Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Would You Be Willing

Ok...I really have so much to say. If I could only get all the swirling thoughts downloaded with a USB cord you all would be reading for days! Unfortunately, I need to actually find the time to sit and type them out. Until I make the time I wanted to ask all of you, my friends, family and other readers, to consider doing something maybe a little different this year.

You all know that for whatever reason God has placed a burden on my heart for the children listed on the reece's rainbow site. From Down Syndrom, HIV, Cerebral Palsey to Fetal Alcohol Syndrom, etc. So many children handcrafted by my Creator that need families to love them.

Reece's Rainbow has a really neat awareness drive that takes place every year in the months of November and December. They set funds up for a lot of the children and you can donate to their adoption funds. This way they have a better chance at finding a family and you have been involved in a small way. If you are able to donate $35 to a certain child they will send you an ornament to hang on your tree to remind you to pray for them and for their family to find them. If you aren't able to donate $35 that is okay. Any amount helps these children.

Do you remember back in August I had posted about dear little Anna? She was one of the little girls who has DS and she had finally found a family. Long story short: her family fell through and she was once again waiting. Of course she was one of the children we chose to help simply because she has captured our hearts for some reason. If you go to the angel tree sponsorship page you can view all the children and their increasing adoption funds. Two days ago I looked for her and realized she had gone from having $471 in her adoption fund to over $2,700!! I was elated! And then yesterday when I tried to find her on the page I had to scroll all the way to the very bottom of the page where she is listed under the beautiful heading, "My Family Found Me!" She once again has a family who is working to bring her home!!

Would you think about donating to her fund? Or look over the other children and see if there is another child God may lead you to either donate to, advocate for or possibly even adopt?! Just a week ago there was only 5 children listed under the heading, "My Family Found Me!" Now...there are 17 children! I know I don't have a huge amount of people that read my blog but if everyone gave even a little we could help Anna and so many others! So my question today is, "Would you be willing?" Willing to maybe give up one of your Christmas gifts this year so a child may find life? Willing to give up going out for dinner one time this month so a child can know love? Willing to clip coupons for the first time in order to save some money for Anna? I know we can make a difference if we all work together! Are you willing?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Here I sit on a chilly Wednesday afternoon waiting for my pot of fresh coffee to finish brewing. Some days I lack motivation even though my to do list doesn't slow down. Last night was another rough one. Heidi was back at the doctor's office today for a recheck on her ears and sure enough her ear is still not completely healed. I could have told you that without a visit to the doctor though. She would only sleep on me in a reclined position on the couch and that was with wakeful cries every 20-30 minutes, lots of tugging on the culprit ear. She did have a stretch of about 3 hours after the Motrin kicked in but Eden and Tristan decided to disrupt my only solid stretch with multiple visits to our bedside, trips to the potty, help locating lost blankies......those of you with little ones know the drill. So....today my body and spirit feel similar to the gray sky outside. Just blah! Feeling sorry for my little girl and wondering why we have such a hard time getting her ears clear after an infection. Her ear drum is definitely perforated from two weeks ago too. She handles it with more grace than I do I am afraid.

We spent Sunday with my side of the family celebrating the beginning of Thanksgiving and now tomorrow we will continue the festivities with Mark's side. I enjoy Thanksgiving so much. The whole concept of taking time out to recognize how blessed we are and to be grateful. I think we are going to start an experiment this year as well. Our pastor gave some statistics from a study that was done on people who kept of thanksgiving journal. I am going to see if he happens to have the statics on his blog or if he will forward them to me so I can pass them along to you. It was pretty amazing how the simple act of writing something down on a daily basis that you are thankful for causes a persons outlook on life to be transformed. I am hoping to start a daily thanksgiving journal with the kids since some of our children have a natural tendency to be pessimistic. What if by mirroring to them a grateful heart we can begin to help transform their minds?

I really have so much to be thankful for - too many things to even count. Thankful for the health of my children as I continue to watch my friend Lisa's little girl fight to hang onto life. Thankful for the things I take for granted on a daily basis - food, shelter, family. Did you know there is an absolutely horrible drought right now in Western Africa? Very similar to the famine in the 80's. How helpless a mother must feel listening to the cries of her children grow weaker and weaker as they hover on death's door. I am thankful for nice medical facilities. I hope to someday soon have my cousin do a few guest posts on my blog about her work with many Haitian patients during this cholera epidemic. I still need to ask her but I am waiting for things to slow down for her. I am incredibly grateful that when my child says they are thirsty I have clean water to pour into their cup. I don't have to worry about the chronic diarrhea that plagues a majority of the world's children. Really.....the daily things I take for granted are enough to make me thankful for a lifetime!

I am thankful for a certain little boy in my house who invited me to have a sleepover in his room along with his sister Eden. Even though a minute ago I heard him tell her she isn't allowed in his room because she stuck out her tongue at him. Come 8:00 he will change his mind. And he will probably change his mind in 10 minutes for that matter. How she delights in tormenting her brothers!!

On another note altogether (this is a random one post): I wouldn't normally ask you or encourage you to go buy a copy of People magazine but I am encouraging you to do so this week. You know the organization I told you about called Project Hopeful? I met the founder at the orphan care summit we attended a few weeks ago and some of the women and their husbands who work with them. Guess what? They have a 5 page spread in the center of this weeks People magazine about Carolyn's family, about Project Hopeful and about hiv adoption!!! It is an amazing story of God working. They have been working for 10 months on this article and it is released the week before World Aids Day! People is the largest subscription magazine with 44 million subscribers not including the ones on racks in stores. It is an amazing opportunity for God to work in people's hearts and for the stigma of HIV to be smashed to smithereens!! I am hoping to purchase a copy tonight. And if you don't want to buy it find it at the local library, the local salon, take a moment and read the article in the checkout at the grocery store. Just spread the word!!

And now I am going to drink a bit of coffee in hopes that my body will respond a little quicker to my brains attempts to get it to move.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Day

I am sitting here trying to figure out how a week has passed since I posted last but the time just seems to have vanished! I have days that seem to just morph into the next day and the next without a real defining break. And suddenly you find another week gone to never be relived again. It makes me think. I really only have one chance. Only one life to live. And I want to make mine count for something!

My week started becoming a bit more complex when Heidi started with fever. Not that a fever is complex in itself. It just throws a wrench into everyday life when you a little one who is sick. As any parent knows when a child is sick everything seems to take the back burner and you need to be available to soothe the tears, snuggle away the discomfort and just hold your little lovie. I wasn't too worried about the fever but in less than 24 hours she had really yucky drainage coming out her ear which landed us at urgent care since it was the weekend. Heidi is so vehement in her dislike of any medical facility that it makes it nearly impossible to check her -ever! It usually takes two of us to hold her in order for her to just have her routine checkup. The doctor said he couldn't say with absolute certainty that she had a perforated ear drum but with the disgusting drainage her assumed that was the cause. Her ear obviously was badly infected and I left feeling like a negligent mother. My consolation is that she hadn't even been sick for 24 hours before the drainage started so I know that had I called the doctor's office they would have advised me to wait another day. Can you tell she has had her fair share of ear infections? I know the drill but I still felt horrible!

Which leads me to my dislike of amoxicillan. Call me crazy but my kids seems to take on a whole new personality when they are on that medicine! And it isn't a personality that is very pleasant to be around! But I am thankful for the availability and access we have to medicine.

And I don't mean to beat a dead horse but.......when any of my children are sick I can't help but think about the millions of other little ones who are sick on their own. No one to comfort them. No one to scoop them up when they cry during the night. No one to care! It is their reality and we can't stick our heads in the sand and pretend it isn't the glaring truth. Because it is!

On that note I have sweet little ones (and sometimes not so sweet) to tuck into bed. Until next time.......

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Face of HIV

I got some answers for the question posed in my comment section yesterday. I contacted Andrea to get the low down. Thanks Andrea! :)

In her words: "If you are actually in the middle of having to mop up blood then gloves would be a good idea. The reality is that the virus does not live very long outside of the body. It dies pretty quickly. The other reality is if you had a cut it would have to pretty much be gaping, bleeding profusely and you would have to rub your blood with their blood ALOT. The chances of transmittal are slim. I don't have glove very close. Maybe not the smartest move but it is that hard to transmit!"

I also asked her how a couple can have a sexual relationship if one is HIV+ without the other person contracting the disease. And how does a couple have a child without the partner becoming infected? Her answer: "There isn't a website out there that will tell you that you will not contract hiv if you have unprotected sex with a partner....even if you are undetectable. It would be on their heads and there would be backlash. That being said...there are statistics that show transmission is very low and mother to child transmission with ARV use is less than 2%. There is a sperm washing/IVF if the male is +. A very fine line for a couple to walk."

Hopefully that answers the questions a little bit. Keep the questions coming since it is good for us all to be educated so the stigma can be erased!

And on to the sweet face of Dasha! Who really opened my eyes to the reality of what hiv looks like in the face of a child!
Now...we can all agree that she is beyond cute! But if you could have witnessed her in action. Wow! Personality that is larger than life!
She is healthy and more importantly she gets to live her life with a family instead of in an institution! All because people like you and I are not afraid to tackle what would have seemed insurmountable only a decade ago! I really wish I could convey to you what this little girl did in us! It is not her fault that she carries a virus that is fatal without intervention!!
I have more to say (of course) but the children are restless and we need to get school started. If nothing else, just look at her little face, ask God to protect all the vulnerable children throughout the world and get involved somehow!!
Head over the www.reecesrainbow.org click on the hiv page and see the children who are waiting for families. Thankfully....you will no longer see Dasha's face on the waiting children list!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shattering the Ignorance of HIV

I think one of the most eye-opening things for me at the Summit was just being educated further in the matter of living with HIV. It is an area I have been researching since HIV adoption seems to be on the rise. There are so many mis-conceptions so much ignorance surrounding this issue of HIV. Really....many people are stuck in the 80's when it comes to AIDS/HIV. I came away from the summit determined to do my part in advocating for these children and to help educate people on the realities of HIV.

Here are some facts:

You are 287 times more likely to be struck DEAD by lightening than accidentally contracting HIV from living with a positive person.

There are 33,945 car accident deaths in the US every year.
There are 3,650 swimming related deaths every year.
There are 3,109 fire related deaths every year.
There are 1,818 deaths from fall on stairs every year.
There are 872 choking deaths every year.
There are 82 lightening strike deaths every year.
There are 0 home HIV transmissions in a year.

There are only 3 ways HIV can be transmitted: Having sex with someone infected with HIV. Sharing needless and syringes with someone infected with HIV. Being exposed (fetus or infant) to HIV before or during birth or through breast feeding. per the CDC

Having HIV is considered a chronic and manageable disease in the United States. Children with HIV are expected to live long healthy lives. To marry, have children and see their grandchildren.

I met some amazing mothers involved with project hopeful who have all adopted children with HIV. Some pretty amazing stories! One little girl who was adopted from Ethiopia at the age of 10 was in stage IV AIDS. We are talking miraculous that she is alive!! She weighed only 32 pounds and was written off! Her mother arrived (founder of project hopeful) and fought to bring her home. Selah's hemoglobin levels were so low she was not even going to make the flight home. She needed a transfusion but since she was in advanced stage of AIDS and blood is so precious in Ethiopia they wouldn't even consider giving her a transfusion. The only way was if her adoptive mother would somehow be a match! Of course....just like God!!! Her mother was a match, she received a transfusion of her mother's blood, was able to travel to the US and within 3 months looked like a completely different child! She is doing amazing, viral counts very low and is a miracle of God!!

Countless stories of children written off by the world, scooped up, brought home and thriving. I am not sure yet how this will affect our family. I do know I will become involved on some level. Whether it is helping to debunk the myths, advocate for these children, adopt one, fund raise, etc.

And tomorrow......I will introduce you to a precious bundle of energy that forever changed the face of HIV for us! She captured my heart way before she kissed my cheek but the kiss sealed the deal!!!

If you want further information or education visit www.projecthopeful.org A great organization changing the face of HIV adoption.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This and That

I am finding myself with a lot of things I want to blog about today. Funny happenings with the kids, what I gleaned and learned this weekend at the orphan summit, ideas for Christmas presents that serve a dual purpose (a gift as well as helping someone in a developing world), etc. I think that for today I will keep it focusd on my silly children. After all.....some days I feel more annoyed than blessed by them which is a horrible state of mind. How easy it is for me to fall into my self-absorbed state of being.

A quick note about the summit: I really don't know how to put into words all I learned. There is a lot of work to be done people! Lives at stake!! I am purposefully holding off even beginning to write about the breakout sessions I attended because I am hoping to gain permission from a mother I met at the summit who had a daughter that may have single-handedly changed my life! Seriously!! I sent her an email today and hopefully will hear back from her within in a few days so I can tell you the story!

On to the daily grind here. Today is a sad day for one little boy in our house who is involuntarily going through rehab for his escalating Wii addiction! Two weeks ago we thought maybe it would be fun to teach Tristan and Eden how to play a few games on the Wii. Big mistake! At least for Tristan. He wakes up in the morning wondering how soon he can play Mario Kart and doesn't stop until bedtime. Literally!! It is the only gaming system in our house and we are fairly strict with the amount of time they are allowed to play. He will sit all day and do nothing at all until he is allowed to have his Wii time. So....this week he is experiencing life without his beloved Wii which ultimately affects everyone in the house but the other kids probably will not even ask. He has spent a considerable amount of time today mourning his loss but seems to be perking up now.

Tristan and Eden seem to be on a campaign to bring another baby into our home. Although they cannot seem to agree on the color of their baby. Eden wants a brown baby and Tristan is pretty set on a black baby. Forgive the lack of pc terminology but my kids don't seem to have any regard for what is proper. They just want a baby!

Judah and Shane had a sleepover at some friends on Friday night. They wanted to take all the kids to a later movie - 9:30pm. Judah almost opted to stay back at the house since it was his bedtime. How many kids do you know that would decide to miss a movie in order to go to bed? My children are indeed unique!