Sebastien, our sponsored child

Sebastien, our sponsored child
Sebastien is a tiny eight year old!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sebastien, The Great!

After years of sponsoring sweet Andres in Ecuador though Children International (his family graduated from the program!), we decided to sponsor a child through God's Littlest Angels in Haiti.  I was drawn to a little eight year old boy named Sebastien.  Babies are sweet and cute, but readily get adopted and don't remember their orphanage days.  But this boy was eight, had medical needs, and was being handed over to an orphanage as a school-aged child.  Can you imagine the hard decision this mother had to make, and the grieving this little boy went through?  And he still is going through...

Sebastien was born with club feet that were never corrected until now.  Here is what his nurse at GLA beautifully wrote about Sebastien upon his arrival in October 2011:

He has since had the halos removed from his legs and is now casted.  This is him today:

(OK, trying to convert the WORD pic to a jpg file and will edit it in later!)

Sponsorship is just $30 a month, and I pay it automatically through PayPal.  We are also able to send him packages directly (through the Florida office).  GLA is wonderful about sending us pictures of Sebastien receiving his packages.  This is such a good thing for my little kids.  Most of the goodies are new, but Hannah and Nick also dig into their closets and drawers for things to give to Sebastien as well :-)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

First fundraising goal...

So, I have decided that my first fundraising goal will be for the passports that Rachel and I will need to get into Haiti.  Rachel has never been out of the country, and I only once.  But that was in 1999, for my honeymoon, to Mexico.  Joe and I didn't even need a passport then.  Boy, how things have changed post-9/11/01!  In fact, it's the last time I flew on an airplane, but more about that phobia in a later post  :-(

As far as I can make out, it will cost $165.00 per person.  I am making little crafts to sell at local craft fairs, not that I am a great crafter BY ANY MEANS, but I am trying to deflect the cost of this trip in any way that I can.  So, I am going to start with one goal at a time.

If anyone knows of local craft fairs in St. Mary's County, let me know ASAP!  I am planning on also "using" my table to promote information about Haiti, especially our destination-  God's Littlest Angels.

And I am hoping to involve my little kids in the process as well.  They already really, really enjoy sponsoring Sebastien from the orphanage!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Missions Month

My church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church is having a "Missions Month".  And this past Sunday, the Reverend Larry Martin from the International Justice Mission spoke at sunday school and the main service afterwards.  IJM is a group of Christian lawyers, counselors, etc. that focus on the areas of forced slavery and prostitution (especially that of children), property grabbing, unprosecuted child sexual assault, and abuse of police power.  They provide victim rescue and relief, aftercare, perpetrator accountability, and structural transformation (I took notes!) 

These are areas close to my heart, and his presentation, including a slide show, brought me to tears many times that day.  If you are interested in more information, please go to their website.  I am sure they will do a much better job explaining their mission that what I just did!  Anyways, they are having a "Pray 27 days for million slaves" campaign right now.  Experts estimate that there are 27 million children, women and men in slavery today.  IGM believes that God knows and cares for each person who suffers- and IGM wants you to ask Him to bring rescue and release to those who wait for help.

Here is an example of prayer that will guide you if interested:

  • Pray for an end to slavery around the world, and that God would bring rescue, restoration and hope to people who are enslaved right now.  (Psalm 10:16-18)

  • Pray for wisdom and protection for IJM mission staff, government and ministry partners who undertake dangerous and difficult work every day.  (Psalm 23:4)

I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.  (Psalm 140:12)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Volunteering at God's Littlest Angels In Haiti...

Now that the word is getting out that Rachel and I have applied to volunteer at God's Littlest Angels orphanage, I wanted to give you more information on how I learned about GLA and why I chose this particular orphanage.  Before the earthquake in 2010, there were "approximately" 380,000 Haitian orphans.  I say approximately because there are hundreds of orphanages in Haiti, and not all were registered with the government or UNICEF before this time.  It is also estimated that 2% of orphans were killed in the earthquake, but sadly now countless more replace them.  And this number doesn't even take into consideration the number of restaveks, or child slaves, in the country. 

Anyways, I have always been fascinated by the world of adoption and have always wanted to adopt a child of my very own.  THIS IS NOT WHY I AM GOING TO HAITI!  So, let's lay that on the table right now.  Everyone in my family would have to be on the same page about adoption, and until that time (or "if" that ever happens), we will just continue to support orphans in other ways (more about that later).  "Adoption Stories" on TLC (I believe) had two separate episodes where  families adopted from GLA.  GLA is run by an Americans John and Dixie Bickel.  Dixie is a pediatric nurse and established the orphanage in the '90s.  In addition to the orphanage itself, they provide supplies and outreach to the surrounding communities, run a school sponsorship program, have a NICU, and the list goes on and on.  Most importantly, they have a well-established volunteer program.

So, where do Rachel and I stand in the process as of today?  We are awaiting security clearances and a firm date on our travel dates.  We are aiming to go in January 2013, as they are BOOKED though September for volunteers, and we need that time anyways to raise funds.  Also, in January, Rachel will be on winter break for college.

We sponsor and eight year old boy named Sebastien at the orphanage.  It's $30 per month and I pay it through PayPal, and we can even send him stuff directly which is wonderful!  The kids are really getting a lot out of it.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Superstars and childbirth

"Can you believe Whitney Houston died?"  This has been the question of the past twenty-four hours that I've heard again and again on the radio, television, and in the grocery store checkout line.  And yes, unfortunately I CAN believe it, that she died an untimely and tragic death.  Such talent and beauty that went very, very wrong.  May she rest in peace and may her daughter find the support and love from her family and friends to carry her through.  Losing your mom at any age is tragic, but especially when you're a teen girl.  You really need your momma then...

Whitney had so many beautiful songs, it's hard to pick a favorite.  But I found the lyrics to the "Greatest Love of All" especially bittersweet... 

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody's searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
 Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all...

Children ARE our future, and universally, children need to have a sense of pride to make it easier.  Simple, yet beautifully put.   The infant mortality rate in Haiti is 74 deaths per 1,000 births.  The maternal mortality rate?  1,400 per 100,000.  In the United States, it's 6 deaths per 1,000 births.  The mommies?  24 per 100,000.  A big difference, huh?  The Haitian women in the photo are the LUCKY ones-  the ones who made it to a hospital or clinic to birth their child.  Can you just IMAGINE this scene as being THE BEST CARE? 

I am a labor and delivery nurse.  I think that the next time I have a patient that complains that she received one of our "smaller" postpartum rooms, and then DEMANDS to speak to a supervisor, I just may flash her this picture!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Designing this blog...

I have been spending some time clicking through all of the design tabs, so I hope some learning is taking place here!  I think I may ask a few people to join so that I can get some feedback on what it looks like to the world.  Going to post another picture for the practice.  Todd, a friend of mine, and a great photographer, took this picture...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Practicing posting pictures...

Charlie the dog, Hannah and Nick in our backyard

Ambitious plans...

I have decided to join the world of blogging to capture an adventure that I am planning to embark upon in January of 2013, if all of my planing works out!  My oldest daughter, Rachel, and I want to spend two weeks at a Haitian orphanage located in the mountains above Petion-Ville, close to the village of Fermathe. The majority of the children brought to God's Littlest Angels are between the ages of newborn and 7 years old.  I will post more details later on how this all came about, but today Hannah (daughter #2) is home from school with a nasty cold, and I am being distracted by all of the LOUD coughing in my ear...