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 25, 2013

Why They Sometimes Say No

There's always the chance, with adopting older kids, that once a family comes, they say no to being adopted.
A lot of people don't understand. They ask, "If they were always going to say no, why would they say yes in the first place?"
Saying "yes" to the far- off dream of having a family, and "yes" to a family standing in front of you, it's a lot different.
Imagine someone asked you if someday, you'd like to go to Disneyland. You would probably say yes. It doesn't seem very "real" at that time, it's a one in a million chance. It's not a realistic, it's just a dream. You would say yes, and not really think about it again.
But what if months or years later, you are told there is someone that is willing to take you to Disneyland. You would have to learn a new language, leave your friends, but you knew that when you said yes. You would have the time of your life and make new friends. You're very excited to go.
But then your friends and caretakers, the people you have grown up with, the ones who you trust, start telling you things. They're lies, but you don't know that. They start telling you that if you go, you will be killed, and your body parts sold. They tell you that if you go, they will never talk to you again.
So you get scared, and you say no.
That's what happens to kids in EE. Boys like M. He wanted a family. He heard of the great things a family could give him, and he wanted it more then anything. He wanted to be loved.
But when a family came, he started getting scared. His friends and caretakers, people he trusted, began to tell him horrible (untrue) things. They told him no one would ever love him in America. They told him that he would be sold for parts. They told him that Americans would kill him. They told him that he would have a great life if he stayed (which is usually not true). They told him he would be scorned at the orphanage if he said yes.
So he got scared. He didn't want to leave his friends. He couldn't gather the courage to say yes. So he said no. The caretakers had told him he would be able to go to trade school and get an education- even though he lived in country that is not wheelchair- accessible.
By the time he realizes the mistake, that he should have said yes, it will be too late. He'll be kicked out, or worse, transferred to an adult mental institution.
That's why we pray so hard for these older boys, pray they will say yes to adoption. Before it's too late. And even if they say no, we continue to pray, that God will change their hearts. We remain ready to jump on a plane and go rescue them. We will never give up hope.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Image of God

We are all made in the image of God. Whether you are white, black, Asian, Native American, short, tall, fat, thin, it doesn't matter. We were made in the image of God. That doesn't mean just the actual "image"; what we look like on the outside.

It's the things on the inside too. Not the literal "inside" like bones, but things like feelings. We all have feelings. The way something makes us feel. The way our brains work. The sense of right and wrong. Our brains are one of the reasons I have to believe God exists. There is no way that such a complex organ could just "evolve" into existence. Something (or someone) had to create it. I'm not completely against the idea of evolution; the idea that things "evolve" to adapt to their surroundings. I know that small evolution like that happens. Like an species slowly becoming smaller to avoid capture, yes, it makes sense. But I don't believe we came from monkeys. Our brains are too intricate to have just "happened". We were made in the image of God. We're all equal. No one is any better then someone else. So why don't we treat people like that? Why do we treat others like we are so much better then them? Why do we think others are "lower" and don't deserve life?

90% of babies diagnose with Down Syndrome are aborted. 9 in 10.
90 in 100 – that is a lot of life snuffed out because of the possibility of one extra chromosome.

I'm not saying it's easy to be a parent of a child with special needs. But doesn't every child deserve a chance at life?

I've met a lot of kids with Down Syndrome, and they are some of the sweetest kids you will ever meet. But 9 in 10 potential kids with Down Syndrome are aborted. I can't stand that. And those kids that are "lucky" enough to be born? In Eastern Europe, they are deemed "unworthy" of normal life. At age 4, they are put into an adult mental institution. At only 4 years old. You probably know a four year old. A friend, a niece or nephew, maybe even your own child. Imagine if they were put into a mental institution. Four year olds may seem like they are independent, but they are not. They still need someone to make sure they get food everyday, give them baths, pick out their clothes. But in Eastern Europe, those little four years are sent to adult mental institutions, just because they were born with special needs.

Before you start booing Eastern Europe, remember, in America, we used to do that too. We still have a few mental institutions, "homes", for those with special needs. Luckily we've started to move past that. Theo was one of those ones that was "lucky" enough to be born. I don't know his full story, but his mother gave him up. Maybe she couldn't raise a child. Maybe she wanted to keep him, but her friends and family talked her out of it. Whatever the reason, he was given up. Now he's older, and he's in a mental institution. Yes, it's one of the "better" ones. He was one of the few boys that was put into the "Happy Home" next to the orphanage, where it is a little more like a home, where they get a little more attention.

But it's still an orphanage.

All because he was born with cerebral palsy. A sweet, gentle, happy little boy, was doomed by his country because of something that wasn't his fault. Cerebral Palsy isn't a death sentence. With therapy, he could probably live a pretty normal life. But he needs a family for that. Are you his family?

People say I'm obsessed with orphans. Yes, I am. And I'm not ashamed. I'm not ashamed of pouring my heart and soul into rescuing orphans from a living hell. Because they don't have another voice. I know that my writing, my fundraising, it won't change the world. His family probably won't find him through me. My fundraising probably won't even make a dent in the huge price for Theo's Freedom. Theo probably won't ever know about me. But you know what? If one person reads this, that's one more person that may not have known before. That's one more person that can help spread the word. So, no, I'm not going to change the world.

But I sure am going to try.

Because it makes a difference to this one.