Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Six Day Miracle

I read the words of a friend last night, and as is typical of posts written by mamas rescuing their babies from orphanages across the world, it cut me to the heart. I read it with my girl tucked safely in the crook of my arm, her golden head laying softly against my neck, and I gulped back hot tears trying to read the words out loud to Sam.

"You read it," I said, because I knew it was pointless to go on.

There is something beautiful and powerful about mamas and daddies sacrificing finances, time, and energy to rescue a child who is going to require extraordinary amounts of care and effort once they are home. There is something amazing and rare about families who will put everything on the line, including and especially their hearts, for a child who by the world's standards is broken. There is something pure and noble and absolutely right about that kind of love- the love that says it doesn't matter what it takes, I am going to rescue this child, and nothing is going to stand in my way. The love that faces seemingly insurmountable costs and mountains of paperwork and risks what family and friends will think about traveling across the ocean to save a child you've never met before, one that many people might say wasn't really "fit for life" in the first place.

So when I read this mama's account of the very first time she met her little girl- it didn't matter that I've read several dozen similar stories- they get me every time. I want you to read this account, that of a mama rescuing her daughter. I want you to listen to the words spoken by a five year old little girl...

...and if you're a parent, imagine your child saying them...

About 5 minutes in, the door opened and someone pushed our girl in the door and shut it.

She was stunned. It seemed she had not been made aware of what was happening or why, and she regarded us quizzically at first. We were stunned.  The picture had turned in to a person! My mind was literally swimming, I could not remember a.single.word. of Russian. I couldn’t remember how to greet her, or how to tell her she was absolutely gorgeous, or how to say I am your Mama.  Nothing. Just complete shock.

Then I remembered I had a Disney princess doll in my bag to give her. I pulled it out, and she smiled.  I asked if she wanted to sit on my lap, and she did.  The director and doctor began talking again, but all I could do was stare at the sweet, brown pigtails swishing in front of me. Her little hands turning the doll over, as she began to speak a little bit.  She began to realize what was happening.

We were there FOR. HER.

Our sweet little Vi.

She looked up and asked me “What is your name?” in Russian.  I told her “Lora. Mama.”  She looked straight to Dean, “What is your name?”  He told her “Dean. Papa.” She looked to the director and smiled “Mama! Papa!”

Everyone was absolutely beaming, and perhaps had just a glint of tears in their eyes.

“I kept asking for you!! Mama? Mama? Mama? When will you come??” she said, according to our translator. 

Five years is a long time to wait for this.

Or this...

Or this...

I can't imagine Lily never knowing the security of having a mama to tuck her in every night, to hold her when she's hurting or comfort her when she's sad, never knowing how it feels to be desired and loved.

I can't imagine what goes through a little girl's mind for five years, wondering when her mama will come take her home, waiting for the day she will walk through the doors of her orphanage, dreaming about that elusive, imaginary angel....

Mama? Mama? Mama? When will you come??

Yesterday I received an email from a friend...another amazing mama who traveled last year to rescue not one, but two children.

I wanted to see if you could help me out by posting on your blog about the Dirkes family. You see she contacted me today just heart broken and at her wits end. Her faith is shaken and my heart has gathered her burden. She leaves in one week. Yes, 7 days and she still needs at least 7k for this trip. Grand total is still about 17k. I am asking for your help because I was in her shoes not long ago and it is heart wrenching. It takes all you got to get through a day. The tears seem to never end. You pray there will just be one person who hears your cry. You pray until you have no words left just hoping someone will help. Patti, financially I cannot help her, I have made donations but not nearly enough to help. I have heard her cries and I cannot just sit back and hope she gets her funds. Her daughter Charlotte holds a special place in my heart; she was the one I would of chosen if we didn't choose Varvara. So, this leaves me to contact people who I know can help. Please go to her blog and see if you can help. Post a story, anything you can think of....
Ann Plummer

I went to Ann's friend's blog, and recognized a sweet little face I donated to a few months ago...and again a few days ago, in honor of another friend's birthday wish. Little Charlotte met her mama and daddy last November. They are traveling in six days to see her again, and go to court to make her theirs.

Six Days.

 Six days to make a miracle happen.

Do you think we can do it?

With God's help, I believe we can.

Charlotte's mama, Kelly, emailed me yesterday, after I said I would do everything I could to help.

There are no words to thank you and the others who have stepped up and spoken out for us and for my girl. I knew this journey would give me the opportunity to learn a great deal about being a momma and about Down Syndrome...but I didn't know just how strong this community is.

Well, Kelly- you're about to find out. I say that not because I have confidence in Lily's blog, or in my own words, but because I serve a BIG God. And I'm part of a faithful and generous community, one who rallies around its own.

Charlotte is our own, friends.

 She's been waiting for her mama all of her life, waiting and hoping for someone to come and take her home.

“I kept asking for you!! Mama? Mama? Mama? When will you come??”

 Lily's readers have responded so many times to the needs of orphans. You've given so much to help these families find and rescue their children. Will you help me again?

Will you help us make a six day miracle happen?

Will you help save a little girl?

Because Charlotte is our own.

I know Lily's readers, and I know it doesn't even take a giveaway to move you beyond compassion, and into action. I know the face of one beautiful little girl who desperately needs her mama is enough to move you to give.
But a giveaway full of amazing prizes is always nice too:)   (and thank you, Kelly, for letting me hijack your giveaway!)

Here's how it works....

1 chance=$10 donation

5 chances=$25 donation

20 chances=$50 donation

blog or post on FB for an extra entry !( leave a comment saying you did so)

All donations are tax-deductible and go directly to the Dirkes's grant fund through Reece’s Rainbow.  They can be made using the Chip-In at the top of my sidebar on the right.

Canon Rebel DSLR camera (with lens)

Petal Knot Dress from Willow Bean Creations

Custom made t-shirt from If You Say Sew

Starfish necklace from The Vintage Pearl

Pearl, bracelet, and earring set from Kay Jewelers

Insulated Tote from 31

Autographed copy of Alton Brown’s book “I’m Just Here for the Food”

Autographed “Hopkins” from Rachel Coleman of Signing Time

$150 gift card for Kimberly Wilson's TranquiliT (an amazing line of clothing for anyone who loves yoga...or comfort)

$50 gift card for Planet Jill

$50 gift card for Scentsy

$50 gift card for Hanna Andersson

$50 gift card for Target
$25 gift card for The Adopt Shoppe

$25 gift card for Wal-Mart

$25 gift card for Starbucks

$25 gift card for Olive Garden

A jar of Renee Tam’s famous toffee

A batch of oReshki, traditional cookies from Charlotte’s country

Kelly sees who donated on her chip-in, so you do not need to leave a comment to be entered to win. She will announce winners on her blog on February 6th, the day they leave to see Charlotte....

We need that chip-in to be at $13,300 for the Dirkes family to travel on February 6th.

*UPDATE- this goal has been MET- we are aiming at getting the Dirkes FULLY FUNDED by February 6th. In other words- we want that chip-in at 100% so they can bring Charlotte home in March.

I believe in miracles.

Do you????

Sunday, January 29, 2012

myth busters

Myth: People with Down syndrome are always happy.

These pictures...

...make me smile. This girl has so much personality. She just oozes it. This afternoon I could hear her yelling at the kids from the other room- yelling. I was reading my husband's Kindle in the tub and texting a friend...two things you probably should not be doing in the bath. I'll spare you the pictures, in spite of the fact that I could go viral if I didn't... (inside joke, teehee)

Anyhoot, I heard a very distinct yell coming from this pint sized pixie, and it sounded very much like, "I do NOT want to be read to or otherwise distracted, I want my MOMMY!" Actually, it really sounded like waaaaaaaahhh, but being the mother of ten that I am, I know how to interpret two year old yells. And clearly Lily wanted me.

Five minutes later I was curled up next to her on my bed, asking her if she wanted to nurse, and instead of signing and saying "nye nye", she leaned over and - I kid you not- spanked me. And then yelled, "That's for making me wait." Okay, so it didn't come out exactly like that, but again- I know how to interpret toddler-ease. And little sister was ticked. *note to readers: Lily hasn't ever had a spanking. However, she may or may not have witnessed a swat on the toosh of big sister's bad baby dolls. Ahem.

 All of that to illustrate my point: she is a double dose of personality and spunk these days, and whoever said kids with Down syndrome are always happy....clearly never raised a kid with Down syndrome...

"No, Mom. I do NOT want to pose for another photo shoot."

She knows what she wants, and more importantly what she doesn't want, and Lord help the unsuspecting sibling who tries to hand it to her. We haven't heard a distinctive "no" come out of her cute little lips yet, but her deliberate "NUH" leaves nobody guessing that she has no desire to...

*play with toys when she'd rather be eating

*eat her green beans when she'd rather have yogurt

*take a bath when she'd rather be playing

*pose for a picture when she'd rather be nursing....

And how did I know that's what she would rather be doing???

"Lily, what do you want???"

(signing "nye nye" or...nurse me;))

Yes, my girl has got a mind of her own, and I'm thrilled that she does.

Kids with Down syndrome are always happy.

She is funny, she is bright, she is happy, she is mad, she is strong willed and snuggly and stubborn and feisty and gentle ....

...and she's without a doubt the sweetest little bundle of myth-busting contrariness on the planet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

700 anyone?

After a lovely week at the Oregon coast, we're back! Refueled, refreshed and ready to spread some Lily love over the internet again...

...and did anybody notice Lily now has 699 followers on her sidebar? I just really can't stand to see her hanging out in the 600's any longer, and since seven just happens to be my favorite number, Lily is giving away one free Scentsy bar to whoever becomes her 700th follower!!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TAKEN over...by Addison

Well hello there, Lilybird.

Remember me?
That's right. It's Addison.

What am I doing here? on your blog?

Truth is, I see four therapists a week and lately I've been getting bored. I'm tired of learning to "woof" like a dog and walk like a "big girl" and use my fingers to do things other than stealing m&ms (what's the point, really). So last week, I requested to learn a new skill during my hours and hours of therapy time

computer hacking- a useful life skill.

And of course, I caught on right away. I'm super smart like that.

and while reading your blog, I knew I was going to have to use my new skill, steal a blog post, and point out something that I think should be obvious.

we are a LOT alike.

I noticed that we both like bath time (ignore the little bother in forefront trying to steal my thunder. He appeared sometime in September and I haven't been able to get rid of him since...despite my very best efforts)
 we both know when to stand our ground (stubborn what? no...CONFIDENT)
 we both know how to pose like the future Target models that we are.
 we both think we're going to marry the same man (he's mine, by the way)
and I heard my mom say something about us having the same number of extra chromahomatones or something like that...not sure. I think she was trying to say extra cuteness...I will have to work with her on this.

But anyway, I happened upon your blog tonight and thought that perhaps we could be great friends. (Man stealing tendencies aside)

So I hacked in to share that little message with you. What do you think? BFFs?

oh wait...just heard the opening strains of "There's dancing time and singing time and laughing time and playing time..." SIGNING TIME! I'm outta here.

'til later.

Mrs. Russell Chillihitzia (not yet)

p.s. just heard rummor that Patti will be back soon. Who is Patti? Oh, they'll know? Oh Ok then.
Leah, Alex and Hopkins! Here I come!