Thursday, August 30, 2012

Andrew's Video for Older Orphans

This is a video that Andrew made for older kids in the orphanage.  We had a couple people help us translate and they both said very similar things. This may not be word for word, but it's pretty close.

"Hello my name is Andrey. I'm from Ukraine and I'm an orphan. I was there and I know what it is like. In Ukraine people were saying that, 'Oh, in U.S. they take kids and then rip them in pieces cutting them.'

"At first I thought when they didn't come...I was like, no, I'm not going to go anywhere (USA), and then when they already came and I met them, I looked in their eyes and I watched their heart and their soul... I saw in these people love, and saw that they love me like son. I can't tell you that on words. It's like, 'Look.. you don't want to come here, like they going to cut you in pieces, like organ donor.'  That's what people say....the older people (caregivers), or friends...don't listen, or no listen through that ear or the other. Think with your mind. Do you need a family or not?

"I was thinking a lot and at first I thought, I won't go with them. Then I was just... it's love! That love for son, and I'm not regretting that I came here. Of course, it was a little hard with the English. If you come it's gonna be a little hard too at first, the language, cause I was in school sleeping in that class, its true. I got use to it and you would too. So I already speak English.

"Here I have family, they are awesome and you got car here, everything. Here it's not like in Ukraine when you come from orphanage."  (This is where he talks about when you leave the orphanage.  It was a little confusing.)  "Here you got family. You got everything here. You just think about it. You grow up there in Ukraine, where you going to find a job?"

Then he talks about future, the family and wife, the apartment and the responsibilities and that kids want toys, food and that how are you going to earn the money and job. "Yeah, I heard a lot about adopting and then all those rumors about cutting kids and then I thought in my mind and my heart... do you believe in God? I do! I know that God is going to help me and I prayed and He helped me. He always helped me.

"So I advise you to come here. In Ukraine there is nothing to do...come here! At first it's hard with English and all, but now I'm a happy person. Right now I can go swim anytime, go to store buy anything. I got so much here. You just got to know where that family is. I have family here. I don't think that orphanage is better because I went through that. I was there til I was 16 years.

"At first I thought, yes it's scary and all. I tell you to come here. I have family, love, happiness. I know the wounds in your heart when your mom and dad throws you away from house, or putting you in orphanage. I know how it is to live there. So you come here. It's a lot better here. Everything is for you here and you will not be sorry. So you think in your mind and in your heart."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Andrew and the Babies

I've had several people ask how Andrew does with the babies. Well, at first he ignored them. I thought maybe it was because they have Down syndrome and that is not accepted in his country. But lately he has been paying more attention to Mackenzie. He will go over to her highchair and smile at her.  She looks at him with her big brown eyes with a little uncertanity. I think he likes her!  I think she's not too sure about him!

We were getting ready to leave the other day and I asked Andrew to hold John-David. I went to hand JD to him and Andrew didn't know what to do. I showed him how to place his hands and arms around JD. As soon as he did John-David wrapped his arms around Andrew and laid his head on his shoulder. It was so precious! I went to grab my camera when Madison came around the corner and saw the two of them. The first thing Andrew told her was, "I the big brother!" I think his smile says it all!

Maybe he just didn't know what to do with the babies. He's never been around little ones before.  He's never been in a family before.  This is all new to him and he's learning how to be a son and a big brother!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sharing his heart

Last night I was sitting outside on our little loveseat.  It was a beautiful summer night with a light breeze blowing.  Andrew came home from riding his bike and sat down next to me.  We spent the next three hours talking and doing iTranslate. We laughed, we cried and he shared his heart with a little prompting from the mom. And I did a lot of listening.

I know this young boy has a lot of hurts burried down underneath all the smiles. We talked about how he likes to be funny and he loves humor. We talked about how he covers up those hurts with the humor and how the Lord wants to heal him of his hurts.

We talked about his family.  The great grandmother who raised him until she died when he was 10. We talked about his birth mother, her drinking and being unkind to him.  He talked about going to the orphanage when he was only 11 and how the bigger boys would beat him.  He told me his great grandmother loved God and would tell him Bible stories. He told me there was no love at the orphanage.

Yes, we did cry.  It's good to get those hurts out so you can be healed. If you keep a wound covered up it can't heal.  When you uncover it, it starts healing.  That's what Andrew is learning. It's little by little. There's so much more in him and it will take time for it to all come out.  But now he knows this mama is here to stay and she loves him to the moon and back.

After our three hours, Andrew came in the house and told Madison, "Three hours talk to mother. Pour out heart. Very good."  He doesn't call me mom.  He calls me Ms. Hansina. I've known it will take him time to call me mom.  He will only do it when he's ready and he means it. After our talk he knocked on my bedroom door and said, "Mom, I need towel."  He called me MOM!  My heart melted!  In the morning it was "mom, mom, mom!!!" I asked him if he was okay calling me mom.  He said, "Yes! You my mom." There are no words to tell you all how much Mark and I love this boy.

This reminds me so much of the love of our Father.  How He wants us to tell him our hurts so He can heal us.  He loves us unconditionally. He is there to correct us and point us back in the right direction. He adopted us first. How great is the love of our God!  Lord, thank you for healing my own hurts.  Thank you for giving me wisodm on how to talk and listen to Andrew. Thank you for your love so that I am able to love others. Thank you most of all for my sweet son, Andrew.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thankfulness and the Park

Sunday after church we took some lunch, our blankets and chairs for an afternoon at the park. It was a nice, quiet day under the big oak trees.

Andrew has gained over six pounds since he's been home. That's a pound a week. Boy, does he pack away the food and he's still skinny! I did find his favorite food at Costco today....he loves raviolis with potato and cheese in them! We will fatten him up yet!

Andrew is going to be making a video this week for older kids in Ukraine who change their minds about being adopted. He said he wants to tell them that Americans won't hurt them and talk about his life here. I'm glad he's happy living here because we're happy he's here.

When we were at Costco today, with three baskets of groceries, he looked me right in the eyes and said, "Thank you so much." He really means it. He's very appreciative of what he has. I told him, "Thank YOU!" He said, "Why thank me?" I said, "For being brave enough to come home with us." He said, "No, thank YOU!"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Home and Family

Andrew will be home six weeks on Saturday. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. Mark and I were talking the other day about how much Andrew has changed. He's not the boy that came home. He's finding his place in our family. That takes time and I think he is doing it a lot faster than I originally thought.

Coming from living in an orphanage to living in a home with a family is so different. (He just came in while I was writing this and told me to let you all know that "Mickschls are best forever family!") When he first got here he was still in orphan mode. Now he's becoming a brother and a son. What does that look like? How do I do it? He watches the other kids and then adds his own personality and spin on it.

I could write a lot of things that have gone on in the last six weeks. Some good and some not so good. But Andrew is learning. He's learning that speaking the truth is better than a lie. He's learning that when you obey your parents it is for your own benefit. When you steal something, it makes you a weak person. He's learning that this family loves and accepts him unconditionally. He's learning to trust. He's learning to love us back. We are family and there is nothing in the world like having a family.

Andrew gets kisses and hugs. He gets prayed over at night. He has a mama that kisses his boo boos. (Yes, I have kissed his ouchies.) He is finding out that when he does something wrong, mom and dad will correct him, but they love him no matter what.

To hear him talk about the orphanage and how the kids there told him that if he was adopted by us, "They will cut you up and sell your body parts" but he came with us anyway. I asked him, "If they said these horrible things, why did you come?" His response, "I know people. You are good people." That's the prayers of all of you!

Has the last six weeks been easy? No. But it has been rewarding! To see how far he has come! Thank you, Lord, for Andrew my son!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Praying for Chloe

I am blessed to be a part of a group of women called the Sisterhood. We all come from different backgrounds, live in different cities but have one thing in common: we all have children with Down syndrome.

One of our sisters, Beth Herrington, has two precious little ones with Down syndrome, Chloe and Olivia. I first met Chloe when she was three months old at a fundraiser for John-David's adoption. Our sister Monica had a jewelry party the weekend before we left for Ukraine and I had the privilege of meeting Beth and Chloe. What a hunk of love! Her mama let me hold her and was so gracious to share sweet Chloe with all of us.

Today Chloe was hospitalized for leukemia. She will be in the hospital for the next six months fighting this horrible disease. She IS a fighter and she has an army of prayer warriors behind her. Will you please be praying for this precious family. They have six children and all of them need our prayers during this time.

Chloe is the sweetie in the front on the right with a pink flower in her hair and her finger by her mouth. The little one right in the front middle with the green flower in her hair is her new sister Olivia.

Thank you for your prayers! Our Lord is the great physician and healer!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Hot summer days are great for being with your dad, learning a trade, getting a little extra money and making new friends!

Andrew wakes up in the morning and asks, "Me work?" I say, "You want to go help paint the church?" His reply, "YES!" Even when it's 100 degrees out he's ready to go! Hanging with Mark and a little extra cash in his pocket is a good incentive.

I can't believe Andrew has been home a little over a month. Every day is something new to learn about one another. The different foods he tries and likes. The desserts I make that he would like to eat the whole pan! When he's quiet, to let him have some space or pursue him. It's a learning time for all of us. Thankful I can call on my Heavenly Father to guide me on this wonderful journey!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This is a post written by Daneille. Her blog is the Wonder of boys! Chad needs a family. Please help us spread the word or maybe he's your son.

Time is running out for Chad!

I'd like to introduce you to Chad. Chad turned 15 years old in April. He is very close to aging out of the system. If you don't know what that means, here it is: when Chad turns 16, he will be turned out of the orphanage and will be on his own. Sixteen year old boys should not be on their own. They still needs their moms, and Chad is no exception. Through an unhappy act of fate, Chad wound up in an orphanage, but he should not be there. He should be in the arms of a loving family. For Chad, time is running out.

Chad has been hosted in the United States twice by families who have adopted children from the country Chad is from. Both families loved Chad and speak very highly of him, but neither family was in the position to adopt again. Chad has watched as his friends at the orphanage have been found by their forever families. Chad still waits, and time is running out.

Chad is a healthy child with no physical or mental delays. He is a quiet, kind, and helpful boy. Chad likes to ice skate and play basketball. He is a good runner. He would do very well on a high school sports team! (My own child, adopted at age 11, has played for the varsity soccer team! These kids thrive in families!)

Chad does ok in school, but his teachers report that he prefers sports to studying. (Hmmm, that sounds very normal!) He knows a few words of English but is shy to attempt speaking them. Friends he knows from his country whom he met again while being hosted highly recommended Chad for adoptive placement; these children, who have been through what Chad has been through, feel that Chad would do very well in an adoptive family.

Chad desperately wants to be adopted. He knows his time is running out. He asks for a mother to come for him, as mothers have come for his friends. Chad was affectionate with his host mothers and enjoyed giving and receiving hugs. He was friendly with other children, interacting not only with the children his age but also with younger children.

Chad has good communication skills, and it is reported that he "seems like such a normal boy." Chad wants to come home to a family just as his friends in the orphanage have. Unfortunately for Chad, he has only about nine months before his chances for a loving family are gone forever.

Chad lives in a country with adoption fees of $20-25,000. The adoption process can be completed in 6-12 months. It is possible for Chad to be adopted after he turns 16 as long his his immigration has already been approved. To make sure that things work out, it is important to have a dossier ready by January of 2013. A family interested in Chad would need to move quickly!

The host program facilitator in Chad's country knows Chad well, and he and the host families would be willing to talk to any family interested in adopting Chad. It is possible that an interested family could Skype with Chad, email him, or speak to him via cell phone.

Please share Chad's information with everyone you can! This boy is depending on us to help him find a family! Fifteen may seem old, but think back to when you were 15. Think back to how much you still needed the love and security of your family. Think back to how much you have relied on your family as you have grown to adulthood; your family is with whom you have celebrated your successes and found comfort in times of distress. Your family are the people you love the most. Chad deserves the love of a family. He deserves a better life than being a throw-away child dismissed from an orphanage. Chad has been hosted in America twice; he knows what his potential is. Please help him achieve it!

Any family interested in Chad is welcome to contact me, and I can give you the contact information of the facilitator in Chad's country as well as that of people who know him. You can click the Email Me button on the right sidebar or you can leave a comment for me. Please help me move Chad to the left sidebar of my blog, where I can caption his photo Chad - Found! Chad is currently not listed with Reece's Rainbow and therefore has no adoption grant. However, a family interested in adopting Chad could set up a Family Sponsorship Fund through RR and fundraise.

Chad is running out of time! Please help him!

Posted by Daneille

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blessings from an orphan advocate

If you all don't know her, I do. Her name is Patricia and she yelled from the mountain top to help Andrew find his forever family. She exhausted all avenues, made his picture her profile picture on FB. Contacted blogging families to help her help him! That's when my good friend Adeye stepped up and wrote her post back in December and Mark and I saw it. We knew the minute we saw Andrew's face, he was our son.

Patricia kept praying and yelling until Mark and I listened and stepped out in faith. And then Patricia kept praying for us and still does. She is Andrew's biggest advocate. The Lord burdened her heart for this young boy and her prayers were answered. Not right away. It was at the last minute before he turned 16.

If you are an advocate for a child, don't give up! Look where Andrew is now! He's home!

Patricia and some of her wonderful friends sent Andrew a box full of football T-shirts, hats, blankets, gloves, a scarf, all kinds of treasures! When the box was open the first thing he said was, "WOW!" It was like Christmas for him!

Thank you, Patricia, for your unfailing love, support and prayers for Andrew and orphans all over the world. You are a blessing!