Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Call from Helen

I got a call from Helen Vipass yesterday that made my day! Helen Grimshaw is a wonderful lady that works with Helen Vipass at Hope for Children. She was told during the summer hosting that she had cancer in her retina. 7 doctors confirmed this diagnosis. She went back to the doctors this week and PRAISE GOD - There was NO Cancer!! The doctor's could not figure out why, but we know why! Because God is BIG!!!!!!!!!
Helen confirmed that Edgar is starting a new school on September 4th. It is a boarding school but it is in Riga. He will stay there during the week and go home on Fridays. This is better than last year's school where he only came home for summer and Christmas! I asked her if they would be refrigerating his medicine and she said she would make sure they do! Edgar seems excited about starting school which suprised me. He is usually opposed to anything involving school. This school really seemed to make an impression on him. Helen said that it is a new type of school in Riga and doesn't seem to be as formal. Schools in Latvia are apparently a lot more formal than American schools. Fun is not in the schools' vocabulary. Hopefully Edgar will do well at this school!
I have gotten accustomed to talking to him and seeing him on Skype almost every day. It is going to be hard to only get to talk to him on weekends.
As for an update on the Student Visa - The Language school is still waiting on approval. Helen said that once the school has approval she will go the head of the Orphan court and discuss the situation. This way we will know how things are going to go before we even have an official court date. We are all praying that things will go smoothly and he can be home by Christmas!
I will keep you posted. Keep praying! Phil 4:6-7

Monday, August 21, 2006

Letter from Latvia

We were so excited to open the mail today and find an envelope postmarked Riga, Latvia! I was expecting to find a note from Edgars. But it wasn't, it was pictures of Edgars and his friends, along with a letter from Natalija his caregiver. I took the letter to a friend's house so her son could translate the letter for me. He couldn't read all of it because Latvian is his native language and not Russian. However he was able to get the main idea. Basically she was just thanking us for our heart for Edgars and telling us how much he dreams of having a family to call his own. She also said that our calls mean a lot to him. It was neat to get the letter and to see the pictures of him in Latvia. We are praying that someday soon we can make his dreams come true and become that family he has dreamed of calling his own!!

Friday, August 18, 2006


It has been almost 4 weeks since Edgars went home and we miss him more everyday. We are able to talk to him frequently and see him via Skype, but it just isn't the same as having him in our arms!
Just yesterday I got an email from the principal of The Language School stating that she had received the money to apply to accept international students and she would be starting the application process today. Typically the process takes 90 days. So it is looking like November before the school can issue an I-20 for us to send to Latvia. We are hoping that this will allow us enough time to bring him here by Christmas and he can start school after the Christmas holidays.
I will keep you updated as we know more but right now it is just a waiting game!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why Latvia

People often ask us "Why Latvia?". The most important reason is that God has turned our hearts toward Latvia. There are a disproportionate number of orphans in Latvia for the size of the population. Often times families or individuals who have the desire to help simply can't for a lack of resources. There is little hope for the orphans to recieve help in Latvia. Here are some heartbreaking statistics and facts that have been shared with us:

Last year a survey was taken of over 1000 children in Latvia. Here are the results:
  • 54% of surveyed children do not have enough to eat
  • 62% do not have sufficient clothing
  • 44% don't have electricity, heating, hot water or cold water at home
  • 39% said they cannot turn to doctors for help with medical needs
  • 52% cannot afford to buy the medicine they need
  • 80% live in families where parents/guardians drink heavily
  • 79% said they don't wish to study
  • 53% don't have the study materials they need
  • 66% said they don't have anyone to talk to, to share their thoughts with, ask advice of
  • 32% think of commiting suicide
The statistics are even more heartbreaking for the orphans of Latvia:
  • The older an orphan gets, the chances for his/her adoption drastically decrease.
  • Each year many orphans between 15 to 18-years-old leave the orphanages.
  • Most of these orphans have no one to turn to for help.
  • About 10% of them will commit suicide after leaving the orphanage before their 18th birthday.
  • 60% of the girls will end up in prostitution.
  • 70% of the boys will enter a life of crime.
  • Only 27% of these youth will find work.

From an article titled "Plight of Orphaned Children in Latvia":

Latvia is one of the smallest countries in Eastern Europe and also one of the poorest, with children often bearing the brunt of chronic poverty. Since the fall of communism, the ex Soviet Republics have struggled to move towards true democracy and a free economy. Living standards have declined dramatically over the past decade and many families – particularly those with single parents - are living below the poverty line.
Amid these tough social and economic conditions, some mothers cannot cope and either abandon their children or give them up to orphanages. Hundreds of thousands of children in Eastern Europe and post-Soviet countries currently live in such institutions.
These post-Soviet children’s homes and orphanages are overcrowded, run-down, and under-funded. Even in some of the ‘best equipped’ orphanages, children are undernourished and physically small for their age. Education standards vary wildly due to limited budgets and other priorities, and children have very few life or work skills to enable them to integrate back into society. Most lack the proper education needed to be admitted to the secondary educational facilities, or they drop out quickly if they manage this feat due to the pressures of providing for themselves without proper support. The majority of youths have nowhere to go once they reach the age of 18 and must exit the only home that most have ever known. A life in the streets leading to crime, prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse is the destiny of most of these young people.
These orphans are easy prey for sex and slave traffickers. According to Amnesty International, young women and girls, often vulnerable because of economic deprivation or for having already been physically abused, are easy targets. They dream of a better life, which the traffickers promise when they offer them "work" in the West. Instead of getting a proper job, the women and girls find themselves trapped, enslaved, forced into the sex industry.
Trafficked women and girls are exposed to a series of human rights abuses, including abduction, deprivation of liberty and denial of freedom of movement, torture and ill treatment, including psychological threats, beatings and rape. To escape their devastating life, suicide is unfortunately the only option some of these children feel is available to them.

"We know what love is because Christ gave His life for us. We should give our lives for our brothers. What if a person has enough money to live on and sees his brother in need of food and clothing? If he does not help him, how can the love of God be in him? My children, let us not love with words or in talk only. Let us love by what we do and in truth."

1 John 3:16-18