Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year from Akyl

I want to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read through this blog over the last 4 months.  I hope that the stories of the waiting children and families have touched your hearts in a special way, just like these little ones, especially Altynai, have forever changed mine.  Please keep of them and this fund, in your prayers and may 2012 be filled with joyful reunions!

So from myself, Akyl and his waiting parents, the Scheel's, Happy New Year!!!





Our story begins when we were matched with a beautiful, three-month old, Kyrgyz boy in June of 2008. We knew from the minute we laid eyes on him that Akyl was our son. The choice to create our family through the miracle of adoption was one that we had been discussing since the inception of our relationship. For us there was never really any doubt that our children were waiting for us somewhere out in the world. It was our journey to bring us all together. You could say that the Kyrgyzstan program found us as much as we found it. It all seems like a blur now, but we really didn’t have to search very long before we were decided on the Kyrygyz program. After a few short months, we received a picture of a handsome little boy and his medical information. We knew immediately that Akyl was our son and we made instant plans to travel to visit our little man.
Our excitement quickly turned to fear and eventually frustration when we learned that the Kyrgyz government was placing a moratorium on international adoptions and that we would have to wait longer than anticipated to bring Akyl home. At first we were told that we would just have to wait a few extra months until the government got things situated. Just a little political turmoil we were told, “You’ll be traveling in to no time”. Weeks turned into months and months eventually turned into years. Our optimism that the Kyrygyz government would resolve their bureaucratic issues and that our own government would step up to get these children home to loving families slowly turned into pessimism. What at first seemed like a bump in the road became a reality check about the deplorable political games that countries play, including our own, even when delicate lives hang in the balance. In 2009, we were able to scrounge up the money to finally get over and visit Akyl for his first birthday. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and plunged us helplessly deeper into love with Akyl. At the same time, we understood very quickly when we were in Kyrgyzstan that this nightmare would not be over anytime soon.
With our hearts solidly broken in two, we had to say goodbye to Akyl and return to the United States. We made a promise to him that we would return to bring him home very soon. Three years later we are still waiting for the opportunity to return. In March of this year Akyl will turn four years old. After many letters, gifts and some opportunities to Skype with our little boy, it is time for Akyl and all of the waiting children to join their forever families and leave the institutions that they currently reside in for good. We are determined that this year will be the year and that we will have Akyl home.
A process that was supposed to take just nine to twelve months has lasted for over four years for our family. With jobs in the service sector, this prolonged adoption journey has stretched our financial resources to the very limit. We are so grateful for Altynai’s Legacy Fund and the work that they are doing to provide much needed financial resources to help address the added expenses of joining families with their children. Without their support, our journey would be very close to the financial breaking point. It is time for that journey to come to an end, with Akyl in his forever home with parents who love him unconditionally, forever. He and the other waiting children deserve nothing less. Thank you to Altynai’s Legacy Fund for being an added miracle in Akyl’s long adventure home.
Ryan and Jes Scheel

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa's Gifts

I hope this finds everyone relishing this year's Christmas memories.  Our Christmas was fabulous!  There is nothing like experiencing it through the eyes of a child.  Santa truly comes to life through their smiles and excitement.  Today, the kids and I, are taking a much needed breather and relaxing on the couch watching some of the Christmas programs that we hadn't made it to yet and figuring out some of the new toys and games.  I love it and am so grateful that I don't have to head back to work until tomorrow night. 

I got to play Santa not only for my children this year, but also two of the waiting families.  They were each given $500 to their individual family's Lifesong fund raising accounts.  I was instructed by their anonymous donor to send them their "gift" on Christmas Eve.  What a joyous email to send!!!  I loved it!

Another first occurred today.  One of the faithful supporters of Altynai's Fund started a string on Facebook.  It is the first time that I haven't been the initiator and I loved it.  Thank you Lisa!!! I suspect that it will be a quiet week on the blog but I guess you never know.  Perhaps there are some readers who will be interested in making a year end donation to the Fund.  I have learned over time that I have to have very reasonable expectations.  The events that I think will move people to donate don't.  For example, PODCAST - no donations.  Marketing seminar - no donations.  Yet, when I least expect it, a donation will arrive!  When I think back on it,  they are often timed with periods of frustration.  They pick me up and spur me on.  2012 is just around the corner and I am starting to mull over some new fund raising ideas.  I seem to have the best luck when there is some sort of incentive associated with the donation so there will be a few of those to come, especially now that donations can come in directly to Lifesong for Orphans.   If anyone, has any new and exciting ideas, please let me know.  



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Altynay's Christmas Ornaments

It is 3 days until Christmas and I couldn't let the week pass with out introducing you to another waiting orphan and her family, the Owens.  Her waiting mom, Sharon has written a beautiful post for us and it once again, it shows how incredibly devoted these waiting families are.  This is the third Christmas without the children that they fell in love with so long ago and yet, their love remains steadfast. 
Altynay
I miss my daughter Hope Altynay.   The holidays only make the empty spot in our family more obvious, especially Christmas.  So I thought I would share a family tradition that we have that we have been able to include Hope in.  Each year since Scott and I were married we have purchased a Christmas tree ornament.  When the boys were born they too got an ornament each year.  In 2007 we had started our adoption paperwork and while shopping for our annual ornaments, found a globe surrounded by children.  Hope’s 1st ornament and she hadn’t even been born yet! We naively dreamed of next year and a Christmas with a little girl in our house of boys. 
By Christmas time 2008, we were waiting to travel to bring Hope home.  A baby’s 1st Christmas ornament with her picture was hung on the tree.  We had accepted her referral back in September, but were not fully aware of the all of the problems on the horizon.  Next year, we told each other, there would be dolls and pink things under the tree.  

The next two years passed without little girl presents, but she is as much a part of this family as any of us.  And so a dark haired angel and a Santa with a special wish were added to our tree.

Christmas 2011 is nearly upon us.  With 2 busy teenagers and full time jobs we just haven’t made it to the big city to buy our ornaments yet; may have to look online this year.  Guaranteed, there will be one for Hope and I look forward to a future Christmas when we can take each year’s ornament out of its box and tell her a story of Hope.

I would like to make a plea to anyone who is considering donating, but is unsure of LifeSong for Orphans.  Please be assured of their integrity!  Back in 2008 when we were pulling together the finances for our adoption, LifeSong was there for us.  They are wonderful people to work with, caring and supportive, but very grounded in the fiscal realities of adoption.  They set us up with a matching grant that we met with the help of our church family.  It is my goal to someday return the favor and be able to give back to them at least as much as they gave us so that they can help bring another child into a forever family. 

~Sharon
Waiting mom to Altynay since 9/28/08

Please keep the prayers coming that this is the last Christmas that they will spend on opposite sides of the world. Please, if you haven't had the chance, help Altynai's Fund by sharing this website with a friend or family member or if you are able, make a donation.

The Season for Grant Giving

December 20th is here and Christmas is literally just around the corner.  I am proud to say that I am ready and in fact, have taken the last several days to sit back and enjoy the season.  Shopping, wrapping and parties are over except a few last minute things and now I am enjoying time with my precious family. Alec and I hung out in the treehouse for over an hour yesterday, Ansley and I have been playing Scrabble, Craig has been home and we have all been busy keeping Drew from unwrapping the presents.  Poor little guy is so confused.  It has been a heavenly few days. 

Today, there is little to accomplish so I thought I would put out a post on Altynai's page and give you the most recent update.  The waiting families are anxiously awaiting what the new year will bring.  FBI clearances and documents are in the works and they are busy praying that the agency accreditations will happen in the time-line that the Kyrgyz government has stated- within the next month.  And most recently, hoping that they will only have to make two more trips Kyrgyzstan and NOT THREE before they get to bring their children home.  So much remains unknown yet they are closer than they have been in years to finalizing their adoptions.

I have been so blessed by the generosity that Altynai's Fund has been shown.  Thanks to your kindness, Altynai's Fund has now given out a little over $14,000 in matching grants in the last two weeks.  What an amazing experience for me!!! Lifesong for Orphangs has also set up individual fundraising accounts for thirteen of the waiting families.   So now, not only can I continue to raise money for the general fund but those families can now raise targeted money for their individual adoptions!  As with all Lifesong accounts, all of the donations are tax free and they do not charge any administrative fees so a 100% of the donations go directly towards the adoptions.  What an amazing organization!!!  They continue to be an amazing source of support and guidance for me and I am in awe of the tremendous job that they do.

I am excited to say that the total raised is at $19,800!!!  There is much work to be done though.  After the auction and one other large donation we are almost at the half way mark for my goal of $40,000.  Please keep Altynai's Fund in your hearts and if you know of anyone that still has some year-end donations to make, please direct them to this site. 

May your last minute preparations go smoothly and when you get a chance, check back in a few days.  I have one more little one to introduce you to before Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Quick Donation Update

The darn ( d#$%) Donate button is not working the LARGE majority of the time so I am bypassing blogger's issue altogether.  Apparently it doesn't want to play nice with PayPal, so as of tonight the Donate buttons are gone.  You can now donate directly to Lifesong for Orphan's site at http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/donation.html.
All you need to do is include Altynai's Fund in the purpose/memo section. Please don't forget to do this or the donation goes to Lifesong's general fund.   I have also put the link on the Fundraiser and Donate page too!  Ok, now that is fixed, I can stop perseverating about it.  I just hate to think that some donations may be lost when the orphans and waiting families desperately need them.  Thanks for weathering the technical difficulties with me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

PayPal Back Up

So the DONATE button is working again. Not sure what the heck the problem was but glad that at least for now, it is functional. Sorry about the inconvenience.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

PayPal Donate Button Direct Web Address

Here is the direct link to the PayPal account that Lifesong has set up for Altynai's Fund. I am not sure why the DONATE button format is not working consistently, but this is the direct web address! Blogger will not let me add links today so you are going to have to cut and paste it. Good news is that it works!!! Thank you God! Here it is: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=nKlCyM7yhmg8gXbmXMOQOSg4VwpW94Fa-w5YJSgCqAAX0C1N8owuOmjsQJS&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8db2b24f7b84f1819343fd6c338b1d9d60

Donate Button Issues

You have got to be kidding me! All of the DONATE buttons that link to Altynai's Fund/Lifesong for Orphans PayPal account are currently not working. They worked yesterday morning but NOT now. This is a major problem if you are trying to collect money for auction donations or have an amazing missionary that has challenge people to donate to Altynai's Fund today. I am working on it but this problem is related to blogger and not anything that I have done or PayPal. I have reformatted all of the buttons and when I am in the "draft page" they work perfectly but once I publish the page they don't. I actually feel like I am going to puke. Keep your fingers crossed that blogger has it working soon. If you try to pay for your item(s) or donate and you don't have any luck, please either try back tomorrow OR you can write a check directly to Lifesong for Orphans, but you must include Altynai's Fund in the memo section ( see Donate Page for details). If you have any questions, please, please, please contact me directly at scbilyeu@gmail.com. I can't afford to miss any potential donations. To the Auction winners, I am working on getting everything organized and you will be hearing from me soon about how the items will be shipped to you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

HO, HO, HO Success

$1355 was raised from the Holiday Auction!!!  

Thank you to everyone who participated.  I can't thank you all enough.  Please check out the Holiday Auction page to see the winners.   If you were the high bidder, please make your payments ASAP and then your item will be shipped.  See the Auction page for instructions.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What a Ride!

I have said it before and I have a feeling that I will be saying it a lot more as time passes, but this journey with Altynai's Fund never ceases to amaze me.  Amazes me because God seems to know that I need ongoing positive reinforcement to buffer the frustration that seems to go hand and hand with this endeavor.

Yesterday, was one of those days....  It started with an update from Lifesong.  Eight more applications are in the final steps of being processed which was great news but sadly, there have not been any new donations since November 18th.  When you are in the fundraising business that is the LAST thing that you want to hear.  I will admit that I was surprised because I had really thought that the PODCAST would spur some excitement.  I guess not!  I should have been beside myself but the frustration was short lived because Altynai's story, the story of the Kyrgyz 65 and the needs of this fund were shared on a much, much bigger venue yesterday and the response was overwhelming!

Altynai at 5 months
Jim Umberger, the waiting father that I told you about earlier this week, touched the hearts of many yesterday when he presented our stories at a seminar put on by Engauge.   The audience was emotionally  moved, and hopefully, moved to action!  I am not a Twitter person but the Tweets were flying, including requests to Dateline and 20/20 to tell our story.  A representative from CNN was a co-presenter with Jim and he was equally impressed!  He now has Altynai's Fund's business card and he and Jim plan on having additional conversations. Can you just imagine how wonderful that would be???  Equally as touching was the birth mother and prospective adoptive parents that were in the audience and introduced themselves to Jim after the talk.  Touching stories of their own situations and how what he had spoke about touched them in a deeper way.  Great things are happening, I just know it!

Now I just pray that all the excitement and admiration that was harnessed yesterday will be used to either help this fund and the waiting Kyrygz orphans or some other precious yet, to be known child that is in desperate need of a family.  So donations or not, I am happy.  Of course, I am not going to lie to you, I would be a WHOLE lot happier if the donations started flooding in.  The fund desperately needs them.  So on that note, today is the last day to participate in the Holiday Auction and just as a reminder, 100% of your bid will go towards Altynai's Fund!  If you aren't loving the auction items, don't be discouraged, we have a raffle for a Kindle Fire that will start next week ( assuming people don't defriend me and my frequent updates on Facebook) and as always, donations can be given any time of day or night, right here on this blog.  Just click on the DONATE button on the right or in the fundraising section.  The link will take you straight to Paypal and Altynai's Fund's account with Lifesong for Orphans.  Just like with the auction, all of the donations are tax deductible and 100% of the donation goes to Altynai's Fund.   Simply translated, 100% of your contribution goes to an orphan that is very, very loved!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Little Takhmina

Hallelujah!!!  Blogger is cooperating with the comment section again and not a moment too soon.  There are less than 48 hours left until the bidding on the Holiday Auction is over and I can't think of a better way to bribe people into checking it out, than to introduce you to another adorable waiting child and her parents, that desperately want her home.  Please meet Takhmina and the Bean Family.


The Bean Family Story: 

Matt and I began dating when we were in ninth grade and after 6 years, we finally got married on July 30, 2000 in Ridgway, Colorado. It was a beautiful ceremony filled with laughter, love, family and friends, and it was the day that our dreams would begin. Throughout dating and the first months of our marriage we talked about our hopes and dreams, which always included children. We agreed that we would like a smaller family of 2 children, so that we could give them the proper attention and focus at the level we thought they deserved.

After a year of marriage we decided that it was time to start looking towards creating a family and began executing our plans. We had decided that adoption would be wonderful, but we would like to have a biological child first and see what happened from there. A year went by with no pregnancy and we decided to seek medical help for our situation. Prayer after prayer, crying, pleading, trying to make the Lord certain deals, invasive medical procedures, too many fertility drugs and four years later there was still no biological child. Originally, when we decided to pursue medical treatments we felt the Lord’s hand upon us to make a “plan” that we would abide by. A plan that included a stopping point for the medical procedures. We hit that point, just like He knew we would, and we gave up our hope of a biological child and our control over our lives. Up until that point, the Lord knew that we would not completely surrender our plans for His plans and we had to be taken to the bottom emotionally and physically beaten down before we would turn our ears towards Heaven.

We churned the idea of adoption over in our minds and in prayer for a year before we actually made that leap. On September 27, 2007, Matt’s birthday, he told me that he was 100% ready to adopt and was ready to sign an adoption application. The heavenly peace that came from making that decision seemed natural and peaceful, almost like a peace that I had never felt before. The decision wasn’t conflicting in any way shape or form.   We began praying about where we should adopt from and led to Asia.  Yet, again peace entered our hearts.

We started our adoption journey by talking to a friend that adopted from Kazakhstan and we
were off, but it wasn’t a blessed move. It was then that we stumbled across another small country, actually a sister country to Kazakhstan, while talking to another adoptive parent whom had just adopted their son from Kyrgyzstan.  Just as we had prayed for direction, the Lord lead us to Kyrgyzstan and the peace returned. We submitted our application to our agency in December 2007 and our homestudy was completed by January 2008.

On March 23, 2008 we received our referral of a beautiful 5 week old baby girl. She was absolutely gorgeous and perfect in every way. Some say that love at first sight doesn’t happen, but we are living proof that it does.  Peace and joy was instantly granted and we knew that the desire to have a child had been met by the Lord.

I was able to travel over to Kyrgyzstan for two weeks when she was just a mere 8 months old. Our time together was short, but tremendously blessed. No one, unless you have had been in the same situation, will ever know the pain of leaving your only child in an institution. All you can do, is mentally turn your head and some of your heart off, in order to walk away from a small defenseless child. It is truly not an experience that I would recommend. Our road has been chalked full of hard situations and many missed milestones.

Four years later and with a ton of heartbreak, our journey is not over yet, we are still relying on The Lord to answer prayers.  Financially we knew that we would only be able to do one adoption and that it was possibly our only shot at being parents.  Our dream is still a flicker and we ask for your continued prayers and support, for us and the rest of the Kyrgyz 65.

We are clinging to our belief that because the Lord has brought us this far, He will take us all the way.

~Pamela and Matthew Bean

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our Angel

I am writing this post tonight with a heavy heart, yet with high hopes that next December will be a time filled with joy and amazement for a group of children that are no longer orphans.  I just finished putting the last touches on the Christmas decorating and found the ornament and stocking that we bought for Addison (Altynai) on her first Christmas.  At that time, she was 8 months old and we were only 6 months into the delays.  The Kyrgyz government was assuring us that adoptions would resume immediately following the holidays but unfortunately, things did not go as promised.  Sadly, we knew that Altynai would spend her first Christmas in Kyrgyzstan but we always wanted her to know that her 1st Christmas was special to us and that she was deeply missed.  I can still remember the day that Ansley, Alec and I  picked out the precious little ornament; a sweet little brown haired angel peacefully praying on a cloud.  It reminded me so much of her!  The ornament has hung on our tree for four Christmas' now and always will because she will always be part of our family.  Our little angel.

So tonight, I pray that this will be the last year that the waiting children will spend Christmas in their orphanages and that next year, their forever families will be rejoicing in their presence.  The presence of a child that is greatly loved!   Just close your eyes and envision what a joyous picture that will be.....


Monday, December 5, 2011

Excitement Abounds!

This is going to be an exciting week for Altynai's Fund and for many of the waiting "Kyrgyz 65" so I want to bring you up to speed!  

First up.  On December 7th, Jim Umberger, one of the waiting father's has been given the opportunity to tell the story of the Kyrygyz 65 and Altynai's Fund at a marketing-business conference.  Odd sounding, I know, but it is wonderful!   Jim and his wife Stephanie, have three beautiful adoptive children and one precious little boy waiting for them in Kyrgyzstan.  Jim works in marketing and at a meeting this fall, he and another associate realized that they were both adoptive father's and subsequently spent some time sharing their stories.  Shortly thereafter, Jim was caught off guard when he was invited to give a presentation at one of their upcoming seminars.   The focus of that portion of the conference is on story telling using today's technologies.  Jim will be showing real life examples of how the 65 waiting families, from across the States, have formed not only a close knit family but also an amazing advocacy network by using the internet, social media and Skype.  Several presenters will speak before Jim, including a gentleman from CNN, and then the session will end with Jim, telling his family's story, the story of the Kyrgyz 65 and the story Altynai's Legacy Adoption Fund.  What amazing stories to tell!  I have seen Jim's presentation and there is no way that his audience is not going to be in moved by what he has to tell them and show them.  I am just hoping and praying that good things will come from this event.  Of course, I would love it if several members of the audience would be moved to donate to the Fund, but I would be even more excited if someone was moved to adopt or become an orphan advocate.  


December 8th - 11 pm PST, the HO, HO, HO Holiday Auction will come to a close so there are still several days left to bid.  The auction is in full swing with a total of 35 items now available and more to post tomorrow.  Eleven items are active and the other's are just waiting for someone to make a move on them.  I promise that I won't whine for long but for the life of me, I can't get Blogger to let people leave comments!  No worries, if you want to place a bid, just email me directly at scbilyeu@gmail.com.  I know that it is an extra step but I would greatly appreciate it.  If I ever do this again, I will have to figure out a more efficient way of doing an online auction.   Just like everything else with Altynai's Fund, it is steep learning curve!  ***** UPDATE 12/7:  BLOGGER IS ALLOWING POSTS.  You can bid in the comment section of the auction page again- just leave your email and bid!  I will moderate the comments so that the emails are kept private.





December 8th is also the last day to participate in the Thirty One Online Sale, that is being put on by a waiting mom, Ann Bates and her friend Heather.  The link to the sale is www.mythirtyone.com/70174 and just click on Place an Order to get started.  If you aren't familiar with Thirty One, they make some amazing bags.   They are high quality and super cute.  I actually have several thermal totes and we love them at my house.   Twenty percent of the proceeds will go back to Altynai's Fund, so please check it out. 


Last but not least, Saturday, December 10th, John and Julie Wright, our favorite Kyrgyz missionaries, will be guest of honors at a fundraiser that is being sponsored by the Littlejohn Family in New York.  John wrote an amazing post today asking for support and I was literally moved to tears because this was completely unexpected.  To read his incredibly kind words, please check out his post about Tilek and Altynai's Fund on his blog  at http://actofkindness.blogspot.com/2011/12/helpkg65com.html .


All the events that I mentioned have the potential to be phenomenal so if you can, please help in some way.  Prayers, a donation or telling a friend is what we need! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blogger, Not A Helper

For the last 2 days, blogger is not allowing any comments to be made which is NOT helping my auction participants!  So until that is fixed could you PLEASE just send me you Holiday Auction bids to my email at scbilyeu@gmail.com.  Thank you!

Friday, December 2, 2011

HO, HO, HO Holiday Auction Update

The Holiday auction is up and running, minus a few glitches.  I just added 8 more items and there are more to come so please keep checking back.  People have asked about the bidding process.  If you click on the Holiday Auction page you can leave a comment at the bottom of the page.  Please leave your bid there along with your name and email address.  I will be the only one to see your contact information since the comments will be hidden to the public.  I will update the page as the bids change.  Please bare with me though.  This is no Ebay  - just me :)   Low budget fundraising at it's finest.   I will check as often as I can, I promise.   If you run into glitches, please email directly at scbilyeu@gmail.com or find me on Facebook.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HO, HO, HO!!!

HO, HO, HO!!!  The Holiday Auction Fundraiser has arrived.  Please check out the new page - Holiday Auction ( see above headers), for all the fun!  The auction will run Dec 1- 8th and a always, please help me spread the word!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meet Little Miss Mira

I have been crazy busy the last two days trying to get the Holiday Auction's web page all organized before I launch it on Thursday ( fingers crossed ) that I almost forgot to get my weekly post introducing a new kiddo and family finalized!   Too much to do and too little time, right???  Well, like the precious orphans that you have met ahead of her, meeting Mira is well worth your time.


It is difficult for me to write about this part of my life.   I have never attempted to put into words our story.   What was supposed to be a happy beginning has turned into many tearful days and nights.  I am only happy that I did not know what was to lie ahead.

I met my oldest daughter on April 5, 2008 at the Bishkek Baby House in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan.   It was one of the happiest days of my life.  I instantly fell in love with the tiny baby girl named Mira with big brown eyes.  She was only two months old when we met.  She had been born premature and was so tiny.    I was allowed to visit Mira two times a day every day for a week.     I was head over heels in love, and completely overjoyed.    She seemed to know I was her mother perhaps she could read the love on my face or feel the love in my arms.  The orphanage doctor told me she would now really thrive and grow since she had a mom.     During our visits Mira and I would quietly study each other’s face.     My adoption coordinator said we seemed to have our own secret language.  We did.  It was the language of love.    Many at the orphanage even commented that we resembled each other.   It seemed we were a perfect match.  
 
Mira with the quilt Angela made for her after her first visit.
At the end of my one week visit I had to return home to await a court hearing followed by a 30 day wait.   I believed I would be able to bring Mira home early June 2008.  Leaving Mira was very difficult.  I told her to be brave and I would be back in 6 short weeks. Tearfully I walked out the gates of the orphanage thinking the next time I walked out of these gates Mira and I would be together.   Although I refer to Mira as my daughter she is not legally mine.    We never were scheduled a court date. We never did walk out the gates together to start our new life together.     Although I did complete and submit all the required documents for adoption a court date remained elusive.  I kept asking my agency if I had received a court date yet.  At first my agency and I believed it was a small delay but as weeks turned into months I began to realize there was a big problem.   Unfortunately adoptions were stalled and then finally stopped completely.     There were 65 American families stuck in adoption limbo.    

Watching your child grow up from 8000 miles away is difficult to say the least.   Mira will celebrate her fourth birthday without a family on January 22 of this year.     Although Mira has not grown up in my arms she has certainly grown up in my heart.  I often wonder if she can somehow feel the love from so far away.  I have seen her go from a crawling baby to a toddling tot and now a preschooler.   The first time I heard her sweet voice was on a video she was saying she was two and holding two fingers up.      Each picture is a bitter sweet gift reminding me of what I am missing but also letting me know she is okay.  There is not a minute that passes where I am not wondering if she is happy, and healthy.   

Her room sits ready waiting for her filled with many clothes she has long out grown.   There are books waiting to be read and dolls waiting to be played with.  The felt animals I bought for her in Kyrgyzstan patiently wait for her to come home.  Most importantly I along with her new baby sister from China are waiting for her.   Not to mention all the family and friends who are waiting for her. 

The moratorium has now been lifted on International Adoption in Kyrgyzstan.  I am hoping someday soon I can bring Mira home and that she will be resting comfortably in my arms again.  What a miracle it will be when we do walk out the orphanage gates together hand in hand.  

Angela Sharp


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Week of Thanksgiving and Fund Update

It is this time of year that truly makes me take a huge step back and think about how incredibly lucky I am.  I have an amazing husband, three precious, healthy children and I am surrounded by incredibly suppportive family and friends.  The last three months I have been blessed with the creation of Altynai's fund and serendipitously surprised by the joy it has brought me.  They always say, "it is better to give than receive" and I agree but what needs to be added to the end of the statement is " .... and the more you give, the more joy you will receive in return."   The irony of it, is that it is not the size or cost of the gift that is important, but the unexpected nature of the gift and the need involved.  Those features are paramount to it's impact.

Over the last week, I had the opportunity to "give" a great deal.  I bought eggs for a stranger in the grocery store check out line on Thanksgiving Day.   I gave out $900 worth of jewelry to three amazing women, one of which re-gifted it, so four ladies were blessed.  And.... $4800 in grants was given out to the first four families that have been approved by Lifesong for Orphans and Altynai's fund!   After months of fundraising, the first of the funds are finally being distributed and by the end of the month, ten more families should be approved!  I want you all to know that other than the eggs, none of the other "gifts" would have been possible if it was not for your incredible generosity.  Isn't that amazing!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Whether you participated in one of the first two fundraisers or gave a direct donation, you are making Altynai's Fund a reality and it is already impacting the life of an orphan and their adoptive family.  In fact, here is a fun way to think about it in tangible terms, the $4800 that was "gifted" last week will buy each of the four orphans a one way plane ticket to their new home here in America.  I love that!

To date, the fund has raised a little over $16,000 and as mentioned above, there are14 waiting families that the fund that the fund anticipates assisting.  The initial $16,000 will be divided evenly amongst the applicants so $1200 per family which is a wonderful start. Additional monies donated from this date forward will be distributed based on need.  As you may remember, the anticipated cost to complete the adoptions will be at least another $20,000 per child which is why I set the fundraising goal for the fund at $40,000-45,000.

In an attempt to reach that lofty goal, I have several "events" planned for December.  Starting Dec 1st, I will launch the fund's first online silent auction and there are some amazing items that have been donated.  The Thirty One sale ( www.mythirtyone.com/70174 ) is ongoing through Dec. 8th and just like the recent Silpada sale, the representative is donating her earnings to Altynai's fund ( Thanks Heather!) and of course, the Zazzle  store is up and running at ( http://www.zazzle.com/bringhomethekyrgyz65 ).  The grand finale for this month will start Dec 10th and we will be raffling off a Kindle Fire that has been donated by one of the waiting families!  It should be a lot of fun and hopefully a good deal of money will be raised.  And of course, I have several more children and waiting families to introduce you too!






Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Orphan Crisis

Dr. Jane Aronson is a woman who is taking her knowledge as an international adoption pediatrician and doing her best to make an impact in the lives of orphans around the world.  Please read the commentary that she wrote for CNN.  It is well worth your time.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/18/opinion/aronson-adoption-orphans/index.html

Adoption is clearly only a small part of the solution to get these orphans out of the vicious cycle that tends to propagate itself.  Society needs to step in and make the un-parented a priority, not outcasts.  What are you willing to do to help?  There are so many opportunities....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Silpada Success and Lots More to Come

The Silpada fundraiser that finished on Saturday was a huge success so thank you to everyone who bought jewelry and helped spread the word!  Here are the exciting results:


 

















 
     ***  40 people participated with online and party sales.

     ***  $900 in jewelry was given away!  Three $300 gift certificates for jewelry of their choice was given to our big raffle winners!
            CONGRATULATIONS to Jes Scheel, Lisa Reickerd and Kim Humphrey!!!!  By chance, they are all part of the Kyrgyz 65 which was so fun.  I wanted you to enjoy the video of the drawing but blogger seems to disagree with that plan.  Maybe tomorrow it will let it go through....

    *** $300 of additional jewelry was also earned.  Jill and I will use that to chose some pieces that will be used on the blog for additional fundraising in the future.  The goal is for this fundraiser will propagate itself :) and don't forget that Silpada also donated a beautiful necklace and bracelet so stay tuned for more information.


DRUM ROLL PLEASE........................

     *** $1200 was donated to the fund!!!!  Can you believe it?  The thanks goes to Jill Vodicka and her upline, Kathy Zimardo's, for their incredible generosity.  Jill gave all  of her proceeds except a small amount that covered her expenses.  I can't thank her enough for all that she has done to support me and this fund since even before it was launched. What an amazing friend!!!

So what's next... there is a lot more in the works.  To start, there is a Thirty One sale going on right now if you are interested in buying some adorable bags.  Ann Bates, one of the waiting moms,  has a friend who is a representative for the company.  Heather has offered to have an online sale from now until December 8th with a portion of the proceeds going to Altynai's fund!  Here is the link to the sale : http://www.mythirtyone.com/70174 .

Ann also has a Zazzle store that has Kyrgyz 65 t-shirts and other items for sale.  They are adorable and the proceeds of all of the Zazzle store sales will also go to Altynai's Fund.  Here is the link to the store front :  http://www.zazzle.com/bringhomethekyrgyz65 .

Last thing, any crafters or Etsy store owners out there....  I am dreaming of a Holiday craft fair for December's main fundraiser and it is shaping up nicely.  So far people have donated a great variety of items, from a wooden toy box to hand crafted shoes to quilts to personalized Dr. Seuss wall hangings, just to name a few.   I would love to have a few more handcrafted pieces if possible so let me know on the blog or via private email at scbilyeu@gmail.com if you are interested in donating.  It should be fun!







Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Party is Starting!

The Silpada party is starting in about 15 minutes!  So far there is over $600 in free jewelry to give away and that number is only going to go up.  The raffle drawing will be at 6 pm EST so you still have time to participate.  Online and Party purchases count!

Click here to shop:  www.mysilpada.com/jill.vodicka

Friday, November 18, 2011

What's in a Name?

Happy Friday everyone!!!!

Well, 4 a.m. came and sure enough, I was awake!  This point must be important because I woke up thinking about it and haven't stopped.  I want to clarify and explain the name - Kyrgyz 65.  At this time, it is the name represents the group but numerically, it should not be taken literally.  When moratorium was placed on adoptions in Feb 2009, there were 65 orphans/ US families that became trapped.  Hence the Kyrgyz 65.  We do know the names of all those children and we know the gravity of what the delay has meant to them.  At this time, there are over 40 of the families that have remained absolutely steadfast in their committment to bringing home the child that they were matched with 3-4 years ago.  They are the families that I refer to all the time.  The others have had to make very difficult decisions along the way OR life has dealt them a card, that made staying on this journey absolutely no longer feasible and/or, in most cases a combination of both.  Lastly, there are a handful of the waiting children that have since been able to leave the orphanage with other biological family members.  So to date, the "waiting" is really not 65 but the name stands strong to reflect those that have been involved over the years.  Hope that makes more sense....

Don't forget that today and tomorrow is your last chance to be entered in the Silpada raffle ( over $400 to be given away ) - make sure your purchases are in by 6 pm EST tomorrow to be included.  Here is the link to the sale:

www.mysilpada.com/jill.vodicka

The sale will be open through Sunday but the raffle will be over so please don't procrastinate.

The PODCAST link has been changed - sorry about that!    Here is it :
http://www.vokle.com/events/35016-kyrgyzstan-adoption-slash-delays?ts=0&user=Deanna+Jones
The link on last nights post and on the right side of the page are accurate now and working great.  Please take the time to listen in.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The PODCAST is over and I think it was a great success!  If nothing else, it gave me a chance to tell those who listened about my dream's for this fund and to show off some of the amazing women that I have come to know.

So without further adieu, here is the link for you to view it :

http://www.vokle.com/events/35016-kyrgyzstan-adoption-slash-delays?ts=0&user=Deanna+Jones

Deanna, Lisa and Gabrielle, I can't thank you enough for helping me with this.  Deanna, I owe you a ton!!!

Of course, now that one event is crossed off my "To Do List" I need to move on to the next.  The Silpada sale is well underway and over $400 in jewelry of your choice is going to be raffled off.  The drawing will be Saturday so please participate.  This is the fund's major fundraiser for November so please don't miss out on the chance to help an orphan, do some Christmas shopping and win some jewelry all at the same time!

Now off to bed and I bet I sleep a whole lot better now that I will not be tossing and turning over all the points that I don't want to forget during the PODCAST.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

24 Hour Count Down to PODCAST

Hi all.  Don't forget to tune in tomorrow night for the PODCAST about the fund and the Kyrgyz 65!  I sent out hundreds of messages today and am hoping that people will be led to share the news so that we can have a good audience.

Click here to listen: http://www.mothertheworld.org/p/live.html

If you can't listen tomorrow, please don't worry.  The event will be recorded for your future viewing pleasure!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Reality of It All

There has been a lot of excitement this week and yet, the reality is, that jewelry sales and PODCASTS aside there are still 143,000,000 orphans in the world and there are 65 that we know by name in Kyrygyzstan. This blog post is from Lisa Brotherton, my closest "adoption" friend in all of this mess. In fact, I have known her since the very beginning of our journey.  We started with the same agency at the same time and received our referrals within days of each other.   We have had hundreds of emails over the years and shared long tearful conversations from time to time.

Lisa volunteered to write up their story early on but openly admitted how difficult it was to put it on paper so instead, she is allowing us to read what she has written over the four years.  The posts truly capture the gravity of what a nightmare this has been. So from one of the bravest and most devoted people I know, please meet Lisa, Nargiza and her family.
Precious Nargiza


My name is Lisa Brotherton. My husband Jeff and I have two amazing kids at home, and one heaven sent child that is living out her days in a Kyrgyz orphanage. I find it very difficult to put down the words to tell our story… it is painful to even contemplate trying. But for the love of Altynai and for my own deep need to have the children I have etched in my psyche released from the institution life that has been sucking away their very spirit; here is my attempt to paint a picture of our life over the past 3+ years.

I am writing this out of great love and respect for Suzanne Bilyeu, my friend. In so many ways, Suzanne is a soul mate born from mutual love and tragedy on this “roller-coaster” ride we call an “adoption journey”.
I decided it best to pull excerpts from our blog that I enthusiastically started early in the adoption process, and from other forms of communication along the way.



Early 2008:

Jeff and I had always planned on having four kids. We were barely married three months when I became pregnant with Chloe. We were thrilled!
Chloe was only 10 months old when "Surprise" I was pregnant again with Jake! We were so excited. And lucky us, a boy!
Chloe turned 2, Jake was 6 months, and “Whoa”... how could I be pregnant again so quick? But we knew it was a blessing, and we would find a way to manage...
But our third baby, Lucas (bringer of light), was diagnosed "Incompatible with life" at 20 weeks. I can not begin to explain how devastating that diagnosis was. We choose to carry him to full term. If this was all the time we would have with him, we were going to parent him the best we could for that time.
Unfortunately, I delivered him stillborn and in the process my uterus ruptured. I had an emergency hysterectomy and nearly lost my own life. Our family and friends know what an enormous toll this took on us.
But I am truly, deeply grateful for the whole experience of Lucas. We wish that it could have been different. I work hard to not question what I can not understand. But I know God spoke something powerful in my soul. It was a gift like no other. And I know I am a better, stronger and more human person because of it all.
Jeff and I talked vaguely for some time about adopting (this all happened in 1997). At the time, our children were so young. It seemed we had time to heal and process things before we took on this new challenge.
The years flew by and we had stopped talking about adding to our family. Then on my birthday last year (Jan 2007) Jeff asked me, "When are we going to adopt a baby?"
Well, the internet research began that night and continued for weeks. Late one night, I found it, Kyrgyzstan! I knew our baby girl was coming from this small country that I had hardly heard of, yet now it was foremost in my heart. I have not looked back since.
As sure as I know God sent me Lucas, I know He is calling me to our baby girl!


Mid 2008:


Yes, today we got THE call!
The only thing holding me back from complete euphoria... she is at the Bishkek Baby House. Currently, and for the past few months, the court system in the Bishkek region, the nation's capital, has not processed any adoptions that I have heard.
We have not seen a photo yet, we are going to give ourselves some time to digest the challenges that may lie ahead before we take any big leaps. But one thing we know for sure, nothing on this roller coaster of a ride is directly controlled by us (except the option to not get on) and nothing is certain; it can all change at a moments notice with little or no recourse.
Please say a prayer for us or send us silent wishes that we can consider this precious child with a clear mind and an open heart; that we can be courageous in our decisions and have the faith to follow them through without second guessing ourselves. And that I have the patience and restraint to not look at the photo before thinking through the situation (as I know full well that seeing a sweet baby’s face will numb our minds to all reasoning).


Late 2008:

We have suffered through disappointment after disappointment as hopeful progress has continued to not pan out.
It is the strangest world we have entered into; a place where faith and hope circle along side uncertainties and fear. We can not seem to get a full grasp on either. So it is a careful dance of balance that moves us through the process.
But one thing I know for sure, that little girl needs a family, and we will not give up on her!
This is not the IA program we signed up for one year ago. We never dreamed we would go through months of uncertainty that would slide further and further from a happy ending. For all of the hope and desire Jeff and I have to bring another child into our family, I would never have signed up to have our hearts torn open like this. It feels much too similar to the grieving process we have endured over and over in the last 12 years.
2009:

So much love is yours little one. I don't know if you sense it, but it is real and it is plenty.
We miss you beyond words and wish to see your soulful eyes and tiny hands, though they have surely grown since we held them last.
Ten months of your precious life without a family of your own. You may not have a concept of what it is you are missing, but we surely do. It is here; it is waiting and will be here when the time comes. We will not let you down little one. You are loved!


One month and she will be a year old. How could we let this happen to her? A year of no family to love and nurture her. A year to learn that her cries mean nothing. A year of never feeling special and prized.
At 11 months, I could still teach her the joy of having a bottle held to her lips as she slips in to a safe sleep in my arms. At 11 months, her daddy could still play her first game of Peek-A-Boo under her favorite blanket or whatever it takes to get a squeal of giggles to burst from her lips. She could still be cheered on by her sister and brother as she learns to crawl and babble out random sounds that will be claimed as words. At 11 months, we could tell her one day that she did not spend the "entire" first year of her life without us, and show her the photos with frosting and cake crumbs covering her tiny pink cheeked face to prove the point.
There has to be a way to break through this mess and bring each of them into the one home that waits for them; to salvage us all from despair.


For God's sake, SOMEBODY explain to me why more than 65 children living in orphanages in Kyrgyzstan have been waiting over a full year to be released to the families abroad that love them and are more than willing to parent them for their lifetime? These are children that will otherwise spend their first 14 years in an institution (if they survive that long) and then be turned out, still with no family. They do not know what it is like to be loved and cherished…, yet they are, so deeply, from afar.


One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
~Mother Teresa



I stopped blogging at the end 2009. At that point my time was taken by the hours of daily research and direct communication between myself, the other waiting families and desperately reaching out to any and all advocates we could find to be a voice for the children. And we have found many.

And here is the foundation of my message written in early 2010:

They (Kyrgyz officials) do not care about us; they do not need to care about the PAPs (Potential Adoptive Parents) or their pain waiting to bring home the child that came to live in their hearts so long ago, because that is not their job. What we need is for them to honor the rights of these children.
These children are wards of the state. The state has signed the UN CCR (Convention on Children’s Rights) stating that all children have certain rights, rights that have been "put on hold" indefinitely. The state is underfunded to care for the large numbers of children. The increase in abandonments and decrease in the number of children being adopted (domestically as well) has created a critical mass in the orphanages and the maternity hospitals. And children can not be "put on hold". Every day their potentials are slipping away. They are aging out of who they could have been with the medical and loving interventions waiting for them.
While we agree that the corruption must be stopped and the process transparent, one thing we know is children do not thrive in institutions. Try as they might, they can not replace the quality or quantity of attention that a child gets from a one on one committed parent. And it not just for their childhood, they need a family connection for their lifetime. Over 60 of their most vulnerable children are in need and the answer is knocking at their door dawn till dusk. They have a family, it may be across the world, but they have people, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, grandparents that long to hold them and plan their futures and show them that they are valued human beings. This is the right of every child!
I can not meet the needs of every child, but I am waiting to do it for this precious one. No government can meet the needs of every child, but are they not called to do everything in their power to not to deny their rights?
We need someone to take a stand and look at each child as the precious human life that they are, to cut through the red tape for the sake of what is decent and good.


Since spring 2009, I have traveled twice to New York City, twice to Washington DC, and all the way back to Kyrgyzstan to meet with officials, advocates and anyone that would hear my voice speaking for these children. My two biological children have grown from grade school to high school. They spent their turbulent “middle-school” years trying to digest that they live in a world that could be so unjust. It has changed them. It has changed all of us that wait for these beautiful children.




Following the revolution that ousted the entire government of Kyrgyzstan in April 2010 here is a letter I sent to the interim president, Rosa Otunbayeva after “friend-ing” her on Facebook:


I praise you for the tremendous courage shown this year in the Kyrgyz Republic.
I humbly request that you show the same courage and leadership in resolving the 63 cases of intercountry adoption that have been held hostage by the bureaucratic process for 2 years (unofficially for 3 years). As you know, more than one child has died while waiting for action to be taken on their behalf.
The right thing to do here is to weigh the “best interest” of each of these individual children. Some one person, with the courage to do the “right thing”, regardless of the political cost, is what it will take to move the political will in the favor of these innocent ones. I pray daily that that person will hear the call of injustice and be courageous.
Imagine the future of these 63 little lives… I know I have nightmares of the futures stolen from the precious ones that have died while waiting for a family. They deserved better. They deserved someone’s courage.

After all of this time of being stuck on this nightmarish ride… it appears that finally the wheels are starting to move. The roller-coaster is headed around the final turns and the unloading zone is in sight. But for too many of our families the “fee” to get off this nightmare ride is no longer accessible to them. The thought of any one of these children being left behind after their family has fought for so long to provide a life and a future to them… it is unbearable.

Mother Teresa reminds us, “If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one”. We can not provide for every child, but these children… we, collectively we, can provide them safety, security, a family, hope…. Please consider helping these children come home. Altynai never made it to live with her family here on earth… for that injustice; I will be forever looking for peace. But I will find no peace if any one of the remaining children looses hope for a family, for a future.

Our family is contributing to this effort to help all the remaining Kyrgyz 65 come home. Will you please consider joining us?

Nargiza's 3rd Birthday - The Brotherton's were able to make it a special day for her. 
~ Lisa Brotherton


Events Update

Just a quick update....

Deanna, Gabrielle and Lisa and I had our sound check for the PODCAST this afternoon. Thank goodness because we had some technical glitches. I am so excited for Thursday night. Don't forget - 9 pm EST. Please help us spread the news and if you know any prolific bloggers out there, please ask them to post on their blogs too. Thanks in advance for the help!

The Silpada sale is picking up and so far there is $300 in jewelry ready to be raffled off and that will surely go up. Don't forget that for every $50 you spend you get entered to win.

Sorry, no links tonight because blogger is out of sorts and it won't let me insert them. I will edit tomorrow.

Exciting Week for Altynai's Fund

I am so excited because this is going to be a great week for Altynai's fund - live PODCAST and Silpada sale all in one week!!!!  Nothing but good things to come....

First up is the KYRGYZSTAN ADOPTION DELAYS PODCAST:  
         THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2011 9 PM EST
         To view the live PODCAST you can click on :  http://www.mothertheworld.org/p/live.html


The PODCAST is going to be featured on www.mothertheworld.org with Deanna Jones.  Deanna is an amazing adoptive mom, author and adoption advocate and I am ecstatic that she has been so willing to help me inform other's about the waiting children and families that make up the Kyrgyz 65 and the needs of Altynai's Fund.  Myself and two of the waiting mom's, Lisa Brotherton and Gabrielle Shimkus, will be participating and I promise you that you will be nothing but impressed.

Second is the SILPADA FUNDRAISER : November 5-19th!!!

There is 6 more days to participate in the online sales and/or attend the Grand Finale Party on Saturday, November 19th.  Don't forget that that for every $50 you spend, you will be entered in the raffle for free jewelry of your choice!  Silpada has graciously donated several pieces and I am donating all of the hostess jewelry that I earn!  The amount of the raffles will be dependent on how much the sale nets so stay tuned for updates on how much is going to be raffled off!  It has the potential to be huge!  Online, catalog and party sales apply and the raffles will be drawn on Saturday.  I also want to send a huge thank you to both Jill Vodicka and Kathy Zimardo, the Silpada reps who are helping me and have both graciously donated a large portion of their profits.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

You can directly access the link at www.mysilpada.com/jill.vodicka and shop to your hearts content AND help a orphan at the same time.  When you go through check out, a page will pop up that asks if you have been invited to a party - click "yes" and then you can choose Suzanne Bilyeu's Fundraiser.  No worries if you get confused because the only sale that Jill has going on now is mine, so ALL purchases will go to the fund.

Please help me out this week and tell a friend or two or twenty or a hundred (you get my drift)  about the PODCAST and the SILPADA FUNDRAISER!  Thanks!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Faith

Altynai's fund has had an amazing week, filled with new opportunities and new people that have volunteered their time, expertise or products.  I thought that my "Help Wanted" ad had fallen on deaf ears, but I am happy to tell you that I was wrong.  Thank goodness because this week was filled with exactly what I have been looking for and my belief in this fund is holding strong.  Trust me, if it was not for my faith in God and what I feel he is leading me to do, I would have abandoned this ship long ago.  ( That and the fact that I am incredibly stubborn - just ask my husband. ) So I guess now that I have brought up my faith, maybe I will spend a little time, telling you a little more about myself. 

My relationship with God is something that I find personal and private.  To many, they would find my faith child-like because it is so simplistic in nature.  I have always been a Christian, attended church and have believed in God and yet, I am not one to quote Bible verses or have indepth philosophical conversations about Christianity or other religions.  But what I do know, on a very visceral level, is that God is always with me and guiding me through all of lifes ups and downs (and I have had my fair share of both).  And when I take the time to listen and truly feel His presence, I am amazed by what I learn and what I can accomplish. 
That is that - He loves me and He cares for me and always will. 

As I think back on our entire adoption journey, from the beginning til now, I have always known that we were doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing. Odd, when you consider how terrifying a good portion of this journey has been. So it is because of my faith that I continue to have this sense of peace and excitement about Altynai's fund.  Excitement because I have been given the opportunity to advocate for the orphans and families that I have fallen in love with.  Excitement because I have been put in a position where I can make an impact and excitement because I know that grand things are going to happen.  And glorious things have already occurred,  but not because of what I am doing but because of what God is guiding others to do. 

So this morning I will leave you with a great quote to ponder, “ The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” - Mother Teresa.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Glorious work and Aman

I wrote this post last nights but somehow didn't hit send.  I guess my head really was spinning...

My head is spinning and my heart is joyous!    Several ideas that I have been working on are coming to fruition and several brand new and very exciting prospects may be on the horizon!!!  I am continually in awe of what an exciting journey this fund is providing for me and I am filled with faith and thanks, that God is allowing great things to happen.   The big news of today is that Thursday, November 19th at 9 pm EST, myself and two of the waiting parents will be doing a PODCAST with Deanna Jones.  Deanna, is an adoptive mother and author that is well known throughout the adoption community. Thanks to her kind heart, she has agreed to help me spread the word of the Kyrgyz 65 and Altynai's Fund.  Stay tuned for more details on that event and if you want to learn more about Deanna, please check out her website at www.mothertheworld.org.

The Silpada sale is up and running and the first few orders have started to come in.  From the looks of the stat section on blogger, a lot of people have been checking in, which is exciting.  I spoke with Silpada's corporate office today and they are going to donate some jewelry for the Fund that we can either raffle or auction. Thank you Silpada!!!  The sale will be going through November 19th so please take a look at what they have to offer and/or share the invite with a friend.

So now that I have brought you all up to speed, I would love to introduce Aman and the Hughes' Family.


Adding Aman to Our Family: The Hughes Family’s Journey

On a summer night back in 2007, we watched a movie which changed us forever. It was a movie with an adoption theme. At the end, there was a message about adding to your family through adoption. Watching that movie stirred up old feelings for my husband and myself.

You see, after a few years of marriage, and unsuccessful fertility treatments, we explored adoption as a way of adding to our family. Our strong desire for children led us to a private adoption plan where the birth mom ultimately decided to parent her precious little girl. After a move across our state, we again tried to adopt, this time through the foster care system. After we completed our homestudy, and were about to be introduced to a special little boy, I miraculously conceived! We later gave birth to our two precious daughters, who are now 13 and 11. Two years after our second daughter’s birth, we had a son who died in utero. This was quite devastating for us.

Fast forward to the movie night in 2007.  Again we considered adoption. We still wanted more children. We decided to pray as a couple about whether we should adopt. When we both felt confident and brave enough to go down the road to adoption again, which by now we knew was not an easy road, we introduced our daughters to the idea.  We asked them to pray with us. After much prayer and discussion as a family, we applied to our adoption agency on October 9, 2007. We flew through our homestudy visits, dossier, and immigration paperwork. We turned in our dossier in early December 2007, and just a few days later, we were blessed with the referral of our sweet boy Aman. We were smitten, of course. We said “yes” in a matter of days, and only needed our immigration approval to apply for a court date.  Unfortunately, our immigration paperwork took 13 ½ very long weeks to be approved. By the time we finally received our approval and were submitted to court, the courts had stopped accepting cases in the court district in his country.

After almost a year of delays, we were devastated to learn in February 2009 that a moratorium on adoptions had been put in place in Aman’s country, and that no adoptions would take place while his country revamped their adoption laws.

After many more months of waiting for adoptions to re-open in his country, we found out about a wonderful little boy who was waiting for his family in Korea. We found out about our son in August 2009 and he was home with us in November of that same year! That was an adoption miracle all in itself! He has now been home almost 2 years with us, and he is SUCH A JOY! He is old enough now to understand that Aman is his brother, and that he lives in an orphanage far, far away, and that he needs his family. He prays for Aman to “come home soon and share my room and share my toys and play with me”.

And that is what we pray, too!

You might ask why we are holding on to the hope that Aman will join our family. After all, as of this writing, he has been waiting over 3 years, 8 months to join his forever family! We believe that he is our son, and he will always be our son, regardless of where he is living. Just a few weeks prior to our receiving his referral, I had a dream. In my dream, my husband stood up before our congregation at church and said, “We have decided to call our son Elijah, for he will be a man of God.” Later that day, we attended a church while on a trip away from home. The first song that we sang during Praise and Worship was “These are the Days of Elijah”. We believe that God hand-picked our family for Aman, and that He named him, and that He has great plans for his life.

This has been a definite faith-walk for our family. We had already paid all fees for Aman’s adoption except travel, prior to his referral. Now we are faced with having to pay all the fees again. Your giving to Altynai’s Fund will help get Aman and many of the other waiting Kyrgyz children home to their families.

Thank you!

The Hughes' Family


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Silpada Sale Fundraiser

My goal is to have one major fundraiser per month, at a minimum.  October was the $10 Challenge and November is going to be busy with the Silpada Fundraiser Sale!  I put up flyers at the hospital today and plan to put it out on Facebook and via email tomorrow.  Sorry, but some of you will get multiple invites but I am trying to make sure that no one slips through the cracks!  Below is the flyer for the sale and all the details that you will need to participate- including the link to view and purchase the jewelry.  Over the next two weeks,  I will keep the blog updated on how things are going, especially how much free jewelry will be raffled off.  I am giving away the hostess jewelry that I would earn so the bottom line is that the more that is sold, the more free jewelry there will be to give away!  Even more important, the more orders placed, the more money that will be donated to Altynai's Fund.   So please, do me a favor and share this post with your friends and family and fellow jewelry lovers.  Fun stuff and remember that there are precious children that will be benefitting from the event.....

     Silpada Jewelry Fundraiser

                   November 5- November 19, 2011
                                 In Honor of
   National Adoption Awareness Month
                      
A portion of the proceeds will go to Altynai’s Legacy Adoption Fund – Helping Bring Home the Kyrgyz 65.
         *** to learn more about the fund check out www.helpkg65.com

Raffles for free Jewelry!!!!
         For every $50 you spend, you will get a ticket to win beautiful Silpada jewelry of your choice.  Drawing will be held on November 19th!  All purchases – online, catalog or at the party, apply!

Grand Finale Party!!!
         November 19, 2011
       3:00 – 6:00 pm
       Suzanne Bilyeu’s home

To place orders :
*** www.mysilpada.com/jill.vodicka- just click on Suzanne Bilyeu’s sale during checkout! 
*** Check out the catalog and I will get you an order form or email me at scbilyeu@gmail.com
*** Attend the party!

Thanks!!! 
    Suzanne Bilyeu