RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Abandoned

Posted on

The plight of the orphan is great.    Their stories are heartbreaking.   They are suffering in silence in sad and lonely places.  They live worlds away with nobody to help them.  The following is a glance into a world most seldom get to see.  What these children endure, simply because they are labeled as different, is inexcusable.  Please don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

This is a multiple part video, 9 parts to be exact.  I know it seems like a lot, but please watch it.  Even if  it’s just a few minutes here and there over the course of a few days.   I appreciate all of your support and all of your prayers!

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

The Other Mission Of Mine

Posted on

Most of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that thus far I have focused on the orphan crisis.  However, if you have read my mission you are aware that I have another, I guess, “push”.  That push is creating a movement to stop violence against children. Well, maybe a “movement” is a grand idea to have, but with God all things are possible!    I have so much hurt in my heart for the little ones who are victimized and helpless to defend themselves.   There are way too many kids in this world who are abused, neglected and many, many times it could have been prevented.

One story in particular really made an impact on me.   The story of Lauren, the girl who was locked in a closet for 6 years of her life.  Lauren was adopted by a wonderful woman who raised her from birth until she was just under two years old.   Lauren’s bio mother showed up and said she wanted Lauren back.  Shockingly the courts entertained this idea and allowed trial visitations.   Eventually the courts granted custody to Lauren’s bio mother despite the fact that there was evidence of abuse upon return from the visits.  Our system makes no sense sometimes?!

Lauren, around age two

Firstly, I cannot imagine how painful it must have been for Lauren’s adopted mom.  To raise this beautiful toddler for almost two years as hers and then be forced to let her go live with people she knew in her heart were already hurting her.  I cannot even fathom.  Adoptive parents, can you imagine this??  I would love to hear from you!  If this isn’t already heart-wrenching, wait till we delve into Lauren’s life in her new home.

Once Lauren was taken to her new home, where 5 of her other siblings lived.  She was not allowed to live and play with them.  Instead, 2 year old Lauren was stripped naked and thrown into a small dark closet.  Her mother put a radio outside the closet door to muffle Lauren’s cries.   Lauren had no concept of day and night, she had no light.  She was not let out to use the toilet, but instead forced to defecate on herself and the floor.  She was rarely fed and at times her mother made her eat her own feces.  This little malnourished girl began enduring beatings and torture like cigarette burns, freezing showers, bites, knife cuts and more as punishments for not behaving as they wanted her to.  Lauren eventually became the subject of group rape parties, where she was repeatedly raped and sodomized.  She was also regularly raped and sodomized by her mother and her step-father.

The mother and step-father treated Lauren this way for six long years.  Six years of nobody reporting it.  Six years of near death, barley surviving the torture her captors inflicted.  Lauren’s siblings were aware of her presence but did nothing, probably for fear they would end up taking her place if they told.   Lauren learned to speak from listening to the radio outside her closet door.  It was on 24 hours a day.

Lauren could have been saved long before if only someone would have had the courage to report it.   Interestingly, the day prior to Lauren’s rescue,  an anonymous tip was called in and an officer showed up to do a check.  The officer only stood at the front door, and only saw 4 out of the six children.  He later recalls hearing Lauren’s radio coming from the back bedroom, but didn’t think to do a home inspection.  The officer was satisfied and left, marking it off as all clear.

Amazingly the very next day when the mother was gone, the step-father decided to go knock on a neighbors door.  He had decided to come clean.  He and the neighbors were good friends and their children played together often.  He asked his friends to follow him to his house where he told them about Lauren.  The couple could hardly believe what he was telling them, but soon it became very real when he opened up the closet door.  In the darkness, sat a naked, lice infested, scarred up, dirty little eight year old girl who looked like she was only three.  She was so tiny, she was described as a Holocaust child.   Lauren had peeling, infected and scarred up skin due to laying in her own waste for so long and her severe lice.  She had to have reconstructive surgeries to repair her body from all the damage, and doctors have said that she may never be able to have children due to how severely she was brutalized.  Her teeth were broken and she had damage to her esophagus from eating drywall, plastic, and wood in place of food.  This child had truly endured some of the most horrific abuse and intense pain imaginable.

Horrified at what they were seeing, the neighbors called the police who came and arrested them both.

The closet Lauren lived in

Ironically the first officer on the scene was the very same officer who cleared the house the day prior.  Poor Lauren would have died if the step-dad had not suddenly grown a conscience, seeing how the officer failed to demand the inspection of all six children during his visit.  Lauren’s story has been featured on Dr. Phil and she was courageous enough to tell her story on national television

My goal here with this story is this: people knew about Lauren, I mean, aside from her abusers and the crowd of pedophiles who hurt her throughout her short life.  People came forward after she was found and admitted they knew about the girl in their friends closet.  Neighbors suspected it because they knew of a sixth child that was never seen.  Yet nobody bothered to call it in.  I can only assume that some were afraid that if they called it in they would be on police radar for their own indiscretions.  Has anyone ever heard of anonymous reporting?   Then again, how many times have we all heard about multiple reports being called in for child welfare checks, etc. that were never followed up on by police?  Why and how in all the world do the authorities ignore reports of this nature?  Really?  We all need to step up, step out, and really be aware of those around us in our lives and neighborhoods.  Even if you notice a child in the grocery store who looks like they have been abused, go around to the next isle, and call in an anonymous tip!  I’m serious!  This is not an isolated case, there are literally hundreds of documented cases of horrific child abuse/neglect that others knew about and never reported it.  Don’t believe me?  Stay tuned for my next post which will be about another little angel who suffered unimaginable abuse.  She too could have been saved if only those who knew reported it.

Oh my mom heart!  I have a 20 month old daughter and cannot imagine her being hurt in such a soulless way.   Combined with the orphan crisis, I am truly seeing how Satan and his demons work in our world.  They get such a hold on some people and sadly, innocent babies like Lauren become victims.  Lauren’s story literally made me fall to my knees and cry out to God.  Hyperventilating with tears streaming down my face, I begged God to show me how I can stop this from happening to other kids.  With His guidance, I came to the conclusion that education is what I can do to help prevent this sort of thing.  Showing people what really goes on behind closed doors and empowering them to be brave, stand up and call it in!

How many of us have turned a blind eye when maybe we shouldn’t have because we don’t want to get involved?

I want to use this as an encouragement for everyone to ALWAYS SAY SOMETHING, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT WILL TURN OUT TO BE NOTHING!

I kept a lot of the brutal details out of my story above.   However, I do encourage you to please go and read the full version of Lauren’s heart-wrenching ordeal.  She is a true survivor and an example of forgiveness.  Please go to the links below.  Please make sure to click the arrow at the bottom of each page as there are multiple pages for each part.     Part One     ,   Part two ,     Part three  ,  Part four  

I need everyone to join me in praying for these kids!  Pray for others to have the courage to step forward.  Pray for a changed world.

Have You Heard Her Story?

Posted on

Today’s post is for those who have not read about The Life Of An Orphan in Eastern Europe.  I have felt a tug in my heart to put this story out there as a post rather than a blog menu section.  Thanks for reading!

The life of an orphan in Eastern Europe, more often than not, goes something like this…

She is born, beautiful, pink, and tiny.  She coos, cries, and likes to be close to her mommy.  But she has Down’s Syndrome.  The doctor tells mom and dad that the best place for her is in an institution, where doctors and nurses can appropriately care for the immense and expensive needs of this flawed child.  The mother wants to keep her baby, but the doctor continues to discourage her, filling her mind with thoughts of her child being bed ridden, and the burden of being in a wheel chair all while needing expensive medications and doctors visits, not to mention the shame she will bring to their family.  Her parents relinquish their rights, and she is sent to live in a cold and drafty orphanage.

She is only a week old, yet she lays in her crib alone all day and all night.  Her hands are the only comfort she has, so she keeps them close to her face and chews on them when she needs to feel safe.  She is changed one or twice a day in the crib.  She is so uncomfortable lying in a soiled diaper for so long all the time that her skin burns, but they never put any medicine on her.   She gets a sponge bath every once in a while… in her crib.  She is fed, while laying flat on her back… in her crib.  She chokes and aspirates her cabbage water formula into her lungs, but nobody picks her up to pat her back.  She continues to eat from her bottle, but since the nurses have cut the end of the nipple on the bottle off for faster feeding, she continues to choke.  She chokes during every feeding.  She is lucky that she is able to clear her lungs herself.  Nobody ever picks her up.  She is never held or rocked or sung to or comforted.  Her head hurts, she is too little to roll herself over, and her muscles are too weak, so her head is flattening on the back.  Her body aches from always being in one position.  She often cries for hours sometimes in hopes that someone will come and help her or hold her.  She is desperate to feel the warmth of someones arms holding her close.  But no one ever comes.  She wonders if her mommy will ever hold her again.  What happened to all the promises of medical care the doctor was talking about?  The doctor was lying.  There is barely any medical care here.  Her orphanage is one of the worst ones.

She was finally listed on an adoption site!  Maybe, just maybe, she will be chosen.  So many have scrolled past her listing, watching her precious round face and big brown eyes go right by.  She is left to disappear into the sea of  “lost children”.  She lays in her crib and watches as a few other children around her are taken “home” with a new mom and dad.  Why won’t anyone come for her?

She is now 3 years old.

She spends her days exactly the same way she always has, in her crib, 24 hours a day.  Some foreign aid workers came to her orphanage and gave her a toy which hangs on the side of her crib.  This toy is all she has, and she loves it!   Her hands are raw and sore.  She has chewed on them for comfort and entertainment since she was a baby, and now they are close to infection, they are so red and raw.  But it doesn’t matter.  She continues to chew.  This new toy helps take her mind off her boredom and gives her hands some healing time.  She cannot sit up on her own because her muscles are too weak.  She is barely 11 pounds, a product of the very nutrient-deficient formula.  She does not know any other food besides cabbage water formula.  She hates it.  It’s sour and chunky and gross.  But it’s the only food she ever gets, so she eats it anyway.  The nurses still feed her while laying flat on her back.  The bottle nipple hole is still too big and she still chokes.   She no longer cries, ever.  She has lost all hope than anyone will ever really hear her.  No one has ever come for her.  She does not know how to use a toilet.  She has never seen one.  They give her 1 diaper change every 24 hours.  Her skin still burns from her soiled diaper.  They still never put any medicine on it to soothe her irritated skin.  The nurses say she is to be transferred soon…

She just had her 5th birthday.  Alone.  She is 9.5 pounds.

She amazingly has survived her first year inside the adult mental institution.  But barely.  She is one of the less than 10% that make it the first year.  Her Down Syndrome diagnosis makes it a miracle that she survived this long.   They took her only toy away from her when she was transferred.  She has nothing… again.  The windows in this prison are too high up for her to be able to see what outside looks like, so all she has to look at is the haunting environment around her which she calls “home” .   The bars, the suffering, the darkness.  She wishes she could see outside.  She remembers seeing it once, when they transferred her to this place.  It was like nothing she had ever seen before, it was very bright, but it was new, and she liked it.

Her precious, thin little face has bruises and cuts and scars all over it, and all her hair is shaved off.   She wants to feel something besides the numb that consumes her.  So she lays on her side and bangs her head against her crib bars.  She can’t even feel it anymore.  Her hands are raw once again.  She chews all day and most of the night.   She doesn’t get sponge baths anymore.  Her skin itches from the filth.  She used to love getting her bath because someone was with her, touching her, looking at her, acknowledging her.  But that is gone.  She lays awake at night, pitch black dark all around her, afraid by all the sounds she hears.  People screaming and moaning.  The child in the next crib over is choking for breath. His muscles are atrophied, and he can’t move, so he, in a way, suffocates as he lays there.  Her life in this dark, cold, scary place is fading.  She is growing weaker by the day, and nobody cares.

She, this little girl with no name, has been sentenced to a life inside a tiny crib where she will never be allowed out for any reason.  She will never get to celebrate a birthday.  She will not ever be loved, hugged, sung to, cuddled, smiled at, played with, tickled, given toys,  or spoken to.  She will never know what ice cream tastes like.  She won’t ever run and play or explore the world outside.  She will barely be fed and will know only pain, suffering and distress.  She has since suffered a great deal of neglect and inhumane treatment that comes with living in such an awful place.  A mental asylum is a scary place for a little child to be.  She is not crazy, and she doesn’t have schizophrenia or some other mental issue that may make her a danger to herself or others.  Her only crime was to be born into a society which labels her imperfect (like we all are!).   She has medical needs, but don’t we all?  Stories like hers are not rare.  They are not uncommon but, in fact, happen to thousands of children in over 25 countries all over the world.   Can you imagine how her life could have been different if her parents were given the chance, the education, and the encouragement needed to raise her themselves?  Or how different her life would be if she were adopted by a loving and good family?

Thousands of orphaned children in Eastern Europe are regularly transferred to mental institutions between age 4 and 6 where more than 80% die in the first year.  That number goes up to a staggering 90% or more if the child has Down Syndrome!  Kids do not even need to be mentally ill to be sent to such a place.  Any disability makes a child an outcast in this part of the world.  Like in my story above, many, many of these orphanages and baby houses are poor, receive little aid, and the children are malnourished and underweight.  That is just where they start out.  It gets even worse at the mental institutions.

One more, lost… Severely malnourished and dehydrated. Notice the restraint around this child’s waist which is tied to the crib? Does this child look like she is going to try and go anywhere? An example of the cruelty these kids endure.

Children in institutions  all over the world may not experience this exact scenario.  However, each and every child growing up in an orphanage will most likely live lives filled with loneliness, abuse, neglect, starvation, and sadness.   They will all share the similarity of a life without love.  A life without freedom.  A life without a chance to be who God created them to be.  They may never know what it is to giggle out of pure joy or get hugs and kisses from a mom and dad who loves them.   They will never get the chance to just be kids.  Many of them will die alone and scared.

This is where God has recently placed my heart: to advocate for these kids, to do my best to bring about awareness, and to strive for change in the systems which choose to treat these children in such an inhumane way.   I need the support of all my family and friends to make this successful!  So when you see a post about a child in need, step out in faith with me and help get these kids stories out there!  And please, don’t underestimate the power of prayer!

 (The photos of children pictured are as examples,and the scenario above was written by me, not about a specific child)

A Happy Kind Of Day!

Posted on

I know my posts are usually heavy, and I am sorry but it’s the nature of my quest!   However today, is about family!  It’s a happy post to simply express how happy my heart is on this day, August 11th.  Okay I know I should have done this earlier, this will actually post on the 13th.  Yikes!

12 years ago today I became a mother.

Over the years my boy has taught me so many things about love, life and motherhood.   He is such a blessing…

Athen

Hard to believe it was so long ago.

*

My guy in 1st grade.  Look at those tiny baby teeth!

*
It has gone way too quickly!

My soon to be 6th grader doing what he does best, being a hero to his baby sister!

*

I have seen God working in Athen since he was very young.  He is amazing to me.

I have on many occasions, witnessed my child befriend children who others might have seen as “different” or “outcasts”.  He is always willing to step out and do the right thing for the sake of someone else, not paying mind to what his peers may think.    He truly has a heart for helping others and setting an example of kindness.  I couldn’t be more proud.

Happy 12th birthday my sweet boy!

Orphanage 9

Posted on

Today’s post isn’t about anything new.  It isn’t new, but it is a matter of life and death.  Folks, it’s all about prayer.  It’s about getting on our knees and begging God to help find these special children families!  It’s about getting their faces seen so that maybe a mom or a dad will see one of these kids as “their child”.  Today is all about Orphanage 9.

Orphanage 9 is a sad place.  It is one of the poorest orphanages in the region.   All of the children here are extremely malnourished due to the nutrient poor diet which barely keeps them alive.  Of course this also means that all of the children are incredibly tiny for their ages and have many other health issues as a result.  This ophanage receives little outside aid and transfers all children to mental institutions at the age of just 4 years old!

These 5 children are the only children who are listed available for adoption from this place.  Why so few?  I have no idea, but it sickens me.  I know there are so many more children in this sad place just waiting for a chance.    But instead, they lie in their cribs day after day, month after month, year after year waiting, hoping,  slowly dying.  Most of them end up thrown away like yesterdays garbage, completely alone and neglected in some horrible mental institution.   These children truly have numbered days, and will be transferred soon.   Oh how I pray that God will let their families see them and bring them home before it’s too late!

Please meet the children of orphanage 9:

Tina

Precious Tina is such a little light!  Look at those eyes.  what do you think she was thinking at the moment they took this photo?   She looks sad.

http://reecesrainbow.org/728/tina-9

*

Violetta

I have advocated for this little one before.  This little sweetheart has such a sweet face.   I just want to grab her up and snuggle her!

http://reecesrainbow.org/865/violetta902

*

Camille

This baby girl looks like she desperately just wants somebody to hold her.  This little doll needs her mommy!

http://reecesrainbow.org/789/camille904

*

Giselle

Sweet Giselle.  What can I say, her face breaks my heart!  She looks so sick and neglected and sad.   She will surely not survive in an institution.  We must help her family to find her!!!

http://reecesrainbow.org/12884/giselle901

*

Sergey

On the adoption site they call this little one a monkey.  That  is just what I think when I see his little face!  What a cute little monkey!  I would snatch this guy up in a heartbeat if God said “Do it”!    Praying, praying…

http://reecesrainbow.org/1543/sergey905

*

To view each child’s full listing click on the individual links or the link below.

http://reecesrainbow.org/category/waitingbycountry/ee-1/orphanage-9

Drawing Winners!

Posted on

Hello All!

I know I have taken a small break from blogging lately, for which I apologize!  Family life has proven to keep all my attention this week.  I hope to get a new post up in the next day or so.

In the mean time, I am pleased to announce the winners of the drawing!  Each winner will get to choose a $20 gift card to either Starbucks, Pete’s Coffee or Target!  Yay!

Kristina– She posted a very sweet comment in my post Meet Owen.

And

Michaela Jaquith– Thanks for sharing my blog with others!

 

As I mentioned, the drawing was completely random.  Well, I will let you see for yourselves!

A very delicate process. Ari picked out the winning names from a potty chair bowl (Just bought it today so it’s not been used!)!

*

See!

Thank you for your support gals!   I also want to say thank you to all of my other entrants!  I hope that everyone will continue to come bye, read, learn, share, comment, pray or whatever!  A difference cannot be made in these kids lives unless I have your support.

 

God bless!

 

Andrea-

%d bloggers like this: