Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Friday, May 24, 2013

Education: Foundation for the Future (Lifesong Blog)

13-5 MM Email
The commitment to provide a quality education to every child we serve is just one of our four pledges we make to "our" kids. We believe that education is a foundation for the future and is the start to change nations and peoples from the inside out as they fight against cycles of poverty and unemployment.


Mesaye's story of hope in the midst of tragedy is just one of many. Thankfully, she is receiving an education and hope for the future because of her sponsor. But the impact goes even beyond Mesaye! Her grandmother, who has no means of providing for her schooling, is now able to witness Mesaye's growth and trust in her future legacy.

Sponsors support a child like Mesaye with quality education, 2 meals a day and exposure to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for only $19/month! When you sponsor a child, you impact a family!

(100% of sponsorship received goes directly to the need -- helping children! No administrative fees deducted.)


While providing vulnerable children with an education, we also have the opportunity to share with them the good news of the Gospel of Christ. Watch Teja, student at Lifesong India, explain the impact of not only education, but also spiritual discipleship he received.

Learn more about Lifesong India>>


Rising to the Top with Technology - Lifesong Honduras tells of the dramatic impact technology has had in our school. Read full story

"Poor" Kids Come Out on Top - Students at Lifesong Zambia excel on their mock exams! Read full story

Adding Fun into School Days - Students at Lifesong Liberia enjoy new playground & school uniforms. Read full story

Gift of Education - Moses, student at Lifesong Zambia Schools, shares why he values and appreciates the education he is receiving. Watch Video

Monday, May 20, 2013

Trip 1

I know this has been a long awaited post.  Finally after a week of settling back in I'm able to post details from our first trip. During the week I e-mailed close friends and family the details so I'll be copy and pasting those e-mails into this post essentially. So here it goes!!

Day 1-Sunday
We left L-ville Saturday afternoon with a pretty bumpy flight.  Landed safely in ATL and took off on our big jet for London.  It was a long flight with little sleep. Which certainly caught up to us once we got at London Heathrow airport.  After following the trusty advice of a fellow American traveler we ended up in immigration which we later found out we didn’t have to go through…go figure. Well by the time we got through immigration our flight was gooooone.  We were stranded in London!!  It took us forever to figure out who to talk to because the Bulgarian Air  guy was gone (apparently they only send one flight out a day and since ours was gone…he was too.)    So a nice gentleman from Airfrance searched and searched to find us a new flight to Sofia or else we would be spending the night in London.  Well low and behold there were no straight connections.  Our best option was to go through Brussels (which we didn’t even know where it was) and then fly on to Sofia.  We took it, it was our best option and would get us to Sofia before the end of the night. We were so exhausted, by the time we finally landed in Sofia which was exactly 24 hours from the moment we took off from Kentucky.  Our driver picked us up, gave us a quick tour of the city, exchanged some money, and to the aparment we went for bed.  Might I mention it was a beautiful apartment, very uptodate and Dustin loved the Espresso Machine!!

Day 2-Monday
This was our free day in the city since everyone else was off of work still celebrating Orthodox Easter.  We had a pretty great day exploring Sofia and its rich history. Such a beautiful city and pretty easy to navigate.  In the evening we took a free walking tour of the city and it had a lot of information about the history of the country. It was great to learn so much about our son's culture.
We were both doing well at this point and really wasn't experiencing any Jet Lag or exhaustion...we were just ready to head to meet our little guy!

Day 3-Tuesday
The day started off getting up at 7:00 to get things together. We left at 8:00 for Stara Zagora….I got car sick twice on the way …not fun at all but felt good once we got to Stara Zagora.  We were ready to meet our little man for sure, no sickness was stopping me!!!  When we got to the orphanage Dustin got really nervous all of a sudden and that made me nervous.  First we met the orphanage director which was a wonderful meeting then we left our meeting with him and went to a small room, the same one Easton's pictures were taken in and waited for him to come in. We knew this would only be a few minutes because it was time for him to take a nap. 

The orphanage workers refer to him as Pepee (pronounced Pep-ee)  it's the cutest thing ever.  So this is what we have been calling him.  When he came in he was just as little as we expected, maybe a little smaller. Just by looking I would say he's in a 2T. His little legs are so thin, his belly sticks out, and his arms are just as small.  But oh those eyes.  He has the biggest eyes you've ever seen, pictures just don't do him justice.  He went straight to sit down and Dustin and I sat beside him and he just stared at us, made many hand stems, and began to rock back and forth. This is a very common stereotypical orphanage behavior and it's a self soothing method. We were fortunately prepared for this and just looked past it to play with him. The meeting was short and after a few minutes he layed down and began rocking even more with his hands cupped just under his ears and his care taker said he does this to put himself to sleep so we knew he was tired.  We left, came back to the hotel room and started talking about the whirlwind that had just happened.  He was making great eye contact but it was obvious he was unsure about what he should be doing and was nervous. 

We went to lunch, then called a taxi and went back to the orphanage at 4:00.  We were hoping this meeting he would open up a little bit more.  When the caretaker brought him back, he went straight to a sitting position and began rocking.  They left us alone which was really unexpected.  We tried cars, balls, and snacks but nothing was working, he was so unsure about everything.  Then it's just like a wall fell.  We went over to a rocking toy and he got on it and this little boy that was hiding inside just came pouring out.  I've never heard such a laugh in all my life.  A laugh that can make everyone in the room light up...and smile like none other.  After a few minutes dustin decided to try letting him look out the window, he wasn't sure at first but quickly decided this was a good thing. He loves to be held, chased, tickled, and thrown in the air. He laughs hysterically at all of them. He communicates but definitely in his own way. He's stubborn...go figure. When he doesn't want to do something he turns his head and won't look at you and makes a very demanding noise close to the word "Nah".  Noises is all he makes, and a large variety of them, from squealing to growling, but it's strange how quickly we caught on to what several of them meant for him.  Even though his communication is lacking, he is so smart.  He understands everything being said to him, from sit down, stand up, throw it, chase him, you name it he does whatever you say (as long as he wants to).  He loves being tickled.  At the end of the meeting he was getting tired because he would lay down and rock, we didn't want him to do this so we would tickle him every time. Eventually he would rock and if we didn't tickle him he would stop scoot closer and start again as if asking us to tickle. We learned how to say "give me five" in Bulgarian and he caught on quickly doing it every time we asked.  His motor skills are behind but he is strong and has a good grip.  He is full of energy, laughter, joy, and curiosity.  We are just smitten with him.  We were told that we could take him outside the next day which we are looking forward to.  We will also be meeting with the specialists who work with him so we hope to ask some questions about his development and skill level.  

We needed to buy him sunglasses because he thought it was so funny to wear dustins.  He would be rocking and completely stop if he saw dustin was taking his glasses off to give to him.  His shoe size was a 23 in european sizes but I need to look up the correlating US size.  He honestly seemed basically healthy, and certainly felt heavier than 25, he burped a lot, grits his teeth, sucks on his tongue, and still does hand stems.  Dustin said he thought they would go away quickly after being home because once he was holding him and was so tired he just completely relaxed and stopped all stems. 

Day 4-Wednesday
We went to the orphanage this morning and he clearly did not remember us because it took some time for him to warm back up to us.  We went immediately outside and he was pretty apprehensive. He's terrified of grass, which isn't uncommon. They told us sometimes bigger spaces scare him.  This is understandable because when you are used to living in the same room with same 10 kids your whole life, anything new would be scary.  He loved swinging, seesawing, a little springy duck that rocks. He wasn't too sure about the slide either but he attempted it holding our hands a couple of times. He had a good time and laughed a lot.. During the evening visit he seemed to remember us and was waiting on us when we got to the orphanage. He was ready to go outside. He had a little jacket on and I checked to see if it had a size and surprisingly it did.  It was from the US so it clearly said 24M.  Yes he is still wearing 24 months at 6 years of age.  I think it would have been a little tight if zipped so our guess of 2T is just about right, and childrens size 6 or 7 shoe. He has long feet. We had to take his shoes off once to change him after he peed on dustin (true story, it was hilarious)!!  He pulled his own pants back on after we changed him and then tried to put his shoes on, so he is learning to do some things on his own.  They said he still can not feed himself. He can hold a spoon but can not figure out how to get it to his mouth and also needs help drinking from a cup.  Developmentally he is about a 12-18 month level.  But he is much farther along in is receptive language understanding, he clearly knows what is being said to him and does just about everything like I mentioned before.
We were able to speak with his psychologist today also. She said in her opinion he will never talk unless there is a miracle (when she said this all I wanted to say is "good thing my God is a miracle worker").  She said to never expect great things from him, and it made me sad to think at such a young age he had been given up on.  We see so much potential in this little guy. She talked about his motor skills and size.  She said that he understands everything like we already knew, and that he is good at following directions.  He is strongwilled and determined.  He loves to lay on a beanbag she said.  Basically she told us everything we already had read on a piece of paper, so nothing too surprising. Of course this didn't change our minds at all. Only makes us more determined to get him home and in an environment where he can excel.

Day 5-Thursday

This was of course our last day with Easton and we were very sad to leave him behind.  He is used to us leaving at this point but his disapointment will come tomorrow when we don't show up.  Be in prayer for him.

This morning he was ready for us again!  We went to the same room we've been meeting in and we waited for the social worker to come because we had to go get his Visa picture made. We weren't sure how he'd handle the car ride but it was hilarious, he laughed the whole way.  They say he loves to ride in a car. They will sometime take the kids to a local zoo.  This orphanage that he is in is such a great place considering it's an orphanage.  He is in a small group of about 10 boys with 2 caregivers at all times.  We had been told he wouldn't be fed much or given liquids but this is quite the opposite. He is given a breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, and supper.  And they are large portions with milk.  He is a big eater. This evening when we went to get him he was very grump, in fact started crying as soon as we got outside and wouldn't quit until he saw a nurse bringing his snack. He was just hungry.  We quickly agreed we would bring lots of snacks for our journey home with him, b/c we certainly do not want him crying like that on a plane!!!  Dustin was allowed to feed him which was such a great bonding experience.  He loooves to eat.  I put the spoon in his hand once and he took the food and put it to his mouth (unlike they said he would do). But then he refused to do it anymore.  Our theory...he is capable but doesn't because they will just feed him.  I would let someone feed me too if I could, haha, he's just lazy. They had already told us how lazy he was haha, there is a beanbag chair in the room that he loves to lay on. Once we took him back to his room and he went straight to it.  We see so much potential in this little guy. I'm pretty sure he's gotten everyone fooled. He's capable of much more than he lets on but allows everyone to do it for him because they will...pretty smart! 

He loved his new sunglasses, and his teddy bear.  He would stop rocking if I would take the bears hand and rub around his mouth and on his cheeks, it soothed him.  After eating he was ready to play, not an ounce of crying.  We are just so amazed by this child. It's hard to look at him and see a 6 year old. We often forget he actually is 6. But what a smart 6 year old he is.  When we put his glasses on him we would say in bulgarian, Pepee you are so handsome, and he would just smile as if he already knew it haha. He has taken to us pretty well, and I believe with time will attach pretty well.  Unfortunately that will be many months from now.

We just arrived back in sofia via bus and grabbed some KFC...we needed a small fix of home!  Tomorrow we will be in sofia signing papers to officially commit to this little guy.  Then early saturday morning it's back to the states we head. We should land in Louisville around 5:00 assuming we don't miss any flights!!!

Day 6-Friday
We spent the day walking around the city and doing a little shopping.  Then we went to a notary to sign some papers to make this thing official!  We went back to the apartment and started packing for our early flight out of Sofia on saturday morning.

Day 7-Saturday
We had a pretty easy flight home, just long and exhausting.  We were glad to be home but bittersweet because we were missing part of our family.

We can not wait to share pictures and videos, but of course we can not until we have passed court.  Our estimate is that we will travel back in October. Until then I'll leave you with this picture, because it doesn't reveal his identity!

Hope you've enjoyed!