Friday, July 25, 2014

Meeting a friend named Julia

Where do I even begin on how this Lady has been such a blessing to me?
Such a kindred spirit she is! If she lived close to me she is one I would love to be dear friends with. 
I first found her blog Micah Six Eight http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.com/
her words in how she describes her son's institution he had been in still brings me to tears. Her blog was among the many that brought me to my advocating journey & I'm truly greatful for her story & words that brought me on this journey. 
It felt so surreal when I met her at the Reeces Rainbow Reunion almost two weeks ago, this person who has been non-stop encouraging since I started advocating for orphans. It truly felt like a dream being able to finally give her a hug in person. Sometimes I would have private email conversations with her whether it was asking for prayer on a fundraiser or something, or just being encouraging when I was down, this girl was being so sweet to me & would let me know she was praying. 
Julia, God brought you in my life for a reason & am very thankful for that. Their are many people I have been hopeful to meet in this life & I'm so greatful that one of them has been you. Meeting you in person made it even more real to me & I just wanted to write out my appreciation of you. You truly have been an inspiring person to me. 
This is what I wrote on my Facebook about it:
Among the many people I had the Honor of meeting at the Reece's Rainbow Reunion, was fellow advocate, adoptive parent, & blogger Julia N. & her son Aaron. She is one of the many who started me on my journey for advocating & has been such a big encouragement to me in my own journey what started with the two girls I love now stuck in another country. She has been a true friend & is as much kind in person as she is online. I so wished I had more time to chat with her but I was so blessed to be able to finally meet. Reading her blogposts about the Lost Boys & their story of adopting Aaron is what truly got to my heart about the reality these kids live in daily-http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.com/2011/09/closed-world.html
Thanks Julia, for truly being my friend (even behind private emails) & from just this crazy internet world I see the positive side of it meeting inspiring, encouraging people like you & your son. Even if the Journey has been rough for me I thank you for writing your story out on an open blog & supporting me in all my ups & downs with Celine & Cora Lynne whether prayer or encouragement, or helping spread the words about the fundraisers I was doing. Words can only began to describe how greatful I am for you & that God allowed us to meet.


Only God could have allowed this dream of mine to happen about an hour from where I live. My mind is still in a daze from almost two weeks ago & I will be posting more soon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Family is More than Blood:Ray family

 If your new to my blog, this is a series I just started on adoptive families. Each Friday I will feature One family who has adopted & One who is adopting currently. Some weeks I may combine the two if the family is adopting & has adopted then I will just do that family on that Friday. Today's featured family is the Ray family. To learn more about the Ray family you can visit their page. They are in the midst of their 2nd adoption & If you even have just $5 to spare every little bit helps! here http://reecesrainbow.org/70393/sponsorray-2

What Brought you to adopt?
We felt led to Micah instantly when we saw his picture on Reece's Rainbow in November 2010. We prayed about it & committed to him 3 days later. We had never seriously considered adoption before seeing his picture.

How has your life changed since bringing home your child?
Life has gotten more exciting! Micah is full of life & curiosity. We have learned how to work in the special Ed system, be successful in IEPs, and fight for everything he needs to succeed in life.

How has your child changed since coming home?
Micah has changed in every way. He has tripled in size in 3 years. He has learned ASL and is very communicative now. He asserts his desires and wishes where he never had a "voice" to do so before. He is more loving. He "plays" with toys and is able manipulate things to do what he wants them to do. He can sit still longer and focus on tasks. He responds appropriately. He shows true LOVE to his family & friends. He is not as afraid of heights like before (he will jump on the trampoline & swing high on the swings & climb up a ladder & slide down the slide). He was too scared to do those things before. He has a light in his eyes & smile that never go away.

Whats the Hardest part of life after bringing home your child?
Trying to communicate with a little man who doesn't speak. We've had to learn each other well enough to get our points across & know when he understands us. He's made huge strides, but at 6 years old, he still is only signing 99% of the time. 

How is the 2nd adoption process compared to the first?
The 2nd process is so much easier. We know what to expect, we are more relaxed & not as stressed. We saw God control the first process & know He's in control of the 2nd, so we just give it all to him. 



Friday, July 11, 2014

Family is More than Blood:Chellson family

Family is more than Blood, I have that phrase on my shirt & as I was thinking of that phrase I decided I wanted to use it as an opportunity to bring awareness of adoption. Each Friday, I will be using this opportunity to introduce you to 1 family who has adopted & most weeks an additional family who is currently in the process of adopting. This week I introduce this first family who has adopted & is adopting currently. Meet the Chellsons, I have had the personal privilege of getting to know them a little bit while I lived in CA & luckily I got to be a part of their journey to Misha & got to meet him.
 What brought you to adopt?
I first felt the desire to adopt (or foster) after my little sister Lizzy was born. Lizzy was born when I was 13 & has Down Syndrome & she forever changed my world for the better. When David & I got married I knew I wanted to adopt (or foster) but it would most likely happen after my biological had grown up and moved away.That plan quickly changed once David & I learned we were struggling with secondary infertility. After a handful unsuccessful fertility treatments we were given word it was time to move onto trying IVF & we felt that my body had been through enough with all the fertility drugs & that it was time to look into other options for expanding our family. That was when our adoption journey got started.

How has your life changed since bringing home your child?
Life is wonderful having Misha home with us. From the moment we saw his picture we knew he'd fit in with us just perfectly! We have our moments when some frustrations or stubbornness kicks in but it's nothing we can't handle. Most of the changes we have felt has been in our daily schedule...Misha receives therapy 3 times a week along with attending our amazing county special ed preschool & you add this into our older sons baseball & school schedule it just makes for more time in the car. We've all adjusted to the schedule & it honestly feels like it's been this way forever.

What's the hardest part of life after bringing home your child?
The hardest part of life has not been the adjustment but it is the lack of knowledge we have on his medical or family history. We have some medical records but they are not very clear & it tends to leave the doctors scratching their heads. Which leaves us having to guess on things & making assumptions about his previous care. Thankfully we have a great team of doctors that provide amazing care for Misha & it helps the struggle of his unknown past.

How is the 2nd adoption process compared to the first?
Since we are currently in the final stretch of our second adoption I can say that adopting this time around is way less stressful & moving much faster then the first adoption. The paperwork the first time was so overwhelming and sometimes confusing for a newbie & took us about 6/7 months to complete because of things needing to be redone due to errors we did not see. This time around we felt way more confident in what we were doing & reached out to our resources from the first adoption & it made it all go much quicker & our paperwork was finished in about 8 weeks this time.

Why Special needs international adoption?
When we set out on our adoption journey we actually began looking at becoming foster parents but with Davids work schedule & having a young son at home we found it was not a good fit for us...we then looked into going the birth mother route but found no solid help or answers for our questions so we moved on...we then looked into domestic adoption of children with special needs & were again met with unhelpful answers & no one really willing to help guide us in starting the process...after all this we were told about Reece's Rainbow & found an amazing local family in process who were able to answer our questions, ease our minds & guide our hearts into starting the process...and the rest is history.
 I have witnessed first hand how much they love this sweet boy, now let's help them bring home another precious sweetie! They are still short on funds to bring Baby C home. They will be doing an auction on Instagram on the bringingbabychome page shortly. In the meantime you can go make a donation to their Reece's Rainbow page here http://reecesrainbow.org/70626/sponsorchellson-2




Saturday, July 5, 2014

Let Freedom Ring

Yes, I know this is a day late but I don't care cause I want to share this message. Some of this I wrote on my fb page yesterday but still want to share with the pictures.
What is Freedom?
Freedom is the chance to be able to run & play. Freedom is the choice to be yourself. Freedom is having a choice of religion. 
Every year we get the chance to celebrate that freedom but yet we tend to forget how blessed we are with that freedom. 
While we get to run & play their are orphans laying down in cribs & beds all day.
While we have a choice to be ourselves & in what we say, what we eat, or when we go to sleep, orphans don't have those choices.
Freedom is having a choice of religion & for them they can't truly experience how much God loves them. On this day each year I can never help to remember the orphans stuck in orphanages & mental institutions who might never know what true freedom is in this lifetime. 
I pray someday I can give a child that freedom but for now I do what God wants me to do.
Please take a moment to thank God for the freedom you have but yet also say a prayer for those like orphans who don't have that freedom. Now just look at how much these kids are enjoying freedom!

Freedom is the priceless act of love to belong & be loved & willing to do whatever it takes to help someone experience that freedom. Adoption is not easy, it's not perfect but if these families could I'm sure they would do it all over again in a instant.
Would you do anything to help a child experience this freedom like these girls have?
Here's some suggestions of ways you can help in the world of adoption:
1.Organize/host a yard sale or other fundraiser
2.donate items/time to support a yard sale or other fundraiser
3.Offer up to watch other children (if any) so they can get paperwork or other things done. Or help out when they travel to adopt said child(ren)
4.Prayer support-it takes nothing but time
5.Make a meal/buy a meal to take to the family once home with their child.
6.Be an encouraging family member or friend to those that make that choice to adopt. 
7.Reach out to your church to see if you can find a way to support adoption even if it's just hosting a fundraiser and/or having an adoption support group.
If your thinking of special needs adoption might I suggest visiting
www.reecesrainbow.org

And this family is giving Ian that freedom
They are about to head on their pickup trip to bring Ian home & are still short on funds to bring him home. Please consider donating even just $5 can make a difference! Let's make freedom ring for this boy so next year he can be home celebrating with his family!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Through my eyes

Through my eyes I see smiles,
Kisses & lots of Love

I see her for who she is not her special needs nor her Down Syndrome
She is my sister no matter what
I wish the whole world can see through her eyes
What she CAN DO!
Yes, being her sibling presents it's challenges but what sibling does not have challenges?

I really don't know what my life would be like without her! She inspires me to be a better person & to show that having a sibling with special needs is a blessing no matter how tough it gets. We both are not perfect but we love each other no matter what.

Here's what I shared on my Instagram recently:
I just have to wonder what is wrong with this world?
Why can't other countries understand how much people like my sister & others bring joy to this earth?
I wish our world was perfect but it's not. I just pray continuously for it to get better & for the world to become a better place because of those with special needs.
This is what I want to share as people like her are stuck in cribs all day in other countries & spend the rest of their lives in a mental institution. I'm tired of presidents not putting kids lives first just because they don't think they know what love or family is, I'm tired of a president in a country thinking we are aweful Americans & that orphans are better off without families that are american, tired of countries closing to adoption, most of all I wish they all would know the love these kids have to offer the world.
That's how I see my sister & I hope for the world to be able to see what I see. Not her challenges, nor her special needs, or her Down Syndrome but a loving sister who puts up with her somewhat crazy 5 siblings, a sister who understands even if you think she doesn't, One who lights up a room with her smile, who comes up with creative responses that make us laugh. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

To God be the Glory!

Three years ago, God spoke to me & put her on my heart.
I never had advocated nor thought about her before. I was waiting in line at a pizza place to celebrate my Birthday with my friend. We were chatting about some orphans my friend was fond of & I brought her up n conversation. That night I know God whispered into my heart to pray for her.
I don't know why he picked that night or why he told me to pray for her but I prayed for her. For you see this precious girl got unlisted due to a law change of a special needs list under a certain age. This little girl got relisted the next day, as she had reached the age where her special need no longer applied to that list. Only God could have done that timing!
Since he put her on my heart I started by becoming her Guardian Angel warrior, advocating, fundraising & praying her family would find her. 


Fall 2013 she came close to finding a family but they were unable to adopt her. I was disappointed but understood & knew the family for her was out there.
Fast forward to May 30, 2014 when I saw a post on Facebook saying she had found her family. I was so excited especially when I discovered the family adopting her was a sweet family with an inspiring story. 

The Joy it feels when you have been praying for something or someone for so long when it looked so far away from being answered feels like a dream you just can't even begin to describe. Sometimes it's not the answer or timing you wanted as I have watched many times but God knows & has his plan. 
I give all the Glory to him for helping me as I fundraised, prayed, & advocated for this precious girl named "Brandi" & as I continue to pray & help her family bring her home. 
It was never about me, I just listened to what he told me to do.




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Life's twists & turns, my testimony


This Journey has been no easy picnic but I would not change it for the world. When I was younger I understood that Jesus loved me from all that I got taught growing up in church. I had gone to Sunday School & went to Awana. I accepted Christ into my life when I was about 9-10 years old at awana at my church at the time. Each week I would hear out Children's ministry director talk about asking Jesus into our heart & each week I would think oh I will do it next week. One particular week I knew I could no longer put it off & something just clicked with me that night so I went downstairs to learn more & ask him into my life. My Childhood memories that I can remember are very few but I do remember that day and what I was thinking. Back then I had no concerns or worries, I was just a shy little girl.  

As I grew up I had my share of struggles. My pre-teen to teenage years were my hardest. In the Midst of those years up to my early days of young adulthood I struggled with feeling like I did not fit in, trusting others, making close friends, doubt about myself being worthy/beautiful, & fearful. 


Thing is I had a hard time when I was in youth group cause I could not relate to the topics most talked about. Because of my trust issues sometimes when leaders asked if I was okay I would say I was when honestly I wasn't. Crying in front of anyone was not me. I saved my tears for myself for the most part & with God. The Moments I felt like I could cry I stuffed it inside. To this day I still don't show my emotions but I know I should feel free to show my emotions.  


Through those battles and the ones that soon followed God was busy working on my heart. When I graduated I had no Idea what to do with my life. Summer 2010 took me to a new passion with Orphan advocacy that changed my life forever. Not knowing what to do after youth I joined the Ladies small group (see 
http://lifesbeautifulbutterflies.blogspot.com/2013/09/girlfriends-how-small-groups-changed-my.html) & still I was shy, feeling like I did not know what to say. 

Summer 2011 would be some of the most painful memories I faced. That summer I'm sure was not all bad but that summer also brought my hardest hurt since my elementary days when I fought with my best friend next door and when her sister hurt my feelings. I was not expecting to feel or experience that pain as I headed to serve at a summer camp. For you see I had many years at that place but during those few days I now realize God had something better for me. Note-It's still a great camp that does good for others & I still support them which is why I won't state their name publicly on this post & none of it had to do with the camp so I have edited any info that might Identify the camp. Some of this story I share shall be kept between me & the pages of my journal, the friends who I have shared the whole story of what went on, & God. I ask that you please respect my privacy of that & don't ask me to share more details. If I want you to know I would tell you but this is what I wrote & was on my heart one day in my journal. This picture was taken on the day I got dropped off before I knew God had a different direction than I had planned.


On a stormy, yucky night he was with a sad, hurt, teary girl as she exited the camp and the next few months to year it would take to mend her broken heart. Part of me blamed myself, wondering I could have lasted longer not getting sick. It might have been easier if I had not gone but then again God knew their was some room to grow in my life. 

As I said that was a hard year as I struggled with feeling angry with the person(s) I felt hurt from and the topic of forgiveness certainly came up more then once. I worked past all that and I forgave myself & that person. Little did I truly know what more lessons he would soon teach me. h
ttp://lifesbeautifulbutterflies.blogspot.com/2012/03/forgiveness.html

Like I mentioned earlier I knew Jesus loved me, I had accepted him into my life but I still had a stage when I doubted my faith & truthfully felt like I was not going to go to heaven. About mid/late 2012 I went through another point of my life. I felt empty, dried up like I was missing something but did not know what. After I had an opportunity fall through it added disappointment and more heartache which was hard for me leading into 2013. (See 
http://lifesbeautifulbutterflies.blogspot.com/2012/07/im-going-to-russia.html  http://lifesbeautifulbutterflies.blogspot.com/2012/12/hopeful.html
I questioned and wondered why God? Why did he shut the doors to that opportunity? I still will not get why but I trust in his plan in my life. The week of VBS, I expected God to work in kids lives. I did not expect him to change my own.
http://lifesbeautifulbutterflies.blogspot.com/2013/07/overfilled-with-joy.html & http://lifesbeautifulbutterflies.blogspot.com/2013/09/my-2nd-baptism-best-day-of-my-life.html

God has grown me and made me who I am today of what I have gone through. Without him I just imagine life would be so different. Of course I'm not perfect but I try hard. I never grasped fully the love of God til I moved to California and I guess that's part of why I forever call it home.