The Heath Family is Adopting!

$4,361 of $4,105 goal

Raised by 37 people in 50 months
A few weeks ago while tucking my 3 1/2 year old in for the night she reached up to stroke my cheek and whispered "Mommy, we should get in the car RIGHT NOW and go get A____ because she doesn't have a mommy and daddy. You could be her mommy. Daddy could be her daddy. Kitty could be her sister and I could be her friend. We need to go RIGHT NOW." Silently I finished tucking her sheets; I could not speak past the lump in my throat.

For months we had been including a petition for orphans around the world in our daily family devotions as well as praying for many orphans by name. I returned to blogging to advocate for the plight of orphans with special needs around the world as well as help fundraise for specific grants on Reece's Rainbow. My husband and I had agreed to sacrifice family time in order for me to return to work part time to financially prepare to adopt a child.

As the days and months went by our goal seemed to shimmer closer one day only to be bumped back again the next as a new concern would arise. Should we try to get another car first? Maybe we should pay off all our student loans? And then the terrifying "what ifs" would sneak into my heart. What if we weren't cut out for this? What if our biological children resented this decision for the rest of their lives? What if there was more medical involvement than we anticipated? What if the emotional damage tore our peaceful little family apart? What about all the unknowns?!

Adoption is a big unknown and inside the messy weave of that story there is a lot of fear and failure.

But I know it is worth it.

I know because my life is proof of a life redeemed by adoption into God's own family. I know that God's love is bountiful, gracious, and sustaining. We are able to love because He first loved us and we will answer this call with the knowledge that after this fear-filled world falls away we will rejoice in a perfect eternal life. My heart has always known this, but in the planning process my logical head had almost succeeded in stifling that faith. I would prefer to be in control all the time. I would like to be completely prepared, fund our adoptions all by myself, and not rely on others for help ever. In short, I would like to be my own god, aligning the world to satisfy my pride. I had lost sight of the our hope to bring a child into our Christian household in order that she may become a member of the body of Christ. All I could think about was the details, the plans, the worry.

It was a blessing for our three year old Della to speak those words in my ear, her thoughts clarified what was most important. A_____ needs a family RIGHT NOW before she is transferred out of her current placement. I have been told that it is estimated that over 90% of children with special needs transferred to adult mental institutions (which is her next destination if not adopted soon) die within the first year from abuse and neglect. For months I had been advocating for her, doing fundraisers to increase her Reece's Rainbow grant, and always praying that God would open doors for her family to rush to her. Now we are stepping out in faith to run across the globe, scoop her into our arms, and bring her home.

We cannot do this alone. As much as my pride hates to say it, we need help in the form of prayers, encouragement, and funds.

The cost of adopting a child with special needs from her country is approximately $25,000 to $27,000. No, we do not have that sum laying around burning a hole in our pocket. In the coming months I will be picking up more hours at work, throwing fundraisers, applying for grants, and working with Reece's Rainbow to help cover the larger expenses such as facilitation fees and travel expenses.

The initial support we are requesting through GoFundMe is to cover a fraction of the total cost and will help cover the upfront fees for the home study, legal documents, and USCIS fees. It is a mixed blessing that this Eastern European country has a very fast adoption process, a blessing because families are able to bring their children home sooner, but a challenge because the funds must be raised quickly compared to the more lengthy adoptions in other countries.

At this time we cannot disclose the name of the child we are hoping to adopt or her country. If/when we are able to announce this information we will update here as well as share on our public blog:
www.heathandhome.wordpress.com
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THANK YOU everyone who helped us reach the first milestone for our adoption fundraising! We have been approved for an adoption grant page at Reece's Rainbow. All tax-deductible donations to our family go straight towards our adoption costs. If you still wish to support us as we continue to raise the full funds (our total amount for the adoption is approximately $29,675) please consider donating at this site: http://reecesrainbow.org/97327/sponsorheath

and please continue to follow this wild ride over at our blog: https://heathandhome.wordpress.com/angelinas-adoption/
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Here is a conversation with our 3 year old Della that melted my heart this morning:
Della "Mom, this leopard needs a wheelchair because his leg is hurt just like Angelina's."
Me (thinking fast) "Oh! Did your stroller just transform into a wheelchair?!"
Della: "Oh my! Yes it did!!! Don't worry leopard, here is your wheelchair. Now we can all dance together!"
And then she danced around the room spinning and pushing the stroller and finished by saying
"I'm going to be a good sister for Angelina."

Yes sweetie, yes you will.


Earlier this week we received worrisome news from our facilitation team in Angelina's country that it looks like she will still be transferred to a different facility at the end of the summer. Before we realized our family was being called to adopt Angelina, I was already advocating for her because of this ominous phrase on her Reece's Rainbow profile "may be in an institution soon". I had been hopeful that we would make it to her before she was transferred but now my husband and I are having to come to terms with the fact that she will probably experience the fear of being transferred and the increased risk for trauma and abuse that comes with being the underdog in a new institution.
In the past week as the fears for Angelina overshadow the normal peace of everyday life, I constantly find myself humming the hymn we as a family are currently learning by heart:

O God, O Lord of heaven and earth,
Thy living finger never wrote that life should be an aimless mote,
A deathward drift from futile birth.
Thy Word meant life triumphant hurled,
In splendor through Thy broken world,
Since light awoke and life began, Thou hast desired Thy life for man.

Our fatal will to equal Thee,
Our rebel will wrought death and night. We seized and used in prideful spite
Thy wondrous gift of liberty.
We housed us in this house of doom,
Where death had royal scope and room
Until Thy servant, Prince of Peace, breached all its walls for our release.

Thou camest to our hall of death,
O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air, to drink for us the dark despair
That strangled our reluctant breath.
How beautiful the feet that trod
The road that leads us back to God! How beautiful the feet that ran
To bring the great good news to man!

O Spirit, who didst once restore
Thy church that it might be again the bringer of good news to men,
Breathe on Thy cloven Church once more,
That in these gray and latter days
There may be those whose life is praise, each life a high doxology
To Father, Son and unto Thee.

-Martin Franzmann


While I am sitting here typing this I hear snatches of this eerie tune drifting over from Della's play kitchen where she is currently making vegetable soup from Mr. McGreggor's garden to feed to her pretend rabbits. Although the depth of these words may be lost on her, she knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that her life is not a deathward drift from futile birth. We hope one day soon Angelina will be able to lift her voice in prayer and singing alongside her sister. (if you want to hear the tune check out this recording only imagine one wispy child's voice carrying this tune instead of a room full of deep male voices :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBomcCQmwgk )
O Christ who came to drink for us the dark despair that strangled our reluctant breath, we ask that you protect Angelina during these dark days while we, her parents, can only wait and trust in you so that in these gray and latter days she may be one of those whose life is praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Sorry for no news that past few days folks, in this case it isn't a "no news is good news" situation and I have been needing to process this on my own for a while.

This past Saturday I received the news that a little girl in Angelina's country who was also in an orphanage passed away while waiting for a family. She would have celebrated her 10th birthday later this month and I had been working on writing an advocacy blog post for her in hopes that a family would see her. A few months ago before we started the adoption process for Angelina I had asked Reece's Rainbow if they had an update about this little one but no families had visited her orphanage in some time. Sweet Nastya had the same primary diagnosis as our Angelina, spina bifida and hydrocephalus; there is no explanation for her death. http://reecesrainbow.org/737/nastya1103

At my last update I shared a link for a fun children's song we are using to help learn the language. Today I am sharing a bleak documentary which I have watched many times over the past six months. I urge you to take the time to watch it (with a box of tissues on hand) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs42-5HnQRQ but do not stop there, after watching the documentary watch these two quick Maya's Hope clips. Logan is home in the USA and oh my it looks like he got his wish for toy cars! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4sLEfRqlkc
And Margarita's family is actually in country RIGHT NOW working on bringing her home, praise the Lord! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZM3LR1oO4g

There are has been some delightful progress with Angelina's adoption and I will be talking about that over at our blog soon ( https://heathandhome.wordpress.com/) , but I could not stifle the grief I carry with the news of Nastya's death and wanted to share this with you for you to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that yes this is worth it! We are so grateful for all the support we have received as we work towards bringing Angelina home. Please continue to pray for her health and safety as she waits.
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After having our English "ABCs" song constantly in the background noise of our household for the past couple years, it is fun and refreshing to have a different alphabet song stuck in my head today! Sine Angelina is older and seems to be cognitively age appropriate, we as a family are trying to learn as much of her language as possible in the next few months :D If you feel like singing along, this is the song we are learning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch8WbaSoBKs&feature=youtu.be
While waiting to hear back for the start date for our homestudy I am diving into the paperwork for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services which has a $720 application fee plus $85 per adult so a grand total of $890. I'm quickly coming to realize that a large part of the adoption cost comes from all the paperwork processing fees.
Thank you all for the continued support, every donation has buoyed our spirits and helped us bring Angelina home! Here is an updated picture I just got today; can't wait to meet her in person in a few short months. May God continue to guide her and keep her while she waits in the orphanage!
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$4,361 of $4,105 goal

Raised by 37 people in 50 months
Created June 21, 2015
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Brenda and John Phillips
49 months ago
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Happy to contribute! Love you.

JH
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Johnny, Luke and Silas Henry
49 months ago
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God bless!

MJ
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Madeleine Johnston
49 months ago
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Diego & Mary Ferrer
49 months ago
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Praying for you all!

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