Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Word filled Wednesday: A Day for Kirill

If you haven't heard the buzz...actress Patricia Heaton is donating $1 for every person who follows Reece's Rainbow on twitter. Sean Hannity heard about this yesterday and tweeted, asking his followers to support this challenge that Patricia made:

Sent a check for $10k to @ReecesRainbow in faith that all the Tweatons will follow. Get those kids out of institutions & into loving homes!


I have to admit, I didn't have a clue what twitter was all about...I got an account last month when I was asking people to vote for Lily's photo in the Parents contest...sent out a tweet..and guess who read it? Me.

Sooo...apparently you have to have followers to tweet to, your message doesn't just randomly go out to people. Who knew? (Sam, if you're reading this, stop laughing.)

ANYWHO I was very excited yesterday to see this bit of news, and what inspired it all was this sweet little guy...


If you haven't read his story yet, you can do so here.


Today all across the nation, friends of Kirill and the Davis family are fasting and praying for a miracle. PLEASE join with me in this effort- we are praying for a miracle in the judge's heart, so that Kirill and other children in his orphanage can be adopted.

And if you've never joined the twitter craze, sign up for an account and follow Reece's Rainbow- it's so easy to do, even I could figure it out. (only if you tweet, it might be helpful to get some people to follow you...just so someone's listening...just sayin'.) If you want to follow me on twitter, my name there is APerfectLily.

I am posting photos of Lils sans words tonight, because it is late and I'm exhausted...but just one more exciting little tidbit to share- we're starting a giveaway in a few days for Jason and Naomi's adoption fund, and we have a lot of reallllly sweet prizes ....don't miss out!


No more words now, just the Lilybird....


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*licorice and cottage cheese, the breakfast of champions


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Happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Holding fast

Dearest Lily,


These past few weeks have been a time of real soul searching for me.

So much is going on in the world around us; earth shaking, life changing events for so many, that I find myself wanting to "hole up" in our little home, holding you closer and closing my mind to the despair that tries to creep in.

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I read about Japan and the aftermath of the earthquakes and tsunamis, and try to imagine what those people are going through right now...I can't even comprehend that kind of loss for so many, can't wrap my mind around what kind of pain they must be going through.

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Since having you our eyes have been opened to what children with your diagnosis face every day in many parts of the world. Part of me wants to go back to a simpler life, when I really thought rejection or ridicule was the worst a child with Down syndrome would go through because of that extra chromosome.

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Part of me wishes I could forever shut out images of children left in cribs to die, never knowing the love of a mother or father. There are a lot of horrors I can close my mind to in life- discarded children isn't one of them. Last week when I read about a judge in Russia denying a family the right to adopt a little boy, simply because he had Down syndrome, my heart literally, physically hurt. I wish sometimes I didn't have the kind of mind that instantly places myself in someone else's shoes...because as I read those words, I was right there in that mama's place, standing in a courtroom, being told I couldn't take my son home to safety.

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Lily, my problems and trials and little hurts in life seem so petty right now, in light of what that Mama is going through. When I think about what that little boy is facing, barring a miracle of God, I am so ashamed of complaining about anything in life...

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I've had some little arrows thrown at me lately...just words, and yet it's amazing what just words can do to my heart. I've lost a friend or two over the past few months as well, because of making a stand about some things I believe in. And truthfully, those little arrows caused me to question so much about what I'm doing with this "wild and precious life". I don't like having my motives questioned by others, but the good thing about that- the very useful thing about that- is that it cause me to question my motives.

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I didn't start out on this journey with you with all the perfect answers, Lily. I had my moments of doubt, my nights of uncertainty, when I questioned it all...my life, my faith, my purpose. I still have those moments, especially when I see such injustice in the world, and especially when it involves the least of these.

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Sometimes I feel so desperate to fix those injustices, and I have a very hard time feeling guilty for enjoying anything in life when so many others are hurting and hopeless. I read a quote on your friend Grady's blog the other day...it really struck a chord with me, because it so summed up what I've been feeling lately...

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. E.B White

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So as I weigh the heaviness I feel in my heart about tragedies and injustices and even trivial hurts in my own heart, I have come to a conclusion.

I can choose to forgive and love and move on.

I can't choose to close my eyes and pretend there isn't sin and evil in the world- at least not without hardening my heart and deliberately turning a blind eye to those who are on the receiving end of that injustice.

I can pray and believe God to move mountains that just seem too big and too impossible for anyone else to move.

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I can commit myself to doing what I know to do- praying and believing and lifting up my voice for the least of these, no matter how many find that message discomforting or offensive or dull.

I can enjoy the blessings God has given me; a wonderful home, a faithful husband, and a quiverfull of blessings...not the least of which is you.

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I'm going to strive hard to find that balance, sweet Lily. Some days I might find myself so overwhelmed by the mundane, that I just can't seem to pray or speak or think with any kind of productive faith. Some days I might find myself so wrapped up in the sweetness and simplicity of life's blessings that I forget for a few moments the things that normally weigh so heavily on my soul.

But I am making up my mind- once again- that when life seems to be throwing everything it can at me, and the enemy of my soul is trying his best to bring me down with worry and grief and despair, I am going to choose to trust God.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”


—Psalm 91:14-16


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Loving life, and loving you,


Mama oxox


*p.s. thank you Stephaniefor inspiring this post:)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Our Eyes Opened

Dear Friends,

I realize I already posted today...and I also realize that I already posted about the Davis family earlier this week, and their son Kirill.

I've been praying all week for this little guy, for a miracle to take place in his adoption process.

If you didn't read my original plea- the Davis family needs your prayers. Kirill's adoption was fully funded, and the Davis family has traveled twice to his region.

Last week, they went before the judge in Kirill's region...here are Tesney's (his mama's) words:


When the ruling was read, the judge said, “Your application to adopt is rejected.” The basis given was that Kirill was “not socially adaptable” due to his “medical condition” and he was better off in an institution than in a home with a family. As the judge read her ruling, she stated several times that we were a good family, that we met all the criteria to adopt a child, but that she would not approve our adoption because Kirill has Down Syndrome. She told us that we could adopt another child, because legally our application had no problems according to Russian adoption law. She said she would approve our adoption for a “typical” child, but not this child. Why? The only reason? Because he has Down Syndrome. Even though we were approved by our home study and by the USCIS to adopt a child with special needs. It makes no sense whatsoever. Denying a child a family because he has Down Syndrome is a violation of human rights at its most basic level!


It was like a terrible dream. We were so unprepared for this outcome. As we left the courthouse in a mental fog, the doctors and social workers that had testified came to us and said, “If you appeal, we will fight for you. Appeal. Fight this decision.” Of course we were going to
appeal…I could no more walk away from our biological son, Clayton at this point. Kirill is just as much my son.





I cannot imagine walking away from Lily, leaving her in another country, knowing that- barring a miracle- I would never see her again.


I cannot imagine Lily being placed in a mental institution, left to live out the remainder of her life without the love and care of a family.


I cannot imagine Lily being tied to a crib for hours on end, because she was walking, and there was no other way to keep her confined.


I cannot imagine Lily lying for hours on end in her own excrement, and being subjected to the whims of schizophrenic adults and hardened "caregivers".


If you don't believe that's what happens to children in mental institutions in Eastern European nations, I challenge you to do the research. Go read The Boy From Baby House Ten. Or read here or here or here.


A very good friend of mine who was a teacher a few years ago, told me about a young girl in her classroom. She had been adopted from one of these orphanages, and she had vivid memories of her time spent there. The staff forced these young children to watch pornography- to desensitize them to perversion, so that they would not resist sexual predators. If the children turned their faces aside, or closed their eyes, they were slapped and forced to keep watching.


Maybe that sounds sensational to you. Maybe it's hard to believe there is such ugliness in the world.


Honestly, I would rather not read or hear about such atrocities. Honestly, I would rather spend my days playing with my kids at the park or posting sweet pictures of Lily and her new accomplishments every day. Honestly, it's easier for me to turn a blind eye and close my mind to such evil.


But honestly- I cannot.


"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Prov. 24:12

It's more than just little Kirill that's at stake here.

I close with Tesney's plea:

So here we are, asking God to move the mountain that is standing between Kirill and us as we appeal to the Supreme Court in Moscow. There are also three other families who are in various stages of adopting children with Down Syndrome from Kirill’s region; one of the families has a court hearing set for next week.

We are hoping that someone will hear our outcry and help us bring our son and these other waiting children home. His adoption will set the precedent for many other children in his region. There are 98 children in his orphanage with special needs alone. It is one of many orphanages in this region that houses children with special needs. This is about more than just one child, the lives of hundreds of children with special need are at stake. Please help us.

Please pray for this judge, and this appeal. Please post about this in every forum you can think of.

And please visit the Davis family's blog and let them know you're praying for them.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A glass half full

Dearest Lily,

If I didn't know better, I would think you were listening to some conversations I've been having lately with other mamas...

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Just last week I was telling someone that I was not sure if you were really understanding us when we asked you to do certain things. For instance- you used to wave in response to us waving, but you stopped doing that a little while back.

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I know this is typical for all babies- to pick up a new skill and then "drop" it while they master a new one.

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But lately you seem to take particular pleasure in ignoring our requests to perform.

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You get a ..yes, I'll admit it, a wicked little grin on your face, and you seem to almost delight in refusing to do something...

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If you're in a stubborn mood, we could ask you to wave...or ask "how big is Lily??"
and you just grin ...or shake your head at us...or do both.

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Karen, your therapist, says without a doubt she has seen a common trait of stubborness over many years of working with children with Down syndrome.

I looked up synonyms for stubbornness tonight, and here's what I found:

adamancy, bullheadedness, contumacy, doggedness, indomitability, inflexibility, mulishness, obduracy, obstinacy, perseverance, pertinacity, determination.

I'm going to call it determination right now... my little attempt at seeing the glass half-full!

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This new found "determination" has its perks...because right after I got done telling someone that you weren't really waving in response to us anymore...and that you hadn't learned to clap yet...

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You determined to prove me wrong!

You've been waving at anyone who will tell you "hi", and clapping on demand for the first time. Sometimes Mommy has to tell your siblings, "Don't show her!" because I'm so thrilled to see you doing something purely in response to a verbal prompting, without any example of how it's done.

Your brother Josiah marched into my room yesterday, indignation spread across every feature...

"When did Lily learn how to clap, and when were you going to tell me this?!"


Over the course of three days every one of your siblings has come to me announcing proudly,
"Mama! Lily knows how to clap now!!"


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You're pretty proud of yourself, and for now that "stubborness" trait has given way to the desire to impress us all again.


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Speaking of impressive, it seems that you have determined to pick up a new skill every day!

Here are some new things you have been doing lately:

*standing while holding on to things for several minutes...

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*balancing on your feet while standing and repositioning yourself when you start to fall

*placing objects inside other objects

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*sorting through containers of toys for the one you prefer


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*banging two objects together

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*waving your arms to music, and "singing" to music as well

*raising your arms for "up"

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*feeling everything- you love textures now; you rub your hands on every surface and pick up the tiniest objects

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*pulling your socks off:) Mommy tricks you by putting tights on under your pants!

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I'm so proud of my determined little girl.


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“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox



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Loving you always,

Mama oxox