Frank's Freedom

Meet Frank. He’s 13 years old, and is curious, busy, fun happy and bright. He has a mental delay, but that doesn’t stop him from being friendly, engaging and kind. He’s also an orphan in Eastern Europe. This means he is in an institution. If he is not adopted by age 16, he will be thrown out on the street with nothing but the clothes on his back and his “disabled orphan” status. Let me tell you more about Frank.

He’s little, about the size of a 7 year old. And he’s smart. He is in a group with teenage boys ages 16-24. He does puzzles and he does his chores diligently. He is very kind to the younger children. Frank is friendly and engaging. He likes being with the boys, but is happy being alone too. He plays appropriately with toys and is “all boy”. He could very easily function in a family. Frank is curious, smart, fun and sweet. He likes to play in the dirt and jump on the trampoline. Frank is independent, a good eater, is happy and content. Frank is physically healthy. He walks, runs, feeds himself, speaks, does puzzles and interacts with others well. He's a sweet boy who seems rather unaffected by his surroundings. He has no future where he's at, and without help, he's never getting out. Institutions are a one way ticket to nowhere. And this little boy deserves a future. This little boy will be a blessing to any family.

The Baker family has committed to adopt Frank and another boy, Emmitt. But international adoption is pretty expensive. The adoption would cost about $30,000. Reece’s Rainbow is an organization that helps with this cost. They set up grants for children in 25 countries around the world, and any money that is donated to these funds is given to the families to help with adoption fees. With Reece's Rainbow's help, the Baker family only needs about $10,000 to bring home both boys!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Oh, sweet Aiden. There are so many pictures of Aiden.
Here are just some of the pictures of him. There's almost a hundred pictures. And there's a blogger who met him. Here is what she has said about him.

Imagine living in a world of complete darkness where your only stimulation is the constant noise of crying and yelling and the occasional elbow in the ribs as another child crawls over you in the communal playpen… That is what life is like for Aiden.

Aiden is four-years-old. He has sandy blond hair, gorgeous blue eyes and two of the yummiest cheeks you have ever seen. He is also blind. Sometimes I think that blind children are the ones at the greatest disadvantage in an orphanage. Right from infancy, babies in the orphanage are not held. They are rarely given the opportunity to listen to music. The only stimulation they receive is what they see as they look around their room, watching the other children, etc. But what about the children who cannot see? Theirs is a dark, empty, lonely world.

After four long years of darkness, Aiden has withdrawn into his own little world. He spends his days rolling back and forth on the floor as you can see him doing here. He has done this so often for so long that he has a huge bald patch at the back of his head. He does not like to be held. Instead, he receives comfort and stimulation by poking at his eyes and sucking his fingers raw.

Aiden was my greatest challenge. He did not like to be held in my arms or sit on my lap and he did not really interact with the toys I would bring. There was one thing that did break through his walls though… he loved to be tickled and would laugh and laugh as I smothered his face with kisses!

When I first met
Aiden , he would often walk around the edges of the playpen, holding onto the sides. He had the ability to walk while holding onto someone’s hand but because he did not like to be held on to like that, he would most often refuse to do so. During one of our one-on-one times, I stood Aiden up on his feet and managed to get him to take one or two steps without holding onto anything. The next time he took a few more and before I knew it, he was walking all by himself! It was if he had finally developed enough trust in me to know that I would not let him walk into anything and he was loving his newfound freedom. One day I went up to his room to get one of my other kids and there he was walking around the playpen, not holding onto anything, just smiling and laughing. It was one of the greatest moments of my trip…

The sad reality is, blind children are often the last to be chosen. Out of the 500 children that have been adopted through Reece’s Rainbow over the past five years, so far only three of them have been blind. I understand the fear, the idea of not being able to see is a concept that is hard for most of us to wrap our minds around. I myself wonder if/how I could parent a child with severe visual impairment. Then I read the stories of others with visual impairment who are simply living their lives doing most of what I can do and more and I am reminded that blindness is only a limiting disability if you let it be. I worry that
Aiden’s visual impairment along with his more significant delays will put him at the bottom of the list when it comes to being chosen for adoption. I so don’t want that to be the case. Even if you’re not being called to adopt Aiden yourself, you can help him find his family by spreading the word, donating to his grant fund and remembering him in your prayers. Will you help me make sure this little man has the chance to live a life of joy, meaning and potential? For more information or to donate, click here.

What more can I say about Aiden? Last time I shared with you about what Aiden’s day-to-day life looks like, the neglect he experiences and the heartbreak of what it is like to be a blind child in a baby orphanage… Today however I want to tell you more about his precious, infectious giggle.

There are different things I miss about each of my kids. With
Aiden, there is no doubt that what I miss most is kissing those yummy cheeks of his. I would hold him in my arms and just kiss his face over and over again and he would let out this giggle that is guaranteed to melt any heart. He spent so much of his time sullen and withdrawn but when he giggled, I felt like I was seeing a glimpse of the real Aiden and it was just priceless.

Aiden’s grant fund is the lowest out of all my kids and I worry that that just confirms my fear that, because of his visual impairment along with his more significant cognitive/emotional delays, Aiden is finding himself at the bottom of the list. It’s been nearly six months since I kissed those cheeks and my heart sinks at the thought that he most likely has not received a single kiss since. Aiden needs a mama who will give him kisses every day (even when he’s 16!). He needs someone who will see past his sorrow and delays and see the sweet little boy deep inside. Can you see it? Could that someone be you? Could it be someone you know? You may not be able to adopt him yourself but you can help Aiden’s family find him by sharing his story, donating to his grant fund and remembering him in your prayers. Help me make sure that this sweet little boy is overlooked no longer so that he can know him mama’s kisses real soon. For more information or to donate, click here.
It’s time for an update on Aiden (you can read more about him here and here). Unlike Brody, I do know people who have seen him over the past couple of months. Unfortunately however, the reports haven`t been good.

Here is what one orphanage visitor had to say:
“I've seen Aiden; poor, poor boy. He does not get much love… And he's contained most of the time… They pretty much let him be; unfortunately I haven't seen anyone really care about him.”

Doesn’t that just break your heart? I don’t have any new pictures to share because he is rarely brought outside. Instead, he spends most of his days in this ‘playpen’ (he is the one rolling back and forth on the floor), doing whatever he can to dull the boredom.

I don’t know what else to say. This boy needs a family. I need help in helping him find one. Please help me by sharing his story, donating to his grant fund and storming the gates of heaven on his behalf. For more information or to donate, click here.
Transferred. Yes, another one… only for Aiden, transfer may not end up being such a bad thing
(you can read more about
Aiden in my previous posts here, here and here).

As I’ve shared before,
Aiden received no positive attention at his baby orphanage. For the most part, he received no attention at all. He was rarely brought outside and spent pretty much all his time in a wooden playpen void of toys or any other stimulation outside of what he could provide for himself by sucking his hands, poking his eyes and banging his head on the bars.

Sometime within the last couple of months however,
Aiden was transferred to the special needs orphanage for older children. This is the same orphanage that I volunteered in last year and the great news is Aiden is in my favourite group – group 9! Oh how I adore the children in group 9 but I not only love the kids, I love the workers too. The workers there truly care about the kids (which is true of most of the staff at this orphanage). They are kind and affectionate with them, even holding them on their laps and giving them kisses. The children in this group have varying degrees of physical ability nevertheless all of them are given the freedom to move around the room, to play with toys and to interact with each other and the staff. For that reason, I truly believe that Aiden is better off where he is now than he was at the baby orphanage.

That said, I am still concerned. I am concerned that as
Aiden gets older with each passing day, his already dim hope for a family will only continue to fade. I am concerned that words like “transfer” and “institution” will scare people away from choosing him. I am concerned because even though he may be doing OK right now, his future still holds nothing more than mere existence in an adult mental institution once he turns eighteen. Adoption is still Aiden’s only hope to be all that God created him to be, yet I am concerned that no one will ever choose him. After nearly six months, Aiden’s grant has yet to even reach $200. You may not be called to adopt Aiden, you may not be able to be his mom, but you can help him find her. If just one quarter of the people reading this donated one dollar, we could get Aiden’s grant up to $200. If everyone who reads this donated just five dollars, we could raise his grant to over $500. It may not seem like much but all the little bits add up, every dollar counts. Please help Aiden find his Momma by sharing his story, donating to his grant fund and remembering him in your prayers. For more information or to donate, click here.
Unfortunately, I have nothing new to report about Aiden (you can read more about Aiden in my previous posts here, here, here and here).

Aiden has nothing new to report either.

Day after day it’s the same… confined to a walker because the orphanage does not have enough staff to keep him safe if he were to roam around freely. Instead he spends his days chewing on toys, his hands and whatever else he can find to pass the time and ease his boredom. No opportunity to learn and develop and become all that he could be. No mama to kiss those scrumptious cheeks of his, no papa with safe, strong arms to protect him as he runs and plays. Instead he just waits. Waits for the day when someone will see his picture and say, “That’s my son!” and will cross the oceans to whisk him away to a life much greater than he could ever dream.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has donated to Aiden’s grant fund. In the past month Aiden’s grant has grown more than in all six months before it combined! Still, he has a long way to go. If you have a few dollars to spare this week, every little bit truly does add up. If not, will you help me spread Aiden’s picture and story? You never know, the family who sees his picture and says, “That’s our son!” just might be someone you know, or the friend of someone you know, etc. Finally, the simplest yet greatest thing we all can do is continue to keep Aiden in our prayers and ask that God would bring his family forward quickly. For more information or to donate, click here.
Guess whose grant is up over $1000?! Yep, the little guy whose grant took six months to reach a mere $200 now has over $1000 in his grant fund! (you can read more about Aiden here, here, here, here and here)

Although he still has such a long way to go, I was so excited to see
Aiden’s grant pass that $1000 mark not only because that money will help with the cost of his adoption but because it means that people are seeing his face, hearing his story and their hearts are being moved. I don’t know who has been donating or where are all this new found attention is coming from but it gives me hope that maybe 2012 will be the last year Aiden has to spend without a family.

Please, keep donating, keep sharing his story and keep praying for this sweet boy’s family to find him.

For more information or to donate, click here.
Last week I heard about a little boy with visual impairment at a different orphanage in another city in the same country as “my” kids. In so many ways he reminded me of Aiden; (you can read more about Aiden here, here, here, here, here and here) they are both blind, they both spend most of their days in a hard, empty playpen, they both poke their eyes… they even look alike. Yet there was one big difference – the little guy I heard about last week desperately seeks attention, literally cries out for affection, while Aiden prefers to be left alone.

Aiden does not like to be held and would often scoot away from me whenever I tried to pat his back, etc.
He would laugh when I tickled him or kissed those delectable cheeks of his but that was the only attention/affection he seemed to enjoy and he would only tolerate it for short periods at a time.

Hearing about this other little boy made me wonder, was Aiden ever like that? Did he used to hang over the edge of his crib moaning for attention? Did he eventually just give up when, after years of crying out only to have those cries ignored, he realized that no one cared?
Or has Aiden always been guarded, self-sufficient and withdrawn? Did he never even seek out attention to begin with because he was never shown what he was missing?

Who will show this little boy the love that he doesn’t even know he needs? It probably won’t be easy. It will likely take a lot of patience, persistence and the decision to love even when you don’t get much in return. Yet I believe that there is hope for every child. I want so much more for this little munchkin then the emptiness that is all he has known thus far. I believe that no matter how long and difficult a road it may be, he deserves the chance to be loved and to learn to love in return, don’t you? You can help Aiden’s family find him by sharing his story, donating to his grant fund and continuing to keep him in your prayers. For more information or to donate, click here.
I am truly out of things to say about Aiden (you can read more about Aiden here, here, here, here, here, here and here).

I know that many people love him but somewhere out there his mommy and daddy have yet to realize that this little guy is their son.

Please help me get his picture and story out there so that his family can find him.

You can also help Aiden’s family find him by donating to his grant fund and remembering him in your prayers.
For more information or to donate, click here.

I get to be lazy today because Natalie put together this video which says pretty much everything I want to say...

Please help my little munchkin find his family!
Share his story, donate to his grant fund, remember him in your prayers.

You can read more about
Aiden here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. For more information or to donate, click here."

From his Reece's Rainbow page: " Boy, born May 2007 From a volunteer who spent several months at this orphanage: Aiden is visually impaired (I'm not sure if he has some vision or if he is 100% blind). Aiden has some more significant delays however it is difficult to tell if he is cognitively delayed for medical reasons or if his delays are simply a result of institutionalization / lack of stimulation. Aiden engages in a lot of self-stimulation such as poking his eyes, tapping his head on the side of his crib, rocking back and forth, etc. When I first met Aiden he was able to walk around the edges of the crib holding on to the sides, but he would not walk independently, even while holding on to someone's hands. As I worked with him however and he grew to trust me he began to take his first steps and now he loves to walk! Still, at least while I was there, the workers never let him out of his playpen. Aiden does not speak but he responds to his name and I believe he understands simple directions. He is not toilet trained but he is learning to feed himself. Aiden is difficult to engage. He doesn't initiate interaction but when you play with him/tickle him, etc. he is full of smiles and laughter. I believe that this boy has way more potential than can be seen right now. Whoever Aiden's family will need to be persistent about getting in his face in order to force him to engage and patient with what may be slow progress but I believe that with the consistent love and stimulation that a family would bring this little guy has all kinds of potential. From a missionary who spent several months at his orphanage at the end of 2011: Aiden is a complicated little boy. His years of minimal attention and probably some sensory issues seem to be the biggest of his struggles. He does at times hit his head or bite his hands to self stimulate. He let me hold and comfort him when he hit his head harder than he meant to one time, which was a great sign as far as attachment and trust goes. I like to refer to Aiden as my "mouthy" boy. He loves to chew on hard toys, and he very much enjoyed holding a slinky in his mouth and shaking his head to make it fly back and forth. He does not seem to have any vision at all. He navigates fairly well despite his lack of sight. His favorite thing ever is to be tickled. He has a wonderful smile and laugh. He will need a lot of attention and stimulation to help him to recover from all he has experienced, but I think he would really blossom with the right family! More pictures available.

$1160.87 is available towards the cost of my adoption!"

Let's find Aiden a family! We all want Aiden to find a family, and to help him out, Annie Trenda has agreed to get PIED when Aiden's fund reaches $1,500, and publicly share it with all of us!That is only $339.13 away!
AND.... if his fund reaches $2,000, I WILL BE PIED AND SHARE!!!
The catch: this must be raised BY AUGUST 30!!!
Let's get going!


  1. oo i love aiden xxxx come and link up on my forget me not friday linkups, please!!!!! xxx

  2. re your message on my blog xxxxwhat a sweetie evan is! gentle is what sums him up the best, his smile is ever ready and he loved being around me. he kind of melted into his joy every time i got close to him. he is bery delayed in his development, he struggled to pop blocks into a baby toy and he cannot walk but i feel his environment is so tough for such a soft boy he could really bloom with a family to give him the care he needs. I am about to do my own post about even so do feel free to take any pics and info you need...can you wait a few weeks for pics or do you need them before. i dont have many but you can have any i have! xxxxx jane


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