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Cluny Venables' Fundraiser:

Give the Gift of Family

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BENEFITING: Adopt International

ORGANIZER: jeanetta

Cluny Venables


jeanetta mandadjieva wrote -

Dear Friends, As many of you know, I have been honored to help internationally born children find their forever families for almost a decade. This holiday season I wanted to share a little bit more about the work I do and the reason it means so much to me - and these children and families.

This is a picture of little Anna when I first learned she was in need of adoption. The limited information we were able to collect on her cognitive and developmental state created a lot of uncertainty about her future development. This made it challenging to find a home for her. Family after family decided to not adopt Anna because of this uncertainty. But our team at Adopt International did not give up.

Hundreds of phone calls, countless hours and 13 months later Donna, Steve and their two children, adopted from Kazakhstan, got on a plane and went halfway around the world to the Marshall Islands to meet Anna and make her a part of their family.

Here is a photo of the whole family together in the Marshall Islands: Anna came home 16 months ago. At age five she did not know her colors and had no formal schooling. There were days that were difficult for the entire family. Anna sometimes had long and frequent tantrums and a few times she asked to go back to the Marshall Islands. She and her older sister and brother experienced the usual sibling rivalries. But she also had many hours of physical therapy and a loving and tenacious full time mom who taught her every single day.

Donna and Steve’s commitment to their daughter was unwavering. We’ve kept in close touch with them, providing hours of counseling, sharing resources, and just providing an empathetic ear. We have no doubt they are the parents this amazing little girl deserved and are incredibly proud that we were able to bring this family together.

Today, Anna is one of the most popular children at her school and has caught up academically with her peers!

And now I want to tell you about Bobby.

Bobby is unbelievably small for his age. At two and a half years old he was the average height of a 9 month old and had the head size of a 6 month old. Amazingly however, considering his extremely small size, his caregivers report that he is an inquisitive and intelligent child. Bobby is the youngest child in a large family living in extreme poverty in the Marshall Islands. This entire family goes hungry on a regular basis.

Adopt International is looking for a family for Bobby and has been for some time. Given the lack of diagnostic capabilities in the Marshall Islands, it’s impossible for us to know if lack of food is the only reason for Bobby’s small size. Like with Anna, these unknowns can cause prospective adoptive families to decline pursuing Bobby’s adoption.

Sometimes, even when a family is willing to accept a child with uncertain health and development prognoses, the high cost of completing the adoption is prohibitive. To help these families, Adopt International has discounted our fees and spent many hours trying to find a home for him.

But still Bobby waits.

Today, I’m writing to ask your help in giving Bobby’s story an ending as happy as Anna’s. A donation from you can help us continue to work on Bobby’s behalf, and on behalf of the parents who are out there waiting for him. We haven’t found them yet, but we know that somewhere parents like Steve and Donna are waiting to make Bobby the center of their world, hold him in their arms, shower him with unconditional love, and give him a life where he can reach his full potential.

So this year-end, please consider making a gift that will help us unite children like Bobby with loving parents. We can’t do it without you.

Warmly, Jeanetta


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jeanetta mandadjieva

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Cluny Venables

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