Sunday, December 28, 2014

New photo of Dmitry

Today we received permission from Life2Orphans to share a very recent photo of Dmitry. It was taken on November 12, 2014. on their recent mission trip to the Kharkiv orphanages. You can see that years in a crib have likely caused muscle wasting. He is so painfully tiny.

From Megan, the director of Life2Orphans..."This is an emergency situation for him. He cannot move around anymore because his head is so large now."

It's also important to understand that at his age, Dmitry could be transferred at anytime to a facility for older children, or even adults. His situation is urgent either way. for more information.

Aging out - Lera

The life of an orphan in Eastern Europe is harsh and damaging. I have friends who grew up in orphanages and eventually "aged out." This is a term used to describe an orphan who has lost their opportunity to be adopted. It's a tragic event, especially for the young adult who has seen many of their friends adopted. Selected. Chosen.

Aging out for a disabled orphan is tragic on a whole other level. While typically developing kids have opportunities to attend trade schools or university, a young adult orphan who has been labeled "invalid" will spend the rest of their lives behind walls. Imprisoned with no opportunites for self determination.

This includes individuals with physical disabilites who are cognitively normal. Take my girlfriend, Lera, for example. I've shared her photo before:

Isn't she adorable?

Here is a newer photo...look how she has grown!!

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this kid. After a few days, she took the opportunity to climb up into my lap. She desires physical closeness and tenderness. She simply cannot walk, but she has lived with other children with severe intellectual disabilites. She has had no educational opportunities, but she demonstrated to me that she can learn. I taught her several signs within just a few minutes time. She used those signs every time I visited her.

Lera is happy, but she doesn't know another life. Unfortunately, she will age out later this year and will be unavailable to adopt. Eventually she will be transferred to a "nursing home." It may be a facility for primarily men, or a women's facility...wherever space is available. She will be especially vulnerable since she cannot walk. These are not nice places to live. Do I need to be more specific?

Do you have room in your family for this girl? Can you give her the opportunity to learn and the chance to run her own life? Could you simply love her? Email for more information.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dmitry...sweet boy...

We have some difficult news to share with you today. Project TLC was so encouraged last spring to have a team of doctors in Kyiv and funding in place to evaluate sweet Dmitry for surgery. He needed this surgery years ago. In the USA he would likely have had this lifesaving surgery shortly after birth.

Because he didn't get timely medical care, the pressure in Dmitry's head has caused it to grow dramatically. Orphanage doctors tried to tell us that his condition had compensated, meaning the fluid had begun to drain and his head wasn't getting worse. Recent photos and visits have indicated this may not be true. He is getting worse. He is losing skills and the ability to move around.

And worse, after months of trying to coordinate care for him, we have been assured that Dmitry will not be allowed to travel to Kyiv for medical evaluation and possible surgery. The funds pledged for his medical care are not available for any other purpose.

But...the good news...he still has hope.

After being evacuated from a region affected by war, Dmitry was unable to be adopted since traveling to the capital of his birth region for paperwork and passport applications was impossibly dangerous. All his paperwork was in order, it was just too dangerous to try to obtain required new travel documents once the adoption was complete.

A new official procedure is in place now and he can be adopted at any time! This is great news, and honestly, we believe it is his ONLY hope for survival. It is a miracle that Dmitry has lived as well as he has lived for as long as he has lived. A miracle that he has learned to talk and to laugh. I cannot believe that God has preserved his life for no reason.

Have you considered adding a child like Dmitry to your family? A child with special needs that has no hope otherwise? He has the potential to be a great blessing to the right family! How can we encourage you? Contact us at for more information.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Looking back - 2014

Project TLC had grand plans for 2014. God had other plans, mostly.

We had plans in place to bring a group of Crimean orphanage directors, caregivers and social workers to the USA for a two week educational seminar at a world reknowned special needs center. This plan fell apart when we lost access to Crimea early in the spring. Heartbreaking! How disappointed we were that they would not get to experience how early intervention, education and inclusion can enrich their communities and improve the lives of their children.

We had plans to help a very sick boy get the medical care he desperately needed. All the funds were in place. The doctors were willing. The doctors were waiting. Our plan fell apart when his village exploded in the turmoil of a war. So frustrating.

We have periodically shared information about children who are available for adoption. Adoption, while not always possible for every child we serve, is the best hope for an orphaned child to reach his or her potential. It's a reflection of our own adoption into the Kingdom of God. It's redemption.

We had plans to continue caring for children at a mental institution by sending volunteers to spend time with them daily. Despite some challenges, this program was successful and continues to improve! We see incereased communication skills, increased coping skills, and happier kids. They are getting what they were programmed to Several generous monthly sponsors have so far funded this program by 50%.

While not all of our plans for 2014 were successful, not all bore fruit. However, we are encouraged by new connections and new possibilities for the coming year. We will share more about that soon. In the meantime, will you pray for us...and with us?

Yes, we needs funds. Yes, we need volunteers. But truly, the greatest way you can help is by going to our Father God in prayer. Lift up the children, that they might have hope in Him...the volunteers, that they might have strength for the task...the orphanage workers and officials, that they might have soft hearts and open minds...for the Project TLC board, as we determine our upcoming projects. Most of all, pray for the people of Ukraine during these difficult days of war.

Our Father does not NEED us to do anything for Him. He does not NEED us to come to Him. But it gives Him joy, He lets us participate in His plans, and it changes things. Prayer helps! We feel your prayers, so please keep them coming as we make priorities for the coming year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving in the Season of Buying

Today is "Giving Tuesday." Ever heard of that?

After a series of days focused on shameless and conspicuous consumption, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, we have a day to switch gears and do some giving!!

Please consider Project TLC on this Giving Tuesday! 

Our caregivers are volunteers from the perspective of the orphanage, BUT we must pay them a salary...and it's the only job that these ladies have to support their families. Food prices have gone up dramatically so we felt compelled to give them a raise. Otherwise, the ladies would have to find employment elsewhere, and the children would suffer.

We need more sponsors!!

Our current monthly heroes only cover about 50% of our caregiver budget and that can't go on for much longer.

However, it's not only about money! Some of the most precious gifts are of yourself...your time, your talents, your precious prayers. Project TLC has other needs that you could help with! Prayer coordinators, graphic design, writing letters, and creating content for our new website are just a few examples.

We are convinced that God has a plan to meet every need...from every small project to every lonely, fatherless child. Has God planned for you to be a part of meeting someone's needs? As we navigate through this advent season, anticipating the greatest gift of all time, ask yourself:

How best can I give of myself?

You can arrange to make a one-time gift, or become a sponsor through our Paypal links to the left. If you have time or other talents to offer, please contact us at

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm so pleased to share with you our most recent reports from our caregivers. Please remember, this is a "closed" facility, so the fact that we are able to minister there at all is a true miracle!

Sveta writes: 
"Praise God for strength and patience. These days we were without weekends 
because there was a lack of workers these vacation time. So we were asked to 
help. Children are so happy to meet us. Every day we walk them outside, jump on 
a trampoline, rock on a swing, having really good time. Kids look good. We've 
noticed less aggression from them. Almost no fits. We see things improving 
little by little. Thank you for your prayers. Be blessed." 
Natasha writes: 
"Each day we have our daily duties with kids. When you see happy eyes of the 
kids you understand how great is God's love that comes to them from us. The Lord 
fills our hearts with love for them. A short story. Today (Aug.30) I was able to 
visit group #7 which is kids from 14-18 yo. They were so happy like it was a 
celebration. We fellowshipped, walked outside, talked with them. They understand 
us and we understand them. Thank you for prayers. Amen." 

As the Project TLC ladies have worked to become accepted and trusted by the teachers and caregivers of the institution, they are able to visit additional groups of children. Eventually, we would like them working with the children in the laying room, but that is not yet possible. Baby steps. 
Please pray for these ladies as they provide a Christian presence to a facility smack dab in the middle of a Muslim village. They experience spiritual attacks, jealousies, and difficulties that we cannot imagine. Pray for the children that they would come to know and trust Jesus, even in the midst of 
their suffering.

And please, if you are not already supporting Project TLC, consider a modest monthly gift to our care giving ministry. We are not yet fully funded. I'm still holding on to these little ladies! When we reach the $500 mark I'll be drawing a name to receive this pretty little matryoshka doll set.

Standard Sponsorship Levels

Friday, July 11, 2014

Help Wanted

Project TLC was started after our adoption experiences taught us that some very simple and inexpensive things could change a institutionalized child's life for the better. Each of us had adopted from the same orphanage...a place with a reputation for being "rough" on kids.

Children there were picked up like packages, always facing away from the caregiver. No eye contact for the little ones. No smiles. They sat for hours on end in empty playpens in the heavy silence. Some were left slumped over in high chairs, or walkers which were tethered to radiators with old pantyhose. Disposable diapers hung out to dry and reused as often as possible. Cribs and play equipment in dangerous disrepair. Children hungry for human connection were often rewarded with beatings and verbal abuse. We witnessed these things firsthand.

In the course of our adoptions, we donated huge sums of cash to this baby house. We were new. We were naive. And we were forced to do it. Upon our return visit the next year, we found that nothing had changed for the better for the children we left behind. We found them dirty, wet, and forgotten in cribs. Some of our favorite children were missing, presumably transferred, and the workers couldn't even remember their names. They might as well have not existed.

When we found an institution that was willing to let us provide additional, dedicated full time caregivers, we knew that we could really help change the kids' lives for the better! They get eye contact, positive physical contact, and patient attention. They are prayed over, sung to, and valued. In short, they are treated with human dignity for the first time in their lives. 

The results have been even better than we imagined! Yes, the children are benefitting, but we didn't fully grasp the contagious nature of TLC until we learned that the regular orphanage workers' hearts were softening, too. They were starting to treat the children with more care, less harshness. Beatings occured less frequently. (Beatings? Yes...the sad reality of institutional existence.) Even some local Christians have started to visit occasionally and bring fruit for the children. God is at work here. 
However, our caregiving fund is running dry and we need your help. We can't fail these kids. If we can find 20 people to commit to a gift of $25 per month, our caregivers will be funded and we can explore opportunites to expand in new facilities. 

Will you partner with us to bring TLC to children in mental institutions? 

It's too hot now for a chocolate giveaway...but we have this little lady! Isn't she darling? 

When we hit our monthly $500 sponsorship goal, I will randomly draw the name of one of our newly committed supporters to receive this sweet little matryoshka doll. She's about 4 inches tall and fresh off the plane from Ukraine.

You may set up your sponsorship via Paypal below, or contact us at for additional options. One time and smaller gifts are always welcome. We will keep you posted on our progress!

Thanks for helping us care for the kids we left behind...the least of these.

Standard Sponsorship Levels

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Program Update

It finally feels like summer, so let's have a program update!

Supporting adopting families is new for us, but something to which we couldn't say no! It's extremely painful to watch families in urgent funding situations. When a child's life is on the line, failure is not an option.

We will be taking t-shirt orders for the next 11 days to benefit two families. If this effort is well received, we will consider a quarterly t-shirt drive to benefit families. Please, help us make this a success!! The more shirts we sell, the larger the cut that our families will receive. We hope to contribute up to $17 per shirt. Order yours HERE. 

Little Dmitry is still waiting for his surgery. His region has been plagued by violence and unrest for months. There is no end in sight. Other options are possible and being pursued, however. The funds raised for his surgery will be held in trust until he is helped, or until we learn that it is no longer possible to help him. 

Our caregivers are doing great! The ministry to the children continues with great success. The ladies are being given more stable working hours and conditions. The children are progressing and love the additional care. It is a privilege to shine the light of Jesus on their needs. This is an ongoing work to save lives and souls.

We raised nearly $500 for our care-giving program with our recent Ukrainian chocolate fundraiser. With a monthly budgeted need of $440 though, we need to find regular monthly sponsors to keep the program afloat. Failure here is not an option. Contact us at if you could commit to a small monthly gift for our care-giving program.

Opportunities for expanding our care-giver program into new facilities have been presented to us. As funding stabilizes, we hope to share these opportunities with you.

Thank you for following and praying for the work of Project TLC. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Matching Grant for the McDonalds!

Our T's for Orphans fundraiser is off to a great start! The Adoption/Redemption shirts have broad appeal and invite conversations that might never have taken place. Just a few weeks ago, the owner of a Dairy Queen struck up a conversation with me...said his family recently adopted from Uganda. Another customer behind me jumped in and shared his own foster/adopt story. What a blessing!

You can reserve your shirt until June 30 but remember, the Kunkle family travels in just NINE DAYS!! Order form HERE.

In other great news, an anonymous donor has offered a $500 matching grant for the McDonald family! You can read a little bit about the twists and turns in their adoption story

This is a great opportunity to support them if you don't need or want a shirt, or if you would like to make a smaller donation. They need $1500 urgently, so your gifts large and small are deeply appreciated! Use the donation button below to give online. Email us if you wish to make other arrangements. Thank you!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

T's for Orphans

In our effort to care for orphans, we have been presented with an opportunity to support families that are preparing to adopt. For the next three weeks, we will be offering our Adoption/Redemption shirt to benefit two families in URGENT need of funding. Oh, and want to win a $50 iTunes gift card? Read ALL the way to the bottom!

The McDonald Family

The McDonald family adopted their son, Toby Jr., from Ukraine in the summer of 2010. Toby and Suzanne originally set out to adopt domestically this time, but God had other plans for them. After many heartbreaking months looking for the child that would thrive in their family, and through an an encounter surely orchestrated by God, they became aware of a little boy with Down Syndrome in Bulgaria. The pieces started to fall into place...quickly! Several thousand dollars of their total remaining need is due very soon. Be a part of the miracle that in in store for this amazing family!!

Total remaining need: $20,000

The Kunkle Family

The Kunkle family is heading to Ukraine very, very soon for their adoption appointment. Originally, Dale and Buffey committed to adopt a pretty little girl with dark hair and eyes. The girl was mysteriously transferred to a different region and adopted by another family soon after. In the midst of their heartbreak, they decided to put their full faith in God to choose a child for them and will be traveling to accept a blind referral. Since they no longer have a face or photos to share, fundraising has been difficult. With only two weeks left to raise the remaining funds, this family URGENTLY needs our prayers and financial gifts!!

Total remaining need: $7,000

NOW, the shirts....
We are offering our Adoption/Redemption shirts in FOUR colors! $25 each includes shipping. You may choose from:

Royal Redemption Blue

Take Me Home Tangerine (adult sizes)

Pick Me! Pink (same graphic as above)

Gotcha Day Gray (also with Adoption/Redemption graphic)

To order, please fill out our online form. If you have any difficulty, please email us at

Wanna win a $50 iTunes gift card?

Please, we ask you to share about these families and their URGENT need on your blog, on Facebook, on Twitter and wherever else you have a voice.

1. Share this post on FB provide the link to your post in the comment section below.

2. Blog about and link to this fundraiser...provide your blog post link in the comments section below.

For each FB share and blog link confirmed below we will enter your name in the drawing to take place on June 30. Thank you, friends!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Today is World Autism Awareness Day

I'm not an expert and I can't back this up with hard statistics, but I suspect at least 25% of the children in Ukrainian mental institutions are there because they have autism. They are there because their parents, doctors, schools and communities were not equipped to care for them or even understand them.

Add to that the number of children with institutional autism. Children in institutional care do not develop properly and many of the damaging effects of this type of care mimic autism. Awareness is desperately needed. It's a start.

I met a really handsome young boy in February. Pretty face, winning smile, but totally unreachable. He is locked away from the world inside an institution...and also locked away in his mind. It is all that his loving caregiver can do to keep him safe and keep him from eating grass. 

There is no therapy for him. No one is trying to reach him.  Seclusion and forced naps are commonly prescribed for children who may get very excited and show the need for sensory input. Awareness and education are needed around the world. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Caregivers Chocolate Drive

Our recent visit to Ukraine took place during a very turbulent time. Massive protests, threats of violence, opportunities for hooliganism and fear were the topics of many conversations. The political scene was changing fast, too fast to keep up.

In the photo, we prepared to have our vehicle searched at a check point outside of Kyiv. 

Within days of our departure, unidentified, presumably Russian, soldiers took control of the whole of Crimea. Orphans who were previously available for adoption are not available. Some adoptions in process were halted. Their future is uncertain. The future of all the Ukrainian orphans is always.

One thing that is certain is our commitment to the children. They need us more than ever. 

On the heels of our miraculous fundraiser for Dmitry yesterday, we would like to turn our attention back to our caregivers. The patience and love they show to a grouppa of hard-to-handle boys is honestly priceless, but we do need help to continue supporting their work.

Thank goodness I had space in my suitcase to bring back a nice selection of Ukrainian chocolate. And, I have successfully avoided the temptation to gobble it all up. Now, this chocolate will be used to care for the children we love!

Do you want some? Trust me, you do! For a gift of $25 to Project TLC caregivers fund, we will send you the Ukrainian chocolate bar of your choice. First come, first pick! For a gift of $50 or more, you may choose one of three types of boxed chocolates. We will continue until we run out! 

So take a look at what we have to offer...and thank you for loving these wonderful boys.

Milk chocolate truffles, 145g, two available. Yes, Valentine chocolates, but not outdated.

Ukraine souvenir chocolates, total 160g, ONE available! Almost too pretty to eat! 

Corona Venetian Night - chocolates with whole hazelnuts. 210g, ALL GONE!!

Olenka milk chocolate bar, 35% cocoa. Stephanie's favorite! 100g, three left! 

Dreamy white air chocolate! 100g, ONE available. 

Milk chocolate air chocolate. 100g, one available. (The other was damaged on the flight home. Boo!)

Milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts. 100g, one available.

Classic milk chocolate. 100g, one available.

Extra dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts. 100g, one available.

Milk chocolate with chopped hazelnuts. 100g, one available.

Dark chocolate air chocolate. 100g, three available.

Milk chocolate with biscuit drops (cookies!). 100g, one available.

White chocolate with biscuit drops (cookies!!). 100g, one available.

White chocolate with chopped hazelnuts and cranberries. 100g, one available.

Interesting! Milk chocolate with roasted sesame seeds. 100g, one available.

Korona brand milk chocolate. 100g. six available.

Korona brand dark chocolate. 100g, four available.

Use the donate button below to send your Chocolate Drive gift. Include your first and second choice and shipping address. Thank you!!


Sunday, March 23, 2014


I'm seriously overwhelmed at the moment. It took me hours (had a few distractions!) to write up a blog post about Dmitry and his urgent medical need. In far less time than that, about an hour, our fundraising goal was met! 

In addition to our Lord Jesus, big thank you's go out to the Fritz family, the Mynk's, and Ed Dickson from Loads of Love!!  

More details when they become available...

Dmitry needs our help!

While in Ukraine last month, I received a message with a photo attached:

"Would it be possible to find a family to adopt a child in this condition?"

I was in total shock. How is this child still alive? Three years ago, some very committed and loving people I know tried to help Dmitry receive treatment for hydrocephalus. One family even attempted to adopt him. 

I will never understand why children must suffer so. The doctors in his region refused to operate on him. His biological mother refused to allow him to be adopted. All efforts failed and he was reported to have died. Untreated hydrocephalus is a horrible way to die.

But apparently, he did not die after all! In fact, I was able to find a family who recently visited his facility and interacted with him! They reported that he is full of life and hope, playing peek-a-boo and laughing and squealing with delight.

Yes, I believe we could find a family to adopt such a child, but that takes months and nothing is certain except Dmitry needs medical attention and right away. I set out to find a way to get him the care that he needs. Over the past month, doctors in Kyiv and doctors in his region have cooperated to come up with a plan. Finally, we have a plan and a cost estimate. Yesterday, I received this from the good doctor:

Now he need assessment and evaluation by pediatric neurosurgeon in Kiev clinic.
 The approximate costs of visit to Kiev : 500$
 Train tickets for accompanying person and child: 100$
 Taxi and food: 50$
 Analysis and tests: 150$
 Medicines : 100$
 Assistance : 100$

 Approximate cost of surgery: 2600$
 Equipments( surgical kits): 500$
 Medicines : 400$
 Food: 200$
 Hospital stay (room): free
 Surgeons blessing (fees) : 1200$
 Assistance : 300$
 Total : 3100$

We would like to raise this $3100 in the next week and get this child the care that he deserved to have 3 1/2 years ago. The surgery will be done immediately after the evaluation, if needed, so we do need to raise the entire amount. You may donate by paypal at the link below, or email me for instructions on where to send a check. We are so grateful for your prayers and concern for sweet Dmitry!

6PM UPDATE - I just removed the "donate" button for Dmitry because his surgery is funded!! Thank you all!! 


Monday, March 3, 2014

February 2014 Trip

We were very fortunate to visit Ukraine this past February. Here you see the locked gates of the adult mental institution in a small, poverty stricken village in the countryside.

We took some of the boys at the children's mental institution, which is right next door, for a walk in the yard. The weather was warm and sunny. It was a real treat for the kids to get some fresh air and exercise. These kids are considered behavioral problems, but they seemed like typical boys to me!

We spent a relaxed morning outside with the children and the Project TLC caregivers. These ladies are a true treasure! SO patient and SO kind to the children. They help care for the children while others work on their individual lessons. One boy needs constant supervision to keep from harming himself. Another boy's shoe fell off a hundred times...Our ladies never had a cross word for him, just bent over to put it back on. True servants.

One lady's story was very moving...that she has a genuine love for children and wanted to have lots of babies. She is grateful for this opportunity...thanking God constantly. I know that this job was not easy in the beginning and that it was difficult to be accepted by the orphanage caregivers.

In the photo above you can see the boy with CP who kept losing his shoe. This sweet boy's heel is raised due to spasticity and he walks on his toes. BUT, he does walk and I cannot wrap my head around the fact that he will live out his life in this compound.

While outside with the big boys and group of tiny little people marched right by us. My sweet Betty, shown below, was in this group! I was so pleased to see her walking! And to see her hands uncovered!! This darling girl has been available for adoption for a long, long time, but not yet chosen by a family. We are praying for this to change very soon!!

We received an urgent message about this darling boy while in country. He will be four this coming fall and like all the other orphan children with health conditions or disabilities, he will be transferred to a mental institution. He is available for adoption as well, and this might be his only hope to live to see adulthood. 

During the trip, the whole country was mesmerized by the protests in Kyiv. When we arrived in the city on February 19th, the situation was really heating up. We had to pass through checkpoints and have our vehicle searched to even enter the city.

These piles of tires were lit on fire on the afternoon of February 20th when dozens of protesters were killed by snipers and we were encouraged to get out of the city while we could! Even the US Consulate closed up early that day. The consulate workers advised us to get out of the area before the titushkiy arrived. It was a very intense experience.

Now you have probably read about, or seen on the news that Russia has since taken control of Crimea. This is a very serious situation for the orphans who live here. If the region is returned to Russia, the ban on American adoptions would likely ruin the chances for any of these kids to have a real family life.

Please pray for peaceful resolution to the stand off in Crimea. The situation seems to be changing so quickly that it's hard to get a grasp on what is truly happening.

Email for information about the adoption process in Ukraine. We can get you started in the right direction!