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. 
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. 

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
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:

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 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  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 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 .

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  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 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!