too old to adopt. Think again! Some countries take older couples and who better to adopt than an EXPERIENCED parent. If you are a single lady who wishes she could adopt. Guess what? Some countries will let single ladies adopt. Look into it. Many regions are open to Canadian families. If you have friends in Canada share the RR site with them.

Take a look at Reece's Rainbow. Look at the country requirements. Pray. Talk about it. Investigate. It is not impossible. We are a good example of a couple that thought there was no way we could adopt internationally and now we are getting close to being fully funded and literally waiting on 3 pieces of paper to send overseas. God can make it possible.

And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
-Matthew 19:26

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Welcome to One LIttle Starfish! If you’re visiting from the Ultimate Blog Party 2012 welcome and please take a minute to look around my site.

You can find subscription buttons to the right for my Facebook Fan Page and Google Friend Connect. I would love it if you became a fan through one or more of those avenues.

My blog is about adoption, orphan hosting, orphan care, foster care and advocating for those who are caring for orphans or adopting them. We have one adopted daughter through the foster care system and we are are currently in the process of adopting a boy from Eastern Europe that we hosted over Christmas. I am a follower of Jesus and feel that my purpose in life is to bring glory to God and care for orphans in any way I am able.

I’m so excited! This is my 2nd year participating in the Ultimate Blog Party, but the first time this blog has been in the party (I have 2 blogs). A blog party is where you link your blog to a website with lots of other blog participating so you can reach more readers. You can also find other blogs that you may like to read.

If you want to check out the list of other blogs participating you can click on the graphic below.

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Thanks for stopping by.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Erin and Bethany

Erin and Bethany are two very special sisters that need a forever family right away.

This is Erin.

This is Bethany.

Here is what their profile on Reece's Rainbow says:

"These beautiful sisters are available for adoption, TOGETHER! They have the same father, but different mothers.

Erin is the younger sister; she was born in December 2006. From her medical records: HIV clinical staging 4, delay of psychomotor and physical development. A missionary visited with her in February 2012: ” Pictures and words cannot describe just how beautiful Erin is! Her eyes are pale aqua and shine…she truly is a beauty. She seemed quiet and gentle. She watched me with curiosity and the odd glimmer of a smile. When I left on the last day she was in the garden and she suddenly became braver and shouted goodbye…my heart melted and all I wanted to do was run back scoop her up and hold her! I think Erin would make a truly amazing daughter.”

Bethany is the older sister, and was born in March, 2006. From her medical records: HIV clinical staging 3, delay of psychomotor and physical development, tuberculous primary complex. Bethany also has CP, she is in a wheelchair and is facing transfer to the mental institution. It is URGENT that we find an adoptive family for these girls, before they are separated forever. She is described as a very happy child, and is an orphanage favorite!"

Here is a short video clip with the girls in it. Erin is jumping and dancing around in a white top and denim skirt and Bethany is sitting in a chair behind her.

How can you help Erin and Bethany find a forever family? There are a few ways. First: Pray for a wonderful family to step forward and adopt these precious sisters so that they do not have to be separated. Second: Consider that you may be that family and inquire about them at Reece's Rainbow. Three: Advocate for Erin and Bethany by posting the link to this blog or their profile on Facebook, Twitter or email about them to friends that are praying about adopting or would advocate for them. Four: Donate to their adoption fund at Reece's Rainbow by clicking here.

I can't imagine how heartbroken they would if separated. Because Bethany is in a wheelchair there will come a time very soon that she will be sent to an institution. It's not fair. I know you agree. That's why we need to be their voice. Please pray, advocate, donate and help these girls find their Mama and Papa.

UPDATE: 4/23/2012

I just found out that a family has stepped forward for Erin and Bethany. As soon as I find out who they are I will post more info.

Thanks for all who prayed for these girls.

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