Monday, March 22, 2010

Refurbished equipment

I'm on the equipment search for Gracie. We've decided to adapt her current wheelchair so that it actually works for her and NOT pursue power wheelchair at this time. This plan seems more practical for our first time moving to Uganda! But I also need to get her a light weight stroller with a seating/positioning system - this can get expensive, so I'm looking into refurbished equipment.

If anyone has used the Special Tomatos MPS (Multipositioning system), let me know your thoughts on it! It would be very useful to have an all-in-one system that can be used in the house, in a restaurant or school (on a regular chair), in the car as her carseat, and as a stroller.

Here are some links to useful sites regarding refurbished equipment in New England. If you know of others, please comment! Thanks!

Pass It On
PO Box 2120
Mashpee, MA 02649
Contact: George Navin
Accepts and donates used equipment. 800-267-6768 MA only

Ayers Handicap Conversion Center
440-B E Squantum, Suite 10
North Quincy, MA 02171
Web site:
Accepts and loans used equipment. 800-328-5489

Refurbished Equipment Marketplace
New Hampshire Assistive Technology Center
84A Ironworks Rd
Concord, NH 03301
Sells donated equipment. Loans software, but not computers. 800-427-3338 NH only

New England Assistive Technology (NEAT) Marketplace
120 Holcomb St
Hartford, CT 06112
860-286-3111 FAX

Vermont AT Project
103 S Main St Weeks Bldg
Waterbury, VT 05671-2305
800-750-6355 VT only

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Show Hope

I'm home with sick little Ana today (fevers to 104 AFTER tylenol! poor baby!) so since I think I MAY have just convinced her to take a nap, I'll try to get a few things done.

I wanted to tell you briefly about Show Hope which is:
"...a ministry that enables individuals and communities to change the world for orphans by not only addressing a child’s need for food, shelter, care, and spiritual nourishment, but by also addressing the root issue for an orphan: the lack of a family."

We got a very generous grant from them to adopt Gracie over three years ago. Take a look, especially if you want to be encouraged or are considering how to give financially to help orphans world-wide.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Here's the website of partners in ministry, the Robinettes, who are serving with Action International Ministries in Kampala, Uganda (the capital). Their prayer letters might give you a glimpse into life in Uganda as well as a glimpse into the ministries in Uganda through ACTION. We will be in the northern town of Gulu, but certainly connected to the Robinettes as fellow workers!

March Photos

I thought it was time to finally post some new photos of the kids! Josh had the camera in Uganda, so I didn't take photos of them for a long time. Gracie LOVES a good Daddy tickle (as does Ana!) and is SO big now!! Ana loves to wear dresses and loves this new outfit but is also fearless when it comes to climbing heights.

I had the girls by myself at the playground which means that I'm entirely consumed with helping Gracie play (she LOVES going down the slide), so Ana was on her own. At one point I did my every two minute check to locate Ana and spotted her climbing the climbing wall designed for the big kids! I had Gracie on the swing so I couldn't leave Gracie and I knew that by the time I got Gracie out of the swing, into her wheelchair and got to Ana she would either be at the top or already on the ground at the bottom... so I held my breath, prayed, hoped some other mom might see her if the 2 year old started falling off the climbing wall, and waited for disaster. Instead, she made it to the top, made it over the top and climbed onto the platform! Fearless girl (except that she's terrified of swinging - haha!)!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Night Commuters in Uganda

During the height of the rebel conflicts in Northern Uganda, many children commuted into the larger cities every night to spend the night, even if on the street, because of fear of night-time LRA attacks, abductions, and killing in their villages. There are still many who do not trust that the LRA has retreated away from Northern Uganda, so there are still some Night Commuters.

This is a YouTube video on this topic - it focuses on a different city than Gulu, but Gulu is a focus on many Night Commuter conversations.

You can find other videos on YouTube if you're interested in hearing more about this! There are some very interesting videos with stories from some children too. Pray for these kids, many of whom have already lived through atrocities.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gracie's great day!

Gracie made my day today!

Besides the fact that she cried bitter tears while Josh and I were presenting about Africa to two kindergarten classes at her school (and thus in her presence but not snuggling her!), she otherwise had a fantastic day.

Her outpatient physical therapist has recently gotten parallel bars installed at her office. Last week was Gracie's first week on the bars and she did awesome but cried because it's so hard for her. She didn't attempt any walking with the bars. TODAY, however, she went right over to the bars, did a bunch of stand-up sit-downs on her own (chair positioned behind her while she's coached to keep two hands on the bars on each side of her). She was very proud of herself, as were we! She then, over the course of 40 minutes walked the length of the bars slowly but surely! WOW! It really brings out the weakness in her right leg as she struggled to bring that leg forward without the use of a whole body tilt to swing the leg around rather than have to flex at the hip. Her poor right hand doesn't get the concept of holding on to the bar either. But she did it! How exciting!

Then, in speech therapy (our next stop on Monday afternoons and usually a bad-attitude-session) she listened to the directions and was right on even though little sis and mom were sitting in today (I often keep Ana outside so that we don't distract her).

Finally, (the highlight for ME) at dinner time, she picked up Ana's empty sippy cup and sucked on it so I got her a full fresh sippy cup (with chocolate and protein milk, no less, to be extra appealing) and SHE DRANK IT ON HER OWN! Now, it would help to understand that Gracie has not fed herself a drink in at least a year. She came to a point where she refused the sippy cup and refused to hold another cup, so we have had to feed her drinks whereas she was previously giving herself drink with a sippy cup so she was taking care of ONE aspect of her daily care herself. I have sorely missed her doing one thing on her own, so this was amazing! I still held her while she drank her cup but it would be wonderful if I could sit her by herself and give her a cup and she could drink without 20 minutes of my dedicated time every few hours!!

Small victories are big victories around here!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Video of Downtown Gulu, Uganda

Many are asking what Gulu is like - here's a YouTube video of DOWNTOWN Gulu. Josh emphasizes that there are only a few paved roads limited to truly downtown Gulu. He also felt that the market was much more crowded than pictured in this video (NOT handicapped accessible, so I won't be able to go into the market itself with Gracie).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Christian Alliance for Orphans' Summit VI

With Haiti’s earthquake drawing global focus to the plight of orphans, Christians from across America and beyond will gather in Minneapolis, MN, for the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Summit VI on April 29-30, 2010. The objective: to inspire and equip Christians to “care for orphans in their distress” through adoption, foster care and global orphan care ministry rooted in the local church.

· Featured speakers will include national champions of orphan care and adoption, including John Piper, Mary Beth Chapman, Tom Davis, Doug Sauder, Stephanie Fast, Jedd Medefind, and Al Mohler. Compelling voices from the global church will join as well, from Africa to Central America.

· Music will be led by Steven Curtis Chapman, Peder Eide, Desperation Band and other artists.

· More than 50 workshops delivering nuts-and-bolts for adoption, foster care and global orphan programs – designed for both laypersons and leadership

Breakouts will also include 5 “Hague Hour” Credits for Adoptive Families.
Q&A sessions and networking opportunities with respected adoption, global orphan and foster care organizations and veteran ministry leaders.

For Christians stirred by the plight of orphans, Summit offers the biggest and best opportunity of the year to learn how to act upon conviction. To learn more and register now, visit the Summit website here.

“American Christians are stirring to the needs of orphans both at home and abroad as never before. What’s thrilling is that even small ministries in local churches can make such significant impact. There are millions of parentless children worldwide, but a single statistic matters more than any other: it only takes one caring adult to make a lifelong difference in the life of an orphan.”
- Jedd Medefind, President, Christian Alliance for Orphans

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Josh is home!

Josh has arrived home safely - the girls are so happy (and clingy) - I'm enjoying hearing stories. Jet lag is hitting hard so we're headed to bed for an early bedtime so that he can teach Sunday School tomorrow! (Crazy man!)

Praise God for safe, smooth travels!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flying home?

We hope that Josh is now on his journey homeward now - his flight left from Nairobi airport 3 hours ago. We have no confirmation that he's ON the flight... but we'll trust God for that part!

He did just realize, apparently, that he has two red-eye flights then he'll be teaching Sunday School 12 hours later! yikes! pray for clarity of thought and word on Sunday!

Gracie missed her first day of school this year for seizures!! Last year (before the Vagal Nerve Stimulator was implanted) it seemed like she missed a day every week for seizures. She had some seizures early Wednesday morning that made her sleep all day Wednesday, so she missed school and spent the day grouching and sleeping. She's been SO healthy though overall! We praise God!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Global Orphan Outreach

Want to read about an organization working with kiddos in Liberia? I have been in touch with a lovely lady at this organization periodically and hope to network with them when we're in Uganda. They have a bunch of projects and a foster home project for children with special needs. Of note, they're doing a public health campaign in Liberia about Caustic Soda Ingestion. Don't take my word for it - go read about it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Josh has arrived in Kenya

Josh finished his week and weekend with some unproductive house searching in Gulu, walking around Gulu, and then a trip back to the capital, Kampala, where he met up with missionaries in Kampala and some doctors there. Today, he flew to Kenya and within a few hours of arriving in Kenya he made it through customs, passport control, took a taxi to a shopping center, and met up with missionary friends who drove him to Kijabe where he ate pizza for dinner and got on email! Different world, all together!

He will spend the next few days in familiar territory in Kijabe, Kenya meeting with old and new friends exploring medical options for Gracie but primarily learning more about curriculum development and teaching remote pastors from more experienced men at Moffat Bible College. Late Friday night he'll get back to Nairobi and start his journey home for a Saturday afternoon arrival into Boston.

We'll be glad to have him home, but mostly anxious to hear about his adventures, discoveries, and plans in person!

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