Friday, April 23, 2021

The Jameo family

 

In April, we served the Jameo family in Uganda as a form of "orphan prevention." Their father passed away, and their widowed mother struggles with providing for the children. The daughter, Bashira, who was under medical care for hydrocephalus at the CURE Hospital in Uganda, unexpectedly passed away last month. She was nine years old. We covered the hospital bill that her mom was unable to pay, along with the funeral expenses for Bashira. We pray that lifting those financial burdens will help Bashira's loving mama, and her siblings, as they mourn the tremendous loss in their lives. We are still working on plans to serve them going forward with education and more permanent housing. We will keep you posted and please pray for this family.

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Ott family

 

Meet our "Say Yes" grant family #8 of 2021 - the Ott family! 

Julie informed Matt on their first date that she would love to have adoption as part of how a future family was grown. Matt had agreed that he had a heart to adopt as well. After marriage, they were blessed with three biological children - Amelia, Eliza, and John. They say, “Though we both knew we wanted to adopt, we didn’t expect the excitement or peace we would have about the process of growing our family through the adoption of a child with special needs until Down Syndrome came into our hearts.” Both Julie and Matt had been touched by children with special needs throughout their lives and this need felt like such a natural fit for their family. The Otts spent time reading books to their children about Down syndrome to prepare them for their new brother, and it's clear - from this photo - that their mission was accomplished! Little Timothy James was born five weeks early, on February 27th, and after two weeks in the hospital, he is now home with his forever family!

Timothy James came home with the help of our Downright Lovable grant, specifically for families adopting children with Down syndrome. Thank you so much for your support of our grant fund so we can continue to bless open hearts like these!

{Photo cred: Heidi April Photography, heidiaprilphotography.org, @loveheidiapril}

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Stories of YES #60 - Two months

  

Two months have passed since we landed back home in North Carolina, and every day her little smile melts my heart with so much joy. Every day I look at her and I see nothing but God's love for us. This little sweetness is such a breath of fresh air. Just take a moment to look into those eyes...

She was worth it.
She was worth every tear.
She was worth every up and down.
She was worth every mountain climbed.
She was worth every nerve wrecked. 
 
Two months home and she has grown a whole inch.
Two months home and she has perfected using so many words in the right way.
Two months home and she loves to go to church and get her church clap on.
Two months home and she has celebrated three family birthdays and three major holidays.
Two months home and she has bravely faced many doctor's appointments and one surgery.
Two months home and this face is what two months in a family looks like!
 
She tells us about many friends who need Mommies and Daddies and Mawmaws and Pawpaws. When she talks about her friends at her "Ashwini Piper Home," this momma's heart begins to beat fast. And my throat tightens. And my eyes get watery. Because no child should have to experience the brokenness of searching for families for her friends. No child should ever have to shoulder that burden. But my child, and many others, sit in the same spot as we do - longing for those who remain to find forever families too.
 
Thank you to every person that has taken the time to pray for our family. Thank you to every person that donated even a dollar. That dollar was not in vain. That dollar was LIFE. That dollar is this smile. That dollar was one less orphan. 
 - Tiffany House
 
 
{The House family was a recipient of our "Say Yes" Downright Lovable adoption grant in 2020.}

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Stories of YES #59 - God's most precious jewels

 

"What if we had said no?
 
We could have. 
We should have. 
On paper it was a bad idea.
Many told us we shouldn’t do it. 
Many said it wasn’t wise.
 
We already had 3 jewels.
We didn’t have the finances.
We didn’t have space in our house.
We were already so tired.
We didn’t plan on having more jewels.
We were already deep in trauma parenting.
 
Parenting was already so hard.
What would people think.
How would we do it.
 
This was what we considered. These were some of our obstacles when we were praying through adopting our Kody.
 
This is what we have considered and prayed through every time we’ve heard God call us to adopt. Usually the list of why not to do it is bigger than our reasons to do it.
 
But God. He still called us.
But God. We still said yes.
But God. He still wants to use us to take care of His precious jewels.
 
Right now there’s about 100,000 kids in the United States in foster care who ARE paper ready and waiting for a family. And so many more also waiting globally.
 
I’m so so thankful we said yes. We didn’t have to. We could have said no.
But God. He writes the best stories. This jewel is amazing and I love being his mom. As is each one of our jewels."
- Maria Hansen-Quine

Monday, November 30, 2020

Giving Tuesday 2020 - A Wish for this Child-Headed Household

 

 

This "Child-Headed Household" in Uganda is held together by two teenage sisters looking after their younger siblings. Their mother is deceased and their father abandoned them. Well, those smiles are there because of your help, and this precious family is now the focus of our #GivingTuesday mission!
 
Maria and Olivia - 15-year-old twins - have been raising their five younger siblings on their own since February. The younger children are Fiona - 13, Charlotte - 9, Stella - 7, George - 5 and baby Leo - 11 months. Since they've been living alone, all of the children dropped out of school, one was trafficked (she's just been located and reunited with her siblings), and the seven and five year old have been threatened with kidnapping. The youngest was placed in an orphanage three months ago, after being treated for severe malnutrition, and the orphanage has agreed to resettle baby Leo, back with his family in two months! Because of our donors recent support, our partner organization has reunited Fiona (the sister who was trafficked) with her siblings, hired a live-in caregiver to keep the kids together, provided new bedding, clothing, food, and essentials, and installed steel doors and windows to keep the children temporarily safe.

After a full evaluation, it's been determined that their house is - tragically - not repairable. Not only that, but we'll need to provide for a plot of land for them to build upon. Because of the outpouring of support from our initial plea for this family, along with support through our Facebook Holiday shop, we've already raised $4,000 for this project, which means that we only need to raise $6,500 to make this happen!
 
Will you join us in giving these children new HOPE on Giving Tuesday? Your involvement is critical to our success in funding this new house for these children. Thank you!
 
Cost breakdown: House: $4,998, Kitchen: $405, Latrine: $473, Tippy Tap: $27, Rain Water Harvesting: $540, Solar Power: $270, Plot of land: $4,000

DONATE HERE

 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Stories of YES #58 - Our Plan "A"

 

    In our twelve years of marriage (pre-Millie), we were asked often, “When are you going to have kids?” When I was younger, I remember saying, “If we have kids, we would like to adopt” but I was conditioned that this statement would be met with negativity and judgment. So, we learned to keep our dream private. By the time we were ready to grow our family, we had an immense amount of anxiety over making our announcement. And we received a widerange of reactions. While some were very excited for us, we also received a lot of uninvited questions...

    “Why would you want to do that?”
    “Can you not have your own kids?”
    “You think you can handle a kid with special needs?”

    Anyone who has adopted knows what I’m talking about. These responses seem to be very common. With every similar comment, I felt I was hearing a child - my child - wasn’t worthy. When you say “YES” to having a child, you open the floodgate to an endless amount of worry and outcomes, whether you are adopting or having biological children. We wanted to have a child and a child needed a family, it seemed simple to us. We had love and a home to give, so we did just that. We, in no way, felt attached to the idea of having biological kids, so why would we try? There should be no shame in that.
    .
    As far as having a child with special needs, we felt that it would just be a different path in parenting - one we felt we needed to take. There seems to be these stigmas attached to adoption that I wish we could squash. In adoption - and in life - I feel it’s only necessary to listen to your heart and your partner. Those are the only true things that matter. There is no wrong path in choosing to adopt - every child deserves a family.
    .
    I guess I’m hopeful that by being so open and honest, someone may read this and know that adoption doesn’t need to be their "Plan B". And others may be more aware of their own reaction when hearing the news of a friend that is pursuing adoption. It’s a decision that no one takes lightly. The adoption process involves much soul searching, discussion, and a tremendous effort goes into this journey. Only encouraging things should be said about that.
    - Christine Deason

 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Stories of YES #57 - Pure JOY

 

We were both over thirty when we were married, getting pregnant wasn’t easy, so our family was initially formed through adoption. Sam came to us when he was 1 day old and Skylar arrived when she was 2 ½ yrs old. Our adoption journey through foster care was a three-year emotional roller coaster. Finally, we got the phone call that we had been matched to be their forever family! Despite suffering through five years of infertility, we found out we were pregnant with Rileigh just one month after that call. We knew, right then and there, that God had a special plan for our family, and adoption was going to be a big part of our lives. Two years after Rileigh was born, we were pregnant with Quinn and our lives were full. Or so we thought…
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Recently, our church has become more mission focused and helping the widows and the orphans is high on the agenda. We have followed two families’ adoption journeys and supported them as they recently brought three beautiful children home from China combined. We prayed, we read, we were inspired. That inner feeling lingered for days, for weeks, for months. Finally, one day my husband said to me, “Let’s adopt again!” My heart jumped for joy!
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We searched through the various advocacy sites and the children with Down syndrome pulled at my soul. I thought, “They are so lovable, but I couldn’t do that… I don’t even know anyone with Down syndrome.” But these precious children lingered in my mind, so I prayed and just a month later (again, just took one month) God answered that prayer and placed a little girl with Down syndrome in my preschooler’s class. My daughter became friends with this little girl, and I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with her mom too. Turns out, Down syndrome is not so scary after all. As I was checking one of the Down syndrome waiting child advocacy sites, we saw a delightful little girl with a mischievous smile and we knew… she would fit perfectly into our family and we would be blessed to have her. We will name her Joy.
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We have had Joy home now for almost two years. She has just been amazing to parent. She is so incredibly sweet and loves to play with her older brother and sisters. She wants to be included in EVERYTHING we do. If another child gets to ride on the tube on the back of the boat at the lake, then Joy wants to do it too. If another child gets to go snow skiing, then Joy wants to do it too. She is a bright light in this world and her smile delights everyone she meets. She loves others with every ounce of her being.
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We were prepared for all kinds of behaviors, since children who are adopted come from hard places and some behaviors are more common with children who have Down syndrome, however we haven’t experienced any behavioral concerns with Joy. She gets along well with other children. She is a good listener and does very well at her medical appointments. She has no medical conditions or other diagnoses. She sees our pediatrician once a year, sees an ENT once a year to have her ears checked, and gets her eyes checked for glasses each year. She is simply a regular kid! We have to work with her a little differently as we go through Kindergarten but we have seen her make tremendous progress with her verbal communication, her colors and letters, and even sight reading with the So Happy to Learn program.
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Adopting a child with Down syndrome may sound crazy to some, but I can assure you that she is worth every extra effort we make. She literally fills us with JOY...every single day. 

- Dianna Conboy

“In the New Testament, we don't find our gift through self-examination and introspection and then find ways to express it. Instead, we love one another, serve one another, help one another, and in so doing we see how God has equipped us to do so.”
― Russell D. Moore, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches