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!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When You Wish Upon A Star

You know what I really miss about Mexico, that I never expected I would? The stars.
When I was little, stargazing kind of freaked me out. I don't know why. Mostly when I saw a satellite, because it was freaky to me to think that it was all the way out in space, and I could seen it moving.
But when I was on the mission trip in Mexico, I loved how many stars you could see. Here, you can't see as many stars. That's because almost wherever you go, there's a town with lights nearby. Big cities, even from far away, light up the sky, and you can't see as many stars.
But in Mexico, you could see so many. Because there wasn't huge cities full of lights everywhere. It was amazing to walk to our tent every night, and see all the stars.
It's amazing to realize that the God who made every one of those stars, made us. He knows every star in the sky and every hair on your head.

And a little boy in Eastern Europe and a group of people here who love him could all be looking at that same star.

Did he pray every night for a family? I know I did. I prayed for a family for him. Because I know how at risk he is. I know that if he wasn't saved, he would literally lose his mind. He'd turn into a mindless, rocking body. I knew he would never get out without a family. He had no hope without a family. So I prayed every night that a family would take the leap of faith and rescue him.
In September 2011, Laura and Jeremy traveled to Eastern Europe to rescue their son, Seth. They spent seven weeks in country, meeting Seth and adopting him. While they were there, they met a little boy. Laura thought he was 7, because he was so small. When they got home, she went to work getting him listed on Reece's Rainbow.
About February 2012, he was listed on Reece's Rainbow. He had a not- so- good photo that had been taken about six months earlier. Laura gave Reece's Rainbow a picture they had gotten of him, and information about him. But no one really knew about him.
He'd been met by someone six months earlier, but that was all the information about him. He wasn't aging out, he didn't have a life- threatening disease. He was just a dirty, lonely boy. He didn't have a heart- wrenching story, like some of the other kids. He was overlooked. I admit, I'd glanced through the listings and seen him before, but he didn't really catch my attention. 
That was around the time of the "Orphanage 39" "craziness". A mom was in country, at 'Orphanage 39'. She was meeting her daughter. While they were there, they started getting to know the kids at that orphanage. It was a really good orphanage, and a lot of the kids had been listed. She began begging for families for them, sharing updates and stories about them. The Reece's Rainbow community began sharing and yelling for these kids. Every child she yelled for (except for three, who sadly decided not to be adopted) is now home. I joined in, yelling for those kids. I was a Guardian Angel for Tyler, then Alexis, then Patti, then Carter. So, I hadn't really noticed Frank. Then in August, I was looking for another child to sponsor. A boy was listed on Reece's Rainbow, and I immediately jumped to become his Guardian Angel. He was an older boy, already 12 years old, named Zack, with Spina Bifida. A family had met him, and he had been the best friend of their daughter. Pretty soon, Zack found a family. 
So I was looking on Reece's Rainbow, to try and see who I would sponsor next. I made a list of all the children (at that time) who had been met by adopting families, and therefore had information and pictures available. I started praying, and worked on narrowing the list down. I knew I wanted older kids, so I narrowed it down to kids 6 and up. Then I narrowed it to kids with special needs other then Down Syndrome, since DS is Reece's Rainbow's main focus. Then to boys, because they are less likely to be chosen. Along the way, I picked up a little blind boy who stole my heart, even though no one had met him and he was only three. Finally, I got it down to 4 older boys. All in Eastern Europe, all with special needs other then Down Syndrome.
Theo, who has Cerebral Palsy. Multiple people had met him, and shared pictures. He was such a calm and gentle boy.
Brody and Auggie. Brothers, who had been separated. They were believed to have a genetic disorder, that lead to self- harming and autistic behaviors. Two missionary had spent time with them, and had a lot of pictures and information.
I picked up Ulysses, because I had a soft spot for blind little boys.
Then there was Frank. I still don't know exactly why I was led to pick him, but I did. For August and September, I began to share about each of the boys, collecting all the information and sharing it.
Then in October, Frank was up for voting for Angel Tree. I kept posting on the Reece's Rainbow group page, asking people to vote for Frank. Laura contacted me, to let me know she was the one who had met Frank and got him listed. When he made it onto Angel Tree, I knew he was the one I was supposed to sponsor. I became his Angel Tree Warrior.
Before Angel Tree, he only had about $200 in his adoption grant. He still wasn't very "well- known". I'll admit it, I was terrified he wouldn't get to his goal. I was terrified to fail him. I committed to be his warrior, and my brain immediately went "What did you just do?" 
But I knew God would be faithful, and he would make it to $1,000. 
Frank was starting to touch other lives too. A fellow (popular)advocate, Julia, shared about him on her blog. I truly believe it was because of her sharing that he made it to his goal.
After Angel Tree, his grant stalled for a while.
Then a team of fellow advocates put together a huge fundraiser, to raise money for kids on RR, and raise awareness. It was called Forty To Forever. For each of the 40 days of Lent, the goal was to raise $400 for the featured waiting child or adopting family. I immediately asked if Frank could be part. And he was!
Forty To Forever raised about $500 for him. It also got his face out there. 
His army of supporters was slowly growing. 
Then Julia had her big fundraiser, Mulligan Stew. It was a huge success, and Frank was a part of it! He had stolen her heart, and he was one of the children she wanted to raise awareness and fundraise for him. Mulligan Stew raised over $1,000 for his adoption grant. He also received a special donation of about $2,000.
Now he had over $4,000 in his adoption grant. I was slowly working to get him to $5,000 (the next level of Moving Mountains, Sizable Grants). That was about a month ago. I was blogging and writing and sharing about him, begging for a family for him. I arranged a virtual "birthday party" for him, as a fundraiser for him.
Then Reece's Rainbow made the bittersweet decision to regift the adoption grants raised for the children in Russia, since Russia has banned American adoptions. Frank was gifted one of these grants. I had been hoping he would get one, thinking he would get $1,000, tops.
He was gifted an adoption grant of $7,649. I hadn't been on to see, but an advocator commented on a post of mine, saying it looked like his grant had taken a huge leap. Pessimist that I am at times, I thought maybe it was just her now seeing the Mulligan Stew money fundraised. But I went and checked.
His adoption grant was now almost $12,000. I almost cried when I saw that. I had just been talking to Laura, that with almost $5,000, he was only $1,000 away from being 1/3 funded. Then he got to almost $12,000. He was only $13 away, so I asked if someone would donate $13, to get him to $12,000, in honor of him turning 13 this month. Laura did. So he had $12,000.37.
On Tuesday night, I was getting ready for Frank's birthday "party". Trying to get more kids invited, seeing who was invited. 

Then I got a message. 

Only two words. 

"Watch MFFM". 

I think Frank heard my scream on the other side of the world.
The day before his 13th birthday (month), he found a family.

He found a family.

Now, let me backtrack a little. There was another boy on Reece's Rainbow, an older boy. Almost 15 years old, trapped in a Level 4 (very poor) institution. Mentally- sound, trapped in a body that does not work. If you have been around Reece's Rainbow a while, you have probably heard of him. His name is Emmitt. He'd been listed for a long time. Multiple years, at least. He had one picture, and a little write- up from a family who had met him a few years back. No one knew anything else about him, but he'd been listed so long, everyone knew about him. He was about to turn 15. His advocate, Pam, is the one who came up with the birthday party idea. Of course, she got a lot more kids invited, since she started 6 months in advance. He and Frank were both on Angel Tree.

There have been two "parties" for kids on Reece's Rainbow. Pam's for Emmitt, and mine for Frank.

There was a mom who got two Angel Tree Ornaments. Frank's and Emmitt's. She had no idea what was to come.

March 2013, Emmitt found a family. We rejoiced that he found a family. We celebrated he would be rescued.

2013 has been the year for older boys.
There's 50 older boys (born 2007 or earlier) on MFFM. Frank is #50. I knew it was coming. There were so many older boys ending up on MFFM, I knew Frank was coming.

Emmitt and Frank. Two older other angel boys. Both over 10. Both in Level 4 institutions. Both too smart to be where they are. Both on Angel Tree. Both in Eastern Europe.


They're going to be brothers.

They prayed for a family. They looked at that star, and prayed God would give them a family, and rescue them.

They're coming home.

God always has a plan. 

"'For I know the plans I have for you,'” declares the Lord , “'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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