Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sweet little girl...

Sandra

She was only 4 1/2 yrs old and living in an orphanage in Eastern Europe.
Now she is gone.
She was only 4 1/2!!

This is the reason why our family traveled halfway around the world, endured a very different culture from what we are used to, endured being separated from our kids for almost 5 weeks and spent thousands of dollars we really didn't "have" to bring home 2 orphaned children.

To rescue them. To save them from what happened to Sandra.

There are many people who do not like adoption to be referred to as a rescue mission. But in cases of children like Sandra, it truly is a rescue! She needed a mommy and daddy so badly. She needed someone to rescue her from the "life" she was living. But no one came.

What kind of life was that? A life where she probably spent most of her days lying in a crib.
No love. No mommy. No daddy.

It is just heartbreaking... And the only people mourning her loss are a bunch of strangers (thanks to RR). She was nobody's little girl and that just breaks my heart.

Now that I have been in that country and have seen the way things are and the shape our girls were in when we met them, it just really makes me want to tell people about this and to try to make them understand. This is REAL. These children need to get out. Now!! They don't have time! They are dying.
Don't give me your excuses. Don't tell me you could never do it. Don't tell me that I am special because I did. I am not some amazing super mom. I am just a normal person with many flaws and imperfections. Our family is not great or wonderful or amazing for what we did. We just have a passion for these little ones. And we want to see them all find families!

In October, while we were still in Ukraine, I posted about sweet little
Anne-Marie, another precious little girl who had passed away.


It has not been that long! And now another little one is gone!! :((

I know in my heart that could have been one of our little girls...if she had stayed. If we had not gone and brought her home. It is no exaggeration that these precious angels have a shortened life!!


I know that God did not promise us that this life would be easy. I also know that Sandra is safe in the arms of the Savior now! She is no longer an orphan, hurting and lonely. I am so thankful for that and that is a reason to rejoice!!!
I am not a great writer. I am not even a good writer. Some of my posts are long and boring! But I am hoping that once in a while I make a difference for at least one person. If just one person will read this blog, and be moved to do something for one of these precious orphans, I will have been successful!

I hope that if you have not watched the video at the top of my blog, that you will today!! I promise, you will be moved! Like Eric Ludy says in the video, these children are God's children! We have to be His hands and His feet. We have to rescue these little ones. He is a father to the fatherless through us! And if we are not doing it, then no one is!

Please consider making a donation to a child's adoption grant or help an adopting family by donating toward their adoption fund!

Please consider adopting an orphan with Down sydrome yourself!


I promise you will be forever blessed!!!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bad Hair Day?



Someone woke up with some serious bed-head this morning....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reece's Rainbow

I have been following this blog for awhile and I have to say I am so excited that this family will soon be on their way to meeting their children!!! I absolutely cannot wait to see new pics of "Anna" and "Everett"!! I fell in love with Anna over a year ago and I am dying to see a new picture of her! :) Not as much as her parents are though, I'm sure! hee hee

I know it has been a long process for this family and and they are surely thrilled to be traveling so soon.....next week!!! Please pray for this family and also if you can help them financially, please do!! I am sure they are in need of every bit of financial help they can get! (just saying from personal experience...) Just because they are traveling soon, doesn't mean the financial need is over!

If you can give even $10, please visit their family sponsorship page and donate whatever amount you can! It will literally go toward saving a child's life!!! Two actually...

No Joke.

Reece's Rainbow

Follow their blog at:

http://watchwhatfaithcando.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

3 months home

The girls have been home now for 13 weeks!!!


Don't they look like such big girls??


They came home 10-20-10. Today is 1-20-11. Cool, huh?


Look at the pudge on Victoria's arms and cheeks!


It is really hard to believe! The time has flown by!

Life was busy before, but nothing like this!! It is hard work having 3 little ones all around the same age. And all so young! I am very thankful for my older boys. They help me alot!! They love to pick the girls up and hold them and hug them! I think it's great and I am so proud of them!! What great fathers they will be someday! They are not complaining at all about all the extra time given to the girls! And they willingly jump in to help feed them, or watch them, or whatever is needed...







Victoria turned 2 on New Year's Eve and was not thrilled with the whole birthday party thing that the rest of her siblings were excited about. It was all pretty overwheming for her and she was upset most of the time during the party.....


She is, however, doing very well now. :))



Victoria weighed 13 lbs when she came home 3 months ago. Now she is almost 16 lbs! She was unable to sit up at all. Now she sits alone and is crawling, too! She was overwhelmed and over-stimulated easily, afraid of loud noises and too many strange people. She could barely even hold a toy... Now she is so much more comfortable with other people and explores and enjoys playing with toys. Some of her favorites are the musical light up toys and magazines to tear up, and lately, Madalyn's oxygen hose. She used to pretty much stay in one spot, but now she will crawl to another room down the hall!!! Today I was in the kitchen cooking and looked behind me expecting to see the usual 2 (Madalyn and Anna) staring at me waiting for their food, and there was Toria sitting there with them!!! I laughed it was so funny!! This girl is really amazing!! It might not seem like it sometimes, but she is very aware of what is going on around her and is trying hard to catch up with her sisters!! I am sitting here almost in tears thinking of how far she has come and so fast!



I love this girl!! She is just such a sweetheart. 3 months ago she made absolutely no eye contact with us. Today she is not only looking at us, but turning toward us recognizing her name and smiling, laughing and giggling as well!! She loves to be held and she is now my little cuddle bug!! Thank you, God, for blessing us with our little Victoria! She is truly an amazing little girl!!!



Anna has made big changes as well. She was about 15 lbs when we came home and she is now almost 17 lbs. She had a bit of a struggle for a little while as she tested positive for H.Pylori and she actually lost a little bit of weight. She wasn't eating and our poor little girl was just miserable! Her little tummy hurt and her whole digestive system was all screwed up!! :( Now that she has been treated, she is like a different little girl! She is doing so much better and starting to eat a bigger variety of foods.



Like not just bananas, bananas, and more bananas....



Anna crawls all over the house now getting into everything. (She follows miss destructo around. ha ha!). She is imitating everything Madalyn is doing and I think that is great!


Really, they are watching and learning from each other. She is now pulling to stand, cruising around furniture, and even taking a few steps pushing the baby walker. She is a very social little girl and will go right to any new face that comes in the house. (Not sure that is good for attachment, but we are working on things as we can...). She always looks for me when other people are holding her and I know she knows I am mom, but with a 7 yr old with RAD, I tend to worry about attachment issues a little bit.
Anna is pretty verbal in that she lets us know with her voice what her needs are! She is not using words yet, but she is very good at getting her needs known!!! She is also a bit of a drama queen around here...and she keeps us laughing with all her funny facial expressions!!
What a beautiful gift!

So thankful.
Children are a gift from the Lord....
Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Brent, Spencer, and Kareen

I posted about Brent last month. This little guy is only 5 1/2 yrs old...
5 and 1/2 !!!!
Who out there reading this blog has a 5 yr old?? Or remembers when when your child was only 5. What a precious year it was, right?!! Maybe your little boy learned to ride a 2 wheeler that year, maybe he learned to read, maybe she got her ears pierced or started kindergarten, or whatever..... Could you imagine your little 5 yr old being taken away from all they've known and moved to some kind of institution-like setting. Where no one really cares about them.....where they can't really care about them -- there are just too many! And where they are probably only fed some kind of porridge, bathed once in a great while maybe, and made to lay in a crib for the majority of their life..... It doesn't sound so great, does it?

Well....this is what Brent is facing! Brent is a live human being. A real life little boy!! Not just a picture hanging out in a file somewhere. A real live person! I think sometimes people look at the cute pictures of the kids and feel bad for them or whatever, but they don't really know the child, so it just doesn't affect them that much.


It wasn't until we actually left for Eastern Europe, witnessed the country and the people, and saw and held our little girls for the first time that we really understood that they are living breathing little people with personalities and likes and dislikes!! We knew in our minds they were real, we prayed for these girls and thought about them constantly, worried for them, we were desperate to get to them! We were in love with their pictures! But still, somewhere inside, I couldn't really see them as real people. Maybe I'm just weird or something, but I guarantee you, now I know!! My family and close friends know! They have seen us go through the adoption process, leave our kids and family and cross the ocean, meet and hold our girls, and fall in love with them! It is amazing really. Maybe I am still just in awe of what we have done, what God has done! And that our girls are really here! It is still so hard to believe, and we are so excited that we can now give them everything they need!

But there are so many more. So many! We can't stop here, we can't stop telling people, advocating for these little ones! This is what God expects!


"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and knows our souls, know that we know, and holds us responsible to act." (Proverbs 24:12)

"It is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18:14)

They are His children, and we must be his hands and feet. We must be willing to go and rescue these little ones!


"You are the helpers of the fatherless." (Psalm 10:14)

"Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." (Matthew 18:5)

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18)

"A father of the fatherless, and a defender of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God sets the lonely in families. (Psalms 68:5-6)

Here is Brent's picture again. Along with 2 more children who are in the same orphanage as Brent. Brent will be moved very soon to an institution. Spencer and Kareen, too! They may have a little more time than Brent, but maybe not. They are both nearing institutionalization age and if they need more room at the orphanage for younger children, they could very possible move them soon, too. All 3 of these kids are HEALTHY! That is huge!!


Please pray for these little ones to find their family!! Maybe you would even donate to one or all of these children's adoption fund. Every little bit counts and will help their future family be able to bring them home sooner! They are truly living on borrowed time!!! Maybe you can help get the word out and help us find their family!!

The family/families for these three beautiful chilldren ARE out there! Of that I have no doubt! We just need to help them find each other! :))


Brent
Boy, Born June 21, 2005
Look how darling this little one is! Brent is HEALTHY, with no noted heart conditions. He is active and an Orphanage favorite. He is considered lower functioning than Spencer or Kareen, but will truly blossom like a flower in a loving family environment. He is almost 5 and will be facing the institution soon. He is blessed to still be at the baby house.

Please give Brent a chance! Brent can be adopted with SPENCER. I have $3600 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption!



Spencer
Boy, Born July 7, 2006

This blonde haired boy is ready to come home! He is almost 4 and will be facing the institution this year. He is HEALTHY, with no noted heart conditions.

I have $1275 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption


Kareen
Girl, Born January 15, 2007

This pretty muffin is waiting for her family! She is healthy, with no heart condition noted in her records. She has brown hair and hazel eyes, and is already up and learning to walk! Her records indicate "meiotic nondisjunction", but this is just a fancy word for what happens to create "Down syndrome" genetically. She is considered higher functioning and is really doing well. She is an orphanage favorite, and the dircetor has asked for a family to save her from the institution.

I have $3694 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption!



UPDATE!! I wrote this post a couple days ago and just now got to post it. And I just visited the my family found me page at reecesrainbow.org and discovered that Kareen's family has found her!! That is sooo awesome and I can't wait to see who her family is!! Yay Praise God!!! You can still donate toward her adoption and help her family raise the funds to bring her home!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Update on Madalyn...



Well it turns out our sweet little baby girl does have pneumonia after all. :(
What a total bummer and it reminds me of why I worry about my little ladybug so much sometimes. A little cold can turn into something way worse so quickly. I know there are probably many parents of kids with DS who can totally relate to that. It is the only thing that I really don't like about Down syndrome. It just does not seem right.... (the unfairness of that part of it gets to me sometimes. What can I say?) Because that wonderful little extra chromosome affects every single cell in their body, every body system is affected. It just makes it harder for these little ones sometimes.

Really, I know that things could be so much worse and I shouldn't be complaining about it! I just hate to see my little girl suffering through these long drawn out sicknesses that most kids (or mine anyway) get over relatively quickly. Madalyn is just such a sweetheart and she doesn't deserve to have so many health problems... No child does!!
Ok, I'll quit going on about it.
Please pray that Madalyn will get better quickly and will not have to make a trip to the hospital for this!


What a happy girl...when she is feeling good!

The "Nebs"... She hates doing these!



And a bonus cute picture of Anna! I rarely can catch her with a big smile when the camera is out so it was exciting to get this pic! She smiles alot...really!! You just wouldn't be able to tell if you were just looking at pictures.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh geez......

Madalyn is back on O2......


Dang!!!!!


Look at my beautiful blue-eyed babies!! (One born from my body, the other not...but still so very much my baby).

Well, it has been almost a year since Madalyn has had to be on oxygen. She was on it the first 9 months of her life, then off for a bit, then back on again because she got croup and then RSV. She was hospitalized twice last year for respiratory illnesses. This little one just seems to have it a little harder than most when it comes to respiratory stuff. I know that children with Down syndrome are much more prone to this because of their tiny nasal passages and airways, but like other things...not ALL children with Down syndrome have the exact same issues! Anyone who has experience with this and might have suggestions, please leave a comment! We are always cautious and worried that any little runny nose she has is gonna turn into something way worse! Anyway, she is on O2 because her sat levels were down pretty low and she has some kind of infection, but the good news is that she doesn't have ear infections or RSV or pneumonia...... yet!! Yay!

What a bummer to have to add the hassle of O2 to our already busy days! But our Ladybug is handling it pretty well. She tried to yank the cannula off for about the first hour she had it on, but after that she was off and crawling and exploring, trailing her hose behind her... :))






Victoria sure is having a ball with that new green hose lying all over the place now! This little girl likes cords, strings, hose, Christmas lights, anything like that.... She absolutely loved it when we were putting the lights on the Christmas tree!! :) What a funny girl!!

Instead of buying toys for your little one, get an oxygen hose! The fun will last for hours!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wrestling pics




Our son Jordan, wrestles for and attends college at the Colorado School of Mines. And right after Christmas, he had to return to Golden to get ready to head off to Florida with his team to wrestle at a tournament there. It was definitely a sacrifice for this 20 yr old kid, even though he is completely dedicated and driven. It's hard to continue just working out like crazy and not get to eat hardly at all. (And he wasn't thrilled to leave home, even though most of us would be happy to be in Florida during this "intense cold after the blizzard" we are having here in Colorado!!) He ended up placing 3rd at the Citrus Open in Fort Lauderdale!! If you know anything about wrestling, you know it's tough to have to be working out and cutting weight, especially during Christmas break! Not to mention being away from your family... So, good job Jord!! You deserve everything that you have worked so hard for!!

Here's the article about it:

http://www.csmorediggers.com/sports/wrest/2010-11/releases/CITRUSopen
(that's Jordan in the article's picture) :))



Resting after a match and hangin' with the coach...


Nice!!


Cousin McKenna with Justin and Dillon during a tournament in November.



Madalyn and Anna crashed out during that same tourney...



Jordan with Nana and Justin




More pics...



We love wrestling!! And we know that wrestling is not for everyone! It's one of those things that you either really love or hate!! But if you happen to "know" and love wrestling, I hope you have enjoyed these pics! (You will probably be seeing more of them....) :))



More about Jordan... (
link from CSM website)




Jordan Larsen
Year: JR
Hometown: Bayfield, CO
High School: Bayfield H.S.
Weight: 165 lbs.

2010-11: Placed third (165 lbs.; Open Division) at the Citrus Open.

2009-10: Team Co-Captain...Went 22-10 overall (4-5 RMAC) with three falls...Had a 5-5 mark in dual competition...Ranked seventh (165 lbs.) in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Pre-Season Poll...Placed third at the University of Wyoming Cowboy Open (165-lb. Amateur Division)...Placed third at the Old Chicago Northern Colorado Open (165 lbs.)...Placed first at the Hastings College Open (165 lbs.)......Went 3-2 with two falls (165 lbs.) and took fifth place at the NCAA Division II Super Regional Four / RMAC Championships...
Earned First Team All-Academic recognition from the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association...A unanimous First Team Academic All-RMAC selection...Recipient of CSM's "Academic Excellence Award"...Qualified for the Dean's List both semesters.

2008-09
: Went 20-17 overall (4-4 RMAC) with one fall...Finished sixth at the Northern Colorado Open (165 lbs)...Placed fourth at the Hastings College Quality Hotel Open (165 lbs.)...Placed first at the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Open (165 lbs.)...Placed fourth at the 2009 RMAC Championships / NCAA Division II West Regionals...Competed in the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championships...Recipient of CSM's "Outstanding Freshman" award...Qualified for the Dean's List in the spring of 2009.

High School: Lettered all four years in wrestling...Won a State title...Placed at the State championships on multiple occasions...A three-time All-Conference selection...Garnered Honorable Mention All-State recognition...Led BHS to a League title in 2007...A three-year letterwinner in football...Selected as Most Valuable Lineman of the Mountain Conference as a senior...A two-time All-Conference selection...Led his team a Conference championship in 2007...Bayfield's Class of 2008 Valedictorian.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Her First 2nd Birthday

The Birthday Girl!!!!






Hmmm, this looks interesting...


Okay, everyone look at the camera and smile!!!


What's wrong Toria??


It's my party and I'll cry if I want to....


This birthday party stuff is just too overwhelming.


But I guess I'll try the cake...


You expect me to eat that??


I'm not sure I like this...



Yea really... I'm sure I dont.


Justin is willing to eat it!



But miss cutie patootie decides to give it try.

Go for it Anna!


This stuff is just sticking to my fingers.




(the next shot we missed where she threw the whole piece of cake on the floor)



So the boys decided she needed help to figure out this stuff tastes good.



Its okay, but I'm not sure what all the hype is about...



Enjoying my presents without all the competition around.

We love you so much little one!!
Happy 2nd Birthday to our precious Toria!!
And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it", whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

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Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.