Thursday, March 29, 2012

First Public Announcement

I am so excited tonight because I get to post today's announcement from Christian World Adoptions (CWA).  They are currently the only agency from the US that is accredited to process adoptions in Kyrgyzstan.  Anya, the Kyrgyz coordinator, posted the following on CWA's public blog and Facebook today so I can share it here too.  I have been in touch with several of the families that are currently in Kyrgyzstan and it is so heartwarming to know that they are bonding (again) with the children that they fell in love with 4 years ago!  Grand things are happening and prayers are being answered which is why it is time to make a final fundraising push.  As things stand now, the families will make two trips.  The first is a bonding trip and then the second will be to pick up their child once the adoption is finalized, which means that little ones could start coming home in May!  I plan to raise money through the end of April and then distribute the remaining funds so that families can use the money for their Gotcha trips.

The Kyrgyz jewelry is the big fundraiser for this month and 15 items have sold this week and $220 has been raised!  I would love to see that number climb so please check out the Kyrgyz Jewelry page to see the beautiful beaded jewelry that was made by precious Kyrgyz children.  ( To read more about the kids, Big Family and the jewelry, please read my post from March 26th.)

Here is the link in case you want to learn more about CWA.  Now for the exciting text itself:


Kyrgyzstan Families are Traveling!

The Kyrgyzstan program reopened in January, and the first group of families is already in-country for their first trip!  These are some of the “pipeline cases,” or those who had started their adoption process before the country had halted international adoptions back in 2008.
Kyrygzstan program director Anya Rutherford reports that she arrived in Bishkek late last week with 7 CWA families after a 30-hour trip, arriving just before dawn.  Signs are that the trip is going very well at this point.  The families were very excited and eager to begin their adoption process, so much so that no one really slept the first night.  Anya began working on adoption documents with CWA’s in-country facilitator immediately.
After some official meetings, the families were able to meet and spend time with their prospective adoptive children.  The orphanages are currently allowing families to visit the children twice per day during the week, and once or twice on the weekends.  Anya will be learning much about the new adoption process during this trip and should have more details to share upon her return!
We are excited for these families and all of those who will be traveling in the upcoming months.  We look forward to the future of this program and those children who will finally be coming home to their families!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

20,000 Hits

Wow, 20,000 hits!   I check out the website's stats every once in a while and I was shocked to see that yesterday it cleared the 20,000 mark.  I think that is so cool.  I guess people are reading so thank you!   The Krygyz Jewelry seems to be getting a fair amount of attention.  Fourteen items have sold so far so please take a peek and see if anything peaks your interest.  Thanks to those of you who have already contacted me and placed your order.  I am really hoping to finalize the fund raising over the next four to six weeks so that I can distribute the remaining funds to the families before their Gotcha Trips.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting a lot brighter!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Children Helping Children!

For over a month I have been waiting for the right time to roll out Altynai's Fund's next, and maybe last, major fundraiser and I have decided that the timing is right!  My heart is bursting because great things are happening for many of the waiting families and if I am going to raise any more money to help with their adoptions, I need to do it now!  Prayers are finally being answered and the need for Altynai's Fund appears to be reaching it's final stretch so now is the time for a final push to make an impact for the waiting families and children.  A little over $23,000 has been raised to date and although, I highly doubt that my loft goal of $40,000 will be reached, I hope to raise a few thousand more.  Whether that is possible or not, I have no idea, but it is worth a try! 

Of all the fundraiser that I have done, this is the one that I have been the most excited about.  Around Christmas time, Ann Bates, who is one of the waiting moms and our dear missionary friend, John Wright, presented me with a wonderful opportunity to help some former orphans in Kyrgyzstan and at the same time, hopefully raise some additional money.  Below is the write up that Ann has provided about Anya and her husband, Sergey, both of which are amazing "adoptive parents" themselves.

Anya and Sergey were not always "Big Family". But they have been blessed abundantly by children. The two live and work in Kyrgyzstan spreading hope to so many people in need. Several years ago, while helping to support the children at a local orphanage, their lives would be touched and eventually their family would grow. One family in particular touched their lives. Mom and Dad were struggling with the harsh reality of life in Kyrgyzstan. And unable to care for the youngest of their children. They did what they needed to do. The youngest children went to live in the orphanage. Anya and Sergey, while loving all the children, were drawn to this family. Over time the children spent time with Anya and Sergey outside of the orphanage. There were many struggles as they attempted to help this family stay together. But reunification was never possible. In late 2010 the orphanage that the children were living in was slated to close. The possibility of the children being sent to another town was just not an option to Anya and Sergey. So the children came to live with them permanently. All of them! Their family of four doubled in size!
Starting last fall, Anya taught the children (all six of them) to make beaded jewelry and other creations. Just before Christmas Anya sent me photographs of the jewelry the children had made. Stunning! Beautiful! I told her I would try to help sell the jewelry here in the US and the money they earned would teach the kids about Macroeconomics. Then the idea to use the jewelry to give back to their country hit me and I proposed the idea to Suzanne. Once we had agreed, the jewelry was purchased in hopes that we could use the sales to help Altynai's Fund.   

When "Big Family" found out we were buying ALL the jewelry that they had made AND that all of the future sales would benefit their fellow orphans, they were so excited. The children had never had their own money before. They went shopping for things that they wanted and were so proud to know that they had earned money on their own. For Suzanne to buy the jewelry and then use the sales to help give other orphans from Kyrgyzstan a home is truly a blessing all the way around.  

Hopefully after reading the story about Big Family and their jewelry you will see why I am so excited about this project.  It is a perfect example of children helping children.  It is also a perfect example of people changing the world ( see my previous post ) by simply believing and caring for those less fortunate around them.  The lives of the four children that Anya and Sergey have adopted have been changed for the better!  

The Jewelry goes on sale today and is showcased on it's own page on this website under the Kyrgyz Jewelry page header.  I know that the pieces will not appeal to some of you but please take some time to at least admire their workmanship and consider purchasing a piece or making a donation to Altynai's Fund as a token of appreciation for their attempt to help their fellow orphans.  Anya and I are in communication and I have promised to let her and the kids know how much money is donated to Altyani's Fund via their jewelry sales.  For those of you that have adopted from Kyrgyzstan or Central Asia, please consider sharing the page with your fellow adoptive parents.  It think that the jewelry would make fabulous Gotcha Day gifts.
As always, thanks for the following along and please keep the children, families and this fund in your prayers.  I have high hopes that this Spring will be filled with happiness and stories of the reunions that we have been waiting for. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Change the World

The sermon question this week was whether you can change the world?  I truly believe that you can. The impact does not have to be huge but we all have the potential to make the world a better place.  If we open up our hearts and our minds to the endless opportunities that are out there then we can absolutely make a change.  Adoption is a perfect example.  By adopting a child, you have the ability to change that child's life course forever.  The child, however is not the only one that benefits.  The adoptive family is forever changed and hopefully their extended family and friends are changed too.  Adoption not only changes one child at a time (although that is amazing in and of itself) but it also changes a community.  It is a wonderful outward expression of love and we all know that the world needs more of that.  I spent yesterday afternoon going through the hundreds of Valentine's that were sent to Altynai's Fund for the Hearts for Hope card drive.   They were all priceless but I have to post one of my favorites because it is a perfect example of what I have been writing about.  Enjoy the Valentine from McKenna.

My friends within the adoption community are changing the world.  Unfortunately, not everyone perceives that as a noble change which is why I haven't posted any details about the waiting families in awhile.  The situation in Kyrgyzstan is as complex as ever.  I am grateful to announce that the process is still moving forward but the waiting families and children need your prayers.  The grants that Altynai's Fund has provided are being used by the recipients and I am filled with pride to know that we (all of you!) have made a tangible impact for them.  By donating and supporting Altynai's Fund, you have helped make a change.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!  If you haven't donated yet, but were planning on it, now is the time.  I hope to give out the remaining grant money in the near future and would love to offer as much as possible to these amazing families.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Final Tally for Hearts for Hope

The Hearts for Hope Fundraiser's final tallies are in and it was far more successful that I had initially thought.   400 Valentine's filled with love and hope were sent into Lifesong on Altynai's fund's behalf and $1200!!! Thank you so much to all of you that participated and gave generously to help bring some precious little ones home.  The fund's total donations stand at $22,300!!!  I find that absolutely amazing considering that I started the fund just 7 months ago.  Wow!

I am honored to share a picture of the Valentines and the amazing people at Lifesong for Orphans that have made Altynai's Fund possible.  Rich Metcalf, an adoptive father himself, is the man that listened to my request for assistance last summer and shocked me by telling me in the same phone call that Lifesong would be honored to help me with my dream.  He has assisted me with all of the decision making regarding the grant recipients and distribution of the funds.  He is a man of great faith and wisdom and I have been blessed to be able to work with him.  Jane Diggle is my direct link to the fund.  She keeps it all organized and provides me with the donation updates and most recently was the keeper of the Valentines.  I am pretty sure that was not listed in her job description but she graciously helped.  I truly can't thank Lifesong for Orphans enough for all that they have been willing to do to help me, help others.  Their mission is amazing and their impact is profound!

The Valentine's are on their way to my home now and then will be distributed to the waiting families on their upcoming travels.   Hopefully, there will be more pictures to share as they continue their journey to Kyrgyzstan.