Mia's Homecoming Video

At last I see the light

One Less Orphan: Mia's gotcha day

Saturday, July 16, 2011

We're Expecting....

that is how this blog started. THIS post about how we were expecting a toddler....

Add Image
little Kareen. This picture of this little orphan with the dark haunting eyes was what started this blog and now
Mia Kareen has a sparkle and glow about her that she never knew before.

Mia has been home for one month and I have been trying to decide how to "close" this blog, this chapter of our lives. I will not completely close the blog because I want it to be a source for others who are traveling this road or wondering about traveling this road, (not to mention that I love to go back and remind myself of just how miraculous this has been) and I will also use it from time to time for advocating for other orphans and other topics, but for the majority of the time I will now be merging this blog into our family blog.

It is a little emotional for me to transition this blog into our family blog because this blog has been the place I have gone to for the last 8 months. It has been my sanctuary.

The place that has documented the miracles that have FOREVER changed us,
The place where people came together in a common cause to do good

the place I have made many, many new friends, and been supported by many, many old friends

the place where we all got to witness one little girls' life be changed forever,

and I hope that ALL of you will continue to follow Mia's journey now that she is home at our family blog Enjoy the Journey.

I have to say another HUGE thank you to ALL who have been a part of Mia's miracle!
We honestly could not have done this without each of you loving us and supporting us and our new little girl. It has been amazing to meet people and hear of the stories of how this journey has affected others. It seems everywhere we go we learn of new people who have followed this journey and have been touched in some way. I will always treasure the comments and messages we have received through this process. I hope to continue to share in other's stories and continue to witness these miracles now that our lives have been woven into the lives of so many others.

THANK YOU for all the packages and gifts and cards that were brought or mailed to Mia! She feels so loved by all of you! She has recieved clothes, toys, books, handmade hat, jewelry, a photo collage on canvas of her welcome home moment, and a gift card to enjoy the chilis' chips and dip we so missed while in Ukraine. THANK YOU to all of you!!!

Mia received a sweet package from 2 little girls ages 2 and 4. Inside they had written notes about how they chose their own "favorite things" that every 4 year old girl should have and they wanted Mia to have these special things of theirs. These sweet girls gave Mia their most valuable and treasured possessions......including a photo album that had been theirs, so that Mia could keep pictures of her own family in it now.....so so sweet!

Mia's miracle has taught us all to give a little more

One of the best things about this journey is that we have been able to witness how Mia's journey home has affected so many others. So many others are now paying it forward because they were touched by Mia's story. Some are adopting through Reece's Rainbow. This was a comment left of Kris' facebook page "Congrats on your new addition!! She's so beautiful! My friend is currently going through the adoption of another little girl from the same organization thanks to you and your wife's blog :) thanks for all of your sharing!, Some are looking into adoption in other ways, some are spreading awareness about these orphans, some are just spreading awareness and understanding about down syndrome and special needs, some are raising money for these orphans because Mia touched their hearts. One of Kris' coworkers who now lives in Idaho is one of these people paying it forward. This is an email she sent out to her family and friends:

Dear Friends and Family,

My birthday is coming up and believe it or not, I am turning 30!!! I have been trying to decide how to celebrate this big day and I realized that nothing would make me happier than to help find a forever family for a little special needs orphan in Eastern Europe. So...I am organizing the Starfish 5K run/walk to raise money for Alissa. Alissa is a little Down Syndrome orphan who lives in Eastern Europe.

At the beginning of the year my manager at work announced that they were going to adopt a little Down Syndrome girl from Easter Europe through Reece's Rainbow Adoption Ministry. I was very interested to find out more and started to follow their adoption process very closely. It didn't take me long to find out that in these Eastern European countries, orphan children with special needs like Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy are transferred from their orphanages to mental institutions at the age of four or five. The conditions in these mental institutions are scary. They are dirty, overcrowded and the children are not cared for. Approximately 90% of children die within 1 year of being transferred. As Brett and I browsed through all the sweet angels waiting for family's on Reece's Rainbow (www.reecesrainbow.org) tears came to my eyes and I knew that I had to do something to help. We began to feel overwhelmed however as we saw how many children needed to be saved but we realized that we could make a difference one orphan at a time and so we created the Starfish Fund. Please check out our website at www.starfishfund.com.

I want to be a starfish thrower and I want to save one orphan at a time but I need your help. Please come and be a starfish thrower and participate in my 5K race. It will be held at Kuna High School (close to Boise, Idaho) on August 27, 2011 at 8:30 am. We are also going to have a 1/4 mile race for children 8 and under starting at 9:45 am, a jump house, prizes, face painting and balloons. See my 5k poster attached and my website www.starfishfund.com for more information. All race day proceeds will go directly to Alissa's adoption fund with Reece's Rainbow. I know that many of you don't live in Idaho and won't be able to attend but you can still help by passing this email on to all your friends and family and asking them to pass it along too. Eventually it will get to someone in Idaho .

I'm not only trying to raise funds for Alissa, I'm also trying to create awareness for Alissa. Who knows...the next person to read this email might be her future forever family so please pass it on.

If you would like to help but you don't want to race, you can also make tax deductible donations. These donations will go directly to Reece's Rainbow and Alissa's adoption fund. You can make these donations through my website: www.starfishfund.com/donate.html (which will link you directly to Alissa's paypal account with Reece's Rainbow) or you can donate through Reece's Rainbow: http://reecesrainbow.org/?s=alissa

I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends and such a great family. I appreciate all your support and help to make my birthday wish come true. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like any more information.



THIS link on her blog goes to Mia's story and why she decided to do this.

How amazing is that? So let's help her, help little Allissa find her family! Like she said it isn't always about how much you raise for these children but rather about getting their pictures out and finding their families....just like Patti did for us with Mia!

Since I started this blog with the "We're expecting" news.....it would be appropriate to end it with the same news.......

YEP! You read that right!

Exactly one week after Mia was home with us, we found out we are expecting a baby, due at the first of March!!!

From the very beginning of this journey, we knew that our Heavenly Father had a plan and that Mia needed to be brought to our family at this time. Last summer (exactly this same time) I was pregnant, later to miscarry in August at 13-14 weeks. We of course were devastated and overwhelmed with the "why" of something like this (it was my 3rd miscarriage) and now we know our "why" was so that we could rescue Mia and bring her home to our family.

Had we not lost our baby last summer, we would not have gone to get Mia
and now it's like Heavenly Father is saying "ok, now that Mia is home safe, you can bring this other little one who you've been trying to have for 4 years, into your family"
It is a little, ok a lot, de-ja-vue of last summer....just weeks different of where I was last summer.....sick for 2 summers in a row.... so I can't help but get anxious and nervous that something will go wrong with this pregnancy, but I am trying not to let my mind go there and instead just believe that things always work out how they are supposed to.

On one hand we didn't want to spread the news of this pregnancy yet because it is so early, and with the history of last summer, but on the other we are all too excited and figure we can use the extra prayers anyway!
Once again it ceases to amaze me how the Lord works in our lives. Miracles are all around us and the way our lives our weaved is amazing!

So, before we have even adjusted to 4 children we are now wrapping our mind around 5!

Nothing like adding 2 kids to your family within 10 months time! Needless to say keeping up with the new addition and adjusting to 4 girls while feeling REALLY sick with morning sickness aka ALL day sickness, has been an adventure to say the least.

I will still use this blog from time to time but PLEASE continue to follow the next chapters in Mia's life with us on our family blog as we enjoy our journey together!

In dreams and in love, there are no impossibilities.
janos arany

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Freedom

Freedom took on a whole new meaning this year on the 4th of July.

When we landed in the USA with Mia almost a month ago, I was emotional as I saw the American flag on one of the airplanes.
We were home and Mia was FREE!

So many times while we were in Ukraine, the people would say "Oh you are so lucky to live in America, She is so lucky to get to go to America" Being away from America, made us appreciate it even more when we got back.

I have always been a sucker for patriotic songs and I always cry in the star spangled banner, or when I see a flag waving, but this year was a new level of appreciation for the freedom that this holiday represents

A new appreciation of what it means to be free

A new sense of honor to sing " I am proud to be an American"

A new sense of gratitude for the country we live in

and the true freedom that we enjoy

and the NEW freedom that Mia is now able to enjoy

Freedom to LIVE

Freedom to be who she wants to be
and not be sentenced to life in an institution just because of an extra chromosome

Freedom to know what it means to have sisters

and friends and family

Freedom to smile and to laugh

to explore

Freedom to play

Freedom to just be a kid

Freedom to love

and be loved

Freedom to shine

to eat when she wants to eat and sleep when she wants to sleep

Freedom to feel valued and important

Finally after 4 years,
this little girl knows what it REALLY means to be FREE!

And because of her, we are learning a new meaning of freedom

We are learning that life is full of opportunities and miracles, if we will just learn to

Embrace Life,

Give Thanks,

Be Amazed.

Embrace the world around us

Embrace the possibilities

Give thanks for what we have

Be amazed at what life is all about
Be amazed at all the little things

the little things that we may take for granted,

but that so many like Mia, have never ever known.

Mia is embracing her new life and her new freedom
just like she was always meant to do

just like she deserves to do