Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pass It On

I have been following this blog now for quite a while about a family in CO that have adopted 4 children and are in the process of adopting 2 more from Bulgaria.  Just two weeks ago the wife made her first of two trips to visit their two children, both of which have many special needs.  One of their children lives in Pleven which is a place I’ve heard of; just saying the name sends chills down my spine because I’ve seen the pictures and heard the stories of what happens at this place.  If you have time go back and read about their daughter Hasya who lives at Pleven until they are able to go get her.  They've made one trip already and are just waiting on final paperwork so that they can bring her home.

This family not only has been obedient in their call to care for the orphan through adoption but also through advocacy…they are relentless in speaking for those who have no voice.

I feel like Scott and I don’t have a clear word from the Lord on what He’s calling us to in regards to starting a family.  However, I know He’s called us to be advocates whether it’s going to Africa this past summer or volunteering at an orphan conference or simply posting pictures of children that desperately need to be adopted by loving families. 

These pictures are from Pleven and all of these children DESPERATELY need to get out of that place.  Please, share these pictures and profiles with everyone you know.  Just in sharing you are helping to care for the orphan.  If you think about it, it’s so simple to us but yet it can be life saving for all of these children.  Many won’t live much longer if they’re not rescued from this place.

Here is the original post or you can read down below for the pictures and profiles.



Carson was the first little boy I met.  I actually saw him on most days during my week-long visit to Pleven.  He is a tiny little doll baby with the sweetest personality!  Carson was born with hydrocephalus and a shunt was inserted.  He was blessed with life-saving surgery and is doing well.

I could tell that Carson is an orphanage favorite.  Unlike many of the children listed below, he was out of his crib a lot.  I saw him outside with his caregiver, loving the swings.  He has the sweetest smile and is truly a delightful little boy.

He would be such a joyful addition to any family.

Dang!  He is so adorable!  At just sixyears old, he is very little for his age.

I love his sweet smile.  Every single time I saw Carson he looked happy and so content to just be with someone.  He seemed to understand everything thatt was being said to him. 



What can I say?  Brandi broke my heart!  She lives in the room next to our Hasya. Two rooms side-by-side. They're the rooms that the most profoundly special needs children call home--the 6th floor at Pleven--a place no child ever wants to end up!

It is an absolutely heartbreaking place--one where even the toughest of hearts are broken--left crying out to the Lord for His grace and mercy to pour down like rain upon that place!

A crib is the only life this little lovie knows!  She is just six years old and cannot weigh more than 15 pounds.  She is so, so tiny.

I went in every day that I was allowed on that unit to check on her.

And there she was.

Laying on her back.

Desperately needing to be loved.  And cared for.  And just snuggled. 

Beautiful Brandi has Cerebral Palsy.  She has very limited movement and is so stiff and contracted--simply because she has never been given the freedom to move and grow and thrive.

How she would blossom in a family!  She would finally have a chance at LIFE!

I seriously could have run out of that place with this handsome boy in my arms!  He is amazing.  Considering that he has spent ten long years in an awful orphanage and can still find something to smile about...there's something so special about him.
Theodore has CP that only affects his lower body.  Institutionalism is his greatest obstacle in life. He is very malnourished and is lagging behind in all areas of his life.

But oh my goodness!  Is he so charming!

This young boy has a whole lot of personality in there just waiting to come out and make its presence known. He is such a joy.

Like all the children in this orphanage, Theodore is also very small for his age.  He feeds himself, understands everything that is said to him and can bear weight on his legs with assistance.

He will thrive in a family!

Please, please don't leave him there! Ten years is long enough!



I was not able to meet Harvey in person since he was in the quarantine ward.  These pictures were taken at the same time I was at Pleven.  When the person who took them showed them to me from his camera, I just bawled.

I looked at this little boy and I wondered how different his life would be if he lived here--in a country where he could receive the very best medical attention!

Sweet Harvey has many medical needs.  He is just three years old and is currently fed by feeding tube. I'm told that the excess hair on his body could be due to severe malnutrition and a total lack of human contact.  He does not have it in his earlier referral pictures. How terribly sad!


I cannot even begin to imagine what life is like for this darling little boy.

Absolute misery on earth!

Oh, how desperately he needs HELP!

And a family.

He is one of the children I look at and wonder, Who Lord?

Who will go for him?  This precious, amazing little boy who deserves a family JUST as much as any other orphan.

Who will literally save this precious child's life?

"Whatever you did for the least of these,  you did for me!"  (Matt 25:31).



Oh my goodness!  Thad lies next to Hasya in his crib. I was not able to take my own pictures of him--but I know this boy. I spent time with him. I touched him. Loved him. And prayed over him.

There truly are no words.  His story brings me to my knees...begging God to intervene and make all things right in the world.

This absolutely stunning little nine-year-old boy was once part of a family.  His "condition" is not one he was born with.  Thad was a typical four year old...until he was physically abused by his own family--beaten and left in a coma.  He was taken out of that abusive situation and placed in the orphanage.

And there his needs have not been met and he spends his days in the confines of a crib.

Every.  Single.  Day.

As a result of profound physical abuse, Thad suffered a brain trauma and is significantly delayed and very small for his age.  His limbs are very contracted, his legs bent up toward his chest.

But no matter what is "wrong" with Thad...he is a child! Created in the image of a God who does all things well. He is valuable!

Thad is just so, so lovely and so deserving of a LIFE where he can be loved and treasured...and where God can do a healing in his heart and in his tiny body. 


I ache.

And I wonder, "Who, Lord?  Who are you raising up to save this boy's life?"

"Who will see the inestimable value in this boy--see him as his Father in heaven sees him?"

These pictures do Kramer no justice!  He is such a handsome boy!  I never got to photograph him, but one day I took Hasya outside and I recognized him instantly.  I knew he was listed for adoption.
Oh, he is darling!  Absolutely precious.
Kramer is also a little guy.  Weighing just 25 pounds at 8, he is so very malnourished.  He has spent his entire life in the orphanage--and it shows!  He is so delayed and desperately needs physical therapy for his stiff joints. And good food to help him grow and become ALL whom God has created him to be!

Like all these other children, Kramer will do so well in a family.

He absolutely loved being outdoors and was so content to sit in his stroller and observe what was happening around him.  He has such a sweet spirit and smiled all the time as I loved on him.

Just a little boy hungry to be loved!

A treasure, for sure.


Update:  I just found out that Peyton is being relisted for adoption today!  Now all he needs is a family to say YES to this beautiful boy with SO much potential.
These next two children I asked specifically if I could see.  I longed to get updated pictures of them.  Both Peyton and Penny are no longer listed anywhere for adoption.  They were not chosen in the allocated time and their files were returned.  However, they CAN be adopted if their information is requested from the Bulgarian government.
Peyton is such a sweetheart!  He is almost 8 and is literally skin and bone.  The only life this boy knows is that of a crib.

Day in and day out he lies there.  His joints stiff.

His body so absolutely emaciated!

I was told by the carers that they cannot feed Peyton by mouth.  He struggles to eat.

My uneducated guess would be that he would thrive with a temporary feeding tube--getting high-calorie nutrition in him would be such a blessing until he is strong enough to eat by mouth.

He has eyelashes a girl would do anything for!

My heart breaks for Peyton!  He has been overlooked so many times.  I have no idea why!  He is gorgeous and has so much potential hidden away in a tiny, frail body.

With love, therapy, and good nutrition, this boy would do so, so well in a family.

What a sweet little blessing he would be to someone!

I long to see him finally find a family.  SO many children in this orphanage have been chosen before him.  I just have to believe that God has got a very special family for Peyton...they just have to find their son!



And lastly, here's lovely Miss Penny.  She's the other little lovie I specifically asked to see.  Like Peyton, Penny's file was returned to Bulgaria because no one chose her as their daughter. She ran out of time.  In order to be adopted now (and it IS possible), her file will have to be requested once again.

Goodness gracious.....she's a little baby doll!  A stunning beauty.  Her big brown eyes are just amazing.

Like many of these children, Penny has CP.  She is 11 years old and is also very small for her age.  I would say she is around the size of a 3 year old. 

Penny is absolutely delightful!  She smiles readily and is fully aware of everything happening around her.  She too is so severely malnourished and desperately needs good nutrition.

Penny has lived in an orphanage her entire life.  She is very delayed in all areas of her life and has never received the therapy or medical intervention which would help her to blossom.

She is breathtakingly beautiful.

I absolutely loved my time with Penny.  How I pray that someone will see this and know that she is the daughter of their hearts!

She has waited too long!


Anyone wanting information on any of these children can contact Shelley at shele337@gmail.comSerious inquiries only please!  Additional photos and videos of all these children are available.
And finally, I would be so, so grateful if you could share these sweet children anywhere you possibly can.  Trusting that somebody will see them and have their hearts stirred is their ONLY hope of being found.  They are all so precious.  It's HARD knowing where they live!
Please don't let them remain where they are!  Please!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Just finished this quilt and dropped it in the mail today for little Grayson out in Colorado.  It’s such a good feeling to finally finish a project that you’ve been working on for a long time.  Not sure what the next one is going to be…I’m thinking I want to make one of those pallet ottoman things that I’ve seen all over Pinterest?  Just need to figure out what kind of fabric I want to use…always the hardest part for me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

One Week

 In one week we leave for this place: 

I'm hoping there will be lots of this along with many orange fantas in a bottle.

 I've gone to Africa now a couple times and one of the things I always look forward to are the orange fantas in a bottle.  Yes, I know that I can get orange fanta here in the US, but I never do because it just isn't the same...the only time I drink it is when I go to Africa and I don't know what it is but it is soooo good!  The only little problem we're going to have this time is that because Scott will be with me I think I'm going to have to watch my orange fanta intake.  Many of you know about Scott's disdain toward any kind of sugary soda...he believes it's morally unacceptable to drink it.  Now, I do agree that it's not good for you and I really do try my best to not drink it, but it is definitely a weakness and a cold orange fanta IN A BOTTLE IN AFRICA is pretty high on my list of weaknesses.  I've already asked Scott what my orange fanta allowance would be and the number was disappointingly low...I know he's only looking out for me and my health, but when he's not looking I may be hoarding orange fantas.  I can totally picture myself hiding a bottle in my backpack to save for a time when he's off doing something else and I have a few minutes to down a bottle...I'm crazy like that.  OH yeah, by the way that's goat on stick in that picture up there.  I know what you're thinking, but it's really good!  We have a couple of really long drives that we have to make and whenever we drive through a town you can always count on people selling stuff, so whenever we make a stop people come right up to the van and you can buy food and drinks.  I was definitely a little hesitant the first time I tried it but it was AMAZING, flavorful and much better than boring chicken which was my other option, and it didn't make me sick so I can't even say how many of those I ate.

So, we'll be in Uganda and Kenya for two weeks and it's going to be a whirlwind of a trip.  Scott and I were asked this past year to serve on the board of an organization called 127 Worldwide that our friend Sara Beth started.  Our mission is to connect people to the needs of orphans and widows around the globe through education, advocacy, and sponsorship.  Currently we have three different partnerships that span across Uganda and Kenya and we're going over to check on each one.  We will have 7 different flights along with 2 long bus rides as we make our way to each location.  It's going to be an exhausting time, but we're so excited about the journey.  First we'll be in Uganda at Acres of Hope which is the same place I visited last year although at that time it was just a large plot of empty land in rural, northern Uganda.  Since my time there last year 4 pod houses have been constructed and the first group of children have moved in just in the last couple weeks!  I can't wait to see many of the same children I met last year!  We'll be helping to furnish the other pod houses so more children can move in and we'll also be working on the child sponsorship program.  In Malava Kenya we'll be visiting Tumaini which is an orphanage for 53 children and a school for 243 children.  We'll be working specifically on addressing some of the needs of the orphanage and school along with the child sponsorship program. From Malava we'll take a small plane down to Nairobi, Kenya to visit the Kibera slum (one of the largest slums in all of Africa) where we have a partnership with Swahiba Youth Network, a large ministry that encompasses several other smaller ministries that outreach to the youth in Kibera. One of which is called the Young Offenders Correction Center and also the Jitambue Project (Swahili for ‘Discover Yourself’) which is an ongoing Teenage Girl Program that currently has 520 girls from 10 High Schools. We are sensitizing, mentoring and empowering these girls, most of whom have gone through tough and traumatizing experiences which include rape, loss of parents, siblings and losing their homes during the post-election violence This is somewhat of a new partnership for 127 WW so we'll be assessing specific needs while also ministering to the youth in Kibera.  Since 127 WW is still so new we also have a videographer coming along with us that will be able to capture on film alot of what we'll be doing in each location so that our supporters here can have a better understanding of each partnership.  I'll actually be working closely with him to make sure we can get specific shots and interviews that can then be used on our website and marketing materials.

One thing I didn't mention is that we are flying out a few days early so that just Scott and I can spend some time in Jinja, Uganda.  We have a close relationship with a pastor that lives in Masese which is smaller slum just outside of Jinja.  There are basically three sections of Masese...1, 2 and 3.  Masese 1 is where Pastor Simon lives and it is by far the worst of the three sections.  I got connected to Pastor Simon and his family a couple years ago and we've stayed in contact ever since.  I was able to visit with him for just a day last year, but this time we're actually staying about 1/2 a mile from his house so that we can spend more time with he and his family and also more time in Masese.  I can't tell you how excited I am about this part of our trip.  I had such a short amount of time with his family last year and I CRAVED so much more and wanted to be able to stay longer and really develop a relationship.  It's so hard to develop a genuine relationship over emails and texts, so my heart is so happy just knowing that we'll get just a little more time with the Muwreza family and I'm so excited for Scott to finally meet them.  We will only have two days with them but Simon is going to show us around Masese and also introduce us to many of the people that attend the church that he has helped to plant there.  We will also be taking about 100 pairs of shoes with us to do a small distribution and would like to also take bibles.  When I asked Simon what were some things that we could bring with us the first thing he said was bibles, that many of the church members don't have one.  So, if you're interested in donating a bible let me know!

Please pray for us if you can.  There are a TON of logistics going into this trip, lots of traveling, crossing over borders, navigating unfamiliar territory, hot days and nights, Scott's fear that I'll drink too many fantas, etc.  We just appreciate all of your prayers during our time away.  Thank you so much to everyone that has supported us financially or donated items for us to take...such a huge blessing to us!!  Thank you to our friend Ben who has SOOO graciously agreed to stay at our house for the first week and watch Murph...Ben, you're a saint, I hope you still like us when we get back!  Thank you to my mother-in-law who said she would watch Murph if we needed her to, but it looks like she's off the hook!  Thank you to my parents who even though I know it's difficult for them to know that we're so far away in a foreign country still support us and are excited for us to have this opportunity.  Oh yeah, I also turn 30 while we're gone...oh my.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just Life

Well, as usual it's been forever since I posted.  Maybe I need to give up this blog thing because I'm really kind of horrible at it.

Every once in a while though I get the urge to post something, so here's what's been going on the last few weeks.

 This is Murphy a few minutes after puking up an entire bag that he had eaten...along with most of his breakfast that morning.  GROSS!
Made this for my mom for Mother's Day.  It's one of those wreath yarn things from Pinterest.

The beginnings of a new quilt (my cousin is having a little boy).  Doesn't look like much now but I'm excited to see how it's going to look when it's finished! She is going with neutral colors, which there are some in there but I threw in a few splashes of color to brighten it up a little.

Aww...sweet Murphy Man.  Scott is pretty happy about being away from him for two weeks while I on the other hand am going to cry like a baby when it's time to leave him.

That's about all I got.  Not a whole lot going on lately, but it's been good!

Friday, March 30, 2012


No, we're not pregnant Mom and Dad.

But, we're going to Africa!!! I've known for a little bit this might be a possibility but I didn't want to say anything until I knew for sure that we're (meaning Scott and I both) going to Africa in June...I can hardly stand it I'm so excited!!! Truly such a blessing that God has allowed me to go to Africa three times in the last three years...honestly it's difficult to put into words how I feel each time I get the opportunity to go, but even more so that Scott and I get to go together. It's such a strong desire within my heart to be in Africa and be able to visit the orphanages and help to advocate for the orphan that I truly feel so blessed every time I get to go.

So, we leave for Uganda June 13th and will spend the first few days kind of on our own in Jinja before we meet up with my friend Sara Beth and also another good friend KB and small team of students from Louisiana College (KB is the student activities director there). We'll then head up north to Nebbi which is where I was last year...spend a few days there checking on Acres of Hope then we'll drive over to Kenya where we'll stay at an orphanage and check on some more projects.

So, some business we need to attend to immediately, is fundraising. I still have a TON of these as well as some bags and other stuff that I brought back home with me from last year's trip that I need to sell ASAP to help raise funds for this trip. Seriously, I probably have about 100 of these in all different colors and lengths. They make great necklaces or bracelets which is usually how I wear mine, just wrapped multiple times around my wrist. They're such great gifts and have a really unique story behind them. About half of the ones that I have were made by women in the Masese slum which is actually where we'll be spending most of our time when we're in Jinja. We have a dear friend who is a Pastor in Masese and when he heard that we were coming last year he got several of the women together to start making beads so that we could purchase them when we were there. So, the money that we gave them to purchase the beads was actually divided up among several women in the church to help support their families. We bought out everything they had and then I bought some more in one of the markets. So all of these beads are handmade and they really are beautiful. They sell for $15 each.

I also have some really cool bags/purses that I'm selling for $30 but I only have a limited quantity of these as well as some fun little coin purse type things for $7...again a limited quantity, so let me know if you want to come by and check stuff out or I can bring some stuff to you!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Project Grow: Take 2

So you may be wondering, when was take 1? Well, that was last summer's attempt at a complete fail of a garden. Here's why it was a fail:

1. Scott said I should start small and just plant it in this one area that was already kind of under construction since we had just moved in (we're renting an old farmhouse and we tore out a bunch of ugly shrubs).
2. Said area was right next to the side of the house where apparently lots of scary, creepy crawly things like to congregate. Big spiders for instance...just one of many examples though.
3. I don't like bugs, actually I have a SEVERE, UNHEALTHY, FEAR of anything that even resembles a bug.
4. Did you know that gardens possess a ton of bugs? Well they do.
5. Did you know that if you don't water or weed your garden because you're afraid of the bugs that live there that everything planted in your garden will die? Well it will.

That my friends is why my garden failed to yield much of anything last year. Well, I take that back...apparently anyone can grow zucchini in Indiana because somehow we did get a few of those which I of course made Scott go pick or Murph found and got ahold of before we did.


I'm turning over a new leaf this year...I'm trying to get over my fear of bugs. Actually, ok...there hasn't really been much trying on my part but I really do intend to at least take a stab at trying to not be so afraid of bugs. I'm still really excited about having a garden, I have these dreams of warm evenings spent taking care of our garden with Murph laying in the grass just watching and not running off when he's not supposed to which then gives me heart palpitations because I think he's never going to come back.'s such a nice dream. Then I wake up and realize that I don't know a single thing about a garden and I need some serious help! So, that's why we're giving the garden to some of my Burmese friends who are amazing gardeners! They're going to plant whatever they want and then they'll have fresh vegetables all summer long. So, Shaw Mo came over last night and we went over to TSC (Tractor Supply Company)...I love this place, you can get pretty much anything! Right now they even have the little baby chicks and baby ducks that you can buy, I was so tempted! But seeing as how we haven't had much success just yet in raising our own chickens I decided to wait until we can reinforce the coop a little better. Anyway...back to the garden. She picked out pretty much every vegetable I know of, and some I don't...what is a Lemon Cucumber by the way? This is everything we planted (sorry for the bad IPhone was the nearest camera).

Then we got these cool little starter kit things...enough for 144 plants. Since we're trying to save money and start with seeds we have to grow everything indoors first since it's still a little cold to start planting outside.

So, right now everything is planted and we're waiting for sprouts!! I'm not sure how many will turn out but I'm following all the directions to get as many as possible. Once they've all sprouted then we'll transfer them to the actual garden which is going to be pretty big this year, at Shaw Mo's request. Since I've been volunteering with the Burmese families which is going on 4 years now I've always thought it would be so great for us to move somewhere that had lots of land that we could let them have to do whatever they wanted. Many of the families were farmers back in Burma before they were resettled here and I know it's something they really miss. They all now live in the same apartment complex right in the middle of the city which means no land for them to farm, I feel so blessed that we have this land that's not being used and I think they're really excited to be able to have their own garden. We're hoping to get the area tilled up this weekend and I'll post more pics!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012