Thursday, January 27, 2011

Adopting The Older Child

This was posted on Love Without Boundaries today. My heart breaks for all these children who will never have a family. If you wan't to advocate for these older children before they turn 14, please join the AdvocateforWC yahoo group and watch miracles happen.

"When many people think of an orphanage, I think they often envision babies and toddlers. I used to be one of those people myself. On my many trips to China, however, I began meeting and falling in love with the older children who have grown up in institutions, many who never had any true chance of finding a permanent home. Their faces and stories are in my heart forever now, and sadly many of my memories of these great kids involve tears. Tears from Jenny, who broke down on her 14th birthday when she realized that she had aged out of the adoption system without being chosen. The final realization that she would never know what it meant to have a mom or dad of her own caused her to fall into a deep depression. Tears from Lily, a 17-year-old girl whom I had given my jacket after she admired it. When she refused to accept it initially, I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “But of course you have to take it because you are like family to me.” And it was at that one word, “family,” that this normally stoic young lady broke down and sobbed uncontrollably, as it is the one thing that she longed for.

By far, however, the most emotional moment of my time in China came one night when I was able to meet with a group of older orphaned teens I had watched grow up over a five year period. Every time I would visit their orphanage, I would enjoy getting to know them more. They all seemed so close, such good friends, and they always had smiles for me when I arrived. That night, however, was a night when the kids finally let their guard down. It was a night of real conversation and sharing what it means to grow up as an orphan. Toward the end of the evening we were all in tears. Afterwards, one of the older boys stayed to talk with me privately. I am hesitant to even write of it now as it was such a deeply personal and emotionally raw conversation. I will share, however, that he told me that growing up without a mother or father “hurts more than death.” Children aren’t supposed to raise themselves. They are not supposed to grow up alone, which I know sounds impossible when you are growing up in a crowded orphanage. The reality, though, is that hundreds of thousands of orphaned children feel utterly and completely ALONE. I held this incredible and wonderful teen in my arms as he sobbed about how much he wanted a mom, and I can’t think of it now without great pain.

Why was I given the opportunity to be born into a family who could take care of me, while millions of children are born into situations so sad and filled with hurt that many people don’t even want to hear their stories? I have struggled with that question for years with no answers. But I do know that all of us who have been blessed to know what a family really is should make every effort possible to help those who are orphaned. If not us, then who?

The theme song for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was a song called “You and Me.” It has been sung to me by children in orphanages many times, and it always makes me cry. The words haunt me… especially for the older children who have grown up feeling so alone: “Put your hand in mine. You and me, from one world. We are family.”

How I wish those words were true in every person’s heart. How I wish everyone believed that we need to treat people as family and share our ever shrinking world. What a wonderful place this would be if every adult took the hand of a child in need and didn’t let go. To all of the older orphaned children who have aged out of the possibility of ever finding a family, I send my heartfelt prayers. You are not forgotten. And we will continue doing our very best to help in every way possible.

Amy Eldridge is the Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries.

Love Without Boundaries proudly advocates for adoption but is not an adoption agency. We invite you to contact with questions about a child we have featured and encourage you to contact your local adoption agency for more information about China’s Waiting Child Program.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Thank you to all who have been praying for Davids,his family has found him!!

Also, yesterday it was announced that a little 2 year old boy, who the care takers at Eagle's Nest called John Wayne, has also found his family. We have been praying for this boy over the past few months, and are so excited that he will have a mommy and daddy to love him, and he will finally beable to get the medical care he needs. We serve an awesome God, who does hear our prayers, and I am so thankful for all the people who advocate for these children who do not have a voice.

If you could also please pray for Quinn. He is 4 years old and really wants a mommy and daddy. His best friend was adopted a few months ago and we have all been praying that his family will find him. I also have lots of info on Quinn.

USCIS and the wait

We have been logged in with the USCIS since Nov 30Th and are waiting very impatiently to get our approval. We were just told yesterday that the wait is 45-50 days to even be assigned an officer. We thought our dossier would be in China by the end of Jan. and now we know we will still be waiting for the USCIS approval.

We also have not heard anything from the orphanage after they received Liam's package. We were hoping for some kind of news or update. Liam has congenital heart disease and will also need surgery for hypospadias. One of our biggest concerns is his sacral dimple,which is a hole that is found at the bottom of the spine. We have only seen a picture and cannot tell if the hole goes all the way to his spine. If the spine is open he will have spina bifida which can effect his walking and he will most likely have continence problems. The only information we have is from when he was 4 months old and now he is 15 months. We really were hoping they would tell us if he was bearing weight on his legs. Maybe we will still get an update,it is so hard waiting and now with the USCIS news we are totally bummed that our paperwork will not be sent to China for another month. We know the Lord has all of this orchestrated in His perfect timing. We are so blessed we found Liam so early,but now we have longer to look at that sweet little face and know it will still be months until we can hold him and bring him home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Praying Davids finds his family

I received this e-mail today and it is so hearbreaking to see these children lose their hope of ever having a family.

Subject: PRAY! He has one week left!

Dear Friends and Prayer Warriors:

I have prayed over the last few days about how to share this story, and I have no words to adequately express it. However, it has to be shared and I will do my best. Many who have heard it are so sick over it, our hearts just ache. We know God has a plan; is it you?

In January, 2010, I met an awesome child/young man at an orphanage in Riga, Latvia . His name is Davids. He was one of a few children we were introduced to that day for consideration in our Summer 2010 orphan hosting program. He was really sharp and smart, had a great sense of humor and looked you in the eye when he tried to speak the good amount of English he had already learned. I remember asking his favorite things to do and he didn't hesitate to explain he loved kite flying in the sky and dreamed to be a pilot some day! He also enjoys soccer, basketball, swimming and all sports. But, the thing that surprised us most was his age! He was already 15 and effectively the size of a 9 or 10 year old child. We asked the orphanage director more
about him later, and were told Davids is healthy, just small and has the kindest, gentlest heart. He generally plays with the younger group of kids because the older ones make fun of him and claim to be "too cool" to hang out with a guy his size. As for history, he has been in 4-5 different orphanages, but has managed to keep hope for a brighter future. He is a sincere and especially child towards younger children. Lego building is one of his hobbies! I remember, he made a joke when I asked him if he liked dogs and cats, a traditional question we ask. He said, "of course! But, I am no cannibal." And gave us the biggest smile of all! Later, when he was among the group and doing art projects, he drew a picture of a jet airplane landing under a sky that resembled the American flag. When I asked him to
explain it, he told me, "My dream to fly airplane and live in family in America !" From that point, he had us at "hello" and we were committed to helping him fulfill his dream.

For the summer program, Davids was hosted by a multi-cultural, multi-racial family and he did awesome! He was kind to his younger host brothers and sister and enjoyed just about everything they did. He especially liked to build and make things and play sports outside, with swimming being one of his favorites! He learned a lot more English and wasn't shy to use it either. While his host family was not his forever family, our team and staff was so thankful when we received a call from a couple who wanted to go and visit with him before his return to Latvia . We knew time was short, and we encouraged anyone who might be interested, to meet him asap. After one
meeting, the family who went, let me know they would be adopting him and how encouraged and inspired they were by Davids. After many discussions, we realized that he needed to know the plan, as his birthday was coming up. His 16th birthday, which means several things to an orphan. First, it means they are about to age out and can't be considered for adoption. Second, it means that they are on their path of graduating the orphanage and will soon be on their own. Third, it means life as they know it now: food, shelter, protection and security is about over. In the first year after a child leaves the orphanage, generally 15% commit suicide. So, it was decided for
me to talk to Davids when our interview returned to Latvia this past August and see how he felt regarding this adoption.

When I sat down with him, I had a translator with me, but he didn't need her. We sat on a sofa in the social worker's office and I asked him how he liked America and what he thought? He explained he loved it, and it was more than he ever imagined! I asked him if he remembered this particular man who came to meet him and spent time with him the week before he returned to Latvia , and he said "Oh Yes and we had fun!" I went on and said, "Well, this man told his wife about you and they want me to tell you they are so happy, and they want to adopt you." Davids' look was utter shock! He said, "Who, me?" and I confirmed it was indeed him. He said, "Oh yes! VERY VERY much YES! And, they want ME?" He was just the most excited kid I think I
ever had the pleasure to tell about an adoption. Most kids are shocked, but usually have to think about it and have several questions to ask before they really accept it and consider it as real. Davids', on the other hand, was just the happiest kid on the planet that day; his dream was coming true.

Last week, I got an email from his adoptive family. now just 10 days before his 16th birthday,it basically said they felt that they would adopt a girl they met (which was planned all along), but they no longer wanted to adopt Davids'. They had changed their mind. The next day, I got an unsolicited email from Davids' social worker in Latvia. This is what she wrote:

Hello Le Ann,
I wish to ask you about one of our boys, his name is Davids T. He was hosted Summer 2010 at a host family in IL. Since he was close to 16, we got information and you shared with him that there is family who will adopt him. It was not the family who hosted him, but another one.
Till this day we never received more information about the adopting family, and we confirmed that the Ministry also has no information yet. I must share, we are all worried and concerned. Davids became so nervous in this last month, his attention to everything is gone. Yesterday he was moved to hospital, because of problems with his stomach relating to the stress of not knowing. We know this all is because he is so close to his 16th birthday; it's on 23 January this year.

We don't know what to say and can't say anything to Davids because we don't know. It will be a shock for him if it's not true, he has so long lived with this thoughts focused on this adoption and a family in America. We wish to know the truth to share so he can know and be happy again."

We have tried to contact his family and explain, show them, what their
decision has done to this child. So far, there is no response, but more importantly, there is no time with only a few days that remain for someone to file the I800 with USCIS to adopt Davids'. I have explained to his social worker what the full situation is, and as a strong Christian, she has agreed to pray earnestly with us for a new family to come forward for this child! The adoption agency who was working on this case has agreed to do everything they can to expedite the adoption and assist where possible to get them through the system.

If you or someone you know is interested in moving NOW to adopt Davids', this is what needs to happen:

1. You must already have an approved home study issued by a Hague
Accredited adoption agency in the USA . It must be able to be amended to show you are approved for at least one child, a boy, who is age 16 or under.

2. You must be willing to file with the USCIS the form I800, which will specify Davids' as the child you intend to adopt, and it must be received prior to January 23, 2011. If done, this gives the adopting family 180 more days to complete the adoption.

Please join us in immediate prayer and action to locate and identify Davids' Forever Family!!! You are out there somewhere and God knows exactly who you are and He doesn't make mistakes. We just need to get the word to you about him.

Le Ann Dakake, Director of Hosting Programs, New Horizons for Children
678-313-8321 cell


Cathy Sawyer, An Open Door Adoption: 404-667-0694


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


We had an appointment in 2 weeks to get our fingerprints done at the USCIS in Tampa,but Rylan will be back in college by then. We tried calling them with no success and were told they do not take walkins. Today we arrived at the Tampa USCIS building without an appointment, praying they would at least let Rylan get his prints done. We walked in the door and pleaded our case and the man behind the counter smiled and we were in ,Praise God.  We are now just waiting for our approval and then all of our paperwork will be off to China. We are hoping to be DTC by the end of January.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


We had a great time New Years Eve with friends and family. Mike's brother and his family came for the week from Virginia and we were so blessed to have them visit. We love New Years Eve, as it is a time to reflect on God's goodness. We are so thankful for his unending mercy and grace, and I so often forget that God is orchestrating everything in our lives for His glory. I so enjoyed how the families shared what God has done in their lives and our goals for the new year. We also sang, ate and prayed together and the party wouldn't be complete without games and fireworks. We are so thankful to have such wonderful friends and I pray we will all grow closer to Christ this year, and everyone will have amazing stories of His faithfulness to share next New Years Eve.