Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Left Behind

Left Behind by Kay Bratt on March 31, 2011 Imagine this—you bring home your 9-year-old adopted daughter after years of waiting and you cannot reach the sorrow that she is expressing through her evening ritual of tears. You go to an online translator and through exchanges your daughter tells you she misses her sister. With more questions and probing, you are astonished to find out your daughter has left behind her twin sister and is grieving the separation. You were never told she had a sibling, much less a twin. This is not a fictional story and it probably happens more than we know. But these girls are possibly a bit different than some siblings who are separated at birth—Anna and her sister, Audrey [as Anna has now named her], were raised together in a loving foster home for years. The twins have one major difference to contend with—Audrey is blind. When the directors decided that Audrey was ready to attend a school for the blind, she had to leave her sister to reside at the school during the week and in the orphanage on weekends and holidays. But despite the financial hardships and the 2 hours driving time each way, the amazing foster parents of these girls took Anna to see her sister at least once per month until the time that Anna left China.

For Nikki to witness her daughter’s anguish was excruciating and prompted Nikki to find out more. Luckily, Anna could remember the phone number of her foster parents and through a friend from China, Nikki was able to contact the family and verify all of the startling information and even receive photos of the girls together. She was told that Anna’s sister is not considered approved for adoption, but the directors have been open enough to send information pertaining to the girl’s current wellbeing. Nikki was even able to arrange a phone call for Anna to speak to her sister during Chinese New Year when the foster family received her for a visit. Anna has explained to her mom all the reasons she worries about her sister and one of her concerns is that the children in the orphanage have a history of taking the clothes and shoes the foster family brings for Audrey and exchanging them for old, worn ones. She said they even take Audrey’s food if no one is there to stand guard.

It is obvious that Anna was ‘Audrey’s eyes’ and now she feels her sister is left without anyone to protect or guide her through each day. In the middle of trying to bond with her new daughter, Nikki is also trying to help her daughter deal with this blow and has even encouraged Anna to remember her sister. They have framed the treasured pictures of the girls posed together and hung them on the family walls. Anna has one framed photo of her sister that she keeps in her room and at night she tucks it under the covers beside her, so that she can feel close to her sister as she falls asleep. Heartbreaking—I can’t even imagine! I am a twin and this story has torn at my emotions like no other. I’m sure that Anna has to feel some sort of guilt that she is living a life that both of them have probably dreamed of, while her sister is still left behind in China. Like me, you are probably screaming inside that you hope Anna’s family can also adopt Audrey so that the girls can be reunited. But life isn’t always so simple and this story is proof of that. Nikki and her husband now have 4 children, all close in age. During the paper chase and agonizing waiting, they felt that Anna coming home would make their family complete. Obviously during this time they had no knowledge of a twin or it would have changed everything. Financially, emotionally, and realistically another adoption for their family is just not feasible. But Nikki has reached out to the adoption community around her in the hopes that a family would come forward and feel like Audrey is meant to join them. We don’t know what would need to be done to facilitate changing her status, but the first step would be for a paper-ready family to declare they want to parent Audrey. [and it would be amazing if a family in Wisconsin would be chosen so that the girls could grow up in close proximity.] Anna’s family does not want to push this tragedy to the back of their minds and go on with their life. They have researched and reached out to try to find a way to help Audrey but feel that they still do not have a resolution. What am I asking from all of you? Advice. Perhaps by some miracle we can find a family for Audrey and people who know the steps to help her will come forward and offer assistance. Some questions I have are what type of assistance is out there for special needs children of her status if she should be adopted? Financial assistance? Many times I have a family tell me they are interested but not financially able to adopt or provide for future needs. Can any of you calm those fears with your own stories? It is also my hopes that you will put the link to this story on your own social sites for others to read, and perhaps a miracle for these sisters will emerge.

White Mother, Black Adopted Daughter

This aired on ABC and takes place in a diner in New Jersey. You have to go down on the side bar and turn the music off to listen. It was great to see people at the diner getting out of their comfort zone to share about race and sad to see there is still prejudice.

Interracial Adoption Under Fire

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Long Adventure

We couldn't just be satisfied with going to Clearwater Beach. We really all wanted more of an adventure,it is spring break. Since we can fly for free with Mike's job why not fly to San Juan for the day and go to the beach there. So,we are all up at 4am ready for a day in Puerto Rico. We catch the direct flight and are on the beach before noon. We are having a blast and even have time to relax at Starbucks before heading back to the airport for our 8pm departure. When we arrive at the gate we find a plane has broken and there are now 160 people in front of us. By 10pm it is not looking good,so we grab some food at Wendy's and tell our sob story to some maintenance workers. They tell us to go back into the airport and wait at the gate and they will be able to help us out. All the hotels on the island are booked, because of the iron man triathlon being held all weekend, they also said the chances of getting on a flight tomorrow didn't look good, as all the cruise ships come in tomorrow. We make it back to the gate and are joined by 40 other people, who are also stranded at the airport. A gate agent came by and showed us how to flip rows of chairs and turn them into beds. Then the maintenance guys showed up with a few cots,blankets and food. What a great way to end the day!!! We did eventually make it out,but had to fly 8 hours to LA and then took the red eye from there to Miami and then hopped on a quick flight to Tampa. Our day trip turned into 3 days,but it was an adventure.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beach Day

The older boys were off from college classes this week,so we tried to fill up our schedule with fun things to do. The first day of spring break we went to the beach in Clearwater. It was sooo relaxing and we are officially Floridians, as the water was way to cold to swim.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


We were officially logged in on March 7th. Now we are praying for a quick LOA (letter of acceptance) It is taking between 30-70 days from LID to LOA, so now we wait some more.

We also heard back from Liam's orphanage that they will only send updates and pictures through the CCAA. Our agency has just sent another request. I'm not sure if the last request made it to the orphanage or not, as the CCAA is busy. Praying the orphanage gets this request and they send the update.

Here is the picture that a family just took when they toured Liam's orphanage. Liam is the little guy in the back on the right. We are so thankful for this picture, as we can see that Liam is standing in his crib. We were concerned that he may have trouble bearing weight on his legs, so to see him holding on to the crib was so wonderful. We know this is the little guy God has chosen for us and can not wait to hold and love him. We have been looking into issues with growth hormone difficency,because he is so small and off the charts in both height and weight. We want to be educated on this before we bring him home. Liam has several midline health concerns and low height and weight can also be part of that. I keep looking at this picture and wondering what his peronality is like and how he will fit in with our crazy clan. None of our children are quiet and calm,so I'm not expecting that. Poor Hope was probably the calmest and she just has had to put up with all of us,although she is getting more spunky especially now that she turned three. I love how each child brings their own dynamic to our family and I am so thankful for all the gifts God gives each child.

Help Find A Family For Qiong

Beautiful Qiong (pronounced Chiong)
Qiong was born in September of 1997.
She will age out this year when she turns 14...
forever losing her chance for a forever family.

Here's what is written about Qiong:

August 4th, 1999 – a 2-year-old girl sits along the roadside and waits for her parents….
The little girl tries to stand, but stumbles and falls. She has rickets, and her crooked legs make it difficult for her to walk, let alone stand.

Two locals happen upon the frightened child. They pick her up and scan the nearby marketplace for a clue, any trace of the person who has left her behind. They take her to the local police station. After an extensive search fails to locate the child’s parents, she is brought to the Social Welfare Institute. With no note left beside her on the roadside, she enters the orphanage with nothing but a pretty white coat wrapped around her, blue shorts and the petite red shoes on her feet.
She is given the name Qiong. And a birthday: September 30th, 1997.

At age 5, Qiong can walk, run and jump with great ease, her rickets all but healed. She likes cooking meals with the help of her caregivers and enjoys reciting simple Chinese folk rhymes. Her favorite rhyme is, “Little Tadpole Looking for Mamma.” “Little tadpoles are looking for their mamma,” she delivers with great pride. “Little tadpoles are looking for their mamma.”

On September 30th, Qiong turns 14 and loses her international adoption eligibility. Six months from now, Qiong’s hope of having a family of her own will be lost forever.
“All I want is a family,” Qiong says. “Just a family.”
A 13-year-old girl sits on the steps of her school, waiting for a family……

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Family For Anton !!

I don't have the details, but another huge praise. Anton has a Family. This little guy has had so many people praying for him and they have raised over 11,000 dollars for his care and adoption.

Praying for an update

We just sent our second request to the Changzhou orphanage, through Ann at Red Thread, to see if we get get an update on Liam. We only have information from when he was 6 months old and now he is 16 months, we would love to get an update. A family just posted a few pictures form their orphanage visit and Liam is in the back of one of the pictures. I just e-mailed them to see if she can send me the actual copy so I can post it. He is standing in his crib,which is a huge praise. We know he is so tiny and off the charts for both height and weight,so it was great to see him holding onto the crib and standing. It has been so hard not knowing his medical condition and not seeing any pictures. We are praying that someone at the orphanage will send us an update

Sarasota Florida Speech and Debate NCFCA

Rylan and Curran competed in the NCFCA regional qualifier in Sarasota and they both placed high enough to go on to compete in regionals, which will be held in Jacksonville in April. They did a great job and it was a wonderful experience to compete and meet all the families.

Quinn Has A Family

We are praising God that Quinn finally has a family. We have all been praying that Quinn's family would find him. Can't wait to follow this journey and see Quinn meet his daddy and mommy.