Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

For all the newbies: Introductions

If you're one of my new readers, let me give you a bit of an introduction so you don't have to dig for it. ;-)

Dean and I have been together for almost 10 years now. Between us we had 6 kids. The oldest 5 boys are all adults now, living on their own.

We were down to just one kid left at home: Angela who has Down syndrome who is now 16.
Angela age 16

In April 2010 I made my first trip to Serbia and Bulgaria. In Eastern Europe, as well as other parts of the world, children with Down syndrome are often institutionalized at birth. It is a stigma to have such a child attached to your family. An embarrassment. A curse. During that trip we visited the Zvescanska institution in Belgrade, as well as some children living in foster care. When our time in Serbia was done we went to Bulgaria. My friend at the time was completing her first Bulgarian adoption. While there we also brought donated toys and therapy supplies to the Bulgaria DS association and spoke with Bulgarian parents who had chosen to go against the norm, keeping their children in their families as they were intended to be.

In July 2010 I connected with Cherish Our Children International. A US based 501c3 non-profit NGO registered in Serbia. They are on the ground in Serbia, working with children and adults with disabilities in Serbia as well as Croatia. (they work in many countries too, but this post is about Serbia.) They also provide dental care for children in institutional and foster care.

In December 2010 I returned to Serbia to complete the adoption of our son Axel. He was 10 years old at the time. Like Angela he also has Down syndrome. If you've watched the videos done by MSNBC, which are based on the investigation done by MDRI of Serbia's institutions, you have probably seen pictures of our Axel who spent time in both Subotica and Kulina, and was removed to foster care shortly after the investigation. Although Axel had been in a foster home for 2 years he still had a lot of catching up to do. He came to us at 10 years old weighing 42 lbs and wearing size 5 clothes. Two  years later he wears size 10 and is 70lbs! He had never seen the inside of a school. Now, home two years, he is reading and doing just amazingly well!
Axel age 12
In December 2011 I returned to Serbia, this time to bring home Asher who also has Down syndrome. He is 8 years old now. Asher was living in a Serbian institution which, by Serbian standards, provides fairly decent care. Unfortunately the children are still extremely underweight and lacking in the care which comes with living in a family setting. 7 years old at the time of his adoption, Asher weighed 30 lbs. and was wearing size 3t clothes. He came to us like a 6 month old who could walk.
Asher age 8
And now we're going back for B. Serbian law says I can't show you his picture or tell you his name. (which we'll be changing anyway) He is located in the same facility Asher came from. He is 9 years old and, according to his measurements, is the same size Asher is now. Asher wears size 4t clothes.
"B" age 9

I do most of my blogging on our main family blog Garden of Eagan. That's where I blog about life in general. This blog, my adoption blog, is dedicated to our time getting our new kids home! If you're new here, I'd love to hear from you. Please don't be shy about saying, "Hello!" in the comments!
We have teamed up with Project Hopeful, an 501c3 non-profit organization. We currently have two fundraisers going on. Our "FAMILY" artwork fundraiser, and our Kindle giveaway.

As of March 9th, we are still $1000 short of our goal. In the adoption world $1000 is nothing, but to us, it seems like a million dollars right now.

Thanks again for visiting!!! 

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