Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Week to Win

The Abell family is a local family that have set out to adopt a little girl with Down syndrome who is now in a Russian institute. Russia requires an agency - and thus, adds to your expense quite a bit. The Abell's committed to adopting Olga (pictured below) on faith, not knowing that the agency assigned to Olga's file required a crazy amount of money. The agency fee itself was over $20K (yes, you read that right). This added to their overall cost, and folks - it was quite discouraging. But ... they stayed the course - for their little girl, half a world away.

That's committment.

Now - The Abell's have great news. They are able to switch agencies, thus shaving $20K off their adoption expenses and making it so that the money in their FSP (family sponsorship fund through Reece's Rainbow) will cover the cost of their first trip. (yes, Russia requires two trips)

That's reason to celebrate.

But ...

... the Abell's need to pay a fee to switch agencies. They have most of it, but need about $1500 more to make it happen. They need it within the week.

In order to help make this happen, another sweet friend has donated (along with many other donations) one cool little gadget: a Pandigital Media Player in a giveaway to help with fundraising efforts.

Hurry and go HERE to donate and enter for your chance to win this and several other prizes. Giveaway ends June 17th at midnight PST.

Let's have some fun, and help bring Olga home.

*be sure to leave a comment there at the giveaway in order to have your donation count towards entry*

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Recent Happenings

Well, it has been awhile since my last post about Max and Ivanna - or any of us - for that matter. This is for good reason. We have been busy, busy, busy.

We have continued to fight the good fight in our battle with H.Pylori for little Max. It's a very determined infection that seems to want to linger. He is now scheduled for his third GI specialist appointment - and at this time - I am admitting to some angst. I am starting to get a little disgruntled with the care - and am hoping for more solid answers.

Max was also taken to the ER yesterday morning for what we initially thought was a horrible asthma attack. It sounded horrible. The ER determined it was croup. Scary stuff that croup. They gave him a hormone to last for five days - and thus helping his airway to stay open.

Never a dull moment in the Browning house.

Other than that Max seems to be doing well - and the swallowing problem he was having seems to be getting better. We will schedule another swallow study to determine that for sure.

Ivanna is, well ... blowing my socks off. She impresses me daily. Really - she does. I look at her at times and see a completely different girl than that which we met in the orphanage six months ago. She is no longer quiet. Nope. She is always runnin' that little cute mouth of hers. Babbling, yelling, you name it - she's got something to say. She eats like a champ and handles her spoon as if she is an old pro - never mind she just learned how to do this a month ago. She is walking EVERYWHERE, and if she falls down - SHE GETS BACK UP. I love it. Can't keep her down. Not anymore. She now is the proud new owner of orthotics - which help align her heel to her leg - keeping her foot straighter.

The rest of us? Well, we have great days, busy days, some rougher days - and we just keep truckin'. God has been gracious to this family. Christ continues to shine His face upon us - and for that this mama is grateful. May He never look away from us. May we strive to please Him ... always.

On Memorial Day we went up north about 2 hours and visited the Hartman family as they were home for about a week and a half while they waited out their 10 day waiting period until they can go spring Judd out of his institute in Eastern Europe.

We love the Hartmans. They are sweet - and it is a joy to visit them on their gorgeous farm.

Here is a picture of Melanie with my little Justus. Cute.

Ivanna just loves our dog. (I'm glad someone does - just kidding ...)

Ellie girl was having a great time playing with toys. (Oh and check out her stylish foot attire. YUP - mudboots. Having chickens does that to ya -)

My eldest swinging on the Hartman's tree swing. Wonder what he was thinking? Maybe he was dreaming big dreams - I hope so.

Gabriel is pulling his little brothers, Max and Justus around in the wagon. Such a tender brother.

Max and Justus. Good buddies.

Why does this picture make my heart fill warm - and my eyes moist? That sweet Daddy - holding and tender with our little flower Ivanna. A girl who was fatherless for five years - and now she has the best Papa ever. That'll make ya weep like a baby.

This picture is at home. This toy is great for Occupational Therapy (fine motor skills) and we have been working with Justus and Ivanna with that. Max is a pro - and is showing his skills. ;)

Ivanna often just paces. She will walk back and forth from the kitchen to the living room. Stop. Look around as if to take it all in, and then do it all over again. Here she is leaning against a wall, taking a breather.

Taking it all in. (cute hair .. eh? - finally growing a bit more.)

I forgot to mention that we had a well child visit for both Max and Ivanna last week. Both have grown three inches. THREE INCHES!!!! In six months time - they have both grown that much! I was astounded - and so was my doctor - so much so he asked for them to be measured again. Yup. Three inches. Ivanna has lost a pound - and is now down to 28 pounds. I am thinking this is because she started walking last month pretty regularly. Max is holding steady at 30 pounds. Still though, 30 pounds for a six year old. Seems little bitty to me. Both do register on the lower end of the Ds growth chart. That's ok. They are gaining ground. Both received some more vaccinations. Ivanna's developed a big red rash around both injection sites. Makes me nervous. Is that normal? Both kids have orders to meet with a nutritionalist - and to get their necks x-rayed to check for atlantoaxial instability or AAI - basicly instability in the cervical neck area. Every child with Down syndrome should be screened by age 3. It can be quite serious if not found and dealt with. I still need to arrange for follow up hearing appointments, follow up eye appointments, dental exams, and GI specialist appt.


That's a long to do list.

Better make sure the coffee stays stocked up. ;)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Time to Shine ...

... for Max.

Meet Max. (I'm pretty partial to that name) Max is a sweet baby currently in Russia. I say baby, and by all means his age would justify that, but in all reality Max has endured more than most his age - and even older. Within the last six months, Max was transferred from his baby house to a mental institution. I can not express the absolute NEED to get to this boy. Each day he lives in the institution, is a day that he goes without stimulation, warm touches, or any therapies. To many - this may fall on deaf ears. For those of us around those with Down syndrome, we know that therapy and stimulation is an absolute NEED. Without it - the child will regress - with no need to use his muscles or be challenged - he will atrophy both in ability and skill. A death sentence. No, this is not exaggeration. This is the reality: a child who knows not how to feed himself, walk, or make known his needs - will simply not be cared for. There is a statistic that says during that first year of transfer to an institution - eighty percent of those transferred - die.

A race. A race to rescue - Max.

Max, thankfully, has a family who has stepped out - and is willing to jump through all the hoops, fund raise their eyeballs out - and rescue little Max. The Marks family has decided to be Max's family. They have fallen head over heels in love with this boy half a world away. The journey isn't easy - sometimes fundraising gets a little tiring. Constantly asking for support ... is awkward to say the least. Sometimes you need a little help. Sometimes you need others to come up alongside you and offer encouragement.

This is where my sweet friend, Amanda Hand, comes in. Amanda has been my close friend for YEARS. We have laughed and cried together - and share a sweet bond. Amanda has a heart for orphans - and for helping those who seek to redeem them. Amanda knows me - but doesn't know the Marks family. She just knows that the Lord has prompted her to help them. How awesome is that?

Amanda is a Silpada consultant - some beautiful jewelry is what she sells.Make me drool kinda jewelry. She has offered to do a fundraiser for the Marks family. From now until June 15th you can shop, and order with 100% of Amanda's profit going to the Marks family. Think anniversary, Christmas, birthdays.

It's time to SHINE for Max.

Go here to shop and order.

Click on 'Shop Now' and register an account.

When you check out be sure to mark the hostess as:


Oh .. and guess what? Shipping is a flat $4.00!

If you are unable to shop the jewelry, but still feel compelled to help the Marks family - GO HERE. This is the page you can go to and make a tax deductible donation in ANY AMOUNT. Trust me - any donation is a blessing. God has a way of multiplying the fish. ;)

So, let's do this - let's be a blessing, an encouragement - whether you are donating directly to the Mark's family sponsorship page - or buying jewelry - let's show the Marks our support. Let's help bring that baby home so he too can start to thrive like my own little Max and Ivanna.

The Marks have registered their dossier - they are fast approaching their first trip. You can follow their journey here.

~~~ Thank you for your help ~~~


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