Monday, February 28, 2011

A Day to Save Olga

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18

Today is Olga's day.  I am pretty sure Olga has never had a day where she was the star.  But today is different.  Today there are mamas who will probably never meet her, yet are spending the day blogging, sharing her beautiful face on Facebook, and we are PRAYING. 

Olga has a family coming for her, yet they still need help to bring her home.  International adoption is always expensive, but some areas are more costly than others.  I know many of you have blogged, donated and prayed for Olga before, and today I'm asking for your help again.

My friend Patti has a way with words, so I will leave you with her post for Olga.


Dear friends,
So many of you already know this beautiful little face....


Olga turned five last month. She has spent the last five years in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, without the love of a mommy and daddy- simply because she arrived in life exactly as God designed her. One chromosome too many, and her fate was sealed from birth.


Sealed, because in Eastern Europe, babies who are born with Down syndrome are deemed unacceptable at birth. They are discarded as cast-offs of society, and when they turn five they leave the only home they've ever known...


And I wish I could say that for most of these children, leaving that home meant going to a place of safety, a place of happiness, a place where they would finally know the love of a family...know what it meant to be cuddled or sung to or read to, tucked in at night, prayed for, loved.

Instead, they are taken to a place that most people wouldn't leave their family pet.
A place of living hell, where they will never know the tenderness of a parent, never know the security of being raised in a family, and there they will stay, one ugly, pain-filled day at a time...until they die.


I read a post last December that stayed with me to this day. It was called from baby dolls to bedstraps.
The blog author wrote about Elizabeth, an orphan on Reece's Rainbow who had been transferred to a mental institution, waiting for a family to step forward for her. Her words still haunt me.

I wonder where she thought she was going as they led her out of the orphanage that day. Did she think that maybe it was finally her turn? That they were taking her to her forever Mommy and Daddy?

And when they instead took her inside that dreadful place, when they shaved her head and tied her to a too-small metal crib

when they turned their backs and



when they left her confused, terrified,

in a room where the wails of schizophrenic adults echo through the cold air

what was going through her young mind?

Did she wonder if she was being punished?

How long did she hold out hope that this was only temporary?

That any minute, they would come and take her back to the baby house

to her baby dolls and teddy bear,

to her best friend, Angelina?

Did she long to free her arms from the restraints

to cover her head with her hands to drown out

the scary noises

the scary sights

the scary smells?

That could be my Lily….

It could be your child.

And what if it were?

What if you woke up one morning

and by some hellish, twilight-zone twist of fate

your child wasn’t still tucked into that warm bed down the hall,

what if your child was trapped

across the dark sea

in that nightmare that is

the institution?





Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. Proverbs 24:11

 Elizabeth is being rescued today, thanks to the efforts of that blogging mama, and others like her.

Olga is being rescued today, thanks to so many of gave so much and created such a large grant that a family was able to step forward and start the process of adoption.

The Abells have done so much already, towards rescuing Olga. I can't even imagine all the paperwork and prayer and emotion and finances that goes into an international adoption. They have done numerous fundraisers, and will continue to do so until they can bring Olga home.

Through the help of so many, a grant of over $13,000 has been raised for Olga's adoption. That grant is set aside for the final travel costs and fees that it will take to bring Olga home. It will take every penny of that and then some.

Right now the Abells are in need of raising the $7,000 that is needed to submit their dossier for Olga. Without that dossier we don't even know if Olga has been transferred yet. Here in America you just pick up the phone and ask these questions. But here in America we don't tie five year old girls to cribs to keep them from climbing out.

The Abells need to submit that dossier as soon as possible- at the very least to find out if she has been transferred already- because I know an army of prayer warriors who is going to want to know that piece of information as well. And at the very most, it could be able to hold Olga at the baby house until the Abells can rescue her. I wish I could say with certainty that she won't be transferred- truthfully we just don't know that.

Olga has been so heavy on my heart for months- friends, I want you to know that I DO trust that God has a plan here.

I prayed like crazy for a way to help the Abells. I truly believe that there is a network of people who love Olga here in blogland...a net that is woven by God and is stretching out across this blessed country we live in, and even beyond to generous hearts in other nations. I really cannot express enough how thankful I am to be a small part of what God has already done for Olga, Peter and Kareen. But I don't think our job is done.

Olga needs us.

I don't want her to spend one more forsaken day in that place than she has to.

We're not doing a giveaway here today. I don't even think we need to do one- I know so many just have a heart to help and to give, and prizes were never the real reason we all gave anyway.

So I'm just asking- for one day- for you to do whatever you could to help Olga. Whether that's $10 or $20 or even a hundred...if you are able to help raise this money for the dossier, please do so HERE...

This is the link for the Family Sponsorship Page on Reece's Rainbow
...every single dollar goes to the Abell's adoption fund, and every single dollar will help.

We're calling this A Day to Save Olga, because there are about 17 of us blogging mamas who have set aside this day to blog, post on Facebook, pray, give and spread the word to SAVE OLGA.

Will you help us?

I know you will:)



Friday, February 25, 2011


This time of year the weather in Colorado can be hit or miss.  Today we have snow, but on Wednesday we had bright blue skies and lots of sunshine.  It was a perfect day for swinging at the park!

Darren has the BEST dimples and Claire inherited one of them.  We always joke that she got one cheek from me, and one from Darren.  But I'd never been able to capture that dimple on film until she was swinging.

And the next time we go to the park, we are taking the video camera instead.  Claire is a little dare devil and the higher you push her, the more she laughs.  I need to get it on video!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today I Learned Something About Down Syndrome

This post has been all over Facebook, so you may have seen it already.

But if you haven't read it, please take a minute to do so.

When we found out Claire had Ds, this is what I was worried about.  People who would take one look at her, and instantly write her off.

And while things won't change over night, I rejoice each time someone really does learn something about Down syndrome.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blissfully Uneventful...

Things have been quiet around here.  Pretty much just work and home, work and home, with a few PT/OT appointments thrown in to keep things interesting.

The weather is finally warming up a bit and Claire and I have been able to get out for a few walks and to the park.  I'm ready for winter to be over though.  I'm tired of the dreary days, and I'm tired of taking pictures inside, which explains the lack of photos on this post.  I haven't had my camera out at all lately.

Claire is now on round 4 of antibiotics.  A few days after finishing round 3 the goopy eyes and green snot came back yet again.  This round finishes in a few days and I'm hoping the sinus infection, and the thrush she now has, are finally gone!

Claire is feeling great though, and she is moving all over the place.  Her crawling is getting much faster, and she is pulling up on more and more things.  For a while she only pulled up on the ottoman by the couch, but now she has branched out to include the gate at the top of the stairs and the bath tub.  She is also cruising, taking a few steps in both directions on the furniture.  We've been practicing walking while holding onto our hands, and she is doing much better with this too.  At first we'd only get a step or two, and now we are easily up to 10-12 steps.

Darren has been busy at the farm, and has been gone most weekends.  This time of year we are calving heifers and cows, and with the cows we are getting 10-12 calves a day.  With that many new babies in a day it is easy to get behind on tagging and moving them. 

I haven't been doing much that is exciting, mainly working on our taxes in the evenings.  Which isn't fun, but is necessary.  I still haven't found much time to read lately, and I really miss that.  But, I did find that the Overdrive system with the library (where I check out ebooks) has an app for my phone!  That means that I can always have a book with me and I may get more than one book a month read.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is In The Air!

Now, I've never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day.  It's just always seemed overdone and commercial...but after seeing what Claire was up to with these...
...I'm starting to see things a little differently. How can you help but to fall in love with this handsome man and all of his beautiful ladies!! Thank you Erin and Grady for putting together such an awesome post!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Once upon a time...

...I had a living room floor, instead of an obstacle course of toys.

...I was able to sleep in.  This morning, even though Claire was gone and I could sleep in, I woke at 5...and at 6...and at 7.

...I had all my Christmas decorations packed up by New Years.  This straggler will be packed up this weekend.

...I had the time, or took the time, to read.  Two years ago, I read 130 books.  Last year, 30 books.  And this year, if my pace continues, I'll be lucky to read 15. 

...I never brought work home with me.  Now that I work part time, a huge pile of papers follow me home at least once a week.

...our third bedroom was used only for storage.  Now it's my favorite room in the house.

...I could stay awake long past midnight.  Last night I only made it to 10:30.

...I didn't know what Veggie Straws were.  These days I have to keep myself from eating them all so Claire has some for ST.

...I didn't have this girl to keep me on my toes, always busy and on the move.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sie Center for Down Syndrome Visit

On Tuesday Claire and I braved the snow, cold and icy roads to go to our appointment at the Sie Center for Down syndrome.  I'd given myself extra time to get there, but we still ended up just making it to the appointment on time.  The trip ending up taking about 40 minutes longer than it usually does.

Prior to the appointment I'd faxed Claire's medical records, and I'd talked to the program coordinator a couple of times also.  This was wonderful because we didn't have to spend any time the day of her appointment going over her records or history.  The appointment started with the usual dr office things, weight, temp, blood pressure, etc.  The overall appointment took 3 hours, one hour each with PT, ST and the Dr.

PT:  Claire sees Pat Winders monthly, so this was just our normal appointment with her.  Right now the three skills we are focusing on are cruising along furniture, taking supported steps and climbing the stairs.  All of them are hard for Claire, so we are only able to practice a time or two before she won't cooperate anymore.  Claire cruises decently to the left, but really fights going to the right.  Her right leg planted firmly on the floor seems to make her feel safe, and she hates picking it up to take a step.  When we practice stepping we usually lean her over a surface (like a rubbermaid tub) that can be scooted along the floor.  This gives her something solid for support, but it's still easy to move, so that she has to take a few steps. 

I need to find some way for Claire to practice climbing the stairs.  We live in a bi-level, so one set of our stairs leads to a tile entryway.  Not real comfortable to climb onto, but manageable.  The other set of stairs has the gate at the top, so it doesn't work for climbing at all.  Pat and I were discussing this and she wondered if pet stairs (to help little dogs get onto the couch or bed) might work...Has anyone ever tried this???

ST:  Our usual ST, who we see privately, just had a baby.  After skipping appointments over the holidays, it had been quite a few months since Claire had seen an ST.  I was very glad to have one available through the clinic, and she knows Talk Tools as well.  Since Claire's last ST appointment, she started drinking from the straw, and my main question was to make sure she was doing it correctly.  Turns out, she isn't.  While her mouth is closed, she is taking too much straw into her mouth and is suckling it with her tongue, instead of using her lips. 

Dr:  Dr Hickey was very personable and very easy to talk to.  We chatted about Claire's general health and specific concerns I had as well.  Claire has been struggling with sinus infections all winter.  She finished her third round of antibiotics last week, but after about 48 hours, her eyes and nose starting oozing goop again.  So, last night we started round 4.  Dr Hickey thinks it is just winter and that once we get through the miserable weather, she should get over all this stuff. 

We are also transitioning off the bottle slowly, and are down to 2 a day.  As we make this change, I wanted to be sure Claire was still eating and drinking enough.  Dr Hickey said average milk consumption should be around 16 oz a day.  She is easily getting that between her bottles and the cup, with some water as well.  For meals, he said about a tablespoon or two of each food, with a couple of options offered.  I'd given an example of her dinner the night before (2 beef ravioli with sauce and some green beans) and he said that was a great portion size.

The other nice thing about the Ds Center is that it's great to have someone else help keep me organized on what upcoming appointments Claire needs.  We have an audiology screening next month, we will repeat her swallow study this spring, and then she will have her vision tested at 18 months.  After all those appointments, in 6 months, we will have another appointment at the Center.

For Co People:  I've had some people ask about seeing Pat Winders for PT.  Her schedule gets booked FAST (we already have appts through July).  If you want to see her for a consult, and are interested in the Center, that may be the best way to see her.  Right now, the Center's schedule is fairly open.  We scheduled our appt for a little over 2 weeks out because it matched up with other things, but we could have gotten in sooner.  If you want to schedule an appt, here is the info.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Shadow and Pure Love

Clarie has turned into my shadow.  If I am working on dinner in the kitchen, she is happy just to play underfoot.  But once I start moving around the house she does her absolute best to keep up with me.  She is becoming quite the little crawler, and is wearing a path from the living room to the kitchen, with a few detours every now and them to the bedroom or bathroom.  Just the other night I left her in the living room to run her bath, and when I turned around to go get her she was waiting in the bathroom doorway!

There are kids, though, that aren't able to practice their crawling skills by following after mom.  In fact, they don't have anyone that answers to mom.  Peter is one of those kids.  He has spent his whole life in an orphanage.  He doesn't have anyone to encourage him, to love on him and kiss him. And unless a family steps forward for him soon, he may not have the chance to know pure love.

He turns 4 later this month.  In his orphanage, 4 is the transfer age.  Transfer to an adult mental institution. 

Andrea, from Reece's Rainbow, had this to say about Peter "I wish I had a suggestion about Peter....I have been advocating for him for YEARS. Nothing short of a full grant is going to do much for him, I'm afraid."

A full grant is $20,000, and that is the amount that Patti has set to raise for him. 

And you, yes YOU, can help!

A small donation to Peter (or Olga or Kareen) will enter you to win some AMAZING prizes.  And to help Peter know Pure Love!

Please pray for Lois's family.  Sweet Lois lost her battle with cancer this morning.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today isn't just cold, it's hunker-down-and-don't-even-leave-the-house cold.  Unfortunately for Claire and I, today is a work day.  My pickup was started LONG before we had to leave the house, and Claire was as bundled as she could be and still fit in her car seat.  This morning at 9am (when I took her to day care) the temp was -12, with a wind chill of -39.  And that my friends, is cold!  I hope it is much warmer where ever you are!