Saturday, November 15, 2014

Transferred: Abner

I could start this post off with a touching picture of what it would look like to have Abner in your family, or what his life would have looked like if he were born into a family in the U.S. but though I may have time for that...Abner doesn't.  Abner is 5, and today we were told that he has been transferred to a mental institution.  

This means that Abner is running out of time.  Every day that passes is another day where he will become more malnourished, and his needs will not be met.  Abner, needs out, and he needs out now.  He has no more time, he has run out, and a mental institution is not where a baby belongs.  

You may not be in the position to adopt Abner, you may not be able to financially give, but sharing Abner, sharing his need, his picture, cost nothing.  Abner's life is priceless, and he deserves much more than he has been given.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Am An Orphan Advocate

I am an orphan advocate.

I've said that sentence so many times, to people who are curious about my "hobbies" and want to know about "Alyssa". I tell them that I advocate, that I blog, all for children who have no hope, children that I love immensely. The response I normally get is somewhere along the lines of "Oh how cool!" and that's typically where the conversation ends.  Every time, after one of those short conversations, I'm left feeling sad because to me advocacy is so much more than just "cool".

I mean, I don't expect someone to have input on advocacy when they nothing about it, but I do wish people would ask more questions.  To me advocacy is currently my life.  I spend all of my time fundraising, sharing, blogging, donating, brainstorming, and praying over these kids.  I strive daily to know more about the orphanages, the living conditions, the needs, the outlets that I can use to help the urgent situations.

I started when I was 13 and I have been dedicated ever since.  My best friend Kaitlyn, and I have raised thousands of dollars for adopting families, and waiting children over the past 5 years.  We have gained no money, no publicity, no "higher rank", we have done this purely for the children and their families.  We fight, daily for these lives, because they matter and we see their potential.

Advocacy isn't easy, you can ask any advocate.  It's hard because sometimes you fight tirelessly for a child and they wait year, after year and sometimes their family never comes.  It's heartbreaking, and tiresome, to fight for a child and then to see them age out... Advocacy is not for the faint of heart.  Being an advocate means having your heart broken, picking up the pieces, and loving the next child.

There are joyful moments too.  Those joyful moments, when your child has a family, or when you get updated pictures and know your kiddo is doing 'alright', or when your kiddo finally makes it home after months of praying their family through the adoption process.  Those joyful moments make all of it worth it.  Because, you see, watching a child go from malnourished and broken, to restored, chosen and LOVED does something extraordinary to your heart, and makes you want to do it all over again.

Being an orphan/adoption advocate changes you.  It gives you a different perspective on life, and is a constant reminder of just how lucky we all are.  I know that for me, I am always cautious of the best way to use my money.   "Do I need this $12 shirt? No, this money can go to a child/family/urgent need."  I have literally had that conversation with my self hundreds of times, and I'm thankful for the heart, and mindset that God has blessed me with.

Advocacy has changed me, and I am grateful for that.  I am a proud orphan advocate, and I wish everyone could experience having a love, so strong for a child that you have never met, never held, never spoken too, never kissed, or loved on, but yet you fight, every day, for that life.  Because these children, they matter.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Pleven Project

So, I've given myself the task of raising as much money as I can for The Pleven Project. For those of you that don't know Pleven is an orphanage in Bulgaria that houses 92 children. The living conditions are outrageous, and many of the children are extremely malnourished. Keith U. came out of Pleven at 5 years old weighing 10 pounds. He spent most of his time in an isolation room for no valid reason, he was also tied to his crib which left marks on his wrists. Keith is just one of the many children that have been forever damaged by that wretched place.

Recently a group of wonderful ladies devised a plan and jumped into action to better the lives in the Pleven Orphanage. They have provided funds to hire Leyla's (Grandmothers, or Nanies) that are each assigned a child, and get to spend one-on-one time with the kids. Which is absolutely wonderful, and they have already seen and heard that the kids have benefited from this tremendously! The next project that the Pleven Project team is wanting to fund is a Day Home this will benefit Pleven Orphanage, and Pleven's Community. This day home will serve as a Day Care for families who would like to continue to care for, and parent their children with special needs, and it will serve as a benefit to Pleven allowing the kids to have access to more Therapies such as Music, Art, Physical, ect.

The Pleven Project team really wants to empower families, and equip them to care for their children with special needs in their own homes, so that they don't have to give their children up. This will be so beneficial in many ways, to multiple families, and children. There's a little bump in building this Day Home, and that is that it is going to cost $100,000 to buy the materials, and build it. As I said above, this Day Home will be extremely beneficial, and is really needed at Pleven. 

Alone, we can't raise that $100,000 and that is just a fact, but with the help of generous hearts we can raise that $100,000. This money could be raised in a week if Pleven's need went viral, and hearts were moved, or it could take months or even a year, but that all depends on whether you are willing to share the need, and possibly donate too. So, if you are even just willing to share the need, and pray God's blessing over it, that would be amazing in it's self. But if you can donate $5, $10, $30, to this project, and help better the lives of families in Pleven, Bulgaria that would be a blessing too. 

Like I said, this all depends on generous hearts, who are willing to help in any way. If you decide to donate, in the notes section please specify that you would like your donation to go to the Day Home so that the team knows to set it aside. I'm extremely grateful for every single person who will pray over this project, and the children in Pleven, for those who will share in hopes to gain more awareness, and those who choose to donate and make this possible.  I will have a Youcaring set up soon so that we can track our progress, and others can donate if they feel inclined (Thank you Shelley!!), but right now if you would like to donate you can donate directly to The Pleven Project, just add a note with your donation that says "Day Center" :) 

This is intimidating I'm not gonna lie, especially with it being Angel Tree season and needing $1000 for Charlie, I'm taking on a lot. This money could be raised in a week or a month, or it could take 6 months or a year, it all depends on the number of hearts that are moved into action,  but God sees the desires of my heart, and I know He will provide the $100,000 in one way or another...God's got my back, and my faith is in Him.