Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Project While I Wait

I know, I know... we're in the middle of an international adoption. What am I doing with a side project!? 
Hah! Well, honestly it was my brother's idea. He asked for my help, so I jumped on board because it is an amazing idea. How many times have I ever wished for an easy button to push in my life?? A LOT.  If you have followed my blog for a while, you will remember how difficult things were for us right after adopting M. You will also remember my struggle to balance all.of.the.things. in well...LIFE while fundraising and paperchasing for our three boys. I'm sure no one can forget the special education nightmare we were forced to endure for several years while fighting to get our kids therapies, services and an education. Add in day to day life juggled around doctors, therapists, school meetings, my health issues, kids that have extra needs... well you get the idea. Some days (most days) I could use help, but its not there.

My brother and I a few years ago at his graduation
I've usually got around 99 problems, and this app we've come up with could solve about 57 of them. So this is a very personal project for me. If there have been times when I am struggling this much, I know others are too.
But what to do about it?? 
The UNITE App. 

Have you ever wished that there was an app on your phone that would let only your select neighbors who are willing to help know you spent all night at the ER with your toddler and could really use a hot breakfast while someone walked the dog? What about those times you’ve sat in a hospital wishing someone could mow your lawn and put your trash on the curb, but you don’t want to beg on social media? Or maybe you just need to sit at home and recover, but there aren’t any groceries and you can hardly make a sandwich. Are you having an issue with getting to your appointments? Do you just need a friend to lend a hand once a week for tasks that prove a bit too much?
The Unite App is designed to help people with every day tasks, and was born out of a wish for more community help. Over the past two years my brother, Daniel, who is an active duty military serviceman, has had three surgeries due to over-training or training accidents. Two of these left him on crutches and mostly immobile for months at a time while living alone in a third story apartment. Another injury and surgery left his dominant arm completely immobile for months. Simple things like making a meal, grocery shopping, driving to therapy appointments, laundry, and picking up prescriptions were exercises in frustration.

As a mom to seven kids, living in another state, there was very little I could do to help him from that distance. The physical and emotional difficulties he faced through those recoveries, made him better understand and empathize with those who deal with long term disabilities. The guilt and worry I felt, knowing he was alone and struggling made me wish there was some way to let his community know when he needed assistance.
Daniel’s spirit of community is a direct reflection of the lessons that he grew up with along with the value of service he embodies daily as an active member of the United States Army. Living with injuries opened his eyes to a deeper need in our communities. As an adoptive mom to four children with special needs, I am part of a community that already experiences some of the highest caregiver burnout rates due to advocating for my kids extensive needs; then I had two back to back health crisis.
A few years ago when I was put on bedrest during pregnancy for life threatening placenta previa, I found myself wishing that someone was available to just grocery shop, food prep, and do housework. As I sat in bed or on the couch all day, I felt so alone and completely helpless for months! I had so many things that I needed to get done. What I wouldn’t have given just to have had a little help both during my pregnancy and the weeks after. I struggled with one health issues after another, mostly stemming from exhaustion due to never being able to fully recover.
A few months after the birth of little E, I was rushed to the ER and into emergency surgery. I again found myself completely isolated while trying to care for my children during my recovery. Just an hour a day of someone’s time would have been an incredible gift that would have saved me a lot of physical pain and exhaustion.
With the rise of social media we have never had the ability to be more connected online yet we can be completely isolated in our communities. I live in a neighborhood full of people, but I had no easy way to let my neighbors know that I was having a health crisis and desperately needed help with my kids at the bus stop. I wondered how many others are struggling and feel isolated while surrounded by neighbors? Together my brother and I have combined our strengths of team building, social media, and compassion for others to create an app that allows people in the community to see when their neighbors need help.
Unite is an app, currently in the development stages, that has the ability to unite ALL of us as we work together to assist those who need a little help to have and sustain their quality of life. It will be offered FREE on the App Store to everyone. A person with a need would put up a simple post via the app, much like a job listing, allowing anyone nearby who has availability to help to see the need immediately.
Unite will have the ability to galvanize the bonds of community in our local towns and cities by combining team building and community service to not only benefit those in need, but also make it easier to unite those wanting to help. Anyone will now be able to easily find help for grocery shopping, yard work, flat tires, food prep, transportation, prescription pick up, and more. With imagination as the only limiting factor, anyone with a need or the ability to meet one will find Unity is a good match for them.
We are fundraising to complete development of Unite on Kickstarter, and are currently looking for input on features that people, both potential users and potential helpers would like to see in this app, as well as ideas on how to best advertise its availability.

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We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson