Orphans with Arthrogryposis

There are kids with Arthrogryposis all over the world who wait for a family to call their own. Every child should have a Mama and Papa to love them. Sadly many kids will never know the love of a family as they will live out their shortened lives in institutions. The children posted here are from Reecesrainbow.com If you can't adopt, you can donate to their grants on reecesrainbow.com Don't leave them to die in institutions.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Introducing our December child: Kyle!

We introduced Kyle a bit early because of sweet Francesca's death last month. Kyle is also in Africa and also has AMC. He makes our 12th child for Bring Hope to 12 in 2012.
An update:
January - Joel (now Roland, orphan no more!)
February - Laurel (now Alexandra, orphan no more!)
March - Victoria (has a committed family!)
April - Igor (his family MEETS HIM TOMORROW!)
May - Alexis (her family brought her home recently!)
June - Elizaveta (still without a family, but $1,000 closer to finding one)
July - Lily (had a committed family and we were able to raise their funds)
August - Raymond (still without a family, but $2,000 closer to finding one)
September - Aubree (still without a family, but $1,000 closer to finding one)
October - Rita (got a committed family the month we advocated for her! A first!)
November - Francesca (passed away during her month)
December - Kyle (unlimited potential!)
For the final month of Bring Hope to 12 in 2012, would you please share Kyle's link with your Facebook pages and blogs? We'd really appreciate it.

Contact Ruth Cox for more information on Kyle. Her email is yakorphans@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A history of sweet Henry's adoption, in memorial

Henry's listing photo from 2011.
Sweet Henry
met his Mommy
in an orphanage
last year.
He was tiny
even tinier in his daddy's arms
and his family loved him.

We first posted about Henry on December 17th. He was diagnosed with arthrogryposis and was just too cute. A few months of advocating went by and it got to where someone would say "Henry" and a few people around them would say "awww." Tasha (now Ember) was our other little AMC baby and she had just found her family earlier that month. We all felt Henry was next to find his family. It wasn't until March 4th that we found out someone had commited to him, but we had no clue who they were at that point. It was exciting. Thankfully the Dobrovits didn't make us wait long and shared their journey with us so we could follow. They let us know when they were traveling and let us share their joy (and pictures) in an old post found here. Henry came home on September 9th, 2011.

They even decided to keep his listed Reece's Rainbow name. So "Henry" legally became Henry. When we told Carla she was making it too easy on us. She replied, "Glad I could make it easier for you ;-) we had planned on a totally different name, but as we kept using Henry it just kept feeling more right, it was Pauls' grandfather's name (altho he never met him) and then when we saw him in person we knew it was right!!!"

Henry came into an awesome family.

And a fun family. :)
His family not only provided so much love for this new little baby, but they also continued to adovcate for so many other children.
And Carla became an active member of many support groups for new moms adopting special needs kiddos for the first time.

On September 30th Carla blogged that she had just found out Henry did not have arthrogrypsis. In fact instead of the stiff joint contratures indicating AMC, he instead had "wobbly" joints. On October 6th the family had an answer: Larsen's syndrome. Treatment and long-term functionality is the same for Larsen's and AMC, but the joints in Larsen's do the opposite of what they do in AMC.
From the Dobrovits blog:
Let's go down the signs and symptoms [of Larsen's syndrome]:

* Joint dislocations (especially of the hips, knees and elbows) - yep, all of the above dislocated on both sides
* Hypermobile joints - the child could be a contortonist
* Depressed nasal bridge - that just means he has a cute tiny nose with a tiny upper lip
* Prominent forehead - I teased Paul when we met Henry that Henry had his daddy's hariline ;-)
* Widely spaced eyes - which are absolutely adorable
* "Spatula-like" thumbs - we wondered if these were a Ukranian thing or something else, now we know
* Cleft palate - check. But it is not too bad of a cleft. The surgeon says one procedure with an overnight hospital stay and he will be good!
* Curved spine - yep. big time. 110 degrees. probably his most severe problem and one that will need serious surgery (think metal rods and body casts) in the not-too-distant-future
* Cardiovascular anomalies - no. thank the good Lord. Henry's heart seems to be just fine!
Because of the similarities the family became advocates for both AMC and Larsen's syndrome, educating us all about it which we are very thankful for.
But once an AMCer, always an AMCer. ;) We continued to love our Henry. 
Because of the severity of Henry's condition, it became clear that without adoption Henry would have died alone in a crib. A terrifying, horrible thing for a baby. Around the start of the new year Henry had officially overcame two rounds of croup, pneumonia and RSV. There's no doubt that if left in the orphanage with little to no medical care he would not have survived to see 2012. Adoption literally spared and prolonged his life. And now we know it added much more than 14 extra months to Henry's life, it flooding it with love.
Henry passed away after complications arrising from a much-needed surgery. It was a major surgery they knew was coming since before they brought Henry home. It was a surgery delayed a couple times, which was frustrating, but now we know those delays would give Henry a bit more time with his family. Even though 14 months in a loving family is not nearly enough, it's better than 13. Or 10.
He went from one pair of loving arms to Another. He was given the amazing gift of a family and a loving mom. He is missed. He is grieved. And we are heartbroken. But we don't grieve the orphan, we grieve a beloved son.

Through tears and grief Carla texted a member of Bring Hope and asked that people support another family adopting a little one with Larsen's "in Henry's name." That family is in Henry's birth country right now finishing the adoption, but were short on funds. Before we could even blog about it that family was fully funded in less than 24 hours as people poured out their love for Henry without prompting. Another little girl with Larsen's is coming home to be loved because of Henry and his family. Amazing. People go their whole lives without having half the impact on the world that this one little two year old has had.
The family has a lot of hospital and funeral costs. If you would like to donate to them to offset those costs you can use their PayPal account which goes directly into their pocket: Dobspc@aol.com. Also another family has set up a ChipIn for them here.
Now the family is asking that any extra donations be made to RR's Voice of Hope which helps orphans like Henry, orphans like all the ones with AMC we advocate for and for many, many others to find their families.
Henry, you are missed. Right after you were adopted we saw AMCers Gage (Ethan), Moira (Victoria) and Ethan (Cameron) all find families. Adoption paves the way for other children to be adopted, and I'm sure you made a difference. Your life had so much meaning and your family have helped so many others. We'd like to think that in Heaven your back is straight, your joints are strong and you are running and jumping around. No more sickness, no more struggles. Enjoy yourself sweet one.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Kyle is also in Africa, but we have not confirmed if it's the same country as Francesca was. Kyle was barely four pounds at birth and has been given a feeding tube through his nose to help him gain weight. He is now three months old and was born on August 18th of this year.
To adopt from Kyle's country you need to be:
*at least 30 years of age
*have been married at least 5 years
They are flexible on the number of children already in the home if you are adopting a child with special needs. Also this is a Hague accredited nation which is only important for the fact that you have to fill out certain paperwork for it.
Based on Kyle's picture his lower body looks very similar to both of my children who both now walk. He has clubfeet, knee contractures and possible hip involvement. Kyle's AMC is presenting very typically so we can recommend to any potential families a treatment plan to get him standing and taking steps. They do not mention anything with his upper body, but I would assume contractures affect them, but maybe not. His wrist (the one visable in the picture) looks straight (not bent down) and his elbow is bent. Those are great signs. So if his upper body is affected at least he's in a good position to start with.
Right now Kyle's biggest obsticle is not his joints (AMC), but is his rumered lack of stimulation. He's fed and changed, but like my son, he has received very little human interaction for the first part of his life as an orphan, much less than babies in families. Thankfully he has been listed so young (three months old) and his future is bright.
Please share his information! Let's find his family!
Contact Ruth Cox for more information on Kyle. Her email is yakorphans@gmail.com.

Goodbye sweetheart

For the first time in Bring Hope history one of our featured children has passed away. November's baby, Francesca, has passed away at eight weeks old in a hospital in Africa. Unfortunately we have not received sharable information about her circumstances and we were asked to remove the previous introductory post with her information on it. Three families had inquired about her (four families since writing this post) and we appologize for the time it took us to process this emotionally and share the news with you all. (Although all inquiring families were informed privately prior to this announcement.) Something this trageic is so hard to understand. We know she touched lives. We know it was easy to get guest bloggers to rally for her. We know she had interest and prayers and love. Even after her post was removed she was still getting interest and prayers and love.

No baby dies from stiff joints (arthrogryposis) but there can be other medical issues involved. Arthrogryposis is an umbrella term that doesn't preclude another condition. If Francesca had been born to parents with access to medical care would she have still passed away? I don't believe she would have. There's a tempation to get angry or to shut our eyes to the plight of special needs orphans around the world. A few of us lost sleep and tears over Francesca's passing. We feel it with you. But please continue to join with us in the work of advocating for those who have no voice. 

Not all is hopeless. So far this year alone we have seen Joel (Roland), Anastasia (Eva), Laurel (Alexandra), Patrick (Joshua), Sandra (in process), Rita (in process), Igor (in process) and Victoria (in process) get moms and dads. Raymond, Aubree and Elizaveta have yet to get families, but have seen their grants raised by over $1,000 each. This Thanksgiving season there is much to be thankful for. There are so many others who still need us...

...like Kyle. (To be continued...)


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All three got their matching grants!!!

Elizaveta, Aubree and Raymond all made their matching grants!!!
Thank you so much!
We made it on the very last day, but the donor still had a little something left over for Rita.
But they are not ready to reveal the amount just yet.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Victoria has a family!!!

Remember Victoria?

Well that little sweetheart has a family!
Victoria had been waiting on RR for YEARS.
But once she was found all the advocates for Victoria started celebrating all over the Internet!
Here's a post our friend Julia wrote while crying.
Here's a post our friend Mandy wrote while packing to go adopt Igor.
Here's a post our friend Pamela wrote while jumping up and down.
Here's a post our friend Cheryl wrote while screaming and yelling.
Here's a post from Beth's blog devoted to adovcating for Victoria.
Here's a post from my own blog.
You wanna see Victoria's new family?
The Sayer family!
And guess what?! They are already an AMC family!
Jeri emailed Bring Hope during our Rita sharing campaign. Rita had a commitment so they started praying about adopting another AMCer.
After writing back and forth about Victoria we got the best email in the world from Jeri. It read: "My husband just got home and saw all the stuff you and Sarah have sent to us.....and we are ready to do this!"
Read more about their family here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mysterious Bonus for Rita

Bring Hope: "So can you tell me more about this 'bonus for Rita' that you are dangling like a carrot over this matching grant?"

Anonymous donor: "What kind of hint do you want?"

BH: "Is it money, well-wishes, flowers... trading cards?!"

AD: "Haha, definitely monetary."

BH: "So....... a million dollars? Two million?!!"

AD: "Three million! Okay no. Actually the money came from a retirement account I had forgotten about that wasn't very large. So there's a definite cap on what I can give. And you know I believe the Bible says to care for orphans, but it also says to care for widows, hurting, lonely, our neighbors and to care about injustice. So there are lots of causes to consider. I came to you first only because you bother me endlessly about helping."

BH: "We'd like to think of it as 'encouraging.'"

AD: "You would."

BH: "So why not tell the bonus number and not leave us all guessing?"

AD: "Because as days go by that number shrinks."

BH: "As you give it away?"

AD: "As we give it away. And if you meet all three matching grants by October 31st, there will definitely be a few dollars as a bonus for Rita. But let's just say if you make your goals faster there will be a bigger bonus for Rita. So I can't say the number because that number changes."

BH: "So if we make Aubree and Elizaveta and Raymond's matching grants today, say, then how big would the bonus be?"

AD: "Big."

We love our anonymous donors and we definitely play by their rules! To donate to Elizaveta click here. To donate to Aubree click here. To donate to Raymond click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rita's new family!

Mayr family 2010
Mayr kids and the dog 2011

Mayr family 2012 (dad taking picture)

Rita has a family! The Mayr family has stepped up to start the process of adopting her! Meet the Mayr family! From Kelly Mayr:
Paul and I got married on a mountain top in Colorado in July 1997. We bought a house, got a dog and then were pregnant all in the first three months LOL. Our oldest son Jack was born in May 1998. Grace was born in 2000. She was our entrance into the world of special needs. She was diagnosed with Noonan syndrome at one year old. Today she is 12 and doing great. Next we had our back to back boys 15 months apart.....Daniel and Michael. The last in our troop was Maggie. We realized that we were done having babies, but not done growing our family. We started doing training to become foster parents. It was at this time that we heard about an 18 year old without a family. Since we always have room for one more, Rose joined our family. We started fostering infants and toddlers in 2011. We tripped across Reeces Rainbow a few year ago. As I tell people "once you know about special needs orphans...you can't 'unknow'." So the plight of orphans with special needs has been heavy on our hearts for a long time. Our daughter Grace has had several bake sales to send money to some of the children on Reeces Rainbow with zero in their accounts. We started our home study at the end of the summer. We were just waiting for the right child for our family. We saw sweet Rita and fell in love. She is just a perfect fit for us! We also felt that her situation was more of an emergency. We couldn't bear the thought of her getting transferred to an adult institution.
We usually don't get any family info on the day a family commits to one of our AMCers, but thankfully Kelly had contacted us during the sharing challenge. She was excited to know just how many people shared Rita's profile! As the Mayrs goes through the paperwork to set up a family sponsorship page we will be on the lookout for ways to support them.
In the meantime while Rita's situation is working itself out, please considering donating your $12 monthly gifts to either Elizaveta, Raymond or Aubree. We have until October 31st to get their matching grants! Also as an added bonus our anonymous donor has said that if all three AMCers get their matching grants, then there may be an extra bonus in it for Rita (once we can donate to her family). So please please please consider even a small amount towards one of these kids! Thanks!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three matching grants in Rita's honor!

We have a MATCHING GRANT!!! Well, not just one, but THREE!!!!!!!!!!

(Ah the wonderful times when your charitable gifts double as if by magic. ;)

A donor has mentioned that she'd love to help kids who have been featured on previous months to catch up some of those fund raising goals that weren't quite met. She wants to offer $500 to Elizaveta, Aubree and Raymond. (For a total of $1,500 for our kids!) Her personal reason for giving is to see if these children have "enough support." If they don't, and we cannot meet the conditions of her grant, then she will put her funds to use elsewhere. (Although not said, I believe she may give more in the future if we show we are behind these kids!)

Oh we'd love to see our kids have that extra money!

Elizaveta (our June child) has a hundred bucks in her grant fund right now. If we get it up to $600 then this donor will put in $500 more!


For Aubree (our September child) to receive the bonus $500, her grant fund needs to read $615. Right now she has $115 in her account. If we get it up to $615 then this donor will put her over a thousand!

For Raymond (our August child) to receive the bonus $500, his grant fund needs to read $1,700. Right now it is at $1,202.60. Getting this matching grant would put him over two thousand! He, like Rita, is close to aging out of his orphanage and be transferred!

Since we cannot give to Rita, let's help catch up some of our kids who could really use the money! Just click on a child's name under their picture to give. If any of our three children reaches their goal they will receive $500 the day that happens. If any of our children cannot raise $500 then they will not receive the $500 matching grant.

This matching grant ends October 31st.

Rita does not have a donation account set up to helf off-set the cost of her adoption. It may be because she's so close to transfer and they don't know where she'll end up. Regardless of the reason, we only have her file for a VERY SHORT TIME. But if a family commits to adopting her then we can donate towards their adoption through a family sponsership page and all is well. (Seriously we just need one family to step forward and save the day!) We do want to help with these costs and people have wanted to continue to give their $12, but we just cannot do that for Rita at this time. What we can do is share her link: http://reecesrainbow.org/?s=rita. And try to find her mommy! I have personally seen about 50 shares on Facebook alone in the last couple of days. Thank you so much!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sharing Rita

Have you shared Rita with your friends? On Facebook or Twitter or your blogs?
I used to be embarrassed to share anything but the occasional George Takei photo on my Facebook wall. I hate sappy stuff. I hate political debates. I even avoid "awareness." I just wanted to keep it light. That's my personality and shouldn't my social media reflect the real me?

But when I wasn't in a position to help financially I found myself wanting to do something. What can I do? Well it turns out sharing on Facebook actually helps needy children find families. Even though I doubted my cousins or high school friends would appreciate it I started to share.

I learned about transfer. How awful that was. I learned about the fate of kids with arthrogryposis in Eastern Europe. I shared more.
I have had a person see a child I've posted and say, "Yes, this is my child. Thanks for sharing!" It's an amazing experience. Life changing.
Another member of Bring Hope happened to sit next to a stranger one day and happened to mention a girl waiting for a family on Reece's Rainbow. A few weeks later we found out that woman had committed to adopt that girl! Our jaws dropped!  
It happens.
Yet another member of Bring Hope blogged about a very similar situation where a friend of hers shared a link at the bottom of her email and helped two children find their family! Read about that cool story here.
Those are our experiences from this tiny group of women who have our own lives but find the time to occasionally take a few moments to share about orphans. My challenage is that you (yes YOU! Our favorite reader!) share Rita's link. You can share it any way you want. Copy and paste this address: http://reecesrainbow.org/?s=rita.
I'd ask for your $12 donations, but Rita does not have donations set up at all. She's desperate for a family and we're desperate not to lose her. Right now we're just sharing.
Let's share Rita with her mother.
If you are interested in more information about Rita, or if you have any questions whatsoever, please email Andrea about her. Andrea's email address is andrea@reecesrainbow.org. I have inquired about kids before who I didn't end up adopting, but just so I could get a bit of information about the child, country and process. Andrea responds pretty quickly.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Introducing our focus for October: Rita!

URGENT: Rita is very close to aging out of her orphanage and transferred to an institution. Maybe you've heard the stories and maybe you haven't, but we're talking about an adult mental institution. This is hell for a child. Rita is seven. She's beloved by the orphanage nannies and director or they would not fight to keep her as long as they have. Most children are transferred between the ages of 3-5.
At this time there is no way to set up funds for Rita. Reece's Rainbow doesn't have a donate button set up. We're just desperately trying to find this girl's family.
Please share her link (http://reecesrainbow.org/?s=rita) or this post. Please share and find her family.
From a medical standpoint, little has to be done surgically since this child is walking and mobile. Without intervention she is already at the place where a lot of us have toiled to get our children.
From a personality standpoint, you don't keep a child around past the age of transfer unless they are wonderful. If they are hard on you or your staff you have to transfer them. She is not. She is wonderful. And they have obviously been engaging with her on a level that you don't often see. She has no mental delay! In fact they speak of how smart she is! Even my 22 month old with AMC had a mental delay just from having had no parents or one-on-one attention. Not this girl!
To read her bio click here.
Are you her mommy? Act now. Act fast. Let's save this little girl from the absolute worst trauma of transfer. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

About Aubree from those who have met her

The following was written by Laurel's father. They were able to interact with Aubree a lot while in her birth country. 

My wife and I were blessed to meet Aubree while we were adopting our daughter this summer. We had the opportunity to interact with her on nearly a daily basis for three weeks. This dear little girl charmed us from the moment we met her; we both wanted to bring her home too! Unfortunately, our circumstances only allow for the adoption of one child, so we're praying that Aubree's forever family will find her soon. Aubree always greeted us with her beautiful, bright smile and lots of waving – this girl is full of enthusiasm! I think her personality is best described as sunny; I can't remember a time during our visit when she wasn't smiling. She was also eager to hold hands or to give a friendly hug. Some of the other children struggled with being a bit too forceful in demonstrating physical affection, but Aubree, for all her enthusiasm, was always gentle. She also seemed to get along well with the other chidren. In terms of Aubree's needs, her legs appeared to be affected the most by her arthrogryposis, especially in her knees, which appeared to have an extremely low range of motion, bordering on total rigidity. It also seemed to us that Aubree may have some cognitive delays as well, though these apparent 'delays' don't at all dampen her kind spirit. She just needs the patience, love, and support that only a family can provide. Please prayerfully consider brining Aubree into your family. She needs you. My wife and I would be happy to answer any other question you may have, to the best of our knowledge.

If you would like to be put in touch with this family about Aubree please contact us at bringhopeto12in2012@gmail.com and we will connect you. Or if you would like to offer money towards a matching grant for Aubree please email us! Thank you! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Introducing Septembers Child...Aubree!

Introducing Bring Hope to 12 in 2012's focus child for September


Isn't she pretty?! 

Some quick facts about this young lady:

She was born in August 1999 so that makes her 13 years old last month

She is active, easy-going and friendly 

She is in a school-orphanage, which means she is being educated and its supported by humanitarian groups so likely isn't experiencing extreme neglect and abuse often seen in other orphanages 

She can be adopted by large families and older parents 

She has arthrogryposis and it appears as though it only affects her lower extremities, so just her legs! If her arms are affected they're very mildly affected because she uses her arms to scoot around on the floor

There is a mental delay listed but its hard to say what that means, it could be an institutional delay or she was born with it. It could be as mild as a learning disability or more severe. A very small number of kids with AMC have true cognitive disabilities so hopefully its just institutional 

Her legs are stuck straight! I put the explanation mark behind that because when you have AMC, being born with legs stuck straight usually means fewer surgeries and an increased likelihood of walking. Most kids with AMC are born with their legs stuck flexed at the knees which require several surgeries and castsing to straighten them out so they can walk. Even if she couldn't walk after therapy and treatment, she would like be successfully independent in a manual wheelchair.

Don't be alarmed by her legs being described as "tiny" this is not abnormal for AMC and even people with "tiny" legs can walk and be successful. 

An adoptive family has met her and been at her orphanage and is willing to talk to any potential families about her! 

Reality is....

She has just 36 months to be adopted before she "ages out" which means she has just 36 months until she will be transferred to an adult mental institution where she won't have access to the resources she does at the school-orphanage, she may not get adequate food, water, heat or attention. 

It will cost around $20,000 to adopt her and she has just $5 toward the cost of her adoption right now, a family will more easily be able to step up and commit to her if the financial burden is less. 

How you can help...and give Aubree Hope

Share: Share this post or her picture or a link to her Reece's Rainbow Profile via email or social media! You never know who may see it and want to add her to their family or make a donation

Donate: Consider making a donation, large or small toward the cost of her adoption! Just $12 can make a difference, thats $12 her family doesn't have to raise. Thats the equivalent of giving up just 2.5 trips to Starbucks! Click here to donate!

Aubree and her situation remind me...

so much of Laurel's (Our focus child in February) situation. Laurel too was in a better orphanage and wasn't severely neglected but she has AMC that also requires her to use a wheelchair

Laurel was also an older teen but only 6 months from "aging out" 


6 months later Laurel is now Alexandra Hope Harlan, she has been adopted by a wonderful family and had an AWESOME 16th birthday party with her new parents and her friends from the orphanage instead of being transferred!! 

I hope that Aubree can have this happy ending like Alexandra has! 

Alexandra with her parents!

I just hope and pray it doesn't take another 3 years for it to happen, I hope Aubree can have a 14th birthday party like Alexandra had for her 16th!! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A post from Raymond's Prayer Warrior

As we end August and the month for Raymond we share a blogpost from his prayer warrior, Samantha! She will continue to pray for and advocate for Raymond to find his forever family. 

If you haven't done so already, consider making a $12 donation to Raymond adoption fund! This money will be used by the family who steps up to adopt him for the fees and expenses associated with completing his adoption. 

Click here to donate! 

This little boy deserve a family, love and a home outside an institution. He is a full of untapped potential! 

If you can't donate, please consider sharing this link and/ or his picture on a social media site, you never know who could see it and decide they could parent him! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Introducing our focus for August: Raymond!

Here's Raymond. He just had a birthday a few weeks ago and is now five years old. 

The only picture we have of little Raymond is a blurry one. Here's what I can tell you having been in the AMC community and seeing the different body types: his wrists look good. A large percentage of AMC kiddos have wrists that are clubbed. They look hooked like this:

Note the bent wrists.

The baby in this picture is my daughter. She could touch her fingers to her forearms. It made holding things very hard for her. It took serial casting and daily stretching and nightly splinting for those wrists to come to neutral (straight). Raymond won't need any of this. His wrists look good. Notice also that the infant's shoulders are inverted. You can tell that the palms of her hands face away from her body. Go ahead and do that with your own arms and see how your shoulders feel. That takes a supination stretch to undo, or a supination splint (a giant wrap-around thing) to train the arms to work in a way they can be used. Raymond will not need any of that either as far as I can see. That's wonderful! 

So what will he need? What I'm seeing for Raymond is clubfeet which will require Ponseti serial casting.  

And I'm also going to guess his knees are stuck in that bend. That may require casting or surgery. I know about knee surgery from what my daughter went through. Here's the link to her knee results after surgery or you can see this graph:

What I'm saying is that Raymond's AMC is HIGHLY treatable. He is getting zero treatment for it now, but he could really shine in a new family. I see walking in his future. But not where he is now.

Raymond is our focus this month. We'll not just focus on his AMC or how treatable it is, but we'll also try to really see Raymond through this blurry picture and get to know the little boy there. I have a soft spot for Raymond. You see he was born the same year as my daughter, and right now my daughter is running around with walking sticks and playing and laughing while Raymond is trapped in a crib. He is destined for life in a tiny prison. That does not make sense to this mama's brain. Please consider donating towards his grant fund by clicking here. Or please consider sharing his picture on Facebook. He needs people to really see him, through his situation, through his terrible picture--see the little boy who wants a mommy and has SO MUCH potential. He needs someone to make up for five missed birthday parties. He needs cute little glasses to make all the ladies swoon. He needs straight little feet that a couple months of casting can provide. He needs a chance. He needs a mom. And we need to stand in the gap between a life in a crib and finding his family. We need to share and donate and scream and holler and yell and panic over his fate.

We are needed!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thank you for helping the Morrisons win the matching grant!

From Kelli:

"I am thrilled to personally let everyone know how incredibly thankful we are to all those that helped us to meet our matching goal!!! We raised a total of $1015!!!!!!!!!!!! We have been blown away this week with the love and generosity of so many that we know and don't know!!! Thank you does not justly express our gratitude to friends and family, but even more so to God above who is making it all happen! We can't wait for you all to meet our precious baby girl one day soon!!"

Thanks so much everyone! But the month is not over! If you want to give your $12 to the Morrisons who are 100% committed to bringing little Lily home, please still do so! They need it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Matching Grant to bring home Lily!


We have a matching grant for Lily's adoption! From now (RIGHT NOW) until Friday, July 13th, at noon (PST) every dollar you donate will be matched up to $1,000!!!

So your $1 becomes $2.

$5 becomes $10

And our usual $12 donations become $24!

If we only raise a few dollars then the matching grant will only match a few dollars. But we could raise $1,000 together!

Please go here to donate.

Lily's brothers are waiting for her to come home.

Lily's parents love her already.

Please help us use up this matching grant and get Lily home! 

Focus for July: Lily!

Todd and Kelli Morrison

Ususally we put a picture of the month's featured AMCer, but this time we're doing it a bit differently. This time we're focusing on the parents who are adopting little Lily from Thailand.

Now we just had AMC Awareness day on June 30th, and then most of us just got back from the AMC convention that just wrapped up last week. It's been a busy time for us AMC families. As for the Bring Hope core group, well one of us just graduated from college, another just got a full time crazy-wonderful job helping children in a hospital and one of us is traveling to adopt their AMCer this month. It's been a little nuts. Hectic in fact. And you'll have to excuse our late start for July. Most of the issue was that we wanted to make sure we would have a grant in place for this family so that we would not "waste" their month as they want to bring home their child around the first of the year and have a bit of fundraising to do between now and then. (Good news on that front. We have a grant! I'll post about that separately.)

Todd and Kelli are adopting a little girl they will name Lily. She's three years old. She has arthrogryposis. The Morrison family already have three boys at home who are waiting to meet their little sister. We know Kelli from her proactive steps to contact our AMC support group and learn more about arthrogryposis. Whereas many moms find us through a new diagnosis, you'd be surprised how many adopting moms find us and express the same fears and emotions as the new moms. No matter if they are choosing this or not, it's still a process and a journey for everyone.

We are short one week of advocating for this family. Please do us a favor and help us make up for that week! Share their GoFundMe page (http://www.gofundme.com/MorrisonAdoption) with your friends and family. Post it on Facebook and Twitter. Let's help this family cover their expenses so that nothing stands in the way of bringing home this little girl!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Introducing our focus for June: Elizaveta!

It is a bitter-sweet privilege to start our focus on nine-year old Elizaveta. She would have been the focus our very first month in business had she been available. You see Elizaveta disappeared somewhere within the system of her birth country, and without an exact location she was unlisted from Reece's Rainbow. Recently she resurfaced and we were allowed to advocate for her once again.  We got a small heads up before she was relisted, and there was a small flutter of excitement among those who care about her. Once her (updated) picture was safely on Reece's Rainbow we all let out a long-held breath.

This June reminds us of the June two years ago when we begged a family to choose her. You can read about that here

It's said in Elizaveta's birth country that the size of the little girl's head bow in her profile picture reflects the amount of love and favoritism of the orphanage nannies. I've seen this true time and time again as children adopted off Reece's Rainbow with these giant, bigger-than-their-head, bows seem more well-adjusted, happier and healthier than the average child in that situation. She was loved. She was lost and she was transferred.

But look at her now:

No longer the small girl, but the nine year old girl with the small smile. She seems confident. She's tough but not hard. Love does that.

She also shares my lack of pigment (or visible eyebrows) so forgive me if I imagine her in her new family discovering make up with her mom.

From the millions of blogs we posted on Awesome Alexis you probably get the idea of how much these kids want to be adopted. They want families and parents. Aging out of this system is not an option, it's death.

For June we hope to raise $5,000 for Elizaveta. We need donors. We need you. Please help us.

And we BEG you to share her picture. We found out yesterday that a friend of a friend of a friend committed to adopt one of our AMC kids based on something shared on Facebook. It happens and it's real and you can make a difference.

To support Elizaveta please go here. Right now she has $50 in her account. That's just a couple zeros short of our goal. :) We can do this!

If you would like to offer a gift towards a matching grant please email us at bringhopeto12in2012 (at) gmail (dot) com. We currently do not have any donor for Elizaveta.

Remember that for the children without committed families any gift over $20 has 10% taken out to help all the children listed. For the $12 donations we're asking, this does not effect your gift and 100% goes to Elizaveta. For those more generous consider spreading out $12 gifts throughout the month or contacting RR.

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We did it!!!

Thank you!!!

The chance to win the $500 grant was posted late last night. I really didn't know if we could do it. Clearly I underestimated you wonderful people! During the night people started giving. Early this morning (or late this morning for you east coast guys) we found out we'd done it!

In one night! Just one night!

Thank you thank you thank you!

I've got to say our donor was surprised and happy too!

Alexis is up to $4,551!

We're still hoping to get Alexis' family up to $5,000 by June 1st. We have two days to do it. They are so close. If you were planning on giving, please still give! Alexis' family is going to be so surprised!

Thank you all so so so much!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

$500 gift has been offered, but we need your help to get it!

BREAKING (middle of the night) NEWS!

We just heard from an anonymous donor who read about Alexis' story on our website. This donor has given to charitable causes in the past, orphans specifically, but ONLY if certain conditions were met. (And I know one case where those conditions were not met!) So here's the deal: If we can raise the Duval's Family Sponsorship Page from $3,044 where it's at now to $4,000 before June 1st then this anonymous donor will give $500 towards Alexis' adoption costs! If we don't reach $4,000 then no $500! This donor made it very clear that they won't be giving it unless we reach the $4,000 goal. I think they want to see who cares about this adoption. (Read all about adoption, living with arthrogryposis and Alexis herself in the posts below.) It would take 80 people giving their $12 gifts to reach this amount. We have 84 people following us on Facebook as well as many visitors on this site, but many of you have already given your $12!! Can we do it?! I told the donor we'd like to try and we are always thankful for the oportunity to raise these much needed grant funds.

Would you all please do me a favor and share this! We'd love that extra money for this family! (Our goal is still to reach $5,000, but with only two days left in Alexis' month, $4,500 would still feel mighty good.)

The Duvals just arrived back home with their son tonight (5/29). He's sleeping in his own bed and surrounded by family for the first time in his life. I can't imagine. It's a big adjustment, and for those who have known institutional living, well, being home makes little hearts full and heavy all at the same time. It gives me goosebumps to think of the unloved being loved and valued, needed and wanted. What a deep hole this love must fill!

The Duvals head right back out to get Alexis (who begs for a family) as soon as they are allowed. We would just love to step alongside this exhausted family and show them that they are not alone. For someone who has needed to raise adoption funds myself, it's very encouraging when others help in this way. It keeps us going.

To donate please go here. It's tax deductible.

Note: Bring Hope to 12 in 2012 does not have a set list of donors. We rely on others! If you would like to contribute towards a giveaway or present a matching grant or gift, please contact us at bringhopeto12in2012 (at) gmail (dot) com. Donors are free to set their own conditions and deadlines. We are happy to facilitate you in any way we can. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A defense of supporting adoption

"Do you have any idea how many people you could help with that money? You're wasting it on one child!"

"I only give to local charities or my local church since the Bible says to. So I cannot support your foreign adoption."

"Why should I help you expand your family?"

"If you can't come up with your adoption fees ($25,000) on your own then you shouldn't be adopting. You should provide for your own child not ask others to."

"Children are better in their home country, even in institutions. You should give that money to the country instead."

These are some of the things that have been said to me after we decided to adopt a child with arthrogryposis and save him from transfer to an institution. In this blog post I hope to shed light on why I believe with my whole being that adoption should be supported.

"Do you have any idea how many people you could help with that money? You're wasting it on one child!"

I hope to argue that an investment into an orphan's life, foreign or not, is a valid investment that is not inferior to a charitable act which spreads the financial net a bit wider to help many. I consider both not only valid, but also on equal footing.

My husband and I support the efforts of AMF (Against Malaria Foundation) to provide malaria nets to those who live in malaria infested parts of the world. Statistically for every $2,000 given to AMF, one life is saved from the deadly malaria virus. We found out about this through GiveWell, a website who reviews charities and shows a top list of those who do the most good with your dollar. This appealed to us greatly since although you cannot put value on a human life, you can put a dollar amount to saving one human life: $2,000.

Feeding America is another charity that has my heart. Because of pooling their resources they say for every $1 donated to their cause they can turn that into 8 meals for hungry families. Personally I like Feeding America because it meets a very basic need in my own community.

My two examples are suppose to show that money donated to great causes can ease the suffering of many people, maybe even save a few lives. So how is that not superior to pouring $25,000 (the cost of our adoption) into one life? An excellent question for the philanthropist.

Firstly there must be some consideration to the longevity of giving. One meal feeds one person one time. One mosquito net covers one family's bed until that net is destroyed by daily use. Giving a child a lifelong home, parents, medical treatment, therapies and an education has a lasting positive impact that can't be easily quantified. Children who go on to be contributing members of (a wealthier) society, generate income and help support others cannot be overvalued. Because of the situation in Eastern Europe an institutionalized child goes from being a drain on society and having zero potential to having unlimited potential once adopted. Because it is hard to quantify the potential of this adopted child it is hard to argue charitable giving towards adoption as more valuable than charitable giving to a broader source. But that is my point exactly: $25,000 can save 12.5 people from malaria. $25,000 can save one child, plus any others he has the potential of helping in his lifetime. And that could be less than 12.5 or many, many more.

"I only give to local charities or my church since the Bible says to. So I cannot support your foreign adoption."

I appreciate the idea that one saves their money to support their immediate family first, then the community around them, and then, in an ever-widening circle, strangers in foreign countries. But I also believe we should reverse that circle of support when the poverty of strangers is vastly greater to our own. (I'm assuming my readers' families are not starving.) The Bible text that was referenced during this conversation was 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

In the context of 1 Timothy 5:8 they are discussing who should care for the widows in their community. They conclude that this falls to the children and grandchildren of these widows, and if a widow has no children, then the church community will care for her. In other words, a person who lives as he pleases while his widowed mother is suffering in poverty is a bad person. Paul implies that even the unbelievers know how to take care of their own mothers.

What is not stated here is the exclusion of helping foreigners. 1 Timothy 5:8 only applies to my adoption if I chose to start the adoption process while my widowed mother or grandmother was suffering financially.

As far as the Bible stating to support "your own" (the Greek word for household there is oikeios but can imply your own local charities, groups, people of the same faith, or blood relatives), I have found that is true, but not to the exclusion of foreign aid. (In fact God's heart is with the foreigner as I will attempt to prove shortly.) In the early church there was a structure in place kind of like communism on a small scale and Paul sums up how it worked beautifully in 2 Corinthians 8:

13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.

A lot of giving in the Bible (New Testament) has to do with this set up. Although we do not hold this kind of set up in churches today I do see many good people supporting those in need in their communities.

As for God's laws regarding the foreigner, the conversation moves beyond a few epistles and goes all throughout Scripture. In fact God demands care for the foreigner and the orphan in many of the same passages. The foreigner is sometimes called "the alien" or "the stranger." The orphan is sometimes called "the fatherless" and can be a foreigner or a local member of the community.

(I include a lot of Scripture to make a point about what the Bible actually teaches regarding my foreign adoption. Feel free to skip or skim.)

Deuteronomy 10:18 - He (God) executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the foreigner by giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 14:29 - The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the foreigner, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Deuteronomy 16:11 - And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger (foreigner) and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.

Deuteronomy 16: 14 - And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger (foreigner) and the orphan and widow who are in your town.

Deuteronomy 24:17 - You shall not pervert the justice due a foreigner or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.
Deuteronomy 24:19-21 - When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the foreigner, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the foreigner, for the orphan, and for the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the foreigner, for the orphan, and for the widow.

Deuteronomy 26:12-13 - When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. You shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.”

Deuteronomy 27:19 - “Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.” And all the people shall say, “Amen.”

Jeremiah 7:5-7 - For if you truly amend your ways and your deed, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave your father forever and ever.

Jeremiah 22:3 - Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”

Zechariah 7:10 - And do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.

Malachi 3:5 - "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.

Psalm 146:9 - The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.

(Okay I'm done.)

Everyone will pick and choose between foreign support and local support depending on what they value and who can use the most help. I'm not really here to advocate one over the other. But I do believe the heart of God is clearly for the orphan, the widow and the foreigner. My adopted son fits two of these three categories. Soon he'll fit none of those categories as God intended.

Moving on.

"Why should I help you expand your family?"

If you are part of a belief system that obeys the Bible then you are commanded to help the orphan and the foreigner, also the poor and the hungry. My son fits all those categories so is an excellent choice. (We're fully funded by the way, this was something asked a while back.) If I'm in your local church community it would be a biblical example played out. If you hold no spiritual beliefs then I could argue adoption as a way to better our community due to the cultural flavor my son brings to it. He also informs others about what family really means. And having physical disabilities, as has been argued, can help others in the areas of understanding, acceptance, compassion, perspective and responsibility. All in all I never thought fundraising for my adoption was a selfish act, nor do I expect everyone to help. But having people be offended at my fundraising baffles me. Why should you help bring my son home? For the same reason you should do any good thing. That's all. Don't then.

"If you can't come up with your adoption fees ($25,000) on your own then you shouldn't be adopting. You should provide for your own child not ask others to."

Ah yes, the "only rich people should adopt" mentality. I've also heard, "Fundraising for your adoption is just like welfare," and "If you can't come up with the money for your own child then you shouldn't be adopting at all. Period." Of all the above statements/questions I'm responding to in this post, this is the only one that was said unkindly. So as a lawyer would approach a hostile witness, I feel free to be blunt.

First let's define our terms. You may define "rich" differently depending on how much money you have. But let's put it this way, it costs between $25,000 to $45,000 for a foreign adoption. If you make $25,000 a year you are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people on earth. If you make $35,000 a year, congrats and welcome to the top 5%. $45,000 would put you in the top 1.72% of the richest people on earth. Do you get where I'm going with this? Coming up with a year's income in order to have a child qualifies you as a rich person.

So the above statement really boils down to this: Only rich people should adopt.

So far no one has come out to me and said this, but it's easily inferred.

We in the adoption community jokingly refer to the initial costs/fees of adoption as the "ransom." We don't have it, but we have a limited time to come up with it. And they have our child. Now I'm not here to defend how the money is used by lawyers or foreign governments, or to say there are no abuses in the system, but rest assured the price of adoption fees will not be going down, and they are necessary to move a child's life, residential status and future to an entirely different country. Not having this initial sum does not mean we cannot support a child, even one with extreme medical needs. In fact a homestudy must be done that assesses the financial stability, overall health, home situation and emotional maturity of both adoptive parents by a licensed social worker. After we've been stripped down and laid bare by professionals (over a period of weeks or months), I'm hard pressed to hear we're unworthy by anonymous people on the Internet.

So those who do not believe we should adopt because we "cannot provide" are not accurate since we have been vetted. But really the issue is that we did not pull out of our pocket the entire ransom for our son which only the top few wealthiest people on the planet could. (In our case we did empty our savings account, get a temporary second job and budget for a while so harshly that we couldn't buy milk or bread. That last sacrifice didn't last, but a healthy budget is in place now.)

Tell me something. Should minorities not have children? Should those making less than $30,000 not be allowed to become pregnant? Does equality matter? Does family matter? Are children dying in institutions for lack of parents important? I'm not saying you will agree with me on all these issues, but I'm saying a disagreement shows a prejudice I cannot begin to reason with.

The rich get all the breaks.

"Children are better in their home country, even in institutions. You should give that money to the country instead."

And lastly, there's this statement, "Children are better where they are." It was said simply, gently and thoughtfully, which just made it worse. I've found that people who say this have never done an in-depth study on my son's situation. Allow me to illuminate his situation.

You've probably read blogs about the torture that goes on over in Eastern Europe to those with disabilities, maybe you've seen a video about it, maybe you've read about a life saved from it or maybe you know nothing at all. I can't begin to go into all the abuses happening over there, or even point out which orphanages are doing it better or worse, but I can give you a picture of it using my own son's example.

When my son turns five years old (maybe four, maybe three, or in one case I read about, two) he will be put in a car and driven screaming and crying or quiet and terrified to an adult mental institution out in the country where no one visits and no one has to deal with the imperfect people who live there. Now my son does not have any mental disabilities, but this is where people in EE who look different are thrown away. It's a system so mired in political and social gunk that fixing it seems impossible, although there are small efforts to do so. As it stands now, only adoption can save these kids from this fate. Children transferred to the institution have PTSD, they are not held, they are tied down into cribs (even into their teens) and changed once a day. Sometimes not changed on weekends. They have sores from lying in their own urine and feces. They have no one to talk to. They chew on their hands and arms and rock themselves for stimulation. They are fed what amounts to a cabbage stew crammed down their throats. Some institutions are better and some are worse, but the term "good institution" is an oxymoron. I've heard statistics from 85%-95% of children who are transferred die within the first 12-18 months. I hear it's the higher percentage if you have Down's syndrome. They are buried in the backyard.

In a provocative work called, "Death Camps for Children" those who have been to these places (that still exist even years later) report what they've seen:

“When we arrived at the orphanage we were met by older children without coats, they were begging us to give things to them and not to the directors. It is very hard to write about the rest of this part of the trip. I cannot give a step by step account because we were all in a state of shock. We spoke to the director about our program and he told us that he knows the children need more but he said, ‘I cannot ask my workers to do more, they work very hard, clearing the road, shoveling snow, cleaning the floors and the children, they have not time, they must work very hard all day and then they must dig graves and bury children.’ What do you say to that? Still, the staff took us around to show us how it is. Words don’t come to mind, most of our team was crying and could not stop. Dark hallways, screaming, children clustered together in freezing rooms, some in strait-jackets, haunted looking crying, asking if they were good, asking for food. Water dripping from the dark ceilings, mold everywhere. We held children who were 10 and 13 years old in our arms like infants. One team member said later that she never knew that humans are like fish and will only grow to the size of their environment. One team member threw up outside. Children never leave their beds in some rooms. These children are ages 4-16. In other rooms they leave to go to a room with just a bench and nothing else in it. They hold each other -rocking one another. I have never seen such deprivation and our photographer said it best when he said it was a concentration camp for children. Sorry, this is such a hard part to write but I looked in the eyes of many children who are dying. Their tiny bones fit into the palm of my hands. Their skeleton faces begging for help. No one in our team has really slept since. We talk about it but just end up in tears. I promised the orphanage staff we would come back with a team of people to help them. They are counting on it. The director told one team member that 20 years ago he asked for help there and the soviet minister came and visited. The visiting soviet minister told the director, ‘why do you keep these animals alive? You can kill them, you know how to do it you are a doctor.’ He never sent any money or aid to the orphanage.” (http://eng.maidanua.org/node/581)

For those who say to leave them where they are, because even if their own society does not consider them fully human it's better for them somehow, I leave you with these images from http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/.

But it's a situation not without hope. Here's some hope from one of my favorite adoption blogs.

This is ten year old Katy suffering in her institution. (She weighed 10 pounds.)

This is Katy six months after being adopted. (She's up to 27 pounds.)
So you tell me, should we leave them there?