He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:6

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Anna enjoyed her first Christmas here with us and we were so happy to have her here.  First, let me show you the results of her head reduction surgery in November.  They are so amazing!  She has done well and has not had any complications. 



She starts school next week!  She will only be going for two days a week, two hours a day to start, but we are really excited. 

Anna's progress since coming home makes my heart ache even more for Giselle.  You may remember that she is another little girl, close in age to Anna, who is available for adoption from Eastern Europe.  I am her Guardian Angel.  Like Anna, she has a scary list of diagnoses.  Like Anna, she needs someone to see her for what she is:  a very special gift from God who has so much to offer the world!  She just needs a chance to get out of her crib.  Would you please share her picture and information any way you can?  Social media, word of mouth, church?  You could change her life!  I just know her mommy and daddy are out there and I believe that this is the year they will find her!

  Sweet Giselle

She has over $5,000 in grant money to help with her adoption!  Oh my goodness, I sure wish I could be the one to go get this beautiful child and watch God change her life.  Please pray for God to move mountains and bring her home!

I have one more prayer request.  Do you remember "Emmitt" who I posted on here several times?  He is home but is having some very serious medical and emotional problems.  Please pray for him and for his family.  You can read their blog here.



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Surgery was Successful!

Thank you so much for all the prayers for Anna.  Surgery went very well and she is resting comfortably in the PICU.

The transformation in her head size is nothing short of miraculous. Basically, the doctors took off the majority of her skull, cut it, and reshaped it over her head.  Prior to surgery, her head circumference was 57 cm.  I don't know exactly what it will be once the swelling decreases, but it is obviously much smaller.  It should be so much easier for her to lift it and hold it up once she has healed.

She is not as swollen as we all expected, although she will probably continue to swell.  She can open her right eye, but seems to want to sleep, which is exactly what she needs.

Hopefully tomorrow she will be moved out of the PICU.  If all continues to go well, we hope to have her home by the end of the week. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Anna's Upcoming Surgery

My last post addressed how well Anna is doing in so many ways.  Now I get to share even more praises!

Her recent lung CT looked good.  She is no longer on oxygen at all.



She now weighs 40 pounds, up for 22 pounds when we brought her home in April

She had a swallow study done and it showed that she swallows completely normally:  no aspiration!  This is such an answer to prayer.  This means we can began working with her on eating in earnest and that God led us to the right decision not to separate her stomach and esophagus (yes, the doctors wanted to do this to prevent reflux).  She is eating very well in speech therapy.  It will be a long road for her to make oral foods a major part of her diet, but we have loads of time!

Her neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon have determined that we should go forward with reducing the size of Anna's head.  This is called a cranial vault reconstruction.  They will remove a large portion of her skull and reshape her head.  It is major surgery, but it could make such a difference for her!  She might very well learn to sit up on her own and one day stand if she did not have to hold up her heavy head.  The surgery is this Friday, November 8, and we would so appreciate your prayers.  I promise to do a better job keeping the blog up to date!

Life with Anna is a million times more simple than I thought it would be.  Her health has improved so much!  I think more people would be willing to adopt children with special needs if they could experience our day to day with her.  Our church has even started a special needs class so that she has a place to go during worship.  What a blessing!

Some other families who adopted children from Anna's orphanage are struggling right now.  I ask for your prayers for them and their precious children.

I am also reminding everyone that sweet Giselle is still available and has a large grant to help with her adoption expenses.  I would sure love for her to have the same happy ending as Anna!



http://reecesrainbow.org/12884/giselle901


Sunday, August 18, 2013

You Won't Believe Your Eyes

So I am officially the worst blogger of all time.  It has been so long since I posted!  I will simply claim busyness and my family definitely keeps me busy.

So onto Anna.  She is doing so well I don't even know where to start!  First of all she is now 36 pounds!  When she arrived in the US on April 5, she weighed 22 pounds.  That seems to me like an almost impossible gain, but it's true.  She looks much more like the almost five year old she is. 

You can easily see her gain here next to her two year old brother.  The first picture is when they met in May.  The second was taken a few weeks ago:





Her lungs are doing terrific.  She has not had any supplemental oxygen in over a month.  This too is miraculous.  Her lungs were very damaged by years of eating lying down. 

She now has a low profile g-tube which is such a blessing.  Her first one hung out a good ways and was easy to catch.  She tolerates her feeds mostly.  She has vomiting episodes probably three times a week.  Not really sure why, but it seems to be related to her having a lot of congestion.  I know from my other children that adjusting to an all new environment tends to cause allergies for a while.




She is also eating some by mouth!  Just a little, but it encourages us that one day she might be able to get some of her nutrition that way.

She is much stronger.  She can hold her head up to a certain extent.  Her core strength has really improved.  She does very well in her therapy sessions.





She is still a little delight, happy and smiling almost all the time.  We have gotten into a routine and caring for her seems almost easy now.  It is like having a big baby (I have to lift weights on a regular basis to stay strong enough to lift her rapidly increasing weight!) that has some medical needs.

Anna has not had to return to the hospital for any stays and her doctors appointments have become few and far between.  Her GI doc confided the other day that he thought for sure she would have been readmitted by now and is stunned by her good health.  God is so good and we are beyond grateful for his mercy.


Please feel free to ask any questions you might have about Anna or adopting a special needs child. I will do my best to answer!  Thank you for your continued prayers and continuing to follow our journey.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Anna at Home

Sorry that it has been so long since I have written.  Anna came home two weeks ago today and it has been a little crazy!

Overall, she is doing very well.  She has her own recliner in our family room, so she is always surrounded by a bunch of people.  Everyone stops and talks to her as they go in and out.  She tracks us very well with her eyes, which is a good sign.  She sleeps well most of the night.




It has been interesting learning to take care of a medically fragile child.  It was nice when trained nurses did all the work of administering medicines, setting up feedings and doing breathing treatments.  To someone without any medical training, it is a little daunting.  On top of that, Scott had to go out of town for several days just after she got home, so I had to be very responsible, and I don't always like that :) 

It has now become fairly simple to do everything, but we have had one problem and it is serious.  Anna has a g-j tube.  This tube goes directly into her stomach.  She receives her medicine through the g-tube.  The j part of the tube goes into her intestine and she is fed her formula through that.  This is to help prevent reflux and aspiration.  The j-tube is very tiny.  It clogged a week after she came home and then shifted back into her stomach so we had to get it replaced.  The new one shifted two days later, was repositioned and then shifted again.  This is a serious problem because every time it shifted, she would wake up in the morning vomiting.  Also, to get it replaced or repositioned, we have to drive back to the hospital in Atlanta, which is almost two hours away and it is has to be replaced by using an x-ray machine and she is getting way too much radiation.  Yesterday, they could not get the j-tube back into her intestine, so she is currently being fed through her g-tube.  So far so good, but this may not be a permanent solution.  We have an appointment with her GI doc tomorrow, and would appreciate prayers as we figure out what is best.

 
So bored waiting to have her j-tube replaced again, she fell asleep

I was disappointed about having to take her back to Atlanta yesterday as well because she was supposed to be evaluated for therapy.  She has not had anything but what Scott and I can do since she left CHOA and I don't want her to lose all the progress she was making!  Hopefully we can get it rescheduled soon.

She is just the happiest little thing and is all smiles and coos unless she is in pain or extremely tired.  She puts me to shame.  She seems to be enjoying her new family and absolutely loves her new crib.  She smiles hugely when we put her in it at night.  She loves her recliner too.  I'm afraid she is getting lazy :)

As for me, this has been a rough two weeks.  Change, even good change, is tough.  We have all had to adjust to a new normal.  My flesh has been rebellious, not always wanting to drive to Atlanta when necessary or get up at 2 am to administer medicines.  God has been exceedingly patient as he has worked at cutting away the dead parts of me and infuse me with his life and love.  I have alternated between stark terror and soaring love.  I am so far out of my comfort zone here that I feel like I have moved to a new zip code.  I have climbed out of the boat and am walking on water.  I wish I could say that I am keeping my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, but I hate to lie.  I look at the waves a bit too often. 

My coworkers at LaGrange College have been incredible!  I can't remember the last time I made dinner.  They have surrounded us with love and I am forever grateful.

So, in a nutshell, I'd say Anna has fit right in.  Everyone adores her and she is basking in the attention. She has gained 7 pounds since we arrived from Bulgaria.  God told me clearly yesterday that he knows exactly what will happen with her feedings, and that it is ok that I have no clue.  I am trying to trust in that. 


 
Celebrating her first Father's Day with a father
 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Miracles

Anna's g-j tube is in.  No more uncomfortable tube down the back of her throat!  If all goes well, she should be able to come home on Monday.  I am so excited!  I can't believe that day might finally be here.  She is absolutely going to rock our world around here.  I can't wait to watch her win over her siblings and grandparents the way she has won over everyone at the hospital.    The therapists have told us they fight to be on her schedule for the day.



 
While she was under for the surgery, they performed a hearing test.  According to the test, she is moderately to profoundly deaf in both ears.  This is quite simply not true.  Anna responds to our voices.  She knows mine and her daddy's.  She loves music!   If I sit my iPhone next to her and turn on a song, her eyes immediately widen and she calms.  She is also the favorite of her music group at the hospital because of her awesome dancing.  We are getting her hearing aids, but I know she is hearing more than the tests show.  This is not the first example of how Anna defies all evidence she presents medically.

If you were to look at her brain scan (and actually knew what you were looking for, LOL), you would think she was basically a vegetable.  Because of her hydrocephalus, her brain did not really develop.  But of course, you've all seen the pictures and video that show that Anna is vibrantly alive and full of personality.  She learns at an almost scary rate and changes daily.  In fact Scott was talking to one of her doctors today and even she acknowledged that Anna can't be explained.  She described her progress as phenomenal.  She has wowed them all.  She is a living miracle.

I am so blessed to be a witness to all God is doing in her life.  I am so very ordinary and she is extraordinary.  It is a testimony to God's grace that he has allowed her to be my daughter. 

My experience is not unusual.  Check out this miracle and this one from the same orphanage as Anna.

Interested in being part of a miracle too?  Here are some children who are just waiting to rock your world and show God's glory to the world!

Lucy and Linus

Linus and Lucy

Reign


Y1999

Velia

Vl2

Phoenix

Y (2)



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Anna Update 5/30

Well, I would love to be able to report that Anna is home with us, but she's not.  I think she is getting closer, though.

Her lungs are doing much better.  The pulmonologists are very pleased with how she is healing.  She is still receiving therapies, and occasionally oxygen, but we are tickled pink with her progress.

Tomorrow she will have a g-j tube inserted.  This is a type of feeding tube.  It would be problematic for her to come home with her n-j tube (which is inserted through her nose) because if it comes loose, we have to travel all the way back to the hospital to have it reinserted and the hospital is almost two hours away.  The g-j tube should be more stable.  I would think more comfortable as well.

No one has mentioned when she might come home after the surgery, but if things go well, I hope sometime next week.

During all this time, she has been receiving outstanding physical, occupational, speech and music therapy at CHOA.  Her progress is mindboggling!  She is holding up her head which I never thought would happen without the cranial reduction surgery.  She is gaining weight.  Her brother who hasn't seen her in weeks, commented yesterday that her arms look "fat."  Yippee!!! Fat is definitely good for this girl. 

Hopefully my next post will be to let you know she is home!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day holds very mixed emotions for me.  I am so happy and thankful to now be the mother to nine of God's precious children.  But Anna is still not with us and that makes it hard. 

We were told that she would be discharged on Wednesday if she were stable enough.  Scott and I took Owen, our 22 month old, with us and joyfully went to finally bring Anna home.  We quickly realized that that wasn't going to happen.  She was still desatting and spiking fevers.  The doctors ordered a CT scan of her lungs.

What we were told basically was that 1/3 of her left lung and 2/3 of her right weren't working.  They were blocked.  Without putting a camera in, they couldn't tell us why.  Most likely it was from chronic aspiration.  The children in Anna's orphanage were fed lying down for years.  Many died from this treatment.  They also told us that they might have to remove part of her lung if it was damaged enough.

I just didn't have peace about this.  I prayed that God would give her the best possible outcome and that no surgery would be needed.  My heart was just broken for all she had suffered.

At this time, I admit, I was hit with a feeling of dread as well.  I don't believe that that ever comes from God unless it is a warning.  This was just general yuckiness and fear, wondering if I could truly handle all of the challenges that Anna brings with her.  I also admit that it was my selfishness rising to the top again, feeling sorry for myself and missing how comfortable life had become before Anna came home.

And this is what God shared with me.  He is so faithful and patient!  He clearly told me how arrogant I was.  How completely and totally arrogant.  I was assuming that if he had not brought Anna into our lives, that our lives would have gone along all hunky dorey and roses.  No one else in the family would ever get sick, I wouldn't lose my job, no moronic terrorist would ever set a bomb down by my feet.  Oh, my goodness, how ridiculous I was being!  Of course bad things would happen.  And the safest place to be is in the middle of his will, even when it's hard.  After that revelation, my whole outlook changed.  Jesus said that we have to give up EVERYTHING to follow him.  And yes it hurts, but he gave up EVERYTHING to rescue us. 

On Friday, they performed a procedure where they looked at her lungs and cleaned out as much of the gunk as possible.  We received a really good report.  The pus was clear and they didn't see any need to operate at this time.  They have put her on a more stringent respiratory therapy and new stronger antibiotics.  The doctor also said that she was going "downhill fast" when we brought her in.  She didn't believe that Anna could have survived much longer without medical care.  Glory be to God whose timing is always perfect!  He brought her to us at just the right time.  I am knocked to my knees in humility at his perfect knowledge and my extreme ignorance.

I have stopped worrying about when she is coming home.  God has made it clear that only he knows and that that is good enough.  I admit, though, that today I miss her so much it hurts.

I know you all have been praying faithfully for Anna and for us.  Thank you from the bottom of this mother's heart. 



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Anna Update 5/1

I hope you all will forgive me for my lack of posts lately.  Anna is still in the hospital, almost two hours away from our home.  In the meantime, I have to work and Scott and I still have to take care of our other 8 children, so time has been scarce! 

Anna is doing great.  I am overwhelmed with the changes God has brought to her life over the past month.  I cannot say enough good things about Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta.  God has used these doctors, nurses and therapists in mighty ways!  She is already sitting up so much better and is beginning to tolerate her wheelchair.  She has put on a little weight.  Her seizures seem to be under control.  Her lungs are finally looking clearer, so it appears that the pneumonia is abating.  She lights up around both Scott and me, so despite the craziness and having never been to our home, she seems to understand that we are "special" and is bonding.  She is still choosing not to eat by mouth and will be getting a g-tube within the next couple of days.  Once she has recovered from that surgery, we should be able to bring her home!

 Here are some pictures and video that show how well she is doing.  The first picture was the day we picked her up in Bulgaria.  The second is from Saturday and shows how well she is sitting up in her wheelchair:





The first video was taken in Bulgaria, when she astonished us with her high-fives!  The second was a week or so ago.  She is so happy!



video


video
God's grace has been truly sufficient.  I am amazed when I look back over the past month at how he has orchestrated everything.  He is teaching Scott and me so much through this experience. 

I admit that I still get fearful sometimes.  For the most part, having a child with severe special needs has become the new normal.  I don't worry about our future with Anna.  She is a delight and we are blessed to have her.  I can't wait for her brothers and sisters to meet her.  I especially can't wait to see the reaction of my 22-month-old who calls her "baby" (even though she is three years older than he is, he dwarfs her).  Now that I have accepted that God will give us the strength and means to care for this child, I think what he is working on now is my issues with money.

Anyone else out there have that issue?  I know in my mind that all I have is God's.  I know that he has never once let me down when it comes to my finances.  In fact, he has done miracle after miracle.  There is no way that we could have afforded to complete eight international adoptions in the past twelve years and afforded to raise nine kids on my salary.  It just doesn't add up!  And still I find myself dwelling on how we will pay for Anna's medical care (a month in the hospital, including two surgeries, and another major surgery coming up in about a month).  My insurance will pick up the majority, but copays and deductibles will still have to be paid.  I know God is able and I can't wait to share on here how he comes through!  Just pray for me to have a stronger faith in this area.  I am WAY out of my comfort zone here. 

I also know that that is where God wants me to be.  It is so refreshing to my spirit to read about other families in that same place.  I read about the Ayer family this morning.  What an inspiration!  Families like this that have given everything to God amaze me!

Lastly, my sweet Giselle waiting in an Eastern European orphanage now has a grant of over $5,000!  Could you be her mama or daddy?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Surgery is Done

Anna had a endoscopic third ventriulostomy yesterday.  This should allow her cerebrospinal fluid to flow more normally through her skull and ease the hydrocephalus.  The surgeon was very pleased with the results!  In about a month, she will be able to have a cranial reconstruction.  They will remove a large portion of her skull.  In a little less than two years, she should have a completely reshaped head, hopefully one that is not as heavy.  Maybe in time she will be able to sit up on her own.  Who knows the plans God has for her!

She is understandably a little irritable today.  They have given her something for the pain and she is resting comfortably.

I don't know yet when we might be able to get her home.  We still need to deal with her eating issues and get her some adaptive equipment.

Thank you for all the prayers!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Anna Update

Anna has now been in the U.S. for almost a week and has spent all of that time in the hospital.  Part of me hates that, as I cannot wait for her to meet her brothers and sisters and see her new home.  But in reality it has been such a blessing!  She is scheduled for her first surgery tomorrow.  It was originally scheduled for last Tuesday but they found some fluid in her lung and wanted to wait.

This surgery is a good thing!  It should eliminate the cause of the hydrocephalus and get the fluid in her head flowing as it should again.  The surgeons also told us that in about a month, they should be able to perform surgery to correct the shape of her head!  We didn't know if this would be possible.  She has a large bump on the back of her head that makes lying on it uncomfortable and it is so heavy that she has never been able to sit up on her own.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do in her life!  I feel like there is no limit. 

She has an NG tube now for her feedings, which is also a blessing.  It takes all the pressure off her and us to get her to eat and drink.  Once the surgery is complete, they will begin to assess her swallowing.

Thank you again for all of the prayers!  God is answering them!

I have two prayer requests today. 

First, remember sweet Henry who I posted about a few months back?  He was adopted and passed away after complications from surgery.  Well, his family has just announced that they are returning to Eastern Europe for a sibling group of three!  I am so excited.  You can read more on their blog here.  To donate to help them bring this group home, go here.

Our agency just posted this morning that on April 18, there will be a new hearing in Bulgaria for the old director of the Pleven orphanage who wishes to be reinstated.  It is because of the conditions that she allowed that Anna went so long with untreated hydrocephalus and weighs just 24 pounds at 4 and 1/2 years old.  Please pray that the courts will deny any petition she has!  For Nora and all the children we left behind there, she must never be allowed to step foot in Pleven again.  Please also pray for the new director, as she faces much opposition in all the good reforms she is trying to implement.

I will update after surgery tomorrow!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Anna is Home!

I am typing by Anna's bedside at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  So much has happened since my last post that we were going to pick her up last week.  I am sorry about the lack of posts during our trip, but it was an incredibly busy week, and about all I had time to do was take care of Anna and sleep a bit.  I know many of you kept up with us either on Facebook or through Susanna's blog.  I can never thank all of you enough for the thousands of prayers that went up for us and are still being lifted.  I will try to express through this post what they have meant to us.

My son Damir (he's 15) and I picked up Anna from Pleven on Friday, March 29.  Honestly, it was about what I had expected.  We waited in the lobby and Anna was brought down to us.  We received her and some papers and raced out the door back to Sofia.  The staff did give me some food for the trip so I fed her on the way back.  She proved a good eater, but took quite a while to down her jar of baby food. 

I'm not sure I even remember my initial thoughts about Anna.  Remember my husband came on the first trip so I had never met her when they put her in my arms and she was mine forever.  I'm sure there was some shock as nothing can prepare you for what has been done or allowed to happen to these children.  Now I know that she looked very bad (compared to how she looks now.)  I had been told she was on a seizure medication, but when I picked her up, I found out that she had been taken off the medicine.  I was not told why. 

We went straight to the police station to apply for her passport.  The lights were very bright and it was noisy, two things I am sure she was not used to.  While we were there she appeared to have a seizure, so I emailed my adoption doctor back home.  She contacted the head of pediatrics at Tokuda Hospital in Sofia and they both agreed she should be admitted.  So our first night with Anna was spent in the hospital.  On Saturday morning, an EEG showed that she was having constant seizures.   She was also severely dehydrated.  She stayed in the hospital for several days. 

It was during this time that I had what I would call some crises of faith.  God was with us.  I never doubted that.  But he allowed Satan to sift me.  I know this because of the fear I felt.  Fear is never of God.  Satan was showing me some pretty horrible visions - things like I would spend all my time in hospitals from now on.  As a mom of eight prior to Anna, I have been blessed with disgustingly healthy kids.  We have had two minor surgeries over eleven years and only two broken bones.  I just haven't ever had to deal with real sickness.  And Anna has a lot of needs!  But I prayed and I know that so many of you were praying and the fears subsided and in their place came a new resolve and strength.  God is so faithful!

One of the things that helped me pull myself back together was Monday afternoon.  God gave us such a time of joy with her!  I was feeding her and she was doing well so I gave her a high five.  Well she loved it and started trying to high five me back!  I was stunned!  She kept up this constant interaction for an hour.  Here is a taste:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152689984580524


This gave me so much hope for what God will do in her life.

Damir and I were overjoyed on Tuesday when we finally got to take her back to the hotel.  The rest of trip passed quickly.  The trip home was not good.  She would not eat or drink much at all.  We made the decision to bring her straight to the hospital from the airport.  It was disappointing because we wanted her to meet the rest of her brothers and sisters and see her new home.  But she is getting such awesome care here at CHOA.  She has been seen by a neurosurgeon who wants to operate as soon as Tuesday.  Today she received an NG tube so we can get some nourishment in her.  I hate it because she really eats well, but I am also relieved because the constant struggle to get her to take any liquids was wearing me down. 

It is amazing how fast this little girl has wrapped us all around her finger.  How spoiled she will be once we can get her home! 

Please keep praying for her health.  Also, please pray for our bonding.  I hate that pretty much all she can associate us with is hospitals.  We don't have any choice; her health must come first, but I want her to trust us and not just think we bring needle sticks and little sleep.  Would you also pray for my employer LaGrange College?  Without my insurance, we could never have brought this little girl home.  I am so thankful for my job.  Please pray that God will bless the College with more than enough students to make up for the extra costs we have placed on it with Anna's care.  God is able to provide.

I will try to be a better blogger and keep everyone up to date on Anna's progress.  I can't wait to see what plans God has for her. 

Photo: For all the Anna fans out there. I would like to say that her popularity hasn't changed her, but truth be told, she's become quite the little diva.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Travel Dates!

We have travel dates!  My oldest son and I will be traveling to Bulgaria on March 27.  We will meet our Anna on the 29th and return home on April 5th.  I will post as much as possible while there.  I can't wait to share updated pics on our sweet girl!

There is still another sweet girl in Anna's orphanage who needs a family.  She is not listed on Reeces Rainbow anymore, but a family could request her file.  Meet Brandi.




Isn't she beautiful?  If God is tugging at your heart, contact Shelley Bedford at shele337@gmail.com.

Please keep us in your prayers next week!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Please Help Giselle!

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I have a special place in my heart for Giselle, a little girl who needs her family to find her. I am her guardian angel.  This means that I advocate for her and fundraise for her.



This Tuesday, March 12, will be a huge day of fundraising for Giselle!  She is part of Forty to Forever.

Forty to Forever is fundraising for 40 orphans, growing adoption grants and advocating for waiting children to find families and help the families in process to bring home a special needs child. Giselle is one of those orphans!  I am hoping to raise $400 for her on Tuesday.  This will put her Reece's Rainbow grant at just over $2,500 and she will move to the Moving Mountains page!  This will make her much more visible to families looking for their special child and give her family $2,500 to help them pay fees to bring her home (her adoption will likely be around $25,000.)

This fundraising effort is centered around the period of Lent. During this 40 days of Lent, a different child is featured with a fundraising goal, a daily Lent devotion and discussion. 

If you donate to Giselle on March 12, you can enter the giveaway of your choice.  There are some awesome prizes!

Shares:

Share on Facebook……………………..    1 entry
Share on Twitter…………………………. 1 entry
Share on your Blog……………………… 3 entries

Donations:

Give $2………………………………………… 1 entry
Give $3………………………………………… 2 entries
Give $4………………………………………… 3 entries
Give $5………………………………………… 5 entries
Give $10………………………………………. 12 entries
Give $25………………………………………. 40 entries
Give $50………………………………………. 100 entries

Please, please, give what you can to Giselle today.  She desperately needs a family.  I can't bear the thought of her locked away in a crib, receiving little if any love or stimulation.  Those that know where she is, say that it is not a good orphanage.  It is only through God's grace that she is still alive.

And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.  Isaiah 45:3

Giselle truly is a treasure hidden away in the darkness.  Please help bring her into the light today!  Click here to give!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Anna is Ours!

Praise God!  Sweet little Anna is now ours.  A Bulgarian court made it official on Thursday, but of course, God ordained it long before that!

Now we wait for our facilitator to issue travel dates so that we can bring her home.  We should know something in about two weeks.  That seems like forever!  I want to hold my little girl now.  How hard it is to love someone so much that you're never even met.  And how weird it is to know that she is mine, but that I can't get to her right now.  Can you imagine?



Today I bought her first little outfits.  I've never had a little, little girl, so it was very exciting!  Here are a couple of pictures:



I have to be careful when picking out her clothes because her head is so large.  I can't really buy anything that goes over her head unless it has a lot of buttons.  I am also not 100% sure of her size.  People who have seen her guess 9-12 months.  She is four!  Doesn't that just break your heart!  I was in tears while shopping because it seemed so wrong to be shopping in infant clothes for a pre-schooler.  I pray that God will restore to her all that has been lost.

I will keep you up-to-date when we receive dates.  In the meantime, we have to pay the last of our fees.  If you would like to help us reach $4,000 in our FSP, here is the link:

http://reecesrainbow.org/39085/sponsorrosencrants

Now, on to others waiting.  A few months back I posted about the handsome Emmitt.  He is still waiting.  I pray that his family will find him soon as he is about to age out.

Emmitt 2013 (1)

In the meantime, a project is underway to improve the orphanage in which he lives.  It really needs it!   Please read about how you can help here.

And please don't forget about my sweet Giselle.  She needs a family too!



Saturday, February 16, 2013

We Have a Court Date!

Great news!  We have a court date for our adoption of Anna!  God willing, she will be ours on February 21. 

We are so excited, but have much to do to get ready for Anna's homecoming.  We should travel to pick her up in four to six weeks.  Not much time!  To be honest, losing Nora threw us for such a loop, that we haven't done much towards preparing for Anna to come.  Must get busy!

My oldest son, Damir, will be travelling with me to get Anna.  He is very excited about going to Europe, as you can imagine.  I believe he will be a big help.

Please keep us in your prayers as all of our lives, including Anna's, are about to change dramatically.  We praise God for how works everything for the good of those who love Him!

Here is a picture of my sweet Anna:


I would also ask you to consider a darling little boy who lives in the same place as Anna.  He needs a family!  He has been passed over many times.  His name is Chad.



What a blessing he will be to his family.  If you are interested, please contact Shelley Bedford at shele337@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Hardest Post to Write

Sometimes words fail us.  God is so good to have given us language.  What a blessing to be able to communicate!  But there are times in life when our emotions are so raw (or so uplifted) that we just don't seem to have the words to adequately convey them.  This is one of those times.

We will not be able to bring Nora home.  There.  I have said it.  And once again I feel like my heart has spilled out of my chest and dropped on the floor. 

I will not be able to fully explain the reasons here out of respect for her privacy.  Her health issues should not be on public display.  So I will say what I feel comfortable with and pray for understanding for what cannot be said.  When we first agreed to adopt Nora, we had a picture of her face and a half-page of medical information.  That was it.  We stepped out in faith, fearing that once her file was returned, this precious child would never have another chance at a family.  We know now that that is not true; several children have been chosen after their files have been returned.  But at the time, there was genuine fear. 

As you've read on past posts, while Scott was visiting Nora in October, we were blindsided with the information from her doctors that her heart condition was so serious that she would not survive the trip to the US.  We chose not to believe that and began to seek out doctors here to find a way to get her safely home.  We were given much more medical information from her country.  And then news was devastating.

Again, I will not go in to detail, but based on everything we have learned, it is highly likely that the stress of the trip could kill her.  It is also unlikely that being adopted would bring any significant gains to Nora and could entail many losses.

So we have made the most difficult decision of our lives - to leave her there.  A piece of me will reside in an orphanage on the other side of the world now and I will not be whole again until heaven.  What comfort it brings to know that one day Nora will be whole and healthy there too and maybe God will allow me to love on her and hold her there as long as we both want!

We continue to work towards bringing Anna home.  Her health concerns are also significant, but we believe that adoption will be a blessing to her.  I have reports from others who have met her that she is just precious and so full of life.  I can hardly wait to meet her.

Thank you to all who have supported us prayerfully and financially through this journey.  We don't understand God's will in this, but we embrace it and move forward.  Thank you for continuing to walk with us.  We ask that you keep our precious Nora in your prayers.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Moment

Today I am not posting news, advocating for a child, or standing on a soapbox.  Today I just want to thank God that his mercies are new every morning.

Sunrise at Chatham Massachusetts CapeCod6-21-12105_zpsad46653f.jpg photo