Spotlight Child: Julie

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Julie! Julie was born in 2005 and has treated hydrocephalus; she has undergone surgery. Julie’s age was estimated and appears to be incorrect; she is thought to be around 9 years old.

“Julie is funny and sassy. She is a friendly child and always greets visitors with a big smile and waves them over to say hello. She has good use of her hands and is able to complete tasks such as feeding herself and is working on pre-writing skills. Julie attends an on-site school where she works with her teacher on learning her English alphabet and shapes. She can count up to 5 and identifies basic colors. Julie likes to look at books and play with toys, especially baby dolls and blocks. She speaks full sentences in her native language, and speaks 70 plus English words. She understands most of what is being said to her in both English and her native language.

She is bonded to her primary caregiver and gets along with the other children. She loves to hold the babies and play with other children her age. She can sit independently and crawl. She receives physical therapy 3-4 times a week where she working on tall kneeling and strengthening her back muscles. She has recently started bearing weight on her legs during physical therapy with the help of AFOs. Julie is also in the progress of potty training and has been doing really well with this.”

Julie is eligible for an older child grant. To learn more about Julie, click here:
https://reecesrainbow.org/124519/julie-2

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Thoughts on Thirty

I turned thirty yesterday. It seems less a big deal than it used to. Maybe because I used to think thirty was *old* (it’s not…). Probably because thirty used to be the minimum age requirement for single women to adopt from India.

When I first started exploring what adoption for me might look like, India was already on my radar. Something in me was drawn. I can’t explain it any other way. And India, like many countries, required single women to be thirty to adopt.

So I continued to learn, to read, to research, to save money, to build a more stable life. I graduated from law school. I got a job which transformed into the job I have now. I paid down my student loan and started saving money for adoption fees. I moved back to Cleveland, the city I love and can’t wait for Joy to fall in love with, where our home is and our people, our church.

Sometime in the midst of that, India dropped the minimum age to 25. I instantly became eligible, and as soon as was feasible, I began the process of adopting Joy. Now, at thirty years and one day old, I’m very close to bringing my daughter home. I’m talking “make a paper chain to tear off a link each day” close! A turn of the calendar page, maybe two.

So what does thirty look like, if it’s not the start of the great paperchase of adoption? It started with a blueberry muffin and an extra large coffee. A long day of work at a conference and a very late night flight home. Phone calls and text messages from people I love all around the world. Getting home to find that my neighbor had rounded up some high school boys to clear out my backyard (SUCH A BLESSING!) which just about made me cry (it could also be a bit that I was over-tired from my long long day). SIX packages on my porch, which I opened in all my birthday glee to find that they were all for Joy which actually made my heart to incredibly happy! I again got over-emotional with a booster seat and visions of Joy making a mess at the kitchen table.

Thirty isn’t old. Thirty is going to be amazing. Life changing. The start of my life with Joy. I’m looking forward to it, to say the least!

Spotlight Child: Melanie

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PD: Melanie is joyfully smiling at the camera! Her hair is braided on either side of her face and she is wearing a beautiful traditional top that is blue and white. A white star covers her face to protect her privacy. 

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Melanie! Melanie was born in 2008- she has an intellectual disability, and no spasticity. “She walks independently but her gait is a bit weak. Social, interactive, beautiful, engaging, loveable child with a sense of humor who loves to laugh. She can feed herself. She has good receptive language in her native language, but is non-verbal.

She can imitate some sounds. Enjoys playing with musical toys, toys that stack, toys with small parts that fit inside, trying to trace letters with chalk, and throwing and trying to catch balls. Able to concentrate on one toy for a sustained period of time.

Follows directions well. Prefers soft solid foods and favorite food is eggs. Loves the beach. She can go up and down stairs by herself holding the railing. She enjoys being with other people and is friendly with adults and children.”

Melanie is eligible for an older child grant. To learn more about Melanie, click here:

https://reecesrainbow.org/124794/melanie-3c

I Dreamed Of You

Baby girl,

I dreamed of you the other night.

It was a Saturday morning. I woke up and you were still sleepy, though just dozing. I got out of bed and stumbled over to Melo’s crate. I said to you, “cover your face!” and you rolled to the edge of the bed, burrowed against the toddler rail, giggling and covering your face with your hands. Your bedhead is a tangled mess of curly black hair.

I opened Melo’s crate, and just like he does every morning. He leaps up on the bench beside the bed, and then up on the bed. You keep giggling, your little body shaking under the covers. Melo clumsily clambers over your body, pushing your curls out of your face with his cold, wet nose. He gives you tons of puppy kisses and finally you giggle-yell “Melo! Enough kisses!”

I stumble around back to my side of the bed. I snuggle under the covers, and Melo snuggles under too, his head at our feet and his tail still wagging away. I reached my arm over and you snuggle closer to me too.

When I woke up from this dream, I reached for you. You weren’t there. Not yet. And I can’t wait for Saturday morning snuggles with you and Melo.

Spotlight Child: Eden

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PD: Eden is a tiny little cutie! She has her hair half up in a sideways pony tail, with a wide headband keep her cochlear implants in place. She has a cute little grin and a pastel purple and pink shirt on, which is slipping off her shoulder just a little. A star covers her face to protect her identity.

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Eden! Eden is an absolute love, who I have actually held and snuggled! It would bring me no small joy to know that Eden has her own mama (and you can count on my help with fundraising to cover the fees associated with her adoption!). Eden was born in 2014 and is blind-Deaf.

 

“Eden is completely blind and has profound hearing loss. She received bilateral cochlear implants and is responding to sound and making many new sounds, although not yet saying any words.

Eden has delayed milestones as a result of having no visual or auditory input for so long, but we are excited to see how she progresses over the coming months. She attends an on-site preschool every morning. She can sometimes get overwhelmed by the new sounds she is hearing, and when she feels this way, she tries to take her speech processors off. Eden has some self-stimulating behaviors. She loves to splash in the water and is getting better and better at walking independently with her guide cane. She loves to swing and rock in her rocking horse. She loves to cuddle. She has started to take several steps on her own, and also while holding onto a push toy (pre guide cane) or her cane.”

So far, about $10 has been donated towards covering Eden’s adoption fees. Learn more about Eden here: https://reecesrainbow.org/124017/eden3

Two years ago today

Two years ago today, I saw your face for the very first time. 

I already knew God had called me to adopt from India. I didn’t know any other details- when I would begin, who my child would be, where I would be, what I would be doing. But this tiny seed was planted deep in my soul, the knowledge that my child was in India. I began researching, studying, learning as much as I could about India, and adoption, and “special needs” adoption. I began exploring all sorts of different needs and disabilities, trying to discern what else God had planned for us.

I found an agency that had a “waiting child advocacy list.” [In full disclosure, this isn’t the agency I ultimately decided to work with.] I looked at all of the little faces, with the briefest of biographical details, the merest hint of who these children are and will someday become.

And I saw her. This beautiful, precious, stunning child. I stopped. I read, and re-read. I printed her photo, taped it to my mirror, with the date I first started praying for this child. May 29, 2016. My precious girl was barely two years old when I first saw her face.

That notecard, with that old photo of my girl when she wasn’t even two years old, is still taped to my refrigerator.

I have looked at your face every.single.day for two years. I think, somewhere deep in my heart, I knew that you were my daughter from the very first time I saw you. And I have loved you and prayed for you every.single.day. It will be my greatest joy, honor, and privilege, Sweet Joy, to love you and pray for you every.single.day for the rest of my life.

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PD: Joy is just shy of two years old in this picture. She is wearing a white blouse, with flowers and  Winnie the Pooh on it. There are pink ruffles at the hem and color. She has blue and black bangles on either wrist, and jegging-like leggings on. She is barefoot. Joy is sitting on a glass-like surface and you can see a bit of her reflection. You can see her beautiful smile, but the photo is cropped to protect her identity. 

 

NO OBJECTION!

I got NOC today. NOC stands for “No Objection Certificate.” It’s the document from India saying that they have NO OBJECTION to me being Joy’s mother! It’s also the last document needed for my court filing.

Now, I get to send her a photo book, introducing her to her new family and new home. I’ll be honest, I can hardly read it without choking up a little. Her wonderful foster moms will read this book to her, helping her understand, to the best of her four-year-old ability, what is coming up for her. Of course, no matter how well they prepare her, it’s impossible to truly explain to her something for which her mind has no frame of reference. I am so thankful that she is in such a wonderful place where she is loved so well.

So what’s next, process wise? Joy’s orphanage will get the hard copy NOC and will prepare my court petition. I need to sign that petition, notarize it, and apostille it, and send it back to India. My advocate in India will then file the petition in court. They will schedule my court hearing (sometimes it takes more than one hearing) AND I WILL GO TO INDIA FOR COURT! Please pray with me that this all continues to roll along as quickly as possible. Court in Joy’s state is currently closed for summer holiday; I *believe* they reopen on June 2.

I can’t believe I’m so close to travel. I have decided to stay in India during the whole process, during which time I will foster Joy before we are allowed to leave India. (Alternatively, I would go to court, coming back to the US, and then go back to India when her passports and all is ready.)

Please please pray for Joy. She has no idea yet (they will tell her in the next few days) that she is being adopted. Although she has seen a few friends get adopted- she’s seen mamas, papas, brothers and sisters come to her home; participated in the handing over ceremony parties; and then waved as her friends leave with their new family and not come back- she doesn’t know what happens next. She can’t know what that means.

Here’s what I do know. It’s going to be really hard for her. She will be leaving everything she knows, with a woman she has known for only a few days. She will be coming to a place where no one sounds like her, where food tastes weird, where things don’t smell right, with a crazy little dog who jumps like it’s his job.

Please pray for her. And me. And us.

Spotlight Child: Tricia

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PD: Tricia has straight black hair in a bob cut. She is wearing a black and white patterned tank top, and a sweet smile. Her head is tipped slightly to the side, and a star covers her face to protect her identity.

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Tricia! Tricia was born in 2007 and has a seizure disorder and an intellectual delay.

 

“Tricia has a seizure disorder for which she is on medication. She is now seizure free. She also has intellectual delay. She can speak in short sentences in her native languate and uses some words in English. Her speech is somewhat slurred and she has difficulty with social skills, attending to tasks and conversation.

Tricia is a sweet, happy girl who loves dancing, music, and jumping on the trampoline. She loves to be with her caregivers, the other girls in her home, and is very friendly with new people. She is very affectionate. She struggles with writing her alphabet and therefore does not enjoy it very much. She is interested in fashion and looking her cutest in a pretty dress with a flower in her hair. She has lots of energy to run around and jump up for a hug. She has a sweet voice and likes to show you her work. She is very motivated by adult attention and is learning boundaries with adults she doesn’t know well. She desperately asks for a family.”

Tricia is eligible for an older child grant. To learn more about Tricia, click here: https://reecesrainbow.org/124296/tricia

Spotlight Child: Sara

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PD: Sara has shoulder length black hair, which is pinned back on one side. She is wearing dangly earrings and a white and pink patterned top. She has a great smile, though her face is covered by a star to protect her identity.

While I’m adopting Sweet Joy, there are so many kids who still need families. If you’ve ever considered adoption, ask me about it! Pray for these kids, that their families find them as soon as possible! For today, the spotlight is on Sara! Sara was born in 2004 and is HIV+, which is well controlled by medicine and undetectable. (“HIV+, has appointments monthly at a government ART center. CD4 count is 750. Viral load is undetectable as of Feb 2018.  She started ARTs in Dec 2016. She looked very sickly when she arrived at SCH [her foster home], as she hadn’t started ARTs yet, but now her face has filled out and she looks healthier.”)

 

“Sara has a smile that lights up any room she walks into. She has a quieter personality but enjoys joking and laughing with people she knows well. She has a best friend in her home whom she does everything with.

Sara makes friends easily, and enjoys playing games and lending a helping hand. She likes dancing, jumping on the trampoline, and singing. Sara has a very kind heart and likes to show affection by hugging those she is close to. When she is upset she likes to cuddle up to a caregiver and hug them. Sara is so eager to learn. She loves to learn everything she can get her hands on and enjoys working on homework with caregivers. Sara speaks her native language fluently, and is learning spoken and written English and is doing well with it. She can read simple chapter books in English and is able to sound out most words she does not know. She knows multiplication facts and can add and subtract. She is an excellent student and the only thing holding her back is that she got a late start to school.”

Sara is eligible for an older child grant. To learn more about Sara, click here:
https://reecesrainbow.org/124305/sara-2