Monday, April 29, 2013

saving penny

Have you ever looked at the world and all the tragedies taking place and your heart just hurt so much you felt completely and totally overwhelmed?

Have you ever read or watched the news for the day and felt so helpless to do something to change things that you almost just turned away in apathy or denial ?

Have you ever heard stories of famine or poverty or war or injustice and felt powerless to do anything about it all ?

I have. I watched the adoption situation in Russia crumble this winter, and although so many were praying and hoping that things would shift in favor of orphan rescue, the government there had other plans. And they prevailed. Over 250 mid-process adoptions were shut down because of a law that now denies Americans the chance to rescue Russia's forgotten children.

Those aren't just numbers...they are children with names.

Names that will forever be etched in my heart, representing children I will never stop praying for.

Olga. Artem. Albina. Kacey. Nanette. Lera. And the list goes on....

I asked my friend Kelly Dirkes, Charlotte's mama, if I could share a recent blogpost she wrote, in regards to these children who are now left behind. Each one of the faces you see were waiting for families to come rescue them. They had mamas and papas who wanted to bring them home and raise them and show them the love of a family.

They were wanted.


(from the director of Charlotte's Baby House)

I am glad that every child leaving our baby home takes with them kindness and knowledge that they were loved and spoiled there…


…and that their childhood was happy despite any circumstances.


Every person deserves a good present and past…


…a place to call home and people who love them.


After we took some of the children to the institution and saw how they were welcomed, I do not believe there is kindness, warmth, or compassion there.


But the memories of our love and kindness should warm them for now.


And we will pray for them.  We will pray they remember love.


I knew this day would most likely come after negotiations stalled, but that didn’t make the reality of it any less wrenching.  There is nothing left that can be done for them. Charlotte’s friends have been sentenced to life in a place referred to as “the House of Invalids”.

Please pray they remember love.  It is not enough…but right now, it is everything.


If you're a new reader and are unfamiliar with special needs adoption in Russia, here's a crash course in reality.

These children have no place in their society. Children like Lily, and those with other special needs, are not taken home from the hospital by their parents in Russia...they are deemed unfit, and they are left in orphanages or "Baby Houses" to spend the first four to five years of their lives. They are raised by caretakers, and when they graduate from their Baby Houses, they are transferred to adult mental institutions. There they will spend the rest of their lives secluded from society.

What do you do with children who are too small to contain in an adult mental institution ? With limited workers and inadequate facilities, how do you keep small wandering children from roaming halls or mingling with the "adults".

You tie them to cribs. Apparently.

You prop bottles filled with mush, you leave them for hours on end in soiled diapers, you ignore crying and screaming and eyes pleading for help, you leave them to fend for themselves, you pretend they aren't human.

Because one day they will grow out of that stage, and realize there is nobody coming to help. They will self-soothe, chew their hands, rock themselves to sleep in boredom, bang their heads against the bars of their cribs for stimulation, soil themselves without caring, stop living...and just exist.

This is Russia's answer to those who in America are called children with "special" needs. 

Forget about them.

Albina...her family traveled to see her and named her Haley. They were waiting on a court date in December. 

My heart is broken for these children. So many of you helped raise funds for them before they had committed families, and so many continued to give to the families adopting them.

My heart is broken for the families who spent months and years and finances and energy in an effort to rescue their children.

And yes, I feel helpless.

I will never stop praying for these children or their families, because that is all the hope they have left now.

So what do you do when you read stories like these?

Do you decide that your efforts were wasted, that it's better to leave these situations to themselves, to turn a blind eye, pretend they don't exist, give up, because it's all a lesson in futility ?

Or do you decide it's time to act.

Do you take that righteous anger - because I AM angry - and decide to do something good.

Because that's the only way I know to combat this feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.

I will pray.

And I will never forget.

And I will ACT.

This is Penny. She lives in B******* , a nation that also secludes children with special needs from society. However, B******* does not deny Americans the right to rescue their children.

Penny has lived in this orphanage for all of her twelve years.

Twelve years.

She weighs 21 pounds (Lily's weight) and is 36 inches tall.

This is not because of her condition- cerebral palsy - but because of starvation and neglect.

Penny has a family committed to her, who will be adopting her this year.  They have worked tirelessly to do all the necessary paperwork required to bring her home, and they have scrimped and saved for all of the expenses involved in her adoption.

They need roughly $3,000 to complete Penny's amount I KNOW Lily's readers will meet.

You've done it so many times before - you've helped raise $10,000 in two days before.

You've helped raise over $150,000 over the past two years towards special needs adoptions.

Are you willing to do it again?

Are you willing to put your heart on the line and risk and sacrifice and give, to rescue one fragile and forgotten and beautiful and deserving child ?

Will you help save Penny?

An anonymous family is donating a brand new iPad for our Saving Penny Giveaway.

Here's how the giveaway works.

Donate ANY amount to Penny's grant fund on Reece's Rainbow to be entered to win. You can donate via the Paypal button at the top right hand corner of this blog. This will take you directly to Penny's grant fund on Reece's Rainbow. All donations go directly to Penny's grant fund account. You do not need to tell me the amount you donated, but you DO need to leave a comment in the comment section here saying you donated to be entered to win.

You may receive an additional entry by facebooking, posting on Instagram with a link, tweeting, or blogging about this giveaway. Just leave a comment here telling me what you did to receive an extra entry.

When we have raised $3,000 - and I know we will, because I know the heartbeat of this readership - we will draw a winner from the comment section through The Paypal gadget needs to read $8,463 for us to reach our goal.

The winner of the iPad will be announced that day, and it will be shipped immediately.

Are you ready to do something powerful in the face of all the injustice in the world ?

Are you ready to ACT ?

Spread the word, readers.



Megan Bergin said...

I wish I could help all of these beautiful children

Rachel said...

Done. Praying for Penny!

Brittany Baisley said...

Love this and those children.

Done plus tweeted it!

Erica said...

I facebooked it!

Erica said...

I donated!

viktoria said...

Privileged to help (donated and prayed for Penny with my 3 year old).
Thank you for bringing it up to everyone's attention!

Shannon Sims said...

One day I wish to adopt a special child and hope the world is kind as I might need help too. You are an amazing family.

Donated, instagramed, and facebooked! I hope the family gets to hold their child quickly and safely!

Shannon Sims

Grumpy Momma said...

Donated! I've been praying for Penny for months now, since reading about her on Susannah's blog.

Lisa G. in CT

Tami said...

I am a recent follower of your blog and love it!
I have donated. Thank you for doing this for sweet Penny!

cara said...

Thank you for sharing this about Penny!! I will go donate.

Yes Patti, I have felt like this a lot lately. I have felt SO helpless as I watch SO much suffering going on. But this helps put it into perspective. I can still help and do something physically. My heart is aching for these children that I know are behind those prison walls neglected and abused. It is SO difficult. I pray and pray. xoxo

Elissa said...

The children of Charlotte's orphanage absolutely, positively break my heart. I love each and every one of them, and am devastated that they are, for now, left with no options. So so sad. :-(

Rachael said...

Blogged (on tumblr, hoping it gets reblogged!) tweeted, and donated.

skolrudfamily said...

Done. Can't stop crying for these sweet children and beautiful Penny. Praying the Lord rescues and redeems them from their sitatuions!!

EnidV said...

Thank you for posting this - and giving me something I can do for these children. I donated and prayed for Penny and her family.

Katrina said...

This story spoke to my heart. I'm praying for all these children and many more like them.

I donated and am linking on Facebook.

May God hold these children in His hands!

Karen Thompson said...

I donated through Paypal!

Karen Thompson said...

I put it on Facebook!

Tommie said...

Prayers are being said and my donation has been sent.

Ashley said...

Donated! I hope to adopt from B******* someday <3

Ashley said...

Shared on Facebook!

Ashley said...

Going to share on my blog shortly (I'm working right now)

Lesli Temple said...

I donated for Penny! Wish I could help one of these sweet children! They deserve the world!

forevermoores said...

this is so heartbreaking!!! my heart breaks for those sweet babes. I'm so happy we are able to help bless that sweet girl. I can't wait to hear an update!!! xoxo

forevermoores said...

happy to share on my blog, done! we will be adding these precious babes to our prayer list. may they be rescued, all of them!

nicole said...

Donated and shared on fb. Thanks Patti!

Laura said...

Donated. Happily shared on both Facebook & twitter. Thank you SO MUCH for giving us an opportunity to donate! (and it reminded me to donate to my dear friend Karly Jaco's adoption of Ollie from Reece's Rainbiw as well.) Blessings, precious mama friend!

Annette said...

Donated, facebooked, and have been praying for sweet Penney!

Juliana Kohler said...

Patti...tried many times to leave a comment...hopefully this one is a charm. Thank you for posting. I am praying in Jesus' name for these babies and their families.

Naomi said...

Praying for Penny and just donated. Hope you makes it home soon. xxx

Susanna said...

Patti, donated and blogged and if I win the iPad, it will be donated to the next Hidden Treasures auction! Love you, friend, and thank you so much for doing this!

Susanna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lizzielou said...

donated, and praying to be able to adopt from the same place sweet Penny is in. Bless you and your family xoxox

dianna said...

Done! Thank you for posting and hosting this fundraiser! :D


SleepyMom said...

Donated. So happy for Penny and her family!

above&beyound said...

Donated and shared on FaceBook, and if the Lord will for us to win the iPad it will be used for a ministry with orphanage ! Praying!

MamaV said...

Blogged about the fundraiser! I hope everything comes together quickly!

htanner said...

I have been praying for Penny and her family. Just donated today! I can't wait to see God complete this fundraising effort so that Penny can come home.

MamaV said...

I donated as well.

Paul Huizinga said...

Patti and everyone else,

I would just like to take a moment to say thank you. Of course these simple words do not fully express the deepness of how much it means to have others serve and bless your family in such a profound way.

While we are, with God's grace and guidance,going to bring Penny home, experiencing the love and support from so many that we have never met never ceases to have it's impact- it is God's love in action through others. We have done the same many times yet rarely are in a place to receive it.

Thank you again from the depths of our hearts for confirming that God wants Penny to be our daughter in addition to His own.

Paul Huizinga, Penny's dad.

mumofsix said...

Dear Patti

Thank you for reminding us of these children's plight. It is absolutely heart breaking seeing these photos. They need love so badly and there are families who want to give it to them so badly. It should be, and could be so simple. Please God let it be.

Thank you for helping us to help
Much love Sarah

April said...

Donated and will post to Facebook!

April said...

Donate and will post to Facebook!

Christa said...

Donated and tweeted. Best wishes to Penny and her family.

Gretchen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gretchen said...

Hi Patti,

I donated, Facebooked and Tweeted for Penny and all the other little ones that need families to love them.

I am sad to read that Albina isn't home with her family. I believe it was a fundraiser for her that you were hosting that first led me to your blog.

Much love to the Huizinga family. <3

Samm Lewis said...

After spending the weekend with Kelly and Kyle and our precious Charlotte, I am rejuvenated and ready to fight for these children to have safe, loving homes. Prayers for the littles left in Russia, and prayers that hearts and stubborn wills there may be softened.
We're SAVING PENNY, and many others.

Kat said...

Hiya, donated today. So happy to have found your post and happy to contribute. I can't wait to learn of her finally arriving HOME. God bless.

Erin Beaudette said...

I am so happy to see another little cutie being rescued on Lily's blog! Penny is precious and her family must be amazing. I donated yesterday and pray for that $3,000 goal to be reached soon.

Unknown said...

God Bless you all! I donated and shared on FB. Can't wait until this family has their princess home and there are no more orphans!

Unknown said...

I gladly donated and shared on FB. Three cheers to the families fighting for these children and prayers for all the orphans to have homes!

DebW said...

Patti! I miss seeing you and Lily! Without your blogs being fed through the fb newsfeed I don't remember to read.

There are 2 petitions that some of the families who have met their Russian children are asking to be signed. Would you mind mentioning that? and

Leah said...

donated & will gladly share on fb!

Trina said...

Gave to Penny's paypal account and will facebook to help generate help to finish this off. God Bless. (and congratulations on the new addition)

Nakia said...

Donated, shared on FB

Unknown said...

Gladly donated and shared on face book twice! :D

Julie said...


G-31 Toastmasters said...

Hey. I pitched in a bit. What I could give today. Love, Esther in RI

Zahir Siddique said...

Prayer sent and donated. I pray this little miracle is united her family soon.

lizzielou said...

donated Love all these babies.

SleepyMom said...

Donated on Reece's Rainbow for Penny (and now Fallon too)! May God bless them as they bring home their two girls.

MamaV said...

Donated again! I want to see these guys fully funded!

Ashley said...

Donated again :)

Brian Larkin said...

I donated. I wish I could give more. My family is struggling to make it, but I wanted to help a little.