Monday, July 29, 2013

Ruben and JoAnn are married 20 years and are no strangers to International Adoption. They have a large quiver full of 11 children, biological and adopted, five of which have Down Syndrome. They had a desire to adopt early in their marriage but the idea was put on the back burner while they had their six biological children. Their fifth daughter Amelia was born with Down Syndrome. Adoption was reintroduced to the Torres family through friends in their church. In 2005 after searching the adoption websites, the child that grabbed their hearts was a little girl from Russia named Yulia. She was 2 ½ and had Down Syndrome. It became clear to the Torres family that God was preparing them for a calling to care for special needs children. A couple of years later in 2009 they found Reeces Rainbow and adopted 3 little girls with Down syndrome, Masha, Milena & Luda, from the same orphanage in Ukraine. In 2010, they returned to Ukraine to adopt a teenage boy, Marco.
Please help the Torres family through prayers and donations bring home another 14 year old girl with Down Syndrome &  Alopecia who will soon age out of the system. Stephie will end up in an institution if not adopted soon.  The Torres family believes that adoption is true religion as stated in James 1 :27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Boy and the Starfish

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.
As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.
The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,"I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. "But", said the man, "You can't possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can't possibly make a difference."
The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,
"I made a huge difference to that one!" 
~Author Unknown~
Thank You to those who have already donated to "Stephie's' fund through Reecesraibow.org. If you are not able to make our fundraisers, but would like to join our journey to get this child home...please go to reecesrainbow.org and click Sponsor a family...then New Commitments and scroll down to Torres Family! Your donations are tax deductible through Reecesrainbow and will receive a receipt for your taxes. 
I need to get busy with the paper work soon..One of the first steps is applying to Immigration...Then our Social Worker comes for a visit to start our home study...Then a 10 hour online class for Hague Country adoptions..then the paper work begins! AHHHHHHHH and what a stack it is! Here we go again!  Thanks to all who want to follow our adoption journey..

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Sunday, July 14, 2013


Please help us bring Stella home...

Please help us bring Stella home....


Our mission is saving special needs children from countries who look upon them as a curse or tabu on their family or culture. To us this is nonsense.. We believe all of God's children are worth loving and He has called us to care for orphans with special needs. Many say to us.."oh you are crazy!" Well to us James 1:27 strikes a cord in our hearts and we hear God's calling.. It's not something we would expect everyone to do, but we are willing and to sacrifice for a child who is in need....Please join us with prayer and donating to our chip in to help bring Stella home..

Another way you can help if you are loacl is to come to our Hair Cut a Thon for back to school haircuts for the whole family! This will be held at BeautyWorks at 296 Washington Street East Stroudsburg, PA Date TBA soon!..Haircuts will be $10 for each..Men, women & children!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

SAVING STELLA...

Well... we are back in the race! The Adoption Race! Meet Stella...She is 14 and will age out of the adoption system if not adopted...Our hearts are heavy and we will do what we have to and bring her home.. Stella also suffers from alopecia and is wearing a wig in this picture so the kids at her school do not tease her. The kids in Eastern Europe are usually not too nice to kids with a disability. They are already taught that these kids are a curse or taboo on the family they were born into..It is heartbreaking to us having hosted a girl with Downs last summer and she was abused by the kids in her boarding school. She went to school with typical kids and we could tell she had been through a lot there. My son translated the things she said to us showing she had been teased & called  those very names herself...It broke my heart we could not adopt her due to her combative behaviors. I had to make the decision to protect my children here at home.

Stella comes with a good report and a calm disposition. We are very excited to bring her into our family and  give her the love she deserves...Please join us by praying for God to meet all the needs to make this happen! Safety & health  for Stella and our family, and financial needs as well.

Please follow our adoption journey and follow our blog to find out what's happening!

Monday, July 1, 2013

SAVING STELLA...


Monday, March 26, 2012

Our little Host Child..Summer of 2012


Meet our little host child from Eastern Europe..Arriving Last week of June....First little girl with Downs coming with our agency! So exciting..but I have to protect her & love her and give her a great summer with a family who is Up for Downs!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Building a new future for Ukrainian people with Down syndrome
Posted on October 2, 2011 by Frank Buckley
Last year we began a three year outreach project in Ukraine. Just one year on, the project is already making fantastic progress improving support for people with Down syndrome throughout the country – far more than we could have initially hoped for.

We estimate that there are 10,000-15,000 people with Down syndrome living throughout Ukraine, including 6,000-8,000 children
I first visited Kyiv in September 2008 at the request of (what was then) EDB Business Partner (which, following a merger, is now EDB ErgoGroup). EDB was considering options for a new corporate social responsibility project and wanted to know if we could develop a project that would deliver a marked improvement in the lives of people with Down syndrome living in Ukraine – one of several countries where the company has significant investments.
Kyiv is a former member of the Soviet Union and a country which suffered great brutality in the first half of the twentieth century – first through the two Soviet famines of 1921-22 and (the arguable genocide) of 1932-33 in which over 8 million people died, and then subsequently at the hands of German and Soviet armies during World War II (when a further 7 to 8 million people lost their lives). Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the legacy of state control and corruption hindered economic and political progress. Economic output fell 40% during the 1990s. The Orange Revolution of 2004 promised change and despite political turbulence, the economy started to grow again until the global financial crisis of 2008. GDP then fell 15% in 2009. Per capita GDP is currently around $3,000 (around $6,700 based on purchasing power parity) – placing Ukraine among lower middle income countries.
Discrimination against the disabled, violence against women, child abuse, child trafficking and child labour are all commonly reported problems in Ukraine. In general, public understanding of Down syndrome is poor and expectations are low. There are very few early intervention services and very limited educational opportunities for young people with Down syndrome. Doctors, psychologists and speech therapists receive little training in learning disabilities and the limited information available is often outdated. Parents of new babies therefore rarely have an accurate understanding of the condition and maternity hospitals do not encourage families to keep their children. Indeed, it is a legal requirement that doctors offer to take the baby into care when diagnosed.

Around 70% of babies born in Kyiv are taken into state-run orphanages (perhaps more elsewhere).
With very limited public services and little encouragement from professionals or officials, many families make the difficult decision to leave their child to the care of the state. Thankfully, this is starting to change, but we still estimate that around 70% of babies born in Kyiv are taken into state-run orphanages. From birth until around 4 years of age, these young children live in a “baby home”. From 4 or 5 years, they live in a home for mentally disabled children. From 21 years, people with Down syndrome live in a hospital for mentally disabled adults.
There is limited special education provision for children with Down syndrome in Ukraine. There are residential and non-residential educational institutions (internats) for specific categories of disabled children ranging from those with severe disabilities to those with mild impairments and those with emotional and behavioural problems. According to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine, there were 136,000 disabled children in Ukraine in 2004. A reported 65,000 disabled children were enrolled in over 400 institutions.

According to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine, there were 136,000 disabled children in Ukraine in 2004. A reported 65,000 disabled children were enrolled in over 400 institutions.
We calculated that some 600 babies would be expected to be born annually (though official statistics from the Ministry of Health for 2002 and 2003 only record 330 annual births). Given this, we might expect some 10,000-15,000 people with Down syndrome to be living throughout Ukraine, including 6,000-8,000 children.
With substantial difficulties facing people with Down syndrome and their families in the country, a lack of public and private resources, and turbulent political environment, it was far from clear that we would be able to deliver a plan to EDB that had a good chance of succeeding in delivering marked improvements in the lives of these children and adults and their families.
We had tracked down a group of families in Kyiv who had started a national charity to support and advocate for people with Down syndrome. They had already achieved notable success attracting media attention to the plight of people with Down syndrome, holding seminars for families and starting to provide information to parents of newly diagnosed babies.

The new centre in Kyiv
These were considerable achievements, but this was still a fledgling charity, underpinned by a small number of families with few resources. The families told me about the challenges facing them, their aspirations for their children and how they wanted to improve support for people with Down syndrome throughout the country. We set about developing a plan.
It is easy to forget how much has changed for people with Down syndrome in Western countries over the past 40 years. It may not be enough, but it is dramatic. In 1970 life expectancy for people with Down syndrome was 30 years – now (where good healthcare is provided) it is 60. In 1970, people with Down syndrome were considered uneducable. Today (with the right support), we can expect most young people with Down syndrome to achieve useful levels of literacy and numeracy skills, and to learn much from access to a broad academic curriculum. Rising numbers of people with Down syndrome are employed and living with increasing levels of independence.

Education and Healthcare Conference, Kyiv, September 2010
Social change has driven much of this change – coupled with advances in our understanding of the particular medical and developmental needs of people with Down syndrome. Scientific progress driven by clinical, developmental and educational research has driven the development of effective medical care guidelines, early intervention techniques and better teaching practices. The drive for acceptance, inclusion and the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities has helped ensure better standards of care and support are put into practice.
With this in mind, the plan we drew up had five main aims:
Improving information and knowledge among families, and healthcare and education professionals to underpin the provision of effective, evidence-based health, early intervention and education services. This would involve the translation, adaptation and publication of up-to-date information about healthcare, early intervention and education, and the provision of conferences and seminars for families and professionals.

New early education services in Kyiv
Providing evidence-based model support services to demonstrate potential and to develop professional experience and expertise, and encourage replication across the country. This would involve the development of a centre in Kyiv hosting support groups, early education services, seminars, advice and consultation services. We would recruit and train professional staff to provide these services and subsequently support others to replicate them more widely.
Building expertise and capacity for service delivery and support within the Ukrainian Down syndrome organisation and across state and other nonprofit service providers to create the foundations for lasting improvements and ensure the long-term impact of the project. In addition to professional staff development, this would include helping develop the charity’s administrative, financial and fundraising functions.
Improving public awareness and advocating on behalf of people with Down syndrome to promote a more realistic understanding of the condition among the general public, health and education professionals and political leaders to encourage support for effective services and inclusion. This would include proactive and constructive engagement with governmental, non-governmental, professional and academic agencies, concerted PR and targeted campaigning activities.
Evaluating outcomes carefully to provide evidence of effectiveness and provide the justification for wider changes in public health and education provision. This would include documenting outcomes from model services, client satisfaction, family needs and researching standards in existing education and health services.

UK Ambassador to Ukraine hosts reception on World Down Syndrome Day
It was clear we could not achieve substantial change overnight and we agreed that we had to commit to a three year project to enable sufficient time to build a sustainable Ukrainian charity equipped with sufficient expertise to deliver a lasting impact.
Last year we finalised our plans and the project agreement between EDB ErgoGroup, the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation and Down Syndrome Education International. The refurbishment of a building in Kyiv to house the charity commenced in the middle of the year.
To mark the start of the project and to begin to spread current information about Down syndrome, we hosted a one day conference in September that offered information about Down syndrome, effective early intervention, education and healthcare, and introduced the Ukraine Down Syndrome Project. Speakers at the conference included Professor Sue Buckley OBE from Down Syndrome Education International, and Dr Phillip Mattheis, a Developmental Paediatrician and member of the US Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group.

New family services, Kyiv, March 2011
Turnout at the conference was excellent, with over 200 parents, educators, healthcare professionals and care staff from orphanages across Ukraine attending. Representatives from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health attended and the conference was reported on five Ukrainian national television channels.
In November 2010 the centre officially opened in Kyiv. In the eleven months since opening, the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation has enrolled 324 families in regular services including new parent support groups, early education classes, and information seminars. In addition, information and training has been provided to hundreds of professionals through conferences, seminars and translated information resources – including the first steps in the See and Learn Language and Reading program.

Children attending a new model teaching project in Kyiv
In a nearby internat (special school), a new model teaching project has recently got underway including children with Down syndrome in an experimental evaluation (officially supported by the education authorities in Kyiv) of more flexible teaching approaches designed to meet individual needs. Legislation was passed in recent years giving families the right to choose the type of school they wish their child to be educated in. However, this has not been backed up with the necessary resources and teacher training, nor the necessary flexibility with regard the state mandated curriculum taught in Ukrainian schools. One consequence has been a rapid rise in the numbers of children with learning disabilities (including children with Down syndrome and children with autism) attending academic internats previously only educating children with milder difficulties and behaviour problems. This model project, supported by funding from the Dutch embassy, Kyiv city education department and local companies, aims to develop curriculum adaptations and individualised teaching approaches suitable for replication and demonstrate how they can improve outcomes.

Addressing guests at a reception hosted by the UK Ambassador to Ukraine on World Down Syndrome Day 2011
On World Down Syndrome Day 2011, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Leigh Turner, very kindly hosted a reception at his official residence to mark the occasion and celebrate the achievements of the Ukraine Down Syndrome Project. The event was attended by ambassadors, government officials and business leaders from Kyiv and was covered by the major Ukrainian TV channels.
Over 1,000 people throughout Ukraine have already benefited directly from the project, which has attracted the support of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education, Kyiv City education and children’s services. Across Kyiv, some children with Down syndrome are starting to be accepted in mainstream kindergartens. The project has helped to establish parent support groups around the country, and encouraged the formation of a Ukrainian Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group.
Building on the successes of our first year, we are now reaching out to support change across Ukraine and to improve support for the many children with Down syndrome living in baby houses and internats.

Press conference launching Ukrainian editions of See and Learn Language and Reading, October 2011
DSE has supported the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation with information resources for translation, staff training and advice, contributing to seminars, conferences and advice sessions, and assistance with fundraising and business planning.
That said, the success of the project to date has largely been down to the excellent work of the families and staff at the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation. Importantly, this success has been underpinned not just by cash funding from EDB ErgoGroup, but also the expertise and voluntary assistance provided by the company and, in particular, through Infopulse - an EDB ErgoGroup subsidiary headquartered in Kyiv.
We are exploring opportunities to replicate this success in other countries (where there is no shortage of desperate need).
How to help
If you would like to support our efforts to improve support for young people with Down syndrome in low and middle income countries, please donate to our Global Education Fund either through Down Syndrome Education International (a registered UK charity) or Down Syndrome Education USA (a 501(c)(3) US nonprofit). You can also choose to specify you’re your donation supports work in Ukraine:
Donate to Down Syndrome Education International
Donate to Down Syndrome Education USA
You may also be able to help by putting us in touch with companies with corporate social responsibility or giving programs with interests in low and middle income countries.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Winding down Summer....


Had a fulfilling summer with the family...now we will wind down and change gears for school mode..The kids are excited to be getting back to see their friends & new teachers..not sure they care about the school work....I have been up to my ears in laundry and organizing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bumps in the Road: Surpassing Those Hurdles and Learning from Them

What did I learn this week? That life is a lesson and I will always be a student. Why am I saying this? Because, every day is different. Our routine or schedule may be the same but at anytime life can throw us a curve ball. Your train can be late, your car can break down, the school nurse calls to tell you that your child is sick, or maybe you learn life is not perfect.

Whatever the case, your day is never going to be the same and it’s learning to manage those curve balls that enables us to be strong, capable, and valuable individuals.

I am grateful today for my curve balls and learning about myself and family..not so fun while in the midst but later comes clear if all of life’s big problems include the words “indictment” or “inoperable.” Everything else is small stuff. Thank You Lord for the small stuff...

A quote I like:
A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.

Our trip to Florida & Myrtle Beach...


The start of our trip...driving & picnicking at the Rest area...

Our villa at Wyndam Bonnet Creek Resort on Disney property..



Pool Time!
I have set up a separate blog from this trip..It was a big fun one..so I will be added many pics for all our kids & their friends who came with us to view all year long. We had a great time..A labor of Love...www.summervaca2011.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Adventure to the airport!



Marco got to spend a little time with his old pals from his orphanage in Bucha...Wish they could have had a day together but we were happy to see them even for an hour..Here are some pictures.
The airport and boys together took me back to Ukraine for awhile...The airport was full of people heading back home to Ukraine and Russia & Eastern Europe..Our adoptions from Russia & Ukraine is big chunck of our lives and family...Our 6 bio children have loved and blended into a pot of compassion and culture.. not always bliss, but what family is a steady flow of that? That could get boring right? The most important thing to me is family time, and we sure have had a good time this summer together..we will be winding down soon and getting ready for school mode..The change of season and activities will be welcome although I will miss the time we had together all summer. Structure is a good thing in a big family whether you can achieve that yourself as a Mom or have the help of school etc.. I need the help of others..I am a right brain thinker and am a social director at heart...I need a good stable in put for most of the year and in the summer I get to be creative & free with our schedule & time. Too much of that is not a good thing for me...LOL Now it's time to have a little more organization and left brain thinking . Thank God hubby is a left brain thinker or we'd be a train without a driver! I married a good one...Someone once gave me advice..Marry a man that will meet you half way or further..he sure does that. I am very blessed.

Great Day with good friends & our kids at Knoebels...



Great time with another adoptive family we met while in Ukraine in 2009..

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My 3 little pips from Ukraine! Almost 2 years already!

This August will be 2 years since we brought home our 3 little angels with Down Syndrome! I feel so blessed to have been a part of a great big picture and making 3 little ones happy & secure..something they will never have felt if ended up in an institution...Please consider adoption or donating to a family working on bringing home some angels..Lord knows it's a lot of money and effort to do so. Some of the children have some big grants to help off set expenses..check out some at reecesrainbow.org
Ministry Video
reecesrainbow.org

Thursday, July 7, 2011

From Wendy Saunders...

For those who are curious about some very recent strides in research may I suggest a blog of a very close and trusted friend of mine. Her daughter participated in Dr. Capone and Kennedy Krieger's research trial. The purpose of this trial was to determine if the drug (Rigvastigmine) used in Alzheimer patients will be safe and beneficial for individuals with DS.... especially since they have linked Alzheimers patients with a 21st chromosome. I think you will find that Beth breaks down some of the more technical hard to read information into something easier to read along with some fun antics of her daughter, some endearing qualities as well as some not so pretty truths... (okay so I am partial to Hannah she is a house guest from time to time) However for those who do like the more technical information Beth does link to the original research and information. I have posted the link below which is the end of their experience of the research but if you are intrigued and interested Beth has put a link at the end of the post that will take back so you can read their experiences from the Beginning. Hope everyone has a wonderful day with all things good, calm and smooth coming your way. ;-)

Hannah's Shenanigans: Research Study 4th Visit
hannigans.blogspot.com
After much harassment encouragement, I entered the blogosphere to document the delightful (or otherwise) and unexpected moments of my younger daughter's life. Hannah was born in 1998. She surprised us with her extra chromosome, and continues to surprise us with her humor, intellect and obstinacy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Reeces Rainbow Reunion...






Had a great day at the Yogi Bear camp ground with all the families and Andrea! Now we can match the faces to their personalities..We almost didn't go because of the weather..It was pouring in PA and we went anyway and the weather turned out great.. Loved the campground and camping experience even if only for a day...Loved meeting the woman who brought us together with our kiddies and was so neat for her to meet them in person after only seeing pictures. Was good day over all. Long ride home though with one eye open but worth it! We left just before the fireworks so the littles wouldn't get scared.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adventure Camp!

We have 4 of the pre-teens/teens going to adventure camp...Seems the boys are having a better time then the girls..but they need to finish and follow through and I think they'll be glad they did..It is so neat all that they do there..The 1 st day was biking & wall climbing..yesterday more wall climbing and canoing & fishing..today not sure what they were doing, but they needed their rain ponchos..It just started about 2o minutes ago..so they're prepared..

Getting some stuff around the house done..inside & out..We made a fence to block the kids from being able to enter the pool area through the gate..Our pool guy accidentally left if open ..Uh OH! My 2 older girls with Downs found one of the younger ones near the low end..very scary..so we have finished our make shift 6 foot fence to block off that area..Also we are adding smaller wire fence to the chain link fence so they can't climb it...These little monkeys can do amazing things.. shocking & scary sometimes..

Need to go up in the attic today to find the goggles..Our pool will be ready maybe by the weekend...hope the weather will be good..

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Having a good summer ...

Been so busy with the kids & Life..haven't had much time for blogging..just enjoying. Our pool is almost ready for swimming...we got a late start this year..but soon enough it'll be ready. Also off to Florida sometime this summer with all the kids & some of their friends..Should be a fun trip...Marco has blended right in like he was always here.. He is speaking English pretty well and is hoping to lose the accent..."Lose the accent" has become a joke around the house along with "It's just impossible"..you have to say that with a thick accent for it to be authentic though!..

A couple of Marco's friends will be coming to PA soon and we will meet up with them for a visit..Also a teacher..This is so exciting that they will be within an hour from us..who would have ever thought! We are so happy that he can see them. He has transitioned so well that this will make for an an more secure feeling for him knowing her can see some old friends from time to time..a couple more are being adopted..one in CA..far but maybe he can email with him when he gets to America. This can help the other boy during his transition.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Please Help the Duekes bring home Katya!

Katya has some real medical issues that need to be addressed and needs to get to America for proper care...Please help this self-less family raise the last of what they need to break her out of the orphanage forever!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Every day this little boy comes up to me and talks & talks... I don't understand his language, but he is asking me questions, and saying something very adamantly. I know what he's saying... he wants me to take him home with Cole. The director said he wants a family desperately. He calls me Mama and my husband, Papa. It's tearing me up!

He wants what his friend, Kolya (my Cole) has. Someone to visit him, and bring him toys, and take him away from the groupa to play tag and hide and seek. A dad to wrestle with and throw a ball. He wants so badly to belong to someone!!!

Today Yulia said that our son was supposed to have been transferred, but the director kept him there b/c we were coming for him. He also kept Sasha and his friend Danyl, because a family had committed to them. But no one's coming now, and Yulia said there is "a man from the church" who will take these boys to live at a monastery! Sasha doesn't want to live in a monastery! He wants to play soccer and baseball, and ride a bike! I've mentioned him time and again on this blog and on facebook, but I'm flat-out PLEADING for this boy's future now! His and Danyl's.

It's not too late to start the process to bring them home! The director WANTS him to have a family! As far as I know he still thinks one is on the way... and I'm not about to tell him differently. Sasha still has a chance if someone will just step up and say, "I want him! He's my son!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life is Good...

Been very busy living life over here...All is going well with Marco..He fits in as if he always was here...doing well in school and we are very proud of him and all the kids.

We are looking forward to summer and this weekend kicking off the summer for weekend trips tot he beach. We will be taking a vacation in July to Orlando to do our usual Disney trip & maybe even Universal. Otherwise the pool is all we need and the beautiful tropical resort to relax and enjoy the many amenities. We will return there again at Christmas at our timeshare and see our family who lives there.

Getting our home in order for summer...opening the pool next week and doing some landscaping around the house done too. I have been without my own washer for a few weeks and looking forward to replacing that..but in the meantime throwing mega clothes away..Becoming minimalists as much as possible with a large family..The only thing left to heave is more clothes..Otherwise we live pretty simple.. I need a sign no hoarding allowed LOL.

All the kids are doing well and transition seems to be at a minimum. Everyone seems to have found their place and getting along fine. Can't ask for anything more..

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kelsey the Miracle Baby



Beautiful Inspiring story we can relate to..
Praise God

Monday, May 2, 2011

Been a while....

Well the statement holds true ......No news is good news!" Marco is doing very well and we are all happy he is fitting in. Everyday brings something new but all is going good. We have been busy spending time together and enjoying the kids. The great weather has allowed us finally to do things and get out of the house. Had a nice time at the beach yesterday and Saturday the kids loved the Animal/Snake farm local.

Today the Sears man is coming to fix our 2 broken washers...and a dryer..OY! That has been tough and expensive going to the laundromat! I am grateful for the simple things in life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

check out a great blog I stumbled upon...

http://stringsattachedministries.wordpress.com

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Patricia Heaton raising awareness for Reeces Rainbow..Please follow on Twitter

For years and years, companies have sought out and paid exorbitant amounts to get just the right celebrity to endorse their product.

Some turn out great, some bizarre, and some are just plain memorable.

Do you remember Bo Jackson, Bo Diddley, and a host of other big-time athletes, peddling for Nike? (here)

How about Gene Simmons & son pushing Dr. Pepper? (here)

And who can forget the classic Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola commercial? (here)

A good cause can always use the momentum and support of the right celebrity endorsement.

And Reece's Rainbow is no different.

Reece's Rainbow is an International Down Syndrome Orphan ministry committed to adoption, advocacy, outreach, and aid for children born with Down Syndrome, as well as other special needs.

Started by former Atlantan Andrea Roberts, the organization has recently made national press via People magazine, but is still seeking to gain further ground and reach more people on both national and international levels.

Just this week, actor Patricia Heaton stepped up and helped that effort tremendously, when she began backing Reece's Rainbow via Facebook and Twitter.

To have a well-known celebrity like Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle) backing them was great news.

Pictures from our trip to Virginia Beach...








Virginia Beach







Spent a couple days in Virginia Beach a little while back. We got to visit with the Daulton Family, who I must say we loved and have so much in common with. Dave Daulton speer headed getting Pastor Sasha from Ukraine to visit his church to take them on for support for missions. We had a wonderful time with them all and hope to do it again soon. Also met with Sherry white & kids..another great family who is in the process of adopting and traveling soon.

Home on the range...

Glad to be home more now...Ruben is working the day shift...So I am a house wife again! I have been so busy preparing for the adoption and working during the day that I need to stop that pace for a little while..so home is good..I had a fruitful morning already...I have the flylady.net on my mind..but didn't follow her daily digest faithfully yet today..One thing she says is to get fully dressed every day..so I have showered & dressed and all the kiddies are up & fed while I straighten up. For those of you not familiar with flylady.net...check out her website..she has some great info for mothers to use to help keep your houses in order..I need this Big time...They take on room at a time for about 4 days and just work on that..I think the goal is after a month you can have a finished house..Here I have to start over every couple days LOL But it does help me.

Marco is doing well..each week we get a little further in teaching him new things and rules in the house...We have learned that he can not or should not have soda & caffeine LOL Shortly after he morphs into a silly, wiry, buzzing child that cannot hear well! Soda is not usually on our menu, but since I am on weight watchers, there is diet soda here to help fill me up! I know it's not healthy..but it's a way to feel full..Every time I get a hold of myself through eating better...it seems to get the rest of my life into some order..maybe it's because I can stay awake all day LOL..Before I was eating way too many carbs and calories and border line diabetes would just knock me down..either to a chair or a bed for a nap.

Haven't been posting much but will try more now that I am home..It gives me a break from the cleaning..Woo Hoo! My other break will be spending more time with the littles and Ben who still home schools & is also sick.....Today I have 5 littles home for sickness...They will manage to tear up the house though if I turn my back..right now they are not moving..Oh I spoke to soon..Lillia is out of her high chair with a glove on ready to start some trouble!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Going just fine...most of the time ...

Well I got firm for the first time yesterday morning and it helped...Marco needed to hear that from me, because he has a new attitude..A good one! He came home from school a new kid..So happy..it's working! I was reminded of this psalm yesterday while cutting Pastor Thornton's hair...verse 4 in particular...Please pray with me for Marco to become the boy/man that we hope for him. He has many many great traits and respect for things we Americans don't...but he is also 13 YIKES! Can't say I didn't expect it...just keep laughing & take it as it comes...I am reminded from time to time by God, when I slow down enough to listen...that it's not about me...eeesh!

Unless the Lord Builds the House
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children [1] of one's youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. [2]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marco Loves School!

I am so relieved that Marco like school...His first day was yesterday and when he came home he was like a little boy...He was jumping on the trampoline saying "I did it! I did it! He rattled off his classmates who were from all over the world..China, Bulgaria, India, Honduras, and a few other places..He learned to spell his name in Hindi..then today in Egyptian...he got to draw...He is learning about the weather and having a good time. I am so happy for him and for me LOL...What a relief. He knows more English than I thought and he is learning more everyday. While I was working with him I saw how much he knew, all the letters and sounds...numbers and their words..colors...he can read in English with a heavy accent! And he can type on the computer what he want to get at...and he can write some English. SO he is well on his way to being an American! His social security card should be coming soon and his certificate of citizenship from the president of the United States!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Busy, Busy Busy

Having a busy time settling in and transitioning..Trying to keep Marco busy with new things other than the internet and xbox although it's every teen's fav....
Limiting this feels right to us.
Last night he experienced the laundromat and how many clothes I take at one time...Our other washer has a problem now...easier to just take it anyway with the amount I have. Not cheaper that's for sure...

Marco will start school this week with his twin sisters. They will show him around and take the bus in with him..He will have a teacher that will stay with him most of the day until his English is good. He will go in the 6 th grade which is where he was in Ukraine. He seems about at that level. The structure will be good for him and to see that America is not just about internet, eating and xbox! LOL

Praying for a smooth transition and for him to learn English quickly so we can have better communication. School will be the fastest way to get that accomplished. He also needs some new interests like sports. Doesn't seem to have much interest in soccer, more of a bent towards basketball. During the summer I will send the kids to adventure camp at Stony Acres and I am looking for some other day camp ideas that are local.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pictures from Party for Marco...





We are having a great time molding & weaving Marco into our family...He is doing great and we are so grateful to be home together to make memories.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Moving right Along....

Marco is doing great..he is moving right along into his school work. I found a great website that has worksheets in Russian & English. The worksheets cover the basics, food groups, body parts, rooms & their contents, plants etc...One column is Russian, the other is in English to translate and the next column is blank for him to write the word in English. He writes very good...He can knock 5 pages in a less then 10 minutes, so he's doing well. Ruben is the Math teacher here...he has been doing fractions with him. Also doing great, doesn't even need the scratch paper on most problems and does them in his head....He is learning about the United Sates, today they will make a topical map from dough and then paint it & label it.. He is learning everyday about our family routines and the children. Yesterday we had a talk about Down Syndrome and being a little more understanding & gentle when playing with them. He asked me which children had Down Syndrome..so I liked that! He didn't know for sure which ones. So the one I was referring to was Amelia..she is high functioning and doesn't take any poop from anyone. She is a great judge of character too...if she doesn't care for someone, it's usually because there's something about them that is undesirable or crooked LOL Maybe they can use her down at SARPD.

All in all we're having a great time with Marco and can't wait until his party on Saturday. He knows about it, but not the details. He will be very surprised because of where it is and all the people & music.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Marco in Kiev


Here is a picture our translator sent us from her camera It was taken at the Water Museum in Kiev.

Monday, February 28, 2011

This is it!

So here we are! This is reality...So far not bad...He is adusting ok..we are getting caught up on our sleep..The language barrier is there but we can communicate for the most part..Haven't had to use google translate too much yet... He likes Ben's toys...They are also playing some computer games and TV games..Play station 2 etc...

He loves the dogs & trampoline is the favorite so far I think out of everything he's doing..He & Benjamin followed me up into the attic today..so that was interesting to him..They found some Hess trucks and took them down...He still likes action figures so we have some of that...

Marco has a pretty good appetite and eats what we have here. So easy that way...I tried to explain we will do some school work today..learn English and do some math to start..I can show him geography type videos for now and we'll wait on history..Think we will start with Pennsylvania! That way we can visit some of the things he learns. Ruben is showing him multiplication cards and he knows them..just the English is hard, but he can write it too.

All is good and not many complaints...Still needs to put the toilet seat down. That's about it right now!! LOL

Saturday, February 26, 2011

We're Finally Home!

Glad to be on the ground is more like it! What a landing...Very very windy yesterday in Newark...I am petrified to fly and even more so now...So will only travel on the ground..maybe ocean..but not in the area where I read about the pirates in USA today..they are out of control too like the wind..LOL

I am already up & showered in case Marco is on the Ukraine time schedule as well...but he slept on the plane some and was up playing games with Benjamin for a few more hours after I passed out. I need sleep to remain sweet..LOL So I am ready for him if he gets up..it's 4:56 am.

When we arrived last night I think he had culture shock..I tried to keep it all calm... but that is kind of hard with 11 kids, and 5 dogs..they were all so happy to see us and it was something else!...I think he is a little unsure of everything.

..He is also not used to seeing kids with Down Syndrome..They were never in schools with him and were taken away after a few days old.. They are known as afflicted children in Eastern Europe as some of you already know, and have many labels that are negative. Some even believe they are cursed..So we will be undoing and detoxing his thinking from many false teachings around here. Once he sees the love the children give us he will get it.

He is young enough to melt right in with lots of love and patience which I will need prayer for, so all you prayer warriors out there get busy and thank you. Simple things like, don't forget to wash your hands after the bathroom, and use soap & shampoo when you shower.. I have heard these things from American mothers , so I think there's hope! LOL

I'll be back later..Going to start making food for everyone...because I know the bed is going to be appealing to me in the next few days for naps. The jet lag and time difference usually take a good week to get back to normal.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm coming home I've done my time....


Will fly out of here 5:35 am....Be in New Jersey by 3:40 pm. Very happy about that!
Had a marathon day again getting the Visa...but we did it! Just had dinner with Mary & Blake...I will really miss them...We had a lot of fun and laughs...I feel bad leaving them but they have contacts & friends here in Ukraine...I will pray their process goes as quick as ours did...
Please visit the Eli Project and donate to their ministry...
I will blog when I get home! Well...maybe the next day! For now I will be packing...
Dosvedanya!

One for the Road!


We had enough time to do some hair! Gave Shelley a color & some hilights before she left to board the plane!

Saying Good-Bye...



Been busy over here, no time to blog yesterday...Had some visitors, The Burman's..it was nice to meet another American family adopting. They will have 5 special needs kids when they are finished. Their children are adorable. It was funny here while all of us including Marco were on electronic devices talking at the same time or making noise..All contacting family or playing computer games..

Yesterday while the Burman's rested in our apartment, Marco & I were out with Natasha taking care of passport stuff/ pictures needed to be enlarged so we made 2 trips to the US Embassy and then met with the Man who took care of Marco for 3 yrs while he was younger. What a sweet man. You could see he really loved Marco and it was a little emotional when we parted our separate ways. I am so glad we had the difficulty with the paper for the passport so we could meet this man..He gave us a foundation to work with and also provided some kind of roots fro Marco from his Homeland. His father is probably alive here some where and so if he ever asks we have his name and picture. We promised Aleksander that we would write to him and send pictures especially the ones above..He really responds well with men. He will have lots of time with his brother & Father once home..I think we will be putting in a basketball hoop and slab of black top! This is his favorite sport and Benjamin too...Also Dad is a good teacher because he grew up in Manhattan and one of the favorite game of the kids there too.I guess "football" is not on the top of his list anymore! Although he can run down the players name quickly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Went for lunch in Kiev and flea market in Svet Ochin today..





We found this guy very interesting with his skin head hair mohawk and cork screw beard..and strange earring on the other side..not sure what he represents at his age...

This morning we went to apply for the passport & get Marco's photo done..So we are hoping for the passport by Thursday earlier enough to get a 3:00 appointment at the US Embassy...No longer can you have your appointment & get the visa in the same day. This we can then get Friday and take Marco to see the Doctor and be able to fly home Saturday 5:35 am~!! Here is also a picture of the metro.

Then we met with Mary & Blake for lunch and took the metro to Svet Ochin to hit the flea market..It was so so cold..we bought some scarves...We managed to have some laughs though despite the cold..Here is a picture of the people I drove crazy for the tights for my girls..They have very thick tights here like in Russia when we were there back in 2005. The man from Afghanistan translated for me a few times with the lady who had the tights..He is so nice & funny..He is here with his wife && son..He so much wants to go to America..I guess it's hard to get a visa to go...At least he is out of his own country...I am sure he is thankful. I find it amazing how people are the same all over the world..We also met a nice couple at Marco's orphanage adopting a little girl..Marco speaks Italian so they had a very good conversation & he tried to communicate with me & for me...this was funny..Then my translator came over & translated for Marco to me...a train of languages..They were so nice & very much like us...trying to get the info on this little girl and how her personality was..I love to meet people and talk to different people from all over the world..