Sunday, March 27, 2011

Across the Ocean Thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and concern over the past two years. Maren is nearing the two-year anniversary of her diagnosis, and she is 114 days out from her last day of chemo (not that I'm counting or anything). Her routine of meds, glucose monitoring, and throwing up in the van has almost become just that - routine. It is tiring, but most of the time it just seems like part of life. We are more than ready to finish, to see how she grows and develops more coordination off the chemo, and to see her really get out into world after so many months of semi-isolation.

I'm pretty sure Maren has very little understanding that her life is about to take a turn for the better as we have tried to downplay, as much as possible, the fact that she even has a limiting diagnosis. By the time is she done, she will have spent more of life on chemo, than off of chemo. She is looking forward to not having any more "port pokes," and she desperately wants to visit her grandparents, great grandparents and extended family, and see the beach (I finally had to break the news to the kids that the Allegheny is not an ocean.). Sadly, the only time I've traveled to see my family on the West Coast since moving to PA was for my grandmother's funeral service last spring. Thankfully, my family has been able to come to us. We're working on these family visits with much anticipation. Maren will also get to have a wish granted by the truly amazing Make-a-Wish foundation. I can't wait for us to get away as a family and to see the kids get on some amusement park rides without even wiping down the seats first! We have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to (apologies to grammar buffs there).

Unfortunately, many children don't have wishes granted, school to look forward to, and a "normal life" ahead of them. That is, if they even make it through treatment. I am writing today to advocate for a little boy in an orphanage in Eastern Europe named "Presley." Presley has leukemia, and from what we know he is likely staying at the hospital alone. He is enduring intense chemotherapy without a single person by his side. Nobody to fight for him, nobody to comfort him, nobody to alert the nurses that he feels warm, that he is getting a rash from blood products, or that the IV line has an air bubble. And nobody to bring him pizza with ketchup between meals. One mom that I had the privilege of speaking with who adopted her son from Eastern Europe when he had leukemia told me the hospital was as sanitary as a gas station bathroom.

Presley needs a family. He needs a family soon. If you know anyone who is considering international adoption, please tell them about Presley and about Reece's Rainbow. Reece's Rainbow is a non-profit organization that advocates for orphans all over the world with Down Syndrome and other special needs. Jeremy and I are planning to adopt in the future. We made commitment to start the process next April, but when we heard about Presley we contacted a social worker immediately. We knew it would be a huge change of plans, and delay of the start of our "normal life," but we felt we couldn't let him languish in a hospital and endure these treatments alone. We knew it would take a lot of prayer and a lot of fundraising, grant application-making, and emotional support from family. Unfortunately, because Maren's treatment doesn't end until mid-July, we just couldn't make it all come together.

I know it sounds crazy. Who would sign up for this? Who would sign up to go across the world to adopt a child with cancer, and then return to hospital visits and a couple of years of major germ patrol. But God is good. Presley is a child of God. God knows about him and loves him more than anyone could. That is the ultimate comfort in knowing he is loved by God, but it isn't a reason to not fulfill our calling to be the hands and feet of Christ - to reach out, on behalf of this child and offer up prayer that he will be comforted, healed and find a family. One of the major barriers to international adoption is financial. With immigration fees, notary and application shipping fees, home study costs, facilitator fees (on the Ukrainian side), airline tickets, food and lodging, the total cost to adopt Presley will probably be between 23,000 and 30,000 dollars. I have seen other families on Reece's Rainbow raise this money for many children. It is not easy, but it can be done. We have been putting money into Presley's account a little at a time (as have a few other generous individuals), and we will continue to do so. We hope that if it is on your heart to donate to Presley's grant fund, that you will do that. All donations to Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible and can be made through Paypal (seen on his webpage) or by check (sent directly to Reece's Rainbow indicating that it is for Presley's grant fund). I encourage you to check out the Reece's Rainbow website and learn about the work they do, see the families who have committed to adopt special needs children into their family as well as the families who have already been united. You will be encouraged that God has a plan for everyone.

Thank you so much for reading!

Love, Emily

P.S. - If you feel it's appropriate, please feel free to pass this on to anyone, put a link to it on your blog, facebook, etc. . .


Ali said...

Em, you amaze me!! I love your heart for this sweet boy!! I'll be praying and I'll repost this too!!! love you!

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