Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 1, Way 1: Chrissie's Make-A-Wish Disney Dream!

Day 1, Way 1:  Chrissie's Make-A-Wish Disney Dream!

Feb. 11, 2010 (posted Feb. 12 due to internet issues)

The Shirt: Abby’s Wish
The Site:
The Scripture: “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
The Story: Abby is a 5-year-old girl who was adopted from Guatemala by her family in Oklahoma. Abby has Leukemia, and Abby’s family also had a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World. Abby’s Wish is to be cancer-free and adopt a baby brother or sister. Please pray for Abby and her family, and visit their website for more info as Abby is struggling. They could really use your prayers. Our 12-year-old daughter, Mattie, has had several fundraising events to help The Riggs Family and help make Abby’s Wish come true, and the Lord has given a total of $4,000 to Mattie to bless The Riggs Family with. Mattie is giving the money to The Block Family ( so they can pass it along to The Riggs Family. The Block Family started an adoption Pass It Forward fund, and you’ll be blessed to read their story, too!

Chrissie, wearing her Make-A-Wish shirt, acting silly on the plane!
Our Day 1 Make-A-Wish Adventure, Thursday, Feb. 11: We are in Orlando! We don’t have internet in our room, so posting is going to be a challenge throughout the week, but we’ll see what we can do.
I had hoped to blog every day of our trip to be able to share our pictures and shirts. In case you’re new to the blog, our daughter, Chrissie (adopted from Serbia at the age of 4 in Oct. 2009), was awarded a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Chrissie has several severe congenital heart defects, and she is scheduled to have massive corrective surgery (open-heart) on Feb. 22. Make-A-Wish granted our entire family a trip to Disney World for a week, and it was God’s idea for our family to wear various orphan advocacy t-shirts throughout our stay this week. Our prayer is that God would use our family to open others’ eyes and hearts to the plight of the orphan. We have 7 days, 7 people in our family, and 7 ways to advocate for the orphans of the world.
So, here are the details of Day 1:
Mom, Chrissie, and dad on the airplane.  We got about 3.5 hours of sleep the night before our flight, but it was all so worth it!
Our flight left Austin at 6:25AM Thursday, Feb. 11. The Texas Hill Country was under an ice warning for that morning, so we drove our motor home to the Airport Fast Park late Wednesday, Feb. 10. We cranked up the generator in the RV and slept in the parking lot next to the airport. We only got a few hours of sleep before having to head to the airport, but we got more hours of rest being so close by than we would have if we had stayed at our house. Plus, we didn’t have to worry about ice.  (Funny side note:  We got into Austin at midnight and had a hankerin' for some Krispy Kreme Donuts since we ate dinner at 5:30PM, so Matt pulled into a 24 hour gas station by the airport that advertised Krispy Kreme.  The doors were locked, but a worker was inside and all of the lights were on.  Matt tugged at the doors and knocked, so the man came to the door only to tell Matt that yes, they are 24 hour, but he was closed for 15 minutes to mop!!!  So, we waited in the RV and watched about 15 different people pull into the parking lot, go to the front door to the store, yank, tug, pull, flail their arms in despair, then walk away disappointed in the 24 hour store that is actually only open 23.75 hours!  It was like watching You're on Candid Camera!  At 12:15AM, the doors were unlocked and Matt ran in and grabbed us all a Krispy Kreme donut...our hero!)
We had safe and uneventful flights and all our luggage arrived. YAY! The pilot announced prior to take off that Orlando’s temperature was 35 degrees. Ugh! Upon our arrival into Orlando around 11AM, we were greeted by Give Kids the World who showed us to our 12-passenger van rental, arranged for us by Make-A-Wish. Give Kids the World (GKTW) is 70 acres in Orlando where children who receive wishes are hosted. (In order to stay here, one must have a child who receives a wish, which means that the child has an illness that threatens his/her life and a wish-granting agency awards this as the child’s wish.) GKTW is beyond our wildest imaginations. The kids say this is better than any trip we’ve ever taken, and we haven’t even left GKTW yet!
"Barbara" is our Chrissie's given Serbian name, which is still her legal name (hence her name used for travel purposes..."Barbara Patterson".)
Make-A-Wish is paying for everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING.  This is a dream. They’ve thought of every detail. They paid for our airport parking, our rental van, gave us spending money, and all of our meals and lodging are provided. They also gave us 3 day hopper passes to Disney World, 2 day hopper passes to Universal Studios, and a 1 day pass to Seaworld. We had hoped to visit a park after our arrival into Orlando today, but everyone was exhausted and wanted to hang out at GKTW. We were given a delicious homemade lunch, followed by a quick tour of GKTW. I cannot even begin to explain how amazing this place is. It was all designed for children who have a life-threatening condition, so the entire resort has a fun and whimsical feel to it. All of the tables and chairs are kid-sized throughout every restaurant and gathering space. There’s a magical castle that’s a kid’s wonderland complete with a kid’s spa! There’s an arcade that has toy trains (that are like little cities in themselves), remote-controlled boats, ping-pong, video games, and all of the tech stuff that kids love. There’s a huge playground that is like playing a live game of Candy Land. There’s a theatre, ice cream shop, restaurants with home-cooked meals, a carousel, and so much more. We have a 2 bedroom villa with a completely stocked full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and 2 TV’s. The kids are in heaven and so are we.
Disney World...WOOHOO!!!

Partying in the car on the way to the resort.

Here's the entry at Give Kids The World, the land of the pampered!
Our rental van is in the background.

Villa 117, The Patterson Home Away From Home

Every night has a special treat/theme night here at GKTW, and tonight was Winter Wonderland. After our much needed afternoon slumber (catching up after only getting 4 hours of sleep the night before), we got to ride in a horse drawn carriage, see homemade snow, watch a night parade, eat a “Christmas” dinner (homemade turkey, stuffing, and the works), visit Santa (and each child received a toy of their choice…”real” toys like board games, Nerf footballs, etc.), decorate (and eat) cookies, get sno-cones and cotton candy, and watch outdoor movies with homemade popcorn. What an event that filled everyone with excitement and joy!

A variety of characters come to GKTW in the mornings to visit with the wish kids and take photos with them. Friday morning, our Day 2, is a visit from BARNEY!!! Chrissie LOVES Barney!!! (She’ll probably be quite scared of the big live Barney, but we’ll see.) We plan to get up early, visit with Barney, eat breakfast, then head out to one of the parks. Friday is a 90% chance of rain and a high of 59 degrees, so we’re not sure which park we’re going to visit, but just being at GKTW is enough for us!!!

We do hope to update every day, but if you don’t see anything from us, just know that it’s b/c I didn’t catch the bus to take me to the reception area for wireless internet. I’ll still write my daily blog entries, and then post them as the opportunity arises.  (I finally got internet access Feb. 12 at one of the arcades, but it's slower than dial-up, so uploading pics is taking 10+ minutes per photo.  I'm going to post this then try to find another way to show y'all the rest of the pics!!!)


Tymm said...

You guys are awesome. What an incredible family...

So glad ya found Gwen and her 147 project - how cool are those shirts?

Will be adding your family to our prayer list - enjoy your visit!!

Brent Riggs said...

Lorraine, I sent you an email. Try to read it as soon as you can. Blessings, Brent (Abby's Dad)

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