Friday, December 18, 2009


Last week we received an e-mail from McKenna Farms with a new photo of one of the children we’ve been helping to receive hippotherapy through Jacob’s Fund. His name is Anthony and we met him earlier this year. He’s been doing therapeutic riding at McKenna Farms for more than two years. After being on the horse, Tony’s sense of accomplishment and confidence soar. He is seventeen and, though he copes with autism, he has a very positive outlook on life. Tony needs every ounce of optimism he can muster.

When funds are available, Tony rides every week, the one constant in his life. Sadly Tony’s mother, Carol, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last year and pausing for her treatment has drained the family’s financial resources. The funds are depleted.

Tony recently competed in the Equestrian Special Olympics. Thankfully, his mother and some folks from McKenna Farms were on hand to watch him at the event. A representative from McKenna Farms shared these heartfelt words:

“Tony’s mom is extremely grateful for the scholarship he received from Jacob’s Fund. She says Tony will be able to continue doing what he has a passion for – riding. She also said that her cancer came back and they are giving her one year to live. It was heartbreaking to hear her and not be able to do anything.”

While we may not be able to help Carol, we can make a difference in Tony’s life. A regular riding schedule is important for his growth and his ability to cope with autism and the stress of his mother’s illness.

The cost of Tony’s therapeutic riding sessions for one year is $2,600. Jacob’s Fund wants to provide this continuing source of well-being and confidence that Tony so much needs. If you would like to help Tony in this very stressful coming year, please click on the donate button on the right, or send a check to the address at the top right of the page.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FaceBook & Twitter

The Red Thread Promise has been on Twitter for a few weeks and now we have added FaceBook to our repertoire.

Become a fan today. Keyword: The Red Thread Promise


Follow us on Twitter. Search trtpromise

Thursday, December 10, 2009


We received word from Swallow's Nest in Henan yesterday that one of their babies is in need of urgent care. Her name is Zheng Qiu Hao and she was born July 24, 2009. She has been at Swallow's Nest Children's Home since September 28th.
Qiu Hao had spina bifida surgery in October at Shanghai Children's Hospital, funded by Swallow's Nest (39,160.75 yuan or $5,733 US). Thankfully, she recovered fine from the surgery. Swallow's Nest then sent her to Beijing for serial casing of her club foot. Their trained staff noticed that her head had grown quickly from the last time they had seen her. The two entities began comparing measurements from September to December and it was determined that she needs a shunt for hydrocephalus.
Again, not being a medical professional, I had to look up hydrocephalus to find out more about it. According to, hydrocephalus is the medical term for a condition that is commonly called “water on the brain.” The liquid involved in hydrocephalus is not really water at all; it is cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. CSF looks like water, but it contains proteins, electrolytes, and nutrients that help keep your brain healthy. The most important purpose of CSF is to cushion your brain and spinal cord against injury. Your brain produces about 1 pint of CSF per day. It circulates through a network of tiny passageways in your brain, and ultimately into your blood stream where it is absorbed by your body.
Hydrocephalus occurs when the delicate balance of CSF production and absorption is disrupted and CSF builds up in the brain. This build-up of CSF causes the brain to swell, and for pressure to increase inside the skull, resulting in nerve damage.
It is our hope to give Qiu Hao the gift of health for Christmas this year. The procedure to put in the shunt costs 30,000 yuan ($4,500 USD). Swallow’s Nest will pay all transportation costs and send a worker to care for her in the hospital. Sadly, Swallow’s Nest’s unspecified medical fund is like that of The Red Thread Promise – nearly empty.
However, we believe in that the red thread of destiny has connected us to Swallow’s Nest and Qiu Hao. We also believe in the Power of Ten. The concept is simple: one donor gives $10. Then he (in this case “she”) asks 10 friends to donate $10. If each of them in turn asks 10 more friends, we can fund this baby’s surgery in a heartbeat.
Please consider the Power of 10 today and help us give this beautiful baby the gift of health this Christmas. Donations can be made through The Red Thread Promise’s PayPal link on the right or you can send a check to the address at the right.

Friday, November 27, 2009


When we met Zheng LuYuan in September 2009, he was just 10 days old and needed spina bifida surgery, a birth defect where part of the spinal cord is outside the body in a sac. Spina bifida occurs at the end of the first month of pregnancy when the two sides of the embryo's spine fail to join together, leaving an open area. In some cases, the spinal cord or other membranes may push through this opening in the back. This condition ranges from little or no disability to full paralysis and inability to use the legs.

In late October, The Red Thread Promise (TRTP) supported LuYuan’s journey to Shanghai Children's Medical Center so that he could receive this life-changing surgery. After several weeks of having one-on-one care from his nanny, LuYuan is back at Swallow’s Nest. According to the director, “He wants to be held all the time. I'm very happy with his progress. He is cooing and smiling.”

Being in a better state of health is a gift that LuYuan will have for the rest of his life and will greatly increase his chances of being adopted. When LuYuan turns 6 months old we hope he will be placed on the active adoption list in China, waiting to find his forever family.

Sadly, during the time that LuYuan was being treated, Deng Ni, another baby at Swallow’s Nest died from the same condition. While we celebrated LuYuan’s success, we mourned the loss of a little one who needed our help as well. By continuing to expand our global network of donors and doctors, we hope to prevent this tragedy in the future.

If you would like to support LuYuan and children like him, please click on the donate button on the right side.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Welcome New Board Members!

The Red Thread promise is happy to announce that several new board members joined the organization this month. We are excited about the opportunity to work with such dynamic folks. We are confident that they will both make wonderful additions to our Board of Trustees.

We'd like to introduce you to ERIN HARDIN.

Erin is an adoption advocate, special education teacher, and passionate mama to 4 children, biological twin boys and 2 children with special needs adopted from China. She is a member of many adoption and child advocacy groups and is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children.

Some words from Erin: "I am so excited to join such a dynamic board full of movers and shakers. I also wanted to pass along that my son, Walker, has also done hippotherapy, in LA for years. He has autism and has used the same riding center as Jenny's son, Joey. There is something magical about horses and children with special needs. So glad that TRTP is supporting that effort. The Red Thread Promise has been supporting hippotherapy at McKenna Farms in GA for two years. We love learning about the progress the children are making."

(To learn more about hippotheraphy, stay tuned for updates from Glenna Fisher, founder of Jacob’s Fund. Jacob’s Fund is a division of The Red Thread Promise helping disabled children in the US.)

We'd also like to introduce you to JENNIFER AVEGNO.

JenA is a native of New Orleans who grew up as the only biological child in a large family. Her parents adopted seven hard to place infants and young children, both domestically and internationally. Her degrees in sociology and medicine and experience in Emergency Medicine make her a huge asset to TRTP.

Some words from Jen: "As a board member, I hope to serve as a medical liaison for those served through Red Thread in Haiti. I can help coordinate determination of medical needs for orphans being placed for adoption, or for those whose medical conditions may require travel to the U.S. I am also very interested in undertanding the needs and abilities of the medical and surgical center at Mountain Top Ministries, and looking for ways to provide desired assistance to best support and create self-sustainable health care to Haitian citizens."

A sad day for Rivers of Hope

How do you post to a blog when you just found out that a child has passed on? Honestly, I don't really feel like writing about it, but it is too important to brush aside.

Stephany, a beautiful little girl, was residing at Rivers of Hope. She came to the orphanage at 5 months old, weighing just 7 lbs. She had severe pneumonia and was seriously anemic. Rivers of Hope began to treat her immediately, providing a stress, HIV and sickle-cell test. Thankfully, all were negative.

After just 10 days at Rivers of Hope, Stephany slowly began to gain weight. Rachoul, the orphanage director, commented that "she is always hungry!" Sadly, she would only be at Rivers of Hope for about a month.

Two days ago at 3:00am, Stephany died. According to Rachoul the orphanage has never lost a child and the staff is devastated. Please keep Rachoul and all her staff in your thoughts and prayers as we all mourn the loss of another little one.

It is news like this that reminds us of how important our work truly is. Every child is precious and deserves the best chance at a healthy life.

ORPHAN PROFILE - Christopher

Hopefully you all met Christopher in our recent mailing. For those of you who haven't, he is an adorable 2-year-old living at Rivers of Hope orphanage in Gramothe, Haiti. Gramothe is a rural town in the mountains about one hour outside of Haiti's capital, Port Au Prince.

Christopher was brought to Rivers of Hope in 2008 as a very malnourished infant in need of medical attention. He has sickle-cell anemia and is frequently hospitalized due to his condition.

Not being a doctor myself, I had to look up what sickle-cell anemia was. According to Access Excellence, it is an inherited, potentially lethal disease in which a defect in hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment in the blood, causes distortion (sickling) and loss of red blood cells, producing damage to organs throughout the body. To me, that says he is one sick little boy who needs as much support as possible. And that's where The Red Thread Promise comes in.

We have pledged our support to care for Christopher over the next two years by underwriting his medical bills while his is in Haiti waiting for his forever family. Why two years? Because that is the average waiting time to place a child with an adoptive family. It is our hope by the end of that period he will have a new family who will continue his care.

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting this precious little boy please, contact Jennifer Mesick at SDG Adoption and Child Advocacy Center: 630.969.8202 or

If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We're back!

Who would have thought that it would take a handful of professionals so long to figure out how to update an existing blog?! While The Red Thread Promise may be full of people who are passionate about the health and well-being of orphaned children and are dedicated to their care, we have proven not to be as technically savvy as we thought. We have learned some valuable lessons since our last post [in May!] and are excited to move forward with our posts.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kathy and Jen's Trip to Haiti Part 1

Kathy and Jen's Trip to Haiti

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress….

Dear TRTP Board, Family and Friends:

We are home from Haiti safe and sound! In a few short days, we were fortunate to have an incredible, possibly life-changing experience. Walk with us as we share our journey.

First, we had an issue with checking in our boxes of supplies for the orphans. Spirit Airlines allows only one checked bag per passenger to Haiti . However, the flight was fine, and we arrived in a timely manner.

Upon arrival to Haiti , we landed on the runway and exited the plane via a stairwell, and walked to customs. At customs we met a church group who was coincidentally going to the same place we were, Mountain Top Ministries’ (MTM) guesthouse. Mountain Top Ministries, founded in 1999 by Willem and Beth Charles, is a not for profit, dedicated to serving the people of Haiti through education, quality medical care, and by spreading the word of God. They also support two small orphanages. The first, Rachoul’s Rivers of Hope (ROH) orphanage, houses 19 (at this time) babies and toddlers, and the other orphanage, Children’s Home, is a home for older children. We made it through customs uneventfully. Rachoul, ROH orphanage director, was to meet us outside the baggage area, so we proceeded there. She was not there. Many Haitians were however, and we were surrounded. Soon we saw Rachoul, who had been looking for us in the baggage area. Our transportation from the airport to the guesthouse was in a very nice pickup truck. We were fortunate, as we got to ride inside the cab. The mission team was piled into the back of the pickup, feeling every bump in the road, and there were many bumps when we reached the mountainside!

The guesthouse was great. We had running water, electricity, and every modern convenience, along with delicious food. We were fed three meals a day. We were told in advance all food and water in the guesthouse was safe for consumption. The guesthouse was surrounded by a cement wall, and had a locked gate, three dogs, and bars on the windows. We were definitely safe. Evidently this is a common practice for nicer homes in Haiti . The view from the balcony was incredible. We were surrounded by mountains. The mountain directly in front of us was a patchwork of crops, but you could see small buildings, roads, and in the center of the mountain was a steeple, which was the home of MTM.

At four a.m. a rooster crowed, yet it was not light out. Then another rooster crowed, and they had a loud crowing contest, which set off the dogs. We were up. In the morning we decided to walk, along with others, down our mountain, through a dry river basin, and up the mountain to MTM. It was rather challenging. Although we enjoyed the experience, we plan on being in better shape next time we attempt that hike. A number of Haitians passed us by, carrying large loads on their heads of vegetables, and had not broken a sweat. It was humbling!

Upon arrival, Willem showed us the church, school, and clinic. The church was lovely, and can hold approximately 200 people.

The school takes in marginalized children from the surrounding mountaintop communities. They offer classes for children ages preschool through tenth grade, with additional grades added each year to allow children to complete their high school education. They currently boast a total student body numbering around 1500. Along with a quality education, every child receives one hot meal per day. The children are provided with a nourishing meal at lunchtime. We got a chance to hang out with the children during recess. We played the hokey pokey, London bridges, thumb fights, hand clapping games, anything we could think of without using props. They loved having their pictures taken. It was fun, and rewarding.

The medical clinic was well stocked, with five separate examining tables, separated by curtains, along with two dental chairs. A waiting room for the clinic was built. A wide screen television, donated, allows MTM to educate waiting patients and their families on Christianity, personal hygiene, communicable diseases, etc. Because MTM is not allowed access the public hospitals using mission team doctors, Willem and Beth are building a surgical center! When that is built, MTM will be able to perform operations using anesthesia.

After that we drove down the mountain. Jen opted for the cab, but Kathy wanted to have a “Haitian experience”, so she stood in the back of the truck with Willem and hung on as we rode down the mountain. Jen has pictures!

We were off to Rivers of Hope orphanage, truly a home and not an institution. The home is clean, spacious and loving. The children had a place to sleep and play inside. Outside offered a screened porch, patio, swing set and lots of grounds to romp around in.

Again, the grounds were surrounded by a tall cement wall and locked gate. The children had a new kitten to raise and love.

It is the mission of Rivers of Hope to find adoptive families for each child. Rachoul works with Lifelink adoption agency in Illinois , she works with specific Canadian adoption agencies, and is currently also doing private adoptions via attorneys.

There are four nannies employed at the orphanage. The nannies live there full-time, and are paid approximately $170 a month, rotating one day a week off. The children were contactable, alert, eager for play and attention, easy to soothe for the most part. They were in good health, clean, and obviously nurtured. Rachoul seemed very businesslike until she walked in the door of the orphanage. Then she immediately turned her attention to loving the children. It was rewarding to watch. We spent the afternoon there holding babies and playing with children. Then we went back to the guesthouse. It had been a long day.

The following day we went to the Children’s Home, the orphanage for older kids. These children are not adoptable, albeit they were orphans. The goal of this home is to raise these children in a warm environment, educate them, and send them into Haitian society to help their communities. This was also a home, not an institution. There are eleven children living there, and they attend school at Mountain Top Ministries.

We spent the rest of that day playing with the babies at Rachoul’s. One of the babies, Christopher, age 18 months, has sickle cell disease, and wasn’t doing well.

The next day, we were already leaving Haiti . Rachoul was late picking us up, as Christopher was in crisis. His feet and legs had swelled up and he was in a lot of pain. In Haiti there is no medical insurance. One needs $500 to be admitted to the hospital. Rachoul had brought him there, but only had $300. TRTP donated $400 towards Christopher’s care. We stopped at the hospital, where he was with a nanny in the waiting room, and were able to get him admitted. Thank you donors of TRTP!! We are waiting to hear how this little boy is doing, and will update you.

The trip home was uneventful. Already, we are thinking of ways as a group that we can come alongside Rachoul, Willem, and Beth and bring care to these sweet children. We are thinking of providing health supplies via a mission drive, seeking medical assistance for Haitian orphans, both in the U.S. and within Haiti , coordinating mission trips, monthly sponsorships for each baby who has not been matched with an adoptive family, etc.

We are excited, and feel we have been led to a unique opportunity, one that may provide life-changing assistance for children who have so little. In the future we will be asking you to help us connect with organizations and individuals who may share our mission. Financial assistance is needed to help purchase health supplies and provide doctor visits for each child. We believe that one person can truly make a difference, one child at a time.

Donations can be sent to:
The Red Thread Promise
1635 Tipperary Drive
Middletown, OH 45042
Haiti project

Thank you for helping us make this trip possible through prayer, financial support and all the wonderful baby supplies that came our way!

Wishing you a blessed day,
Jennifer & Kathy
As our T-shirts read: I promise…to help change lives.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We Made Our Goal!

Thanks so much for your support! We reached our goal of $3,000 by 50 or more donors. That allows us to remain with Global Giving!

Kathy and Jen arrived in Haiti safely, and have been spending time getting to know folks associated with Rivers of Hope. I'll be posting information and photos when they're able to provide an update.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We're Getting Closer To Our $3,000 Goal!

We've received 43 donations, totally $1,795. Thank you for your prayers and financial support, as Jen and Kathy prepare for the trip to Haiti. Please continue to share information about our non-profit organization with friends and family who have a heart for providing for orphans. Can't wait to share information with you about the trip to Haiti!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Word From Sonja, One of Our Board Members

"Many of you know that I am a Board member for a 501(c)(3) charity called The Red Thread Promise. After years of waiting for the right cause to support, I chose The Red Thread Promise because of the profound impact we can make, one life at a time, on the future of the world's orphans. My devotion is inspired by my own two Chinese daughters, one of whom, Jenna, came to us with a "special need." Here in America, fueled by Cheerios, Dora the Explorer, and lots and lots of Cetaphil, Jenna doesn't have any special needs, but in China, she had a dim future. Through The Red Thread Promise, we can help other children with minor or major medical needs. Sometimes it's a compression stocking, sometimes, heartbreakingly, it's palliative care. In every case, though, we help children who have no other options.

"We have recently been honored with an invitation to an open enrollment window at Global Giving. Global Giving, in its words, connects " 'good idea people' with the 'generous giver people' and helps projects of all sizes receive donations of all sizes." If we raise $3000 in the next three weeks from 60 different people, we will be offered a permanent home at Global Giving. For our open enrollment project, we have selected our upcoming trip to Haiti. We have launched a medical supply drive to stock the Rivers of Hope orphanage. While we are there, we will be evaluating the children to determine how to prioritize their medical needs.

"If you can help with even $5, we would greatly appreciate it. Because the open enrollment window requires both a breadth and depth of donors, you'll be helping as much with $5 as you will with $100. And if you can donate again in the name of your child or your spouse, we'd be doubly grateful.

"There is no shortage of worthy charities, and, these days, no abundance of discretionary funds. I do appreciate every dollar you can donate. Please consider that every bit of help we get here serves us many times over by getting us a permanent spot at Global Giving, where we will gain incredibly valuable exposure to a worldwide audience. Further, and most importantly, know that your dollars will directly and meaningfully impact children who desperately need your help."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thank You For Your Support!

We've had 30 different donors provide $1,480 so far, as of Monday morning. Thank you, one and all! We're moving toward our goal of $3,000 or more from 50 or more donors. We're so thankful for the opportunity to be part of Global Giving. We're also getting excited about the opportunity to travel to Haiti very soon!

Thank you for your prayers and financial support. Please share our link with family and friends who have a heart for orphans who haven't found their forever families, yet.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Global Giving

The Red Thread Promise has a wonderful opportunity, and now the work begins! We need your help! Global Giving is an organization where donors are matched with organizations doing work on behalf of children and families in need. Global Giving has reviewed The Red Thread Promise, and has allowed us to join their program, but to remain with Global Giving, we need to raise $3,000 from 50 different donors by May 11th!

We would appreciate any donation that you are able to provide. Due to needing multiple donors, you can see that a donation of $5 is as important as a donation of $25. Each will help us to meet the goal of raising $3,000 with a minimum of 50 donors by May 11th.

Please click on the Global Giving button on the sidebar to add your support to our mission in Haiti. Thank you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We're Off to Haiti Very Soon!

Dear Family and Friends:

I am going to Haiti!! Or rather, I am going to Haiti as a representative for The Red Thread Promise. As most of you know, I have been privileged to be able to work with The Red Thread Promise, a charitable organization dedicated to helping orphans with medical needs.

Kathy and I are going to visit Rachel’s River of Hope orphanage in Manothe, Haiti. It is about an hour away from Port Au Prince, in the mountains. Pictures are below.

Rachel’s River of Hope orphanage is home to between 15 to 30 babies and toddlers. Rachel McIntosh hopes to find adoptive families for all of her children. She is a way-station for love and care to orphans whose futures are incredibly bleak. While she is searching for adoptive families, Rachel loves her little charges. She provides food, clothing, shelter, and love on an amazingly small budget. As a Westerner I was quietly stunned at how little she lives on, and awed at how she takes what she has and makes the most of it. Rachel is Hope amidst Despair for these little ones. Hope that is showing itself in practical, tangible ways.

It was so intriguing to learn of Rachel’s River of Hope orphanage, because we recognized that TRTP could come join Rachel and show hope to these children too. TRTP has always been a small organization, and we have known that we may only be able to seriously impact a few orphan’s lives. Given the current economy, we have been seeking new ways to meet fulfill our mission, and show good stewardship to you, our supporters.

TRTP can create a Red Thread of hope and promise with Rachel and her children. We are going there to cultivate a firm relationship with this orphanage and with these children. We seek to begin a dialogue in person that we have cultivated online and through others who have met this dynamic, loving woman and her supporters. We seek to come alongside them in their mission to love and care for orphans, particularly special needs orphans.

I truly believe that Hope is the seed that makes living possible in the midst of the impossible. Hope is looking into the face of what seems to be overwhelming circumstances and saying – this is not the end of the story. When we believe that what we see is all that there is to the story, we live with an imprisoned future. But when we embrace hope for these children’s futures, the kingdom of God comes near and all the rules change.

Since I became the mom of my own precious children through adoption, I have been truly haunted by the children “left behind” in orphanages to grow up alone. It is unthinkable that one of my children could have been “left behind”. But for God’s grace that would have been so. To be able to show these orphans love, hope, and a promise of a future would be a dream come true for me personally.

We plan to bring additional suitcases to Haiti and hope to fill them with:

Diapers, pull-ups, wipes, lotion, shampoo, soap, powder, baby oil, toothpaste, Children’s Tylenol, Children’s Motrin, Desitin, Baby foods (all stages), boxed baby cereals, formula, clothes from newborn to age 3 (onesies and other items that can be layered are preferred).

You can support our efforts in Haiti by clicking on the Global Giving button on the sidebar to the right. Thank you for your prayers and gifts.


You Can Support Our Trip to Haiti by Supplying...

items such as Children's Tylenol, Infant Tylenol, Children's Motrin, Desitin, Lotion, Soap, and Toothpaste. For friends and family that follow our blog, you know our contact information to get items to us. To our new friends, that we haven't met in person yet, please post a comment and let us know how to contact you. We'll let you know where to send the items so we can have them packed before leaving for Haiti.

Heading to Haiti!

Kathy and Jen, two board members from The Red Thread Promise, are heading to Haiti soon. We learned of Rivers of Hope Orphanage, located in Manothe, Haiti, through a friend who is in the process of adopting from Haiti. Jen and Kathy will be meeting with Rachoul, the Director of Rivers of Hope, in person, to assess the needs of the orphanage, and determine if TRTP can provide support. While they'll be packing light, they're taking several suitcases filled with supplies for the orphanage. The priority will be medical supplies, and we'll also be sending personal hygiene items. The biggest goal of the trip is to determine the needs, and develop a plan for supporting the infants and toddlers who live at River of Hope. You can donate by clicking on the Global Giving button on the top, right, sidebar. Thank you for your support, whether it is a prayer for this trip, or a donation.