Monday, October 31, 2011

Orphan Sunday

November marks the beginning of National Adoption month and November 6th is Orphan Sunday.  Orphan Sunday is an event that is sponsored by the Christian Alliance of Children.  With their support, many church communities across our nation hold special events with the goal of drawing awareness and support for the 143,000,000 orphans of our world.  Their website  www.orphansunday.org is filled with fabulous ideas and maybe one of the most touching videos I have seen in a long time. Perhaps if the technical powers that be smile on me this week, I will figure out how to share a non-youtube video ( I've failed miserably thus far).  While I work on mastering that, here is another great one and it is less than 2 minutes long.


As Altynai's fund blossoms, so does my awareness of the tremendous need that is out there.  It is so true, that it really only takes ONE person to make a difference in the life of a child in need, whether that is a orphan from a far away land or a foster child in your own town or city.   Adoption is a huge undertaking, I know that first hand, but you can always start out with baby steps.  Obviously, you have already taken the one, just by reading this blog.  Read more, pray more, or maybe volunteer with a local organization and if you can, give to the organization that moves you the most.   I have asked my friends on Facebook to consider talking to their church families, bible studies or life groups, about taking up a small offering some time this month and giving it to either Altynai's fund or to one of the other many tremendous organizations that provide support to the orphans of this world.

 Jesus calls on us to protect and love the fatherless and hopefully Orphan Sunday will move many to act!

Friday, October 28, 2011

New web address

I have a quick announcement.  Thanks to my friend, Marie, the blog now has a new domain name, www.helpkg65.com!  A few weeks ago I was telling her that I clearly didn't know what I was doing when I set up the blog's new address.  The address was long and spelling Altynai was a challenge.  Clearly my marketing skills were lacking and I was afraid that I had made it tough for people to find the fund's address.   So last week she called and said, I want to buy you a new domain name.  Of course, if you are anything like me, I had no idea what she meant. ( Hmmmm I thought, a kingdom, just for myself.....  that sounded quite nice.)  www.helpkg65.com will immediately redirect you to www.altynailegacyfund.blogspot.com without having to type in the long crazy address!  Plus it's meaning is to the point- help the Kyrgyz 65! Both addresses are functional so feel free to pick your favorite.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting for Bakyt


I love posting the waiting children and family stories.  They touch my heart and I hope that they touch yours.  Can you just imagine the joy that these families are going to feel when they are reunited????   Their children's lives will be forever changed for the better!  So without further ado please enjoy reading about Bakyt and the DeBoer Family.



Waiting, to say the least, is one of the hardest things we've had to endure to bring home Bakyt. Our lives go on every day, we smile, we play, we laugh, but our hearts miss someone. Our hearts miss Bakyt. We received his referral 3 years and 8 months ago. It was an amazing day! To be given the gift of a child either biological or through adoption is a miracle. We started preparing in every way for his journey home. We were so excited!
      
Adoption was not new to us. Our first son came home from Kyrgyzstan in October of 2007. We had applied with our agency in November of 2006 to bring home two children at the same time. It didn't quite work out as we planned, but we happily brought home our new baby and our lives were forever changed through adoption. After many years of infertility treatment, loss of unborn children, and a failed domestic adoption, we felt hopeless and full of despair. But, our hearts were completely filled with joy bringing home our son. Not only were we filled with joy, but we were filled with compassion for orphans. Every child is unique. God loves them and has plans and desires for them. We are called to step out together and love these children, to care for them, and if possible, to adopt them as our very own.

In the beginning, our plan was to bring home two orphans from Kyrgyzstan. Our agency was unable to give us two referrals, but shortly after we came home with our first son, we found out about little Bakyt. The process was slower the second time around. We waited and waited and didn't really know what was going on. We remained patient. And then finally in September of 2008 our paperwork was stamped by the Kyrgyz government and we were waiting for a court date. However, court never happened. Kyrgyzstan put a moratorium on adoptions, shortly after that the government was overthrown, new government was installed, and lots of red tape kept us away from our son.  The delays never ended.  We were not to going to give up on him and kept praying for a resolution along with the other waiting families. Not knowing if Bakyt would ever come home was very difficult.

During the wait, we wanted to continue building our family. We adopted another precious son in September of 2010 from South Korea. He is an amazing blessing and we are filled with gratitude to call him our child. We can't imagine life without our two boys and are forever grateful that God led us down the path of adoption. Our hearts skip a beat when we find out someone is adopting. Every child deserves a family. Whether you have biological children, or suffered infertility, or are a single parent, we are so moved when people choose to adopt. There are so many orphans, so many children alone, so many without an inheritance, so many without a family, so many who feel lost and unloved...so many.

Bakyt was placed on our hearts for a reason. We've watched him grow up in pictures and in an institution. And while we are grateful that he is being cared for in small ways, we know that living with a family that loves you is the best place to be. Bakyt's growing older, but our love for him grows stronger every day. His adoption has been a treacherous and weary journey. It has been expensive. It has not been easy or predictable. But we will keep stepping forward on this journey, no matter how slow or rough it gets, because our son is waiting for us!  Recently, there has been good news and we are hopeful adoptions will resume in Kyrgyzstan.

  We have been blessed on this difficult journey in many ways. First, we know many people who pray for the orphans in Kyrgyzstan. Second, the waiting families have been committed to supporting one another and collectively doing all they can to bring home the children. The "Kyrgyz 65" group is an amazing bunch of people. They are advocates for orphans not just in Kyrgyzstan, but around the world and in the U.S. Please consider contributing to Altynai's Legacy Adoption Fund. In truth, adoption changes lives and saves lives. No matter how big or small you may contribute, every little bit can help a child live with a family that loves them. We are living proof! We see it in the smiles and giggles of our little boys every day. Some days it almost breaks our hearts thinking they could still be orphans. But they are no longer orphans, they are home, they are loved, they are safe. We pray one day Bakyt will be an orphan no longer. And we pray for the other precious children waiting in Kyrgyzstan to be united with their families who love them.


Kami and Scott DeBoer
The DeBoer Family

Monday, October 24, 2011

Setting a Goal

I know that this is old news but finalizing these adoptions is going to be very expensive.  In order to re-do their dossiers ( which are all their legal documents and have them translated), pay agency fees, obtain visas, medical exams, legal expenses, travel (the 7000+ mile flight is not cheap), lodging, food, ect... they are anticipating that the cost will be at least ANOTHER $20,000- $25,000 per child.  Remember that is not taking into account the expenses that were encountered when we started the adoption process and got our referrals over three years ago.  It also does not include the money that the families have spent on advocacy efforts, orphanage donations or concurrent adoptions since they were first matched with their child.  Ten families have now contacted me about applying for assistance and although the fund is growing, I need to raise a lot more.

Many people have asked if I have a goal of how much I need to raise and I have been hesitant to put a dollar figure out there.  Hesitant because it may turn people off, hesitant because I don't want to sound pompous and especially hesitant because of fear of failure.  The number that I have in mind is large and yet, I know that it has to be.  My overall goal is to be able to provide everyone that applies with some degree of financial support, knowing that there will be families that may need more than others.  And although, I know that the applicants will be happy with any assistance they receive, I want the amount to be substantial enough that it truly removes a portion of their burden.  So how much do I need to raise????

The way in stands now, I have raised $14,500!!!  I am incredibly pleased with that amount but need more.  So here goes......  my goal is to raise $40, 000- 45,000.   I know that is an exorbitant  of amount of money but I believe that it is possible.  It is possible because helping give a child a family is priceless!  I just can't imagine even one of these precious children being left behind so now that I have put the numbers in writing, please help me achieve my goal.  No donation is too small (remember Anara's donation of $1.64) because they all add up!  And for those of you are unable to donate, then there are other things that you can do to help.  First, help spread the news on your blog, Facebook or via email.  Second, help me brainstorm on raffle, auction or other fund raising ideas.  Lastly, pray for the fund, the children and the families.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snuggle time thoughts

I just got done snuggling with Drew, Ansley and Alec and my heart feels like it could explode with love.  There is truly nothing better that being a mom!  God has blessed us with the most precious children.  Three children that make our family perfect.  Two biological and one adopted and yet, my heart and mind can't tell the difference.  But there are times, like tonight when I sit an marvel how adoption has touched our family's life.  As Drew was melting into me at as I rocked him tonight, I was caught off guard by how deeply I love him and how, I nearly had given up on adopting when God brought him into our lives.  The Kyrgyz 65 had another very encouraging conference call with the Department of State today and as I held Drew singing him to sleep (with him humming back), I couldn't help but think how hopefully in the very near future the waiting children will be rocked to sleep by their forever parents.  What a wonderful thought to ponder!

According to today's update, if all things go as planned, 2012 is going to start out with a bang for the families!  The agencies are in the midst of being re-accredited and the families are working on their dossiers.  The process appears to be going according to plan, which is miraculous, considering the Kyrgyz track record.  I can't tell you how excited I was to hear our US Ambassador sound excited!  Two good conference calls in a row; that is a record so now we just need to keep the prayers coming and hopefully the donations too!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Little "A" and her Mom's plea

Sorry for the silence.  I have been in Boston the last 3 days for a pediatrics conference but head home tomorrow morning.   Tonight I am enjoying some quiet time by myself which is such a treat.  Now there is nothing that I love more that being home with my family but a little "me" time is a blessing.  It has been a week since I shared a post which is probably not wise when you consider that my main goal is to keep the fund's momentum going.  It is funny but I was just telling one of my dear friends that I feel like I am managing a precious little snow ball.  One that I hope over time, and with each story and request for prayers and donations that it will roll a little further and become a little larger.  Of course, I also have to make sure that it doesn't melt.    So to get the ball rolling again, I want you to meet "A" and her waiting family, the Smiths.   Isn't she absolutely precious!



I remember everything about the day we got the call about our "A". After applying with our adoption agency on my birthday in September 2007, one year later almost to the day our prayers were answered! I was sitting at my desk across the hall from my husband’s office at our family business. My cell phone rang, I saw it was my adoption agency and my heart skipped a beat as I answered. We knew we were #2 or #3 on the referral waiting list so we were expecting a call any time. To hear, “congratulations, you have a baby girl”, were the sweetest words I’ve ever heard. So long I had waited to be a mommy. After failed fertility treatments and years of praying, I was wondering if that day would ever come. When our phone call ended I quickly logged on to my email account to read, print and sign the release form that was going to allow us to receive photos of our beautiful 3 month-old baby girl. My husband sat in my chair holding me on his lap as the photos downloaded one by one. WOW! She was the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever beheld. It truly was love at first sight and I immediately felt a bond…this was my daughter, "A" Claire.

We started preparing the room, buying clothes, my friends had baby showers for me. We thought we would probably be traveling in the next three months or so. Then we were told it would be much later due to delays with families receiving court dates. Then, the unthinkable happened…the country of Kyrgyzstan placed a moratorium on all international adoptions. We were devastated.

I have spent many a sleepless night wondering what "A" was doing. How was her health? Who was tucking her in at night? Who would love on her and tell her how special she is through the wait? Was she even still living in the orphanage? I prayed and pleaded that God would keep her safe. That He would somehow let her know that she had a mommy and daddy that wanted her home with them more than anything in the world. God is the only thing that has kept me grounded through this horrible wait. Fortunately, thanks to some amazing people that care so much for the Kyrgyz orphans, I was able to send "A" photos of us on her third birthday this past summer. After being told the photos were of her mommy, daddy and little sister, I was told she said, “mama”. Yes! My prayers were answered. She knows she has a family that loves her! Oh how I can’t wait to hear her sweet little voice say “mama”.  And I do believe it will happen. I will not give up on the hope that God has given me that she will be my daughter.

Though the wait has been extremely difficult, we did receive an amazing blessing one year after accepting the referral of "A". In September 2009, we adopted another beautiful daughter, Jillian, born 15 minutes away from where we live. She is now two years old and knows who "A" is. We show her pictures and tell her that is her big sister.  This past summer we brought her along for an advocacy trip with other Kyrgyz 65 waiting families in DC.  I pray along with Jillian for her big sister, “Neenahna” (as she loving calls her), to come home soon.

So now we just need to get her to that family. Us, the Smith family of course! We need to reunite all of the Kyrgyz 65 orphans to their families. After 3 looooooong years of waiting for "A" (well, 4 including the year before we were matched to her) we are closer than ever. But, without the help and generosity of readers like you, some of the waiting families will be forced to abandon this fight because of finances.  Can you imagine?  A little boy or girl is so close to having a loving family, but mommy and daddy have no resources left to finish their adoption. 

We know these families want more than anything to bring these children home. They can give these precious children the love and care that they deserve. Provide the medical care, education and homes that they will never get in an orphanage. These children deserve better! What an amazing gift you could give to these families and waiting children – the gift of a family.   You have a chance to change a life…forever.


The Smith family

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The best things come in small packages

I got the sweetest donation ever today!  It was for $1.74 with the most precious note from her mommy, Hiliary.
"This is with love from Anara from her own piggy bank.  She's prayed everyday for 3 years for her friends to come home and she wanted to help".  
As you probably guessed, Anara is a precious little girl who at one point in her life was an orphan in Kyrgyzstan.  She is now thriving in her forever family here in the US!

Anara:  I sure hope that your prayers are answered soon and thank you, thank you, thank you for your donation!  Hopefully, you will be an inspiration to others.  XOXOXO

Speaking of inspirations, last fall, not long after Altynai passed away, I learned about this amazing adoptive mom, Adeye' (http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/) that was raising money for a special needs orphan in the Ukraine.  In the matter of a week or two, she not only found parents for this little one but also raised $25,000 to cover her adoption expenses!  I was completely in awe by what she had done and the generosity of her readers. Well, over the last year, with God's help she has been witness to many other miracles.  She is at it again and this time is trying to help one of the waiting Kyrgyzstan families.  The Fenske's are #30 on her blog post from Oct 11 and 12, and if you may remember, they are waiting to bring Kamila home.  She was the first waiting child that I introduced you too.  If you get a chance and want to help another family and read a blog that is truly inspiring, click on http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/




Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Drum roll.... And the winners are

Imagine a drum roll......  The winners of the $10 Challenge and the first raffle for Altynai's fund are:
   
                                                            THE LABELLE FAMILY
                                                                           and
                                                                 SARAH HUME


The kids and I had a great time doing our first drawing and we thought that a video would be perfect way to document the event.  As you will see, it was very high tech ( wink, wink).  First, we got the donations from Lifesong followed by writing out the tickets on good ol' fashioned wide ruled, loose leaf paper.  Seventy-eight tickets in total.  Then we busted out the hats that Craig bought while we were in Kyrgyzstan.  If you are going to draw a name out of a hat for a raffle for kiddos that live in Kyrgyzstan, then you have to use a hat from Kyrgyzstan!  Enjoy the video to see the rest and thank you to everyone that participated!  If you missed out on this opportunity, don't worry there is more fun to come and a lot of money to be raised.  In fact, another family has applied bringing the total up to ten!

video



Raffle results.....

Hi all,

Just a quick update to let you know that I got the raffle donations from Lifesong this afternoon and $780 was raised over the last week!  I think that is a tremendous return on my $200 investment!  I will write up all the tickets tonight and then the kids and I will draw the two winners out of the hat.  Stay tuned for the results and thanks to everyone who participated!  I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One more day to play and one more kiddo to meet

The $10 Challenge ends tomorrow!  Remember, it is as simple as hitting the donate button.  For every $10 you donate to the Fund, you get a raffle ticket for one of the $100 pre-paid visa cards!  I will get the updated donations from Lifesong tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning and then will draw the names on Thursday.  As of last Friday, only $350 in tickets had been sold and I would love to see a lot more contestants!  Remember, 100% of the money goes to the Fund and all of the donations are tax-deductible!

So as a motivator, please meet Viktor and his parents to be, Earl and Patricia Baugh.

Friday, October 7, 2011

RAFFLE TICKETS FOR SALE!

Don't forget that the $10 challenge is in full swing (but not swinging as high as I need it to).  I would love to have a ton of participants so please help out and buy a ticket.  It's as simple as clicking on the DONATE button on the right or on the Donate or Fundraising Page.  For every $10 you donate, your name is entered in the hat for one of two $100 prepaid Visa cards.  All proceeds help to bring home a precious orphan from Kyrgyzstan!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A day of awe!

Wow!!!  It is amazing how life and an act of kindness can sweep you off your feet.  Today was one of those days for me.  Over the last week Altynai's fund received a total of $12,000 in anonymous donations.  Lifesong for Orphan's was so excited about the donations that they contacted me this afternoon.  Just imagine my surprise to read an email that such a large amount of money had been given.  I was literally in the hallway of the hospital in tears.  Never, in my wildest imagination would I have expected such generosity.  So if either of the anonymous donors, are out there reading this blog, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!   To everyone that has donated thus far, please know that every penny is going to reunite a precious orphan with their forever family and we will be forever indebted to all of you.  I have always told people that I have great faith that the fund will meet the needs of the families that apply and today we got that much closer to my goal!   My prayers are being answered and I can't wait to see what the rest of this journey will bring.  




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TEN DOLLAR CHALLENGE RAFFLE

Hope is in the air....

In honor of the excitement I want to launch the first raffle for Altynai's fund.  Donations as you can imagine are hard to get but buying a raffle ticket is a lot more fun especially when the proceeds go to a good cause.  So today I am launching the TEN DOLLAR CHALLENGE.  For every $10 you donate to the fund via Lifesong over the next week, your name will be entered into the hat for one of two $100 pre-paid Visa cards.  Donations/ Raffle Tickets can be made/purchased instantly by clicking on the donate button to the right side of the blog or under the Donate header.  Remember all donations are tax deductible and 100% of the proceeds will go to helping bring home children waiting in their orphanages in Kyrgyzstan.   Please help the $200 that I am investing in the raffle, pay back far more in the way of donations.  Sound like fun????

These children need your help!  So with that request here is another little one that I want you to meet.



Katherine and Marsel’s Story
I learned how to change diapers at age 5.  I was the youngest child so I had to practice on my toddler sized baby doll and I made my mother buy real Pampers so I could get really good at it.  While I’ve struggled sometimes to find what I want to do with my life, I’ve always known I wanted to be a mother.

            I started fertility treatments at 36 and after 2 miscarriages, began the long, involved adoption for Kazakhstan.  My sister had just adopted from China and I loved the idea that my child could share some Asian roots with his or her cousin.  After a year of paperwork, social worker visits and problems with my adoption agency, Kazakhstan closed for an indefinite period to redo their internal processes.  I agonized over the decision, but decided to start over with an application for Kyrgyzstan.  Ironically, Kyrgyzstan had a reputation for swift referrals as it was a new country for International Adoption.

            I began the paperwork in the spring of 2008, and on August 31st, my agency sent me a picture of a chubby 10 week old baby named Marsel who was placed in the orphanage a few days after his birth.  I called my sister excitedly and said, “It’s a boy!”  I’ve never been so thrilled in my life.

           
            It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t been there, but I remember feeling the same way when I saw the first picture of my 6 month old niece in China.  That child was mine at that moment.  My child to love, to teach, to comfort and to take care of.  The love was instantaneous. 

            I hoped and prayed he’d be home for Christmas 2008 so my entire extended family could meet him and celebrate with me.  I still didn’t know that things in Kyrgyzstan had screeched to a halt.  Six months later, in February of 2009, Kyrgyzstan stopped their adoptions based on a recommendation from UNICEF but informally agreed to process the 65 pending cases.  Obviously that didn’t happen.

            Two things kill me about this.  Selfishly, this little boy is my first child.  I’ve been working on a second adoption for 2 ½ years but that’s been delayed for multiple reasons.  So, I’m finally a mother but I don’t have the privilege of mothering him.  I don’t have the 2 am feedings or the soccer practices or bake sales to preoccupy my attention.  Instead, every day feels like a hole in my heart.

            The second and most important thing is what this is doing to Marsel.  All the data shows that children in institutions lose 1 month of development for every 3 months they are institutionalized. These children have been in orphanages for 3 years longer than they needed to be and have lost one previous year of growth, both physical and mental.  They are not getting decent nutrition or one-on-one care.  It’s hard enough to know this intellectually but I have a real life example in front of me.

            My sister’s second child is from Ethiopia and was adopted at seven months old.  She is 10 weeks younger than Marsel.  Now at 3 years old, she is amazing.  She’d talking up a storm, is openly affectionate and whip smart.  She’s the kind of child strangers can’t help smiling at because she’s so charming.  I don’t begrudge her or my sister’s family one day together, but sometimes it hurts thinking about the different lives she and her Kyrgyzstan cousin are living.  Most pictures of Marsel show a solemn, scared little boy.  It’s like some horrible experiment on how a nurturing environment dramatically changes children’s lives. 

            Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my son and pray that he’s able to come home soon.  His room is ready, his family is ready.  The only thing we’re waiting on is the red tape.  It’s such a pity that bureaucracy has robbed him of three years of love and devotion.  Hopefully it won’t be four. 




Monday, October 3, 2011

Shhhh! Good things are happening

That is all I can say for now but I am excited!  So excited that I feel that the time is right to launch the first raffle fundraiser.  Just a few more last minute things to get in place and I will give you all the details of the $10 Challenge.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Under Construction

The blog is officially under construction!  Thanks to a dear friend, Marie, and 2 1/2 hours of blog tutoring, Altynai's blog is going to be so much easier to navigate.  I have tried on numerous occasions to make some big changes with the layout and each time, near disaster occurred.   Thanks to Marie's help, it is going to be so much better AND I still have all the hair on my head.  The headers are going to allow people to read about the fund and Altynai's story, the stories of the waiting families and children's, and upcoming/active fundraising with out having to scroll through all the past blogs!  I love it, now I just have to do all the cutting and pasting.    So while, I am busy doing that, here is a beautiful adoption quote to ponder.....

Our children are not ours because they share our genes........
they are ours because we have had the audacity to envision them.
That, at the end of the day.... or long sleepless night, is how LOVE really works!!!
---Unknown