Tuesday, October 4, 2011


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. 

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