Revelation 3:8 (New International Version)
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

The child is the beauty of God present in the world – that greatest gift to a family.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gotcha Day for Joshua!

Hi Everyone,
On Saturday we drove 3 hours to Plovdiv to bring Joshua home.  We meaning myself, Madeline and Marty (our driver) and Eva our translator.  Stephanie and my daughter Nideya remained behind at the hotel because the car was not big enough.  The ride was beautiful. It was beautiful when I was here in March but now it was especially beautiful being that the trees and fields were green.
When we arrived to his village,  it began to really hit me.  I was coming to get my son. He was to be no longer an orphan.  We saw some of the other orphans playing outside and they were unaware that we were even there since they were on the other side of the house.  We rang the door bell and were greeted by a nanny who was wearing all white and she and our translator exchanged a few words then she looked at me and smiled. She asked me something in Bulgarian and I just smiled and looked at the translator.  "She is asking if you have missed Rossen".  Oh yes, I nodded and smiled and she seemed very satisfied.  When we reached upstairs and walked into the directors office,  it really hit me.
The scene was so moving.  Joshua Rossen was sitting back on the couch with his little legs dangling off the couch with his hands crossed "waiting" so well behaved while the director sat across in a desk with a mountain of papers. She was writing something or sorting some of them when we arrived and she stood up and greeted us.  She had come in on Saturday to release him from the orphanage.  This was very kind of her because most directors would not do this and make the family and child wait until a weekday. I appreciated that she came in. She asked me if I wanted to get him dressed or did I want one the nanny to do it and I said I would.  I then folded his old orphanage clothes and handed it to the nanny. It was very old yellow worn clothes but I knew for sure it would be used on another child. I then signed 2 papers and received a hand shake. The translator and her reviewed some papers and my passport numbers to make sure the file was correct and I was then handed an old small photo album with pictures of Joshua that had been taken during his life in the orphanage. His orphanage had made it a point to take a picture every year on his birthday. He did have a cake during his brithdays. How sweet is that.
Joshua is a very calm easy child and he has done well so far. He just does not know how to hold a cup or feed himself at all, He is 7 years old and looks more like a 3 1/2 year old he is fitting into 24 month clothes perfectly. He grinds his teeth and rocks but he also sleeps all night and will come easily wherever I am sitting to sit on my lap. Thank you Father for adopting me and allowing me to adopt Joshua Rossen. thank you for taking care of him all these years and not letting him be forgotten. Thank you for everyone who has donated and prayed and sent beautiful messages helping us to make Joshua an "orphan no more".

Gotcha Joshua Rossen Abram Brown!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

We made it to Bulgaria!

Hi Everyone,
  We did arrive one day later then expected.  We missed our flight to Germany so we had to stay in Virginia for the day. The weather delayed us (we had to wait for our plane to arrive in RDU) at first but then when we arrived to Washington a jet food truck was in front of where the plane parks.  The pilot made an announcement that the truck was unattended and they were looking for a driver to move the truck....funny at first but not funny when you are already delayed.  So then we asked where our gate would be and they told us the wrong gate number! As we arrived to the gate the attendants stated that the plane was being held and that we must hurry.  They looked at our ticket and began to tag our stroller and infant car seats. It wasn't until after a few more minutes when another attendant looked at the tickets that she are going to Germany and told the first attendant. " By the way" she said, "you will never make it to the other plane because of the distance". Well she was right our plane left 40 minutes prior to us arriving at the correct gate.  We ran but it did not work. We then noticed that our strollers were tagged for France!
So here we were with no one around except the cleaning people. We eventually had to go to the outside and start again, no hotels available, no refund or voucher for a hotel and luggage somewhere in holding with us anable to get it because of security reasons.  We finally at 3am made to a hotel paid 40 something for a taxi (one way) and hotel cost of 179!  This was no way to start but we had no choice so we made the best of it.  In the morning we found out that our plane to Germany would not leave for over 12 hours but at least we had seats being held.
so what did we do to pass the time?....we went to the mall! We went window shopping but by now my feet had blisters from the flip flops so getting a pair of different flip flops was a must. We also had to get some hygiene stuff since most of ours was in the luggage that was somewhere in the airport.
Well, we did make it to the next plane with much time to spare and we departed at 2205. The rest seemed simple until we were at baggage claim..... the announcement was made that there was no other luggage coming. Here we now were with no luggage or strollers! what can you do but shake your head and laugh and fill out missing luggage slips.  So here we are and despite it all we are all safe and happy to be here.  We feel so very lucky that God has given us this opportunity.  Tomorrow we should be picking up one child from the orphanage.  We are just hoping our luggage arrives.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hi Everyone,
Well the wait is over, tomorrow July 18 is the day I leave to bring my children home.  I will travel to Germany and then to Bulgaria.  I am so so excited.  On July 15  Sophia turned 16 years old  so being there on the week of her birthday is very special but knowing that before the week ends she will no longer be in the the orphanage is amazing.  When I look back to when we committed to these children,  I never imagined how God would help us bring them home.  What God did was place people (people who love Him and love other human beings) and placed them in our paths to help us along the way.

I worked the past 3 days  and my older kids did an amazing job helping me get the house ready for me to travel.  They did an amazing job that is why I was able to quickly sit and update you.  Thanks kids, love you. The little ones are still sleeping so I will plan my day mostly packing and tying loose ends around the house. Steven will stay with the children while I travel. My oldest daughter and son  will also stay and help daddy.  I will be traveling with my 12 year old and 11 year old girls.  To say that they are happy is not enough....they are beyond excited.  They were adopted when they were 4 (Nideya) and 6 (Madeline) so actually being a part of traveling to bring home their new siblings is something very important to them. Yes, it was a lot of money to buy their tickets but this confirms to them that being adopted is not a second choice it is not by accident, being adopted into a family or being born into a family is a Blessed event. We have shared so many tears remembering how they became our family. Madeline came to us on New Years Eve as an emergency placement.  She remembers being led in with her brother and sister crying and afraid.  They had been driven to our home because of the tragedy happening at her biological family  home and she remembers being afraid no knowing what was going to happen at this new people's house. Nideya had been placed in her 3rd foster home and was to be adopted by them when her foster parents changed their minds.  They did not have any children and as they adoption of Nideya and her brother were coming to a close, they became afraid and changed their minds.  Nideya remembers also being afraid, she was leaving her foster parents home for reasons she did not understand.  These girls have come such a long way. They have grown, built trust, come to love others, us and themselves. They have learned to forgive those who have hurt them. My girls are now being the foundation for these 4 children. I cry just thinking about it.  The girls tickets,  mine, my friend Stephanie (who is also in the middle of an adoption so she was unable to pay hers) and 4 return tickets for the kids were all a little short of 11,000  yes that is Eleven Thousand dollars but it is worth it!  I am so Blessed that one of the mom's who previously adopted emailed me to tell me that her daughter Sabrina had saved up her money and would go to help us bring the kids home.  Sabrina is 17 and she has worked so hard to be able to do this.  I am so Blessed!!     In less then 48 hours we will be at the airport!!

Well I will post pictures of all my luggage when I am packed.  I am still having stroller decisions to make.  I am trying so hard to not bring to much so we do not have to pay extra at the airport...wish me luck.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Its official they are Browns!!

Hi Everyone ,  I am so excited to let you know it is official our 4 children are adopted.
Let me introduce you to them.  I have 3 new pictures from a dear friend who was just there visiting. This picture is Amelia all dressed up by her Baba (grandmother).  She wanted us to know that she is taking care of her at the orphanage as best as she can.  She is looking forward to seeing Amelia going to her new family.
She looks better then when I seen her in march. The formula that was donated really made a difference. Thank you for all of you who donated Neocate to the orphanage.
                                11 years 7 mos old     Amelia Holly Vessie Brown    Love you Baby Princess.

              This is another picture taken less then 2 weeks ago.  My dear friend Linda says that Sophia is always smiling.  16 years in an orphanage is to long.  No more baby girl. I can't believe she is a teen.
We are very grateful  to the person who donated a wheelchair for Sophia.  Sophia hasvery brittle bones and this has caused fractures that has not   healed properly.  We do not believe that she will be able to walk because of the significant curve to her lower spine.
                                  a  few short weeks from her 16th  Birthday!  
                                         Sophia Plamenka Christina Brown    Love you baby girl.

Look how much he has grown!   His Baba's dressed him up so nicely for this picture.  There were a group of Nursing student volunteers from the US who were at this orphanage for 2 weeks.  We heard that they spent time with Jeremy.  Thank you you guys if you bought him those adorable clothes (love the yellow shirt).  He has grown looks like I will have to go get some different clothes.

                             5 years old   Jeremy  Caleb Christian Brown   Love you son.
     He has hydrocephalus and CP possible Autism   (we really will not know till we get home) but we did get him a wheelchair.  He can stand up in his crib so maybe he will eventually learn to walk? By the way the boy next to him already has a family working very hard to bring him home. I cannot say anything else:) He is also very precious and so is his mom to be.

Well,  we do not have a current picture of Joshua since he is in a different orphanage (near the mountains).
I had to include a picture taken during my March visit.
                                      6 years old     Joshua Rossen  Abram Brown   Love you my prince.
  Joshua has Down syndrome   may also have autism.  We will not know until they are home.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Waiting for the Date.

Hi Everyone,    These months have been filled with activities at home.  I miss the children who I left behind in the orphanage greatly.  We had to come home and  complete our US paperwork for I-800 approval  then there was the appointment at the US embassey for interview both went well.  Our entire dossier then went to the MOJ (ministry of Justice) where it needed signatures.  Last week our entire file along with the files for the 4 children headed to court so that a judge can be assigned.  The judge will then fit us into his or her schedule.  So here we are this week maybe Thursday finding out what day will the judge review the case and praying that he will grant us to be the parents of these orphans.  As soon as I have a date I will let you know so that you can all please pray on that day please. God has done amazing things through this adoption.  I have met so many people, so many many have donated to the rescue of these 4 children. This has not been a quick mission but it made it so well worth it because of so many of you. 
As for things happening at home last week we had many children graduating.  Here goes,  we had 4 Pre-K going to K,  we had 5 children in Kindergarten going to 1st grade,  2 children  5th graders graduating middle school,  my 8th grader graduated and is heading to High school.  Steven still has pictures on his phone and once he sends them to me...I will post.   Do you know I couldn't hold the tears back. It was one more year gone kids are growing.  Thank you Lord for entrusting me to take care of these children and being called the best title ever..MOM.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This week with Joshua

One of my favorite pictures, he was wondering if I would follow him, look at that grin.
Joshua also loves putting his little finger in his mouth.
Joshua was wondering what I was doing looking through this camera.
It took a little time but I finally made him smile, the camera was not fast enough
Hello Everyone,
sorry this has been limited on pictures and post. Once I left Pleven I headed with Demetry to Plovdiv my internet connection was not as consistent and the place where I can get connection is usually filled with people smoking . You can really appreciate smoke free restaurants when you are in a smoky filled room.
The view is beautiful and the orphanage is more like an inn from the outside. What gives it away is the playground outside. This orphanage has mostly typical children who actually attend Kindergarten. The director told us that she only has 3 special needs children and all 3 have down syndrome. The good news is that 2 of the 3 have families one being my Joshua. The director stated that Bulgaria was trying to integrate special needs children with typical children so this is why they sent her these 3 children. She stated that she has really enjoyed bringing these children to health especially Joshua who arrived very thin and weak. She stated he was unable to walk when he arrived but they worked with him and it has only been recently that he has learned to walk and climb up the stairs. Joshua will be 7 in April. He still requires someone to feed him and dress him. He does not know how to play with toys and he has no interest. He does still have the orphanage behaviors of rocking and frequently makes faces and plays with his fingers. I was very thankful for the work that the caregivers and director have done because form the pictures they had in 1 year truly made a difference. The director was also very happy and satisfied that Joshua had an experienced family and frequently stated that in the US he would have an opportunity since here no one ever inquired about wanting to adopt him.

Well, please pray for not only Joshua but my children at home (who I miss so so much) and my kids who still reside in the other orphanage. I worry so much that the wait will be to much on little Amelia. The doctor has given special instructions to the orphanage about feeding her 7 times a day and giving her specialized formula that was brought over by my friend Shelly. As you have probably read my other friend Shelleys blog on the condition of some of the children who reside here. Many of these children are the forgotten children and I truly hope and pray that Shelly and I made an impression on the caregivers so that they to can see how much these children need and deserve people to care for them. People learn by actions of others and our actions were truly from our hearts. We love these children and feel 100% without a doubt that our Father wants us to take care of them and love them in anyway we can. Thank you also to Dr Lilova, our faciliator and the MOJ of Bulgaria for bringing these forgotten children out. Pray pray pray.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Visiting with the children-photos

Jeremy after I put him in his new clean PJs
Trying to get a family photo was not to easy but lots of fun
Madelaine holding Amelia
Sweet kiss for a sweet girl
My Precious Sophia


Mommy and my girls

Amelia and Mommy

Look at Amelia's eyes...just beautiful
Amelia loves putting her little finger in her mouth
Jeremy looking to see what new toys are coming out of mommy's backpack
Hi Everyone,

Here are a few more photos.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday visits

Hi Everyone,
The children are doing well. The children are becoming accustomed to our visits. They seem more relaxed. Little Amelia loves this bouncy seat that I bought her here in Bulgaria. It is a great sturdy one. Today we spent some time dropping off donations of diapers, crib toys and baby wipes. I also read cards written to Amelia by a wonderful 6th grade class that their teacher sent to me. I still have to download those pictures but will as soon as I have a chance. I was also very lucky to meet Jeremy's Baba these Babas (meaning grandmother) are volunteers who spend 2-3 days a week with the children. They feed the children and take them for walks. This is a true blessing for these children. Not all of them have Babas since this is still a new program.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday and Wednesday

Hi Everyone,
These 2 days have been filled with visits in the morning and the evening. Every morning the staff brings down the girls to the therapy room were all the boys are. Shelly is adopting 2 boys but during the morning one (Keagan) is in school so she goes to visit him. Madeline and I stay playing with Jeremy, Teagan, Sophia and Amelia.
My computer has not been very helpful so i do apologize with the limited writings. I did want you to know that Monday we spent over 6 hours not only visiting our children but also feeding and changing other children's diapers. We have been able to hold other orphans and even inquire about their availability for adoption. I believe that there are many families who would love to adopt these children if they became available or even known to the adopting community. I feel without a doubt that we need to help these orphanages but I also especially now feel stronger that these children cannot live in these places. It is a prison and this children deserve the basic right to a family. I will explain more later. Here are some pictures of the children Enjoy, pray pray pray.

Monday, March 5, 2012

We met the children.

It was such an awesome experience. We will be visiting the girls once a day since Lilliana (who we will call Amelia) still requires medical care. She has an IV and is receiving antibiotics. I know you want to see pictures so here they are.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How thrilled I am to be in the children's country! Bulgaria !

Hello Everyone,
The trip was 25 hours. It included 4 planes with one stop to Washington DC and another to Viena Austria. When we arrived on Saturday 12:45pm it was somewhat cold and we were TIRED. I am here with Shelly and Madelaine (Madelaine is her 14 year old daughter). They are adopting 2 little boys from the same orphanage. This morning we traveled to our children's city (it was almost 3 hours). The weather is cool but due to it being is very tolerable. We had a wonderful driver and he told us all about his country. Once we arrived to our new hotel we started sorting all the orphanage's donations. As Shelly states, " we are nesting international style". The formula was donated by the the nutritionist at the hospital where Carrington had received her care. That was only one small portion of formula, she had another entire suitcase full!
Thank you for those wonderful moms on at the Triangle Down syndrome network who also sent me some donations to hand out to the children. I also want to thank our childrens' dentist Triangle Pediatric Dentistry who doanted tons of toothpaste! So now I want to leave you a few pictures of the hotel, us nesting, our room, and the Balken Mountains that were beautiful. Tomorrow we will wake up and go see the children for the FIRST TIME. I cannot wait. Please keep us in your prayers and please keep our wonderful families who stayed behind in your prayers. Both of our husbands have truly been encouraging and are excited about us seeing our children tomorrow.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Less then 2 weeks to go before we meet the children

The girls Lilliana and Pam (please remember these are not their real names) are still in the hospital. Pam (who we will name Sophia) is doing much better then Lilliana (who we will name Amellia). Sophia is wearing 6- 12 mos clothes. Lilliana is to small for 6-12 month clothes. Can you imagine? An 11 year old fitting into newborn to 3 month clothes? I do not know anything new about the boys at this time.
Having 10 days left seems like a long time but it really isn't, not when you have packing, house cleaning, food shopping and paperwork to do along with some doctor/dentist appointments.
Update on the girls: There is a very special woman who has been visiting the girls in the hospital her name is Sasha. She has given us updates.

"I went to see the girls today. It sounds like they'll be leaving the hospital to go back to the institution on Saturday but it's possible they might not leave until Monday. It seems like Dr. L is looking for a way to keep Liliana there longer but I am not sure if it will happen. I told her that I'll be getting some diapers to send back and I offered to get some formula too. Liliana is on a special formula so I'll try to get 2-3 boxes of that kind to send back. Dr. L mentioned the World health Organization formula, I told her that it seems like it got lost in the mail somewhere.
They said that the 12-24 month clothes fit Sophia but not Liliana. They are too big for her.
Sophia was doing her usual standing in the walker but when I got close to her she lifted her arms so I can pick her up. That was so sweet. Dr. L is worried about her because she is turning 16 soon. She asked how close they are in the adoption process. Sophia was having a great day today, lots of smiles. They also said that she is eating really well.
Liliana was moving around a lot today in her crib and got really quiet when I picked her up. I really hope she stays there. I hope for all three to stay there but Liliana especially."

Please pray for these children, I am only a few days away from holding them. I am sorry they would not allow any pictures of the girls to be taken by Sasha. I will take many when I am there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

We have our Written. Referral.

Hello Everyone, I wanted you all to know that we received our written referral!! What this means is we have been given permission to go see our children. I am working on my flight now and cannot wait to see the children for the first time.
I also wanted to update you all on the past week. We received news that our children especially the girls were not doing very good, this is nothing short of what we already knew from pictures alone, but hearing it is a different story. I had spent last week crying and feeling very down that despite being a nurse I was not able to do anything for these children. They were in their country and I was here. I worried that even though the process of adoption was happening that it would not be enough time to get these children here to the US for the medical care they needed. I spent a lot of time praying and being reassured that God had a plan and that he loved these children way before I ever seen their picture and committed to their adoption. I also had to remember that these girls have a will to live they have been crib ridden for over 10 years and are the size of toddlers. Our prayers were answered and on Wednesday we heard that The Minister of Justice and child protective services along with a very respected hospital in the country together took involvement in this children's institution. Changes are slow but at least the orphanage now is on their radar. We then heard news that 3 children from this particular place would be transferred to this hospital for 10-14 days to see if they can start with the careful re-feeding process. It happened to be our 3 children. The hospital would treat them with no charge but we would have to pay their transportation/ nurse to make the journey with the children. We gladly sent the money but were still worried about the children making this trip. The past few weeks the snow had been knee-high and the roads did not get plowed or salted. I could not help but picture Monday morning coming and the children being bundled up with many clothes, jacket and a hat and quickly rushed to the van waiting outside. I pictured one by one wondering why this day was so different then all the other days of lying in the crib. I wondered what they would think of the cold air as they were whisked outside and the bumpy ride 80 or so miles away. I wanted to scream that Mommy is here and that they would be okay, that this hospital would take good care of them. So today Monday morning I received news that the children have arrived safely but our son was not able to go. Butler as you know him as (this is his RR name) has infectious diarrhea he was placed in isolation and the hospital felt it was to risky to admit him for fear that it would spread in the hospital. He had to stay behind and if his diarrhea and vomiting resolve he may travel later. Instead another child who you all know as Kolina (from RR) made the trip. It was felt that she was also in rough shape. She is very Blessed to also have a mother who has committed to adopting her.
Please pray that all the children do well and that Butler (who we will call Jeremiah "Jeremy" for short) will get over this virus. He cannot lose much weight or it will also put his life in danger.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We have just received our Verbal referral!

Hi Everyone, Thank you for praying. We received news today from our attorney that our children's country has given us their verbal referral. They have reviewed our dossier and have agreed after review that our file is complete and qualifies to be a match for these children. We now continue to pray that we will receive a written referral as quickly as possible. Once we have the written we are allowed to make travel plans to go see our children for the first time. Thank you everyone. All of you are with us in this journey and as soon as I receive that written referral , I will start packing. You are all coming with me since I will continue to keep my blog open and will share with you the joy of meeting these 4 precious children. I have included some pictures of them. It is the only pictures I have but thought you may appreciate them as we have.