Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm Failing

I've been single minded.

Staying off the internet.

Refusing to blog.



We have 14 products due out this spring/summer and I need to stay focused.

Hover Effect

I'm HOPEFUL that the first of those products will be finished today!

Focus, Julia.


But then I take a quick break and slip into the Reece's Rainbow Facebook room where people are single-mindedly focused on advocating and raising money for families and doing whatever they can for orphans and my single-minded resolve just goes to pieces.

How in the world can I concentrate when I see Terri Casebier in that room helping to raise money for this family and that one and yet is NOT funded herself and is leaving in a LITTLE OVER A WEEK??

How in the world??
How can I concentrate when I see so many families with such great need?

I can't.

I can't do it.

I'm failing.

My single-minded resolve is out the window on this Friday morning.

I'm blogging this morning.

For a few families who are leaving REALLY SOON and need help NOW!

The Casebier family

Terri is crazy!!  She is leaving in nine days and spends her days yelling for other families.  She's the reason I am blogging this morning.  She's  getting these two darling little ones!  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SOW INTO THIS ADOPTION!

Brandy Brielle

I am so humbled by Terri and her willingness to lay aside her own need for others around her.  Will you help me bless her today?  Sow into her adoption.  They are about 7,000 short of what they need!! They are leaving next weekend!!


And after you donate to them... will you please help a few other families who are leaving soon and in real need!!

The Mayr family

Remember Rita?  I was yelling for her last year!  Well her family leaves TOMORROW to go get her!  She has arthro like Aaron.  Precious Precious!!  I'm figuring that I will run into them at Shriners one of these days...  Sweet reality!


This family is awesome!!  Kelly is crazy too.  She's been shouting along with Terri for other families.  Yes, they are short.  By a lot.  It isn't stopping them.  They are boarding the plane - willing to go into debt to get their little one home.  Every little drop eases their burden!  Every little drop matters.


The Thorp family

They picked two little sisters to adopt. Margaret (pink) and Merry (purple).  Precious sisters.  But in February they received the devastating news that Merry had died of cancer.

Oh Sorrow upon Sorrow.

The Thorps leave in a little over a week to bring Margaret home. Maybe they will have tucked another sweet one or two in their bags before all is said and done?  They are not closed to that possibility.  Not as a replacement for their wee one.  Never.  But God has opened this door and they are going through.  They are not funded.  Short by thousands.  I know they would be blessed to have some help! Tracy has been another one of those crazy yellers!!  Adopting families tend to be the most giving people I have ever met!  Even in their pain.  Maybe because of their pain.


The Bloom family

Remember Barton??

Well his family is boarding the plane TOMORROW to go get him.  Not just him though... They are also getting Theo and Orion and are FULLY FUNDED for those three boys...

Theo 2013 (1) Orion

But that is NOT the end of the story!


The Lord has opened the door up for them to adopt one more.  Evan.

Hey RR friends,
I am doing a shout out for the Bloom family.   They leave in a couple of days.  They are not adopting one boy (Theo), not two boys (Orion), not three boys (Barton) .. but also hoping to adopt a Fourth boy (Evan).  Imagine how overwhelming this must be … especially if you are concerned that you will not have enough money to adopt the 4th child (Evan).   Evan is bedridden.  His future is very grim.    The Bloom family is his MIRACLE! They need us now.   Every single child and/or adoption is worthy of our efforts and money but I am hoping that at least a ¼ of us are able to donate $5.   I believe they are estimating atleast another $3000 is needed but this number certainly could rise with any unexpected event!!!      This family is saving 4 older boys from life in an institution.     Kayleigh has been such an advocate for so many of the children!   I know that whatever you are able to give will be truly appreciated and a blessing to the family and the boys.
Thanks everyone :)

It is a GOD story and I cried when I read it.  He's desperate for a family and they are desperate to adopt him.  Simple.  The ONLY thing standing in their way is a $3,000 dollar price tag.  Yep.  That's it. 

A wee bit of money for a precious treasure to find a home.

They are packing their bags and whispering prayers that the Lord provides what they need. 

Want to be a part of God's answer??


I'm failing on this Friday.  So much work to be done and I sit here with tears flowing.  Families in need.  Babies who need out.

I'm going back to my writing now. 

Trying to get ONE product finished today!

Trying to be single-minded.

Failing terribly.

Whispering prayers as I go.

Will you donate $5.00 to each family?  How about $10.00?  That's only $40.00.  Would you consider taking $100.00 and spreading it around?  How about $100.00 each?  It is Friday for so many.  Payday. 

All four of these families are sacrificing everything to cross that ocean.  All four are leaving in days.  All four have been advocating and yelling for other families.  All four have jumped a cliff and trusted that God would provide. 


Please don't pass these needs by!



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Shriner's Recap

It's Sunday night.
Aaron and I are still in recuperating mode from our Friday Shriner's trip.  We left Friday at 3:00 am and returned home at 11:30 pm. 
It was by far one of the longest and most exhausting trips I have done.  Of course making that trip at the same time we are burning the candle at both ends doesn't help.
Aaron was of course amazing the entire time.

He rarely complains and just takes everything in stride.

The very hardest part was finding out that he is back to wearing his braces all day AND all night. 
With arthrogryposis... it is often a two steps forward, one step back condition.  Three years ago we did massive rounds of serial casting to get Aaron's feet flat and straight so that he could walk without falling.  After those casting rounds Aaron wore braces night and day for the next year and a half.  When everything looked good, we were  able to graduate to just night braces.  Last year when he had his major triple surgery, we set aside the nighttime braces for several months since his legs were in casts.  When he was finally able to go back to the nighttime braces... he had outgrown the pair he owned.  So...when he had the plates removed in the fall he was fitted for new braces.  Unfortunately we did not make it back up to Shriners until Friday due to sickness and snow and scheduling issues.  That is a LONG time to go without braces of any kind.
His feet are no longer flat and he has gone back to walking on the front part of his foot. We knew he wasn't walking correctly but we didn't know why... Not until he demonstrated his walking to the doctor did I see what he was doing. 
So we are back to full-time braces.


Aaron's eyes filled with tears when he was told but after the doctor told him that braces would have him walking straight again he was fine. 
And I promised him that he would have brace-free time so he can still build his Legos because my boy does all of his Lego creations WITH HIS FEET...
This is an Aaron Nalle EXCLUSIVE Mini-Van!
To be honest... I'm the one who is having the harder time with these awful things!

I have been grieving his loss for the last 48 hours.
He's the sweetest little guy with the most accepting little heart.  He bears his disappointments so well but dang it... I wish he didn't constantly have to deal with those kinds of disappointments!
It just kind of stinks tonight.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Shriners Bound

We are on the road... 

Thank you to everyone who poured into Renee and Alan's need..  They have all they need with a beautiful cushion.  Please pray those babes home.  

Pray them home. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Urgent Need

I am posting this tonight for Renee and Alan who are across the ocean in a very hard situation...
I am not able to write a blogpost at this time (Aaron and I are leaving for Shriners early in the morning) and as I wrote this morning.. I am in a huge writing I am just cutting and pasting from a friend's (Jennifer Doloski) Facebook page .... 
 "Renee and Alan are at the end of the process of adopting five children...

Two of the five are medically fragile. As in, the situation was so scary that last weekend several friends raised the airfare to fly a nurse/friend/adoptive mom out to help the family get home. 

 Those two babies will go, literally, from the airport to the hospital. Their doctors are already on alert.
  The nurse MUST be home by Saturday - she has a job and a family to return to - and this should have all been very simple. 
 But Lufthansa staged a planned strike this week, and now airfares have SKYROCKETED. They paid $717 to fly the nurse friend out there last weekend, and now that same flight is selling for $2900 - for a ONE WAY SEAT. The first quote the family got this morning to fly home was for $23,000. Their travel agent - who is usually able to access humanitarian fares - is also hostage to the increased fares from the strike. (Fares are up because people couldn't fly all week and are now scrambling to get on flights - so, of course, the airline takes advantage of this by charging more.)
  Last we heard the family had a quote just over $13,000 to fly everyone home on Saturday, with their nurse, and with doctors waiting for their arrival. They need just over $5,000 to be able to book the tickets and come home. 
 (If tickets were still at last weekend's $700/person, they would have funds enough.) 
 I know this family. When we raised the money last weekend to send out the nurse, we did so privately, both for the protection of the family and because we - a group of their closest friends - were able. But the situation is desperate now and we have been given permission to beg for donations to get this family home and get those two boys the medical care they desperately need. Please pray for this family, and if you can make a tax deductible donation - please do. "
Will you help?


Their FSP needs to read $48,987.00

The Crunch Is On

That's this blog.
I miss it.
I would much rather be writing here than working on curriculum.
But the crunch is on.
Rob and I look like zombies right now.  We are writing and creating as fast as our fingers and brains will go.  When we try to sleep our brains will not shut down.  We have FOURTEEN products for our Year 3 and at this moment NONE of them are finished.  Some are almost. Some are close.  Some are halfway.  Some are not started yet.  Ugh!
Hover Effect
We have people lined up ready to buy these products that are not finished.  It is making us a bit insane in our little house in the woods.
Please bear with me.
I have not stopped caring about the orphan.
I have NOT stopped caring about the families.
I have NOT forgotten my promise to share about visiting our Lost Boys.
I'm just drowning in curriculum writing right now.
P.S. - If you are on Facebook and use BiblioPlan... Some of the BP moms started a cool BIBLIOPLAN USERS group.  Come join.  Get ideas.  Support.  Encouragement. 
P.S.S.... Last Friday I shared about the Dewberrys ... they needed $8,550.00 to be fully funded... Well as of this morning they need $3,813.00.... WOO HOO!!! $5,000 + in less than a week!! 
If you haven't given to them.... PLEASE DO - CLICK HERE ... 
Nicole is PRAISING GOD and packing her bags all at the same time... She's crazy like that!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Slow Down!

It goes too fast.
It seems like only yesterday I was holding this sweet babe in my arms.
But yesterday he turned 16.

His laughter. 
His pure zaniness.
His gifts. His intelligence.
His achievements.
His sweetness.

Slow down!!
Sixteen is too fast.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Builder

I don't know what he is building...
But whatever it is... he is working hard.

Stopping only long enough to give me a cheesy smile..
And then back to work!
Littlest is LOVING the coming of spring.
Last year at this time he was covered with casts and his misery index was off the charts.  This year he is cast free with NO surgeries in the wings and totally enjoying being outside every single chance he can get. 
Next week we  travel to Shriners for a follow-up and new braces.  We were actually supposed to follow up and get the braces all the way back in November but sickness forced us to postpone that trip. Then we were scheduled for February but a snow storm prevented that trip.  So we are trying again!  I'm hoping he hasn't outgrown the braces before he even gets them! 
Spring break is next week and Aaron is TOTALLY BUMMED.  He LOVES school.  He loves his friends and he loves learning.  He is now reading simple CHAPTER BOOKS which blows us totally away.  His reading is progressing fast although he struggles to understand/retain what he is reading.  Being locked away for six years from any and all experience is a definite setback.  But he is progressing.  I don't know if/when he will 'catch up'. Most days I try not to care.  He's nine and is in first grade and has the sweetness and vocabulary of a pre-schooler.  He thinks mechanically beyond his years and understands way more than he can say.  He's happy.  He's funny.  He's the messiest child I've ever met!
I love him more than words can say!

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Waste?

Several years ago I was given a huge gift. 
Not a gift I was to keep but one I was to give away.
A donor offered me a $10,000 matching grant and told me I could choose the child or family.
I was given the matching grant at the end of March. 
I was absolutely overwhelmed with the offer and was terrified at the same time.  How in the world was I going to pick a child or family and how in the world was I  going to get $10,000 matched???? 
This was at a time when matching grants were rare.  
I had no idea what to do with it.  Rob and I went around and around praying and considering.  Weeks went by. Then a month.  Then two.  I went back to the donor and begged off.  I wanted them to do the picking.  Find someone else.  I could NOT raise $10,000.00.  My life was crazy.  I had too much on my plate.  I couldn't choose.  Etc. Etc. They pushed the money back into my lap.  Pray some more.  God will lead.
So we prayed.  We considered.  We had no idea.
Until I heard the story of a little girl named Taylor who wanted a family.
And a family who wanted her.
They were in desperate need as their dossier was already in country and they needed over $20,000 in less than 2 weeks.
I sent the link and the story to Rob.  I went out for the afternoon to do some shopping and while I was gone I felt that familiar pounding.  This family. This is the one. When I came home Rob came up to me and said we should use the matching grant for this family.  I love my husband and I love his heart.
We didn't know the family.
They weren't even on our radar.
But it was clear to both of us almost immediately that the matching grant was for this family.
We had 10 days to raise the money.
I was terrified.  I contacted the family and they were so blown away they thought it was a scam.  It took a lot of convincing to prove to them that it was truly for real.
We laid out the matching grant and the need and within 2 days the money was raised.
You can read the story HERE and HERE.
It was the first time in my life that I had ever been part of anything that crazy and amazing.
And what made it sweeter was that in the end there was enough raised so that not just one child... but two were adopted..
When the family was in country they saw this sweet little treasure and just had to go back and get him too.
Though I had e-mail and Facebook contact with the family - it was not until this past December when I was across the ocean that I met in person the Mama of those two babes.
Nicole was in country to adopt an older boy who begged for a family. 
I was helping Carla bring her three treasures home.
I was so excited for Nicole over her adoption.  I met her boy, David, and I loved him.  They had tried months before to adopt three older boys but in the end all three stayed.  This trip was a total leap of faith.  She was so excited to be adopting David and I had no doubt at all that he wanted her to be his Mama.
But after Nicole flew back home - his family who had abandoned him since he was six - moved into the picture.  He had to make a choice and he chose his family.  There are parts of this story that are not mine to share except to say that Nicole was absolutely heartbroken. 
She's a stubborn woman though.  I found that out about her when I met her in person.  Stubborn and determined.   And she's a bit crazy. 
She's willing to give chances to older boys when everyone else would run out of the room as fast as their legs would carry them.

She doesn't fall apart when one says no.  She's willing to fight for another. And then another. 
I love her.
We are kindred, crazy spirits.  My time with her in December running around the city was a time of laughter and joy.  She's passionate and driven and despite losing one boy after another... she's not quitting.
How do I know???
Because she happens to be adopting two boys who were on my desktop for weeks as I prayed over them.
Murray (2) 30728131651
Murray and Anthony.
I love these two boys.
And I am believing and hoping and praying that they recognize what they are being offered and grab hold of it with all of their being. 
Nicole and Joe Dewberry have been bashed by many over these boys.  I get it. Each time a boy says no it is a loss of funds.  A waste. Some would have them stop.  Give up. 
Yes.  It is a loss of funds and a number of boys did say no.  But what you can't measure on this side of heaven is that they were given a choice.  Those boys can never say that they weren't offered a family.  They can never say that they were not loved.  They can never say they are not loved. 
Emir ran away.  The Rowes spent thousands to cross the ocean only for him to run away.  A waste?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  This side of heaven we may never know the seeds planted in his heart.  And that's the hard mystery.  Does it matter?  Was it a waste?  I don't believe so.  Each boy, for the rest of their lives, carries forever the memory of the extended hand of love.  Someone crossed the ocean for them.  That can't be erased from their minds and their hearts.  They carry forever the whispered prayers of the parents they rejected.  Each boy will go through his life with a prayer covering that was not there.  That covering cost thousands, yes.  But not wasted.  Not wasted.  Love is patient.  Love waits.  Love is.
Murray and Anthony both have the power and the ability to say no too.  Adoption is a risk. 
Do the Dewberry's walk away because other boys have turned away?
I would not be so brave. 
They are.
I stand up and applaud their courage.  They are walking through fire right now.  Nicole leaves in 17 days.  They need to raise $8,550.00. 
I'll be honest. I'm sad beyond words that David is not one of the boys she is bringing home.  I was as much in shock as Nicole when he changed his mind.  I couldn't think about it for a long time without wanting to punch someone.  My heart deeply hurts for him.  But I am beyond overjoyed that Murray and Anthony will be part of their family.  Anthony is in a terrible place.  He is abused on a regular basis and desperately needs out.  Murray is a bright boy who wants a family more than anything in his life.  Neither boy has a future in that country.  To know that they will be part of the Dewberry family makes me leap for joy.  As soon as I heard the news I laughed out loud.  I have not one bit of doubt that this is a good and right decision. Not one.  Neither does Rob.  Like I said.  I love his heart.
True.  One or both of the boys may say no but they are worth the attempt.
I don't have a $10,000 matching grant although Nicole does have a $500.00 matching grant. 
I don't have prizes.
I just have a story and a family I have come to love over the last few years.
It is a risk. 
Adoption is a risk.
 I promise. It won't be a waste!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I am home.
So so glad to be home.
Gaylord Opryland
Did you know that the Gaylord Opryland Resort is the 2nd largest in the country?  I didn't either until I walked in the building.  Goodness gracious that place was not your typical Motel 6.  I confess I was so lost at one point trying to find my room that I was walking around with my key card begging ANYONE to help me find my room.  Thankfully a nice lady at the Irish Pub took me in hand and walked me to where I needed to go.
It was a wonderful convention despite the fact that my booth was located in the very last row and was the very last one. 
We were BUSY.  Swamped at times.  I am exhausted.  A good kind of exhausted. The kind where we worked hard and did well and I came home safe and sound to a loving husband who held me in his arms for a very long time, and a son who whispered in my ear that my cooking is better than daddy's and a littlest who went hiding so I could come find him.  That kind of good exhausted.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Writing this is hard.
I'll be honest.  I'm in the middle of packing and preparing for my trip and it would be so easy to just not type out these words. 
Rob saw the news first early this morning and told me as I was getting dress.  I cried out to him and went downstairs with the heaviest of hearts.
Safely out of Crim*ea.  Finally in a family.  Days from touching down on U.S. soil. 
He ran away.
I'm going to share Janice's words because this is her story to share:
From Janice this morning:
"In a very unfortunate turn of events I am sad to report that we will not be bringing Emir/Nathaniel home with us. He has made the decision to stay here in Ukra*ne instead. We always knew that him changing his mind was a big possibility, it always is with older children, but especially with him because of his uncertainty from the beginning and saying no to adoption the first time. It is a huge decision for these children to be given the responsibility of making, especially when they have always been told what to do and have no experience in choosing anything, certainly not their life's future.

In the end, he was unwilling to leave all that was familiar to him- his friends, his language, his sister- to venture into the unknown in America. He was very torn, he wanted a future badly and had plans, but he was too scared to leave Ukra*ne behind. I understand this, and we empathize with him, but at the same time we are very disappointed and angry with him that he didn't make this decision sooner. He was confident through court, and even up until last Saturday night as we discussed his future in the US, talking about the college he hoped to attend, musical instruments he wanted to learn to play, etc. Then Sunday it seems the fear crept in.

I just wish we had known about his uncertainties sooner, not after so much time and money graciously donated by others, was spent. That pains me. That is where the anger comes in. All the favors given, the effort out forth for the sake of giving him the love of a family and a future. Because of that, it is hard not to feel deceived and used even while I have sympathy for him, at his young age, having to grapple with all these decisions. I really don't think he has any clue how much effort went into this whole process.

So to everyone who had the best of intentions and the kindest and most giving of hearts, I say thank you and I am sorry. We were all hoping that this adoption would have a good outcome, that he was being honest when he told us his greatest dream was to have a family and come to the US for a future. We hoped this desire would be enough to propel him forward. I apologize to all of you who so graciously donated your time, energy and funds so quickly and without a second thought, so that we could return to adopt him before his time was up.

I pray for him now, returning to Crim*a, where there is so much unrest and so little hope for him in the future. I pray in time that he does not come to regret his decision. I pray as well that he stays safe, not only in the midst of the upheaval there, but also because he is about to turn 16 on March 31st and soon thereafter will no longer have the protection of the orphanage. His time there will be up.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so selflessly during this adoption. All I can say now is that we tried, and we tried hard. I am glad for that at least, that there are no lingering "what-ifs" in our minds. We did all that we could.

I am also glad to know that he said our family was not the reason he didn't want to go. It wasn't us or anything we did. That at least is reassuring. It was simply that he couldn't bear to leave it all behind.

So please pray for him and his heart, and his future. That is all we can do now. At some point I will write about the different events of the past few days and tell more of the story, but for now this is enough.

Thank you all for you love and support you have shown to our family and towards him. We are grateful."
He said no.
He ran.
It isn't the first older child we have advocated for who has said no.  Back in December Denis also said no.  Nicole was getting ready to board the plane for court when he told her not to come back. 
It knocked me off my feet because I met the boy.  I saw him with Nicole.  I know he wanted to be adopted.  But in the end - he too said no.
I am grieved today.
Grieved that Janice is sitting in a room across the ocean with one less son in her family.  Grieved that he turned down an amazing family and an amazing life. 
Grieved because I asked you to give and you gave.  So freely.  So generously.  For one boy who begged for a family and then changed his mind.  For another boy.  Same story.
Grieved at the loss for both of these families.  Grieved at the future that looms ahead for these boys.
But if I had to do it over again... would I?  Would I yell for them?  Would I tell you?  Would I give you the opportunity to give?  Would I lay down the need knowing that they could.. they might.. they just may say no... Would I do it again?
How could I not?  How could I just walk away when some do choose to say yes?  How could I not hope that the child would reach out and grab the Love that is being offered?  Recognizing that the gift they are being given is just a window - a tiny picture - into the gift we are offered through Christ.  The gift of adoption by the Lord of the Universe.  The opportunity to be called Sons and Daughters.  The rescue from a sin-scarred broken world into a hope and a future that is eternal.  Freely offered.  Freely given. So often denied. 
We look at Emir and we grieve.  Shake our heads.  Want to speak wisdom into his ears.  We want him to see - really see - what he is giving up.  He has no money.  No family except a sister who BEGGED him to go.  He has nothing.  He returned to a war zone and is now a child in no-man's land.  He ran back to his trash-heap world.  Believing that it is safer and better than what is freely being offered. He ran from the chance to be a son.  Forever a son.  Yes. I  grieve.  I grieve that he said no.  I grieve because I see too many turn from the Love of a Savior back to their trash heaps that look so pleasing and so safe. It's a window.  A window that causes me to look and ponder and wonder. 
Would I yell for him again? Yes. 
I would.
Because of the God who yelled for me.  Called me from my trash heap.  Because He doesn't give up when this one and then that one and then all those say no. Because He keeps extending Love and Grace to us.  Because He is a God who lavishes His love on us.  Forgiveness.  The right to be called His Son.  His daughter. 
Adoption.  God's adoption.
It's what drives me.
It's why I yell.  Adoption is messy and dirty and oh so very risky.  Adoption opens the way for rejection.  But when grasped.  Taken.  Accepted.  Received.  How beautiful.  How amazing.
Emir said no.
That breaks my heart.
But today Sergey is out and free and safe in his family's arms.
And because of him and so many many others I am just going to keep on yelling and praying.
I can't stop.
Even though the pain sears into my soul.
There is a risk.  A cost.  No guarantee that when I yell for a child or a family that the happily ever after will happen.  But to not yell ... to not cry out ... to not at least try with all my heart ... that would be even worse.
Because we would all miss out on the wonder and the joy and the thrill of seeing babes tucked safely in their Mama's arms.
Because I am a child of the King.  Safe in His grasp.
Because for so many - adoption is so much better than the alternative!