Wednesday, February 29, 2012

…In the Arms of an Angel…

Adopting Conner and seeing first-hand the condition he’s in (he’s so much tinier and more fragile than Cooper) has really opened our eyes to a new level.


You know that really sad SPCA pet advocacy commercial with the song “…in the arms of an angel…” playing in the background?   You know, the one that shows all those sad pet faces, many locked in cages?  The one that makes you want to stop everything, sell all your belongings, and donate your savings to save a pet today? 


Well, this is that post for orphans in a particular orphanage in Bulgaria.  I don’t have the sad song playing in the background, but you can just imagine it. 


The pictures tell the same story that those sad pet pictures tell in the SPCA commercial, only those sad pets are treated like royalty compared to these children.


I’m not exaggerating.  Look at the photos yourself.  I’ve seen this first-hand.  We’re springing a child from his orphanage today who is in the same shoes as many of the children in the photos below.


This is reality, folks, like it or not.


But today, you have a chance to do something!!!  Just like we want to respond with immediate help when we see that sad SPCA commercial, instead of changing the channel or flipping to the next blog, DO SOMETHING. 


Here’s your chance.  Please click HERE to see this post on the author’s blog.  My friend, Shelley, gave me permission to copy and paste her post here.  Shelley is the woman who helped us adopt Chrissie, so she holds a very dear place in  my heart.  Shelley is also an amazing orphan advocate and adoptive mom who has put together a way for you to make a difference today in the lives of these poor mistreated, neglected, abused children.


I pray you’ll read this post in its entirety and be moved to action today.  Let the Church arise!  We have the opportunity to donate and help place these children…in the arms of an angel!


Here’s Shelley’s post, copied and pasted with her permission:


Help provide medical care to orphans

Katie_before photoVeronica 01
At the age of 9 years and 7 months, Katie weighed 10.5 pounds.

When she was admitted to the hospital, testing found that she suffered from Severe protein-energy malnutrition with related severe anemia, severe osteoporosis, multiple spinal compression fractures; scurvy; atrophic skin.

What caused these condition?

For 9 years and 7 months, Katie had lived in an orphanage in Pleven, Bulgaria where she was systematically and purposefully starved to keep her small, weak and unable to do anything but lie in her own urine and feces. She was fed only liquid, a mixture that contained very little sustenance. The liquid was fed to her out of a glass beer bottle that had a huge nipple on top so that the liquid could be forcibly shoved down her throat.
When Katie’s mama arrived at the orphanage to adopt her, she was allowed to hold Katie and feed her. However, the reality for the TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY other children that live in this orphanage is that on a daily basis, they are all fed this liquid while lying flat on their backs in a crib. If they choke, the liquid runs down their mouths or into their lungs. They are not picked up and burped. They aren’t even sat up so that they can eat properly. The children are in such weak and poor conditions, that they don’t have the strength to sit up when they are choking.


As a result, children DIE because they drown in this liquid that is aspirated into their lungs or are suffocated by the vomit that refluxes back into their mouth that they are unable to clear from their throats themselves due to their weakened condition.

Just this week, while the steps were being taken for this blog post to be publicized, another child from the orphanage in Pleven died.


These are not assumptions on my part,
these are the cold hard FACTS of life in this orphanage
and they have been recently legally documented and reported to the Bulgarian government.


Katie is now home in the United States with her family and she’s receiving proper medical care.


There are 240 other children in that orphanage that still need help. The Bulgarian government has been made aware of what is happening at this orphanage and an investigation has been launched. Official documents have been filed and action is being taken throughout different branches of the Bulgarian government as I write this.

While the government works on the legal side of holding those in charge responsible, something must be done to help the children.

Pro. Lilova, head of the pediatric team at Tokuda Hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria provided medical care for Katie, so that she could make it safely home to the US and to a hospital here. As a result of seeing Katie’s condition, Pro. Lilova has volunteered her services FREE OF CHARGE to provide medical care for the remaining children in Pleven, starting with the ones in the worst conditions.


Three children are currently in the hospital receiving treatment from Pro. Lilova. (the faces of all orphans have been blurred to protect their identity). Here is what the testing has revealed so far:


On January 12th, 11 year old “V” weighed 12 pounds and is 29 inches long

“P” is 15 and a half years old. She weighs 18 pounds and is 34 inches long

Both girls are suffering from a multitude of health problems as a result of the starvation and dehydration that they’ve experienced their entire lives, including evidence of multiple broken bones that were left untreated over the years. They are already suffering from osteoporosis as children due to nutritional deficits.


There are MANY more children that need medical intervention, like little “K”, who is turning 5 years old in April. He lives in a room ALL ALONE because he’s been in “isolation” for 2 years now because he got sick as a baby. Those toys you see in his crib are because this photo was taken by the family in process to adopt him on their first visit with him
and 5 year old “L”, who has a kidney condition that has been left untreated and her body is beginning to swell from the excess fluid build up. Her little feet are so tiny that 3-6 month baby shoes fall off of them
Lina foot

I can’t show you the appalling photos of the rashes and scars that these children have from lying in their urine and feces. Many of them have their entire backside and groin areas covered in rashes and peeling skin. One visitor to the orphanage said that the children often lay on mattresses without sheets. If there is a sheet, it’s wet with the child’s urine and the child is forced to just lay in it all day. None of the children had blankets in their beds.


Here is an observation from one mother who visited her child there earlier this month. Her daughter is 5 years old, fits into a size 1 diaper and the 6-9 month clothes that were taken for her to wear are too big:
”She cannot sit at all. She can barely hold up her head. She has NO MUSCLE tone AT all. She can not even get her knees under her to try and get to her hands and knees but instead her legs just lay out to the side. I did see her role over one time. She hates the food that is fed in the bottles with the big nipples. She would toss it and then it would be stuffed back in her mouth. This would repeat over and over. I tried to hold her to feed her and the staff made me lay her down flat on her back. The food is a horrid smelling milky substance with this cottage cheese like pieces that come out with the liquid. They do not hold any of the children and do not burp them at all. They pick the children up by the arm and then lay them down the same. One boy was choking on the bottle and finally the worker picked him up and got his mouth and throat cleared. I wonder what would have happened had I not been in the room?”

Make no mistake, the child described above is not in this condition because of some type of special need or medical condition that prevents her from doing anything. She’s in this condition due to NEGLECT and STARVATION. While the majority of the children in this orphanage have some degree of special needs, it is NOT their special needs that have put them in such dire condition.


Pro. Lilova has volunteered to travel from Sofia to Pleven to visit the children in the orphanage and to attempt to come up with some plan to provide the medical care that all of the children living there are in need of. While she can volunteer her services as a doctor, there are other expenses that are incurred in order for these children to receive medical care:
1.) Transportation costs to get the children from Pleven to the hospital in Sofia for medical testing and treatment
2.) Expenses to pay for an orphanage staff member to stay in Sofia while the children are hospitalized (this is required under Bulgarian law if the orphanage insists on sending someone and this orphanage has insisted that a staff member be present)
3.) Special formula and other nutritional feeding supplements so that the children can begin to be fed properly without the risk of re-feeding syndrome.


An account has been established in Bulgaria to hold donations specifically for the medical care for the children of Pleven. All expenses will be properly documented and all medical testing, findings, and treatment will be made a part of the child’s permanent medical file, should the child be adopted. There are currently at least 17 children from this orphanage that have families in various stages of the process to adopt them.

A fund has been established through Eli Project so that tax deductible donations can be made to the Pleven medical fund. ALL money donated will be sent directly to the account that is established in Bulgaria and the funds will be used for the transportation and medical expenses related to the care of the children.


If you’d like to donate toward the medical care of the children, you may do so from a direct bank draft or credit card via Paypal by using the chip in below. All donations are tax deductible in the US.

*None of the photos from this post may be copied or otherwise removed/used in any way without the expressed written consent of the blog owner. All the faces of children who are still legal orphans and residing in this orphanage have been blurred to protect their identity. The Ministry of Justice and the State Agency for Child Protection in Bulgaria are in the process of investigating what is happening to these children, now that they've been made aware. Legal channels have been followed to report the neglect and this fund is strictly to provide the much needed medical care that the children need NOW. The Bulgarian government is aware that medical care is being provided and all the medical reports will be available to them during the course of their investigation. All medical care provided with the use of these funds will be provided under the supervision of Prof. Lilova.*

Katie, who was mentioned in this blog, is now home and thriving with her family. Katie2

You can follow her journey on her mom’s blog, found here.

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