Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some things CAN'T wait...

Greetings my faithful blog readers! I really need to get more consistent about writing. The truth is, I just don't have much to report on our adoption at present, but I expect that to change in the coming weeks. So for now, our saga can wait. 

Today, in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, there is a nine year old boy laying in a crib. This nine year old only weighs eighteen pounds. When he was four, his birth-father beat him into a coma. This caused brain damage and likely some form of cerebral palsy. His joints began to contract. Whether his birth-mother surrendered him or he was removed from her care is unknown, but in a final insult, this physically and emotionally traumatized child was placed in one of the most notoriously squalid institutions in his country, for he is now "defective." Hidden away out of sight in a crib, a nine year old boy lays in his own waste as his joints continue to contract. He is fed a watery formula or grain based porridge through a bottle with a large nipple, while laying flat on his back. He is changed once per day...if he is lucky. I don't think it is possible for us to understand the level of hunger he feels every day. It doesn't go away. He doesn't just "get used to it."

Can we imagine?
Can you imagine intentionally swallowing air as a way to fill your stomach and, just for a short moment, ward off the constant pains of hunger? 

Can you imagine joints so contracted that you cannot unbend your legs and hips.....ever?

He doesn't cry out from hunger or pain anymore. This boy has long since learned that no one will come when he cries. And now, because of his starving, dehydrated state, this boy is incapable of crying tears.
This, my friends, is a real boy's real life. And he cannot afford to wait. He isn't just another statistic of the Eastern European orphan crisis. He is a real little boy who was abused, abandoned, and now is neglected and is starving. He will die of starvation. We Americans were appalled when Terry Schiavo was legally starved to death. She starved for 13 days with morphine to keep her pain free. This boy has been starving, feeling every bit of it....for over 4.5 years.

"This boy" is MATTHEW 

Notice the angle of Matthew's legs. He cannot unbend them. Notice his small frame. He is about the size of a 9 month old baby, but he is a 9 year old boy. Some other adoptive mothers have seen Matthew recently, and his condition is even worse than depicted in this photo. 
Make no mistake, adopting Matthew is a rescue. Matthew can't afford to wait.

This is my own 8 year old son.  Matthew should be close to this size. Matthew should be smiling. Matthew should know that regardless of his disabilities, he is loved, valued, and wanted. Matthew should go to sleep without the pains of hunger, in a clean bed not soaked in his waste. Matthew should have the opportunity to grow, smile, enjoy life, and reach his potential.
 Matthew should be loved. 

If MY son lay across the ocean, in a crib, in his own waste, starving, in pain, and I could not get to him, I would be going mad. I mean that in every sense. There is nothing I wouldn't do to rescue him. There is no humiliation or criticism I wouldn't endure to get him home. 
Matthew deserves to be loved like that.

*And Matthew IS LOVED like that.*

Please allow me to introduce you to my friend, Amanda Unroe, and her amazing family!

Amanda is a friend and truly a mentor to me. As you can see, she is no stranger to adoption. Amanda and her husband, Brent, have committed to bringing Matthew into their family. My dear friends, I can tell you that Amanda and Brent love ALL of their children...and MATTHEW is one of their children. They just can't get to him fast enough.

I KNOW that Amanda and Brent have what it takes to help Matthew heal. I know it because I've sat in their home. I have seen her dedication to each child's needs. I have seen 18 beautiful children who know they are loved by their parents and by God. 18 children who are polite and kind and welcomed my four as friends without skipping a beat. 
Last summer, the Unroes brought home 5 children with Down Syndrome. The youngest, 
Keith, was in the same institution as Matthew is now. 

No, this is not a baby....Keith is 5 years old and weighs about 10 pounds in this picture.

Here is a side by side of Keith before, and Keith after one month at home.

Keith home 4 months. He made this face whenever the people wearing scrubs LEFT the room at the dentist. 
The orphanage workers wore scrubs.

 Keith at 5 months home, discovering the classic children's toy....a cardboard box.

Keith is a testament to what love, family, medical care and nutrition can do for a child. But it is easy to look at him now and see a healthy 1 one year old. But remember, Keith is 5 years old. Look at what life in that place took from him. Look at what he's missed.

This is my husband holding our very petite 2 year old daughter, along with Keith.  Children with Down Syndrome are typically shorter than "typical" children, but not this much shorter.

 My husband said they felt pretty similar in weight, so in 5 months home, sweet Keith went from about 10 pounds to about 25 pounds...and began to crawl, play, and even stand. Keith continues to make astounding improvements, but the cold reality remains. He never should have had to exist the way he did for the first five years of his life. He may look like a "typical" 1 year old, and he may function at about that level now, but he is FIVE. He should be in kindergarten. LOOK at what that place took from him. His Down Syndrome didn't do that. Ignorance and  indifference did that. 

If anyone can help Matthew reach his potential, it is Amanda and Brent. They have so much love in their hearts and home that it would be impossible not to thrive there. They were not intending to adopt again so soon, but after seeing the conditions at Keith's orphanage, they knew they would be back. They could not forget the children left there. 

Amanda often speaks of how she tried to reason with God that now was just not the time for them to adopt again....and how He impressed upon her very strongly that she needed to go back immediately. She did not know then just what condition her little Matthew was in, but God did, and when He said, "Go." That is what she did. But she needs help. For Matthew's sake, she needs to have her process expedited. As a fellow adoptive mom in process, I can attest to the waiting and the fundraising being agonizing, but this is different. Amanda's sweet new son is hurting and starving to death while she is chasing papers and dollars to get him home. She feels guilty every time she has plenty to eat because she knows he doesn't receive enough nourishment to even dull the pain of hunger and his body is consuming itself. She knows that if her process takes too long, her son will likely die, and it will be a slow, painful death. She has all the resources here that he needs, but she needs to get the funds for the dossier NOW. She has been selling everything that isn't nailed down since last fall to raise these funds. She continues forward in faith each day, but she is in a constant state of worry and concern for the child she loves but cannot see, touch, comfort or feed.
I am asking all of my readers to please share Matthew's situation. Amanda is an experienced mom of special needs children. She will be a godsend to sweet Matthew. 

The Unroes need $5,000 as soon as possible to be able to send in their dossier. 
There are a few ways in which you can help them raise this money and help rescue Matthew.

 Amanda is still having an auction at 

Now through February, you can support the Unroes by putting their name in the checkout at Hannah James online store. 45% of your purchase will go to their dossier fees.
* Be sure to put "Unroe" in the box at check out.

You may also shop the lovely jewelry at Be A Voice
About 75% of your purchase will benefit the Unroes' adoption.
 *Again, please put "Unroe" in the box at the check out.

Their Chip In is located HERE on their blog and allows the money to be used immediately for the dossier fees. 

Three More For The Unroes  is a Facebook page which you can "Like" and follow to keep up to date on the family's fundraising efforts.

Please shop, donate, and share this need. Matthew does NOT have to become another sad orphan statistic. 
Help rescue him.


  1. Beautifully Said! I care about Amanda very much and I am thankful to know she has others fighting for her. <3

  2. Thank you dear friend! You made me cry the first time I read it and now again tonight! Love you and so excited for your adoption in progress too!