Saturday, June 26, 2010

Official Pause

We're going to take a little break to spend our first summer together as a family of eight.

I am needed--now more than ever--in the home, but not on my computer ;).

I want to take this opportunity to say Thank You So Much for Everything :). We are so grateful for all the interest, love and support from family, friends and the blogging community.

A new blog is in the works, as we merge Bridget's Light and Loving Alina into one. We'll be back with pictures and stories as summer comes to a close.

I won't be completely out of the loop. I just won't be actively posting. I hope to check in on other blogs and catch up with friends when the house is quiet at night.

I am always happy to answer questions via email about Bridget & Alina, or about our experience with Down syndrome or our adoption process.

Wishing you all a summer filled with love and light,


Monday, June 21, 2010

Popsicles, Pools, and Pedicures

Summer is here :)...
Bridget and Alina both have pink toenails :)...They are enjoying popsicles and the little baby pool in our backyard...
Emmy is a great helper with her little sisters. They both adore her!

Alina is always making this face:

And this one :)...I have so much more to say, and so little that summer is here and all the kids are, too ;).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Pictures of Anne Marie (20)!

In January, I posted about two girls in Alina's orphanage. Nadia (known as Nadine on RR) is already with her forever family.

Anne Marie is still waiting, though, and she is four already. She is in desperate need of a family. If you have had your eye on Anne Marie, don't wait any longer! If you are just seeing her for the first time, look closer ;)...could she be yours?? She's darling, and she is very close to being transferred. Someone, please, GO GET HER.

**There are a handful of families who have recently adopted from this orphanage, and we have loads of helpful tips and information for the family who commits to Anne Marie :)!
Plus, there is a family at this orphanage right now who has seen Anne Marie in person and will answer questions about her! **

Anne Marie (20)
Girl, Born November 25, 2005

Look at this beautiful princess!! She is blowing you KISSES! Anne Marie has been waiting far too long for a loving family of her own. So many of her friends from this orphanage have already been adopted, and she continues to watch each of them leave with their new "forever family". Hope someone will consider Anne Marie! Miss Anne Marie does have a heart murmur that should be checked once home. From an adoptive family who visited with her in June 2010: "Anne Marie is a happy child, she is aware, interactive, and very sweet! She will do so well in a family. She has the most striking blue eyes!"

I have $1075 in my grant fund
towards the cost of my adoption!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Reece's Rainbow!

Today, Reece's Rainbow is celebrating 4 years of finding homes for orphans with special needs.

It isn't a secret that we feel strongly about the worth of people with Down syndrome, and about the important work that RR is doing. The number of children with disabilities that are hidden away overseas is staggering.

We know firsthand the beauty and promise that are being tossed aside in the many, many children waiting patiently for someone to find them and bring them home. Reece's Rainbow is the voice for a growing number of these children. But there is still great need.

Here is just one example: This precious little girl needs a family. She's captured my heart, but the most I can do right now is advocate for her. Who else loves her? Who will be her Yes? Who is going to go get her and help her find her smile again??

Jessie (Jessica) (23)

Girl, Born October 22, 2007
Jessie is darling!!! Brown hair and brown eyes, and totally healthy. Perfect age to benefit from early intervention, and to join her new family!

Here is another picture of Jessie, when she was little (look at this smile!):

**Jessie's birthday is the same day as our Sara's :). She is in an orphanage in Eastern Europe just waiting for someone to love her and tell her she's home for good. If she is not adopted before she turns 4, she will be sent to a mental institution.
Jessie does have Down syndrome, but is otherwise healthy.

If you would like to be Jessie's mama and papa, or if you would like more information on her, contact Andrea (you can find her contact info on the RR website). If you are not in a position to adopt, but would like to help Jessie find a family, please follow the link to her page on Reece's Rainbow (Children 0-2 with Down syndrome--you can donate at the top of the page, or scroll down to Orphanage 23 to find her profile). To contribute to her adoption fund, give directly to RR via Paypal or check and specify Jessie (23).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Toddlers Gone Wild

Who would think that the two little girls pictured above would be such trouble :)?

These two monkeys decided together that nap time is overrated, escaped from their beds (Bridget from her crib and Alina from her PeaPod sleeping tent) and trashed their room this past weekend! (Alina is in the sleeping tent because she had already figured out how to get out of the pack and play and the crib.)

We are not sure who instigated the whole event, but both took part equally.

Bridget emptied all of the drawers and Alina shredded an entire 500-piece box of tissues. When their plot was foiled, Bridget was sitting on top of the dresser, and Alina was back in her sleeping tent covered by enough torn-up Kleenex to fuel a ticker-tape parade.

They are both now the proud owners of matching (blue camouflage, the only pattern available when we purchased the first one two years ago) PeaPod tents tied shut with pink and white ribbons ;).

The girls can see each other through the mesh windows on the tents, which they love. And the Dynamic Duo is safe once again.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Choice?

Last December, when Chris and I told the kids about Alina and her need for a home, they were shocked that her parents were willing to "give her away"--in particular because they are aware of the stereotypes about Down syndrome and how Bridget defies them.

Chris and I did not truly understand, until we traveled, that people with disabilities do not have a place in the world in Eastern Europe. Scratch that. They do have a place--and unfortunately, it is behind a closed door. There is no support for parents wanting to raise children with special needs, and society does not condone raising them in public.

I am not making a value judgment. Twenty-five years ago, it was the same situation in the United States.

When we had court, we heard details about Alina's parents--their names, their address--that they were married when she was born and that they are still together. We saw their signatures on the abandonment decree they signed in the presence of a notary when Alina was two months old (per Ukrainian law--they had left her at the hospital when she was two days old, but waited until the last minute to sign, after blood tests came back confirming that she did have Down syndrome).

I sobbed in the quiet of the court room as we heard details about them.

Alina's full name was absolutely beautiful. Her middle name was the female version of her dad's name.

Her parents were both in their mid-twenties when they had her, and her mom had two miscarriages before Alina was born (full term, weighing about 7 lbs and measuring 22 inches).

They wanted her. They did. We are sure of it. I should clarify. We are sure they wanted her before they knew she had Down syndrome. We have no idea how they felt when they found out--but it meant that they could not keep the baby they had wanted--and we can guess that they were devastated.

We ache for them. As a mom, I can only imagine the pain her birth mom feels having her gone. Even if she was able to rationalize the decision to release Alina for adoption, and even if she would never want to raise a child with Ds, her mom has to feel the physical absence of her daughter.

And she has to wonder what happened to her little girl.

We look at Alina and we see a child who is so worthy of love, who would have surprised and elated her parents on a daily basis. We see a little girl who would have made a great big sister, a great daughter, a great grand-daughter.

We have to assume that her mom and dad would have been as blown away with her as we are...