Thursday, March 31, 2011

Missing a Little Someone

Today is one of those days where I long for my Daniel so very much.  It has been a rainy, snuggly kind of day where I wish I could snuggle with all FOUR of my boys and watch some old school Pink Panther or Mr. Bean.  As we all sat at the table to eat lunch a little bit ago we all felt as though there was someone missing...there was. Daniel.  Sometimes I try to picture what he is doing.  I know that he is about 6 hours ahead, so for instance I know that it is about 8:00 p.m. where he is...is he getting ready for bed?  Does he have warm pajammies?  Is someone tucking him in or does he climb into bed without goodnight hugs and kisses?  Did he remember to brush his teeth?  Did he get a nice, warm bath?  Is his belly full?  Is he scared?  

If he were here and it was bedtime there would more than likely be a fight over who gets to sleep with who!  There would be giggles and squeals as Daddy reads a bedtime story and then tickles them.  He would fall asleep felling safe and loved.  He would have 3 brothers that love him unconditionally for who he is.  He would know that his Momma and Poppa are just a short little run across the house should he get scared.  He would know that he has a Momma and a Poppa that also love him unconditionally for who he is; just as God created him.

I know that God has everything in His hands and He has Daniel in His hands, but this momma's heart just aches for her sweet, sweet boy on the other side of the world.  Today was just one of those days.  That paper work just cannot get done fast enough and it feels like we will never be fully funded.  Deep down I know better, I just cannot wait to meet my little man and bring him home forever.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Nathan!

I am a day late in posting this entry, but yesterday, March 28th, was our Nathan's 5th Birthday!  My baby is most certainly not a baby anymore!  We celebrated with some friends of ours and Nathan had, and I quote, "The BEST Birthday EVER!!!!".  It was his first real birthday party with friends, cupcakes, and fun- he deserved it.  You see our little Nathan had a pretty rough start as he was born 5 weeks early.  That first night I watched that little love pant and struggle for every breath.  Despite the fact that I had just had my 3rd c-section I stood on my feet all night to pray over my little guy, and to let him know I was right there.  No matter what, I was not leaving him until the morning or until the Lord saw fit to take Nathan home.  Thankfully the Lord graciously allowed our sweet little guy to stay with us and I am ever so grateful.  He is our happy guy, our little fire cracker, our sparkling boy.  He lights up a room, makes everyone laugh, will be friendly with anyone and everyone, and he says that I am "his girl".  We love Nathan so dearly and can hardly believe that the Nathan we know and love now is the same little guy that we watched struggle for every breath.







Oh and to clarify- some of you know Nathan as "Sammy".  Nathan's full name is Nathan Samuel.  When we brought him home from the NICU Jeremiah and Elijah could not say 'Nathan' but they could say 'Sammy'.  So it just stuck.  I honestly prefer Sammy- it fits his little personality.

--Jenny

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue











My dear friend, Cindy, who is 42 and has Down Syndrome wrote this very sweet letter to me.  With it came a beautiful cross that she colored.  Sweet Cindy has been attending our church for about 3 weeks now and we all just love her dearly.  This is the blessing of knowing someone with Down Syndrome- they want to be your BFF (and your talent agent!) and enjoy life with you.  Our family is so grateful to have her in our lives and I know many other people at church feel just the same way. If only the judge in little Kirill's country could see this and know that Kirill would be a BLESSING to anyone and everyone who would know him...

Storming the Gates of Heaven

I was going to write a "fluffy" entry, but it just does not seem like the right thing to do at this time.  There is a family, the Davis Family, that desperately needs the prayers of anyone and everyone.  They need the gates of Heaven stormed on their behalf and that of a precious little boy, Kirill.  Tesney and her husband, Greg, have traveled to Kirill's country not once, but twice to visit the boy that they have have chosen to be their son.  Their adoption process has been dragging on for well over a year now.  Kirill is an adorable little boy that has Down Syndrome.  With a family to love and care for him he could have a very full and happy life.  Without a family, his future is bleak and uncertain.



Isn't he adorable?

But someone said, "No".  A complete stranger, a judge, had (still has) the power to decide the fate of another human being.  A child- an innocent child!  After 5 emotionally draining hours, a judge denied the Davis Family the right to adopt Kirill.  Why, you ask?  Because in Kirill's country people truly believe that those with disabilities are not worth anything.  The Davis Family is attempting to appeal this decision, but from what we are hearing, it does not look good.

Is it difficult for you to believe that another human truly thinks that precious little Kirill does not deserve a family and that the Davis family would be better off without him?  Does this upset you?  It should.  It should cause you to fall on your knees and cry out to God!  It should make you feel sick at your stomach and ask WHY?!

Pray.  I am not even going to say "pretty please".  Just pray.  If we can be upset about polar bears, whales, trees, and oceans, how much more we should be upset about humans.  Children.  The creation that is the apple of God's eye!


Here is the Davis Family with Kirill.  They love him and desperately want to bring him home.  Pray.




Tesney has chosen to love Kirill and would do anything to be his momma.  PRAY!

But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Luke 18:16

--Jenny

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Key Lime Pie, Anyone?

We are now officially announcing our Key Lime Pie fundraiser!  For $15.00 you can have a delicious, homemade Key Lime Pie delivered to your doorstep!  All pies are being made by myself and my son, Elijah, with lots and lots of love (the best secret ingredient!).  Every penny will go towards our adoption and this fundraiser will run until we bring Daniel home.

If you would like to place an order, please send me an email to: jenny.monier@gmail.com and put "Key Lime Pie Order" in the subject line.  I will also have a cache of pies for sale at our garage sale that you can buy right then and there.  Please pass this along to your family and friends (within reasonable driving distance to Ocala) and let them know that this is for a fantastic cause!

This is how the pies will arrive to you, chilled and protected!
Bird's eye view
Delicious!
 You can also order a Key Lime Pie to be delivered to a friend, family member, or co-worker as a sweet surprise!  It's up to you!  We would be most appreciative of all orders.  Thanks!

--Jenny
  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thank You's & Next Few Fundraisers

Before I get into fundraiser stuff, I just want to let you all know that things are going well.  Tomorrow we should be receiving our medial forms which will be faxed immediately to our social worker.  She will then be able to finish writing up our home study and we can move onto more Dossier paperwork!  Even though it is almost April and we committed at the beginning of February, things seem to be moving along quickly. I hope that it continues and that sweet and precious boy is soon a part of this family!

I also would like to take a moment and thank those of you that have been so supportive- through prayer and encouragement.  Without that Eric and I would not have the strength to keep up all of this craziness.  The hugs that I get from my sweet lady friends at church are like balm to my soul and the prayers, little notes of encouragement, and the swift kicks to the proverbial behind are all so helpful, too.  And to my dear friend, Cris, who has been able to allow me to be so real and transparent when necessary.  Oh my goodness have you been patient with me my friend!  To those of you that have contributed financially, I am without words to express my amazement.  Some of you have given above and beyond even when you yourselves could have easily used that money.  Saying thank you never seems to be quite enough though your true reward is awaiting you in heaven.  Thank you....

Now onto to business!

The Pampered Chef Fundraiser is still going on but it ends Friday.  If you have any orders to place please contact my consultant, Colleen Kudis:  colleensjewelry@comcast.net  She will be able to place your order and accept your payment.  Thank you to Colleen for all of her hard work in helping to make this a successful fundraiser!  Thank you also to those of you that ordered.  All of the proceeds from that fundraiser will go towards our overseas expenses.

The next fundraiser is a Cash for Gold fundraiser being organized by a very dear woman from our church, Carol Holzschuh.  She is collecting gold which is then being sold to a gentleman with whom she has experience selling gold.  He pays well and this fundraiser could potentially make a few thousand dollars.  That money will also be going towards our overseas expenses.  If you have any broken gold jewelry and you would like to participate, please contact Carol at:  (352) 873-1772.  She gave me permission to post her phone number but please do not make any crank calls.  She can give you an address to which you can send the gold.  Or if you would rather contact me directly that is fine, too.  Carol, however, is the one in charge of this fundraiser.  A HUGE thank you to her for her hard work and dedication to bringing Daniel home.  Also helping with this fundraiser is Ocala Copy Center on East Silver Springs Blvd.  They donated 200 color copies and some black and white copies to help advertise for this fundraiser.  So if you live in Ocala and ever need some copying done, that is the place to go!  Anyway, I do not have a deadline for this fundraiser and I do not think one has been set.  Please keep in mind, however, that Daniel's country could be shut down this summer and Eric and I are trying to have all of our Dossier complete by the end of May.  Lord willing we will be traveling in June!

Saturday, April 2nd if our huge yard sale.  It will take place at our home, and if you need directions please email me privately.  It will begin at 8:00 a.m. and go until everything is sold.  We will not be pricing each item, but we will be asking for minimum donations depending upon the item.  There is lots of furniture, scrap fabric for quilting, expensive purses, knick-knacks, toys, bikes, an electric grill, etc...  There is something for everyone and it is all for a good cause.  A HUGE thank you to my friend, Cris Kelty, for basically running the show.  She will also be my "bouncer" for anyone trying to low-ball me so beware- she is one tough cookie!

COFFEE!!!!  Don't forget that we are selling Fair Trade coffee and products through Just Love Coffee.  Our family receives $5.00 from the sale of each bag and a few dollars from the sale of each product.  Gourmet coffee makes great gifts or it is a great way to pamper yourself.  Starbucks can add up and you are not really helping anyone.  Fair Trade Coffee is not as expensive per cup PLUS you are helping to give an orphan a forever family.  I would say that is a win/win situation.

In the meantime Jeremiah, Elijah, and Nathan are all working on paintings (actual paintings on canvases!) which they would like to auction off.  Each boy will be making a video to show their painting and describing what it is they painted for you all to see.  Now of course my boys are children and their artwork is nothing fancy, but it is something they were able to do to help make a contribution to bringing their brother home.  Details to follow in the next few days.

Finally, I am in the process of perfecting an amazing Key Lime Pie recipe that another Reece's Rainbow Momma so graciously shared.  And when I say perfecting the recipe, I should say that there is nothing in the recipe that is wrong- I just need to make sure I can follow the recipe and have some success!  I will be making Key Lime Pies and delivering them to anyone who is interested and that will be pretty much ongoing until Daniel comes home.  Stay tuned for details on that one, too!

So as you can see I am super busy!  Don't worry, school is still getting done, the house is clean, the laundry is done, the dog and fish are fed (as are the boys!), and we are sleeping at least 7 hours a night.  Not sure how we are managing to get it all done, but I suppose with Christ all things are possible, right?!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moving Right Along

I have been meaning to update our blog, but I have been busy with the great paper chase leg of our adoption.  It seems that every day I have had to get one piece of paper or another or have been planning fundraisers or promoting them.  Somehow we still manage to get school done, the house cleaned, laundry done, and meals made.  But to be honest, I am thankful that this will not last forever as it is an extremely grueling process.

This past week was spent getting our proof of home ownership completed- wait- didn't we get that on Wednesday?  Well, I thought I had completed that task, but sadly it was rejected.  The woman that had filled out the paperwork altered the document (which is a HUGE no-no!) which meant I had to go back and nicely ask her to do it again.  In the meantime Eric and I had our physicals on Wednesday morning which shot the entire day.  So yesterday I packed the boys up once again, printed out the instructions, and highlighted everything on the original document that needed to be corrected.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Unfortunately it turned into a super emotional and stressful experience.  I will not go into detail as it does not matter.  Suffice to say I did become upset with the woman who was to fill out the document and I walked away empty handed the first time.  By the time we made it back to the house, however, the woman called and agreed to fill out the form.  I was both grateful and ashamed as I had neared tears when speaking with this woman as I could not understand why she would not fill out a simple document.  In sum she was concerned that she was verifying information that she could not really verify and she did not want to be dishonest.  Actually all we were asking was for her to state that she has the records of us living at our current address and whatnot.  If this dear woman had decided to not fill out the paper, our adoption would have come to a screeching halt which sent me into a panic.  I am so pleased to share, however, that this woman went above and beyond and I am so very grateful.  Nathan even gave the woman a hugged and thanked her, too.  Poor Nathan had been in tears after the first exchange that we had with her.  So NOW our proof of home ownership is complete.

The physicals?  Not complete.  We had to have our blood drawn and then we have to go back in on Monday morning to have our TB test conducted, THEN we have to return Wednesday to have the test read.  That is when we will receive the documents and have that done.  Once our physicals are done, our home study can then be written and we can move forward with more Dossier items.  If all continues to go well, we should have everything for the Dossier completed before May 31.  Potentially we could be traveling in June!

On the fundraising front the Pampered Chef fundraiser runs until March 25th.  Last time I heard from Colleen we had made a little over $27.00.  Every little bit counts, but if you look at the thermometer on the left-hand side of the blog you will see we still have a long way to go.  Our next big fundraiser is on Saturday, April 2 which will be a yard sale.  So many people have generously donated items to be sold and I am hoping to make a few hundred dollars.  Our next big expense will be for our fingerprinting.  In the meantime I am looking into having a fundraiser at Chik-fil-A, a dear woman in our church is organizing a cash for gold fundraiser, I am going to be selling flowers, adoption t-shirts, pies, etc...  Basically I will be fundraising until our goal is met.  Ha!  I know many of you know the feeling.

In non-adoption news our little Nathan learned how to ride a 2 wheeler!!  It was a very special evening as Eric taught Nathan how to do this.  Our little guy officially turns 5 on the 28th and had a rough start in life.  We almost lost him and now cannot imagine our life without that little monkey boy.  As my mom says, Nathan just sparkles!  He sure was sparkling as he rode his bike down the street like a big boy.

Well, the dirty floors are calling my name.  They desperately need to be mopped (again)!  Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

--Jenny

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Good Day and Some Answers

Today the boys and I accomplished 2 major tasks.  First we got our request sent up to Arlington, VA for 2 copies of our marriage certificate.  The Arlington County Circuit Courts should receive that on Thursday and hopefully we will have the certificates by next week.  The only minor catch is that we then have to send them back up to VA (to Richmond) to have them Apostilled.   Second, we got our proof of homeownership from the county.  Another piece of paper complete for our Dossier!  Everyone was so kind and helpful and the boys were SUPER well behaved.  It was a long day as we were gone since this morning, but we made an adventure out of it all and ended up having a swell time.  We made a stop at their favorite video game store and a pet store.  The boys especially loved looking at the fish and are now convinced that they will die if they do not get a Beta fish!  Since the fish are on sale, I told them that if they could find their former Beta fish's tank I will permit them to get one.  Elijah and Nathan are now on a mission!  The last Beta fish that we had lived forever and then just suddenly disappeared one day.  They are fairly hearty little guys.

Now onto a more serious matter.  Last evening I read an article that further explained why countries are closing to International adoptions.  I was utterly shocked when I learned which organization was behind all of this- UNICEF.  Sadly they are supposedly in existence to help children, but with they propaganda they are spreading about International adoptions they are in a sense murdering thousands of children.  Yes, you read that correctly- MURDERING children.  How?  By closing countries to International adoptions they are not allowing children to be adopted by families that can properly care for these children and get them medical attention that they may not otherwise receive.  As a result that could lead to the death of thousand of innocent children!  If you wish to read an article from the Washington Times, please click here.  I also challenge you to Google UNICEF and International adoptions.  Just see what you can find.  Here is a quote from a friend that adopted 2 girls from Haiti a year ago:

"Jenny, that is such a great article about their philosophical stance. Yet it doesn't even begin to hint at their aggressive malice in action. I could tell you horror stories about adoptive parents in Haiti that were literally accosted, verbally abused, and threatened by UNICEF staff."

That was a comment he left on my Facebook page.  He and his wife are pros at International adoption (they have adopted several children from around the world!) so I give credence to what he shared.  Now that I know why Daniel's country may close to International adoptions, I now know how to pray.  Will you please join me in prayer that UNICEF would not be successful in their crusade to end International adoptions?  

Unfortunately there are still no promises for our adoption of Daniel, but I will continue to stand on the promises of God.  That He would be faithful to the call He put on our family and that somehow He will fulfill it.  Eric and I will continue to move forward with Daniel until we are told that we can no longer do so; it is all we can do for now.  I must also trust that God's hand is on us and on Daniel.  He cares for Daniel so much more than Eric and I ever could.  Thank you for those of you that have been praying for us and for Daniel.  We also thank you for your financial contributions to our adoption.

On that note I will be satisfied that today I have done all that I can for Daniel.  Tomorrow will bring a new day and another opportunity to do even more.  The day after that is our doctor appointment for our physicals and that will be yet another huge task that we can check off.  God is good, all of the time!

--Jenny

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Country Has Closed

Minutes ago I was informed that a country in Central Asia has closed for International adoptions.  Daniel's country could be next.  It is even more of a real possibility now.  I feel sick at my stomach. I want to scream.  I want to hop on a plane NOW and get my son before it is too late.  If we cannot adopt him, what will happen to him?  Will he be institutionalized?  Will he survive?  My heart aches just thinking about all of the "what ifs".

Now more than ever it is imperative that Eric and I get our paper work completed and our funds raised.  As of right now we need about $24,000 out of the $25,000 needed.  Yes, I am going to come right out and ask that you please donate to our adoption.  Even if for some reason this falls through for us, we have the option of adopting another child through Reece's Rainbow, but until anything changes, we are going to move forward with Daniel.

We need a miracle.  DANIEL needs a miracle.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thankful for a New Day

This morning we woke up to Jeremiah's eye looking SOOOO much better!  The official diagnosis was "Cellulitis" and not MRSA!  Praise God!  We are to continue the antibiotics that he was prescribed at Urgent Care.  This morning, however, a pediatric opthamologist called Eric from Shands to check on Jeremiah.  When he heard the good report from Eric the doctor was pleased.  So for now we really do not need to take Jeremiah back for a follow up.  The only reason we would have to return is if his vision is really bad out of that one eye after the infection completely clears up.  We are most grateful that we do not have to spend another day in a doctor's office.

Today also kicks off our Pampered Chef fundraiser!  It will run for 2 weeks so you have plenty of time to order.  For details please click here.  Or you can go directly to the Pampered Chef website here - my consultant's name is Colleen Kudis.  To contact her directly, you can send her an email: colleensjewelry@comcast.net - please be sure to put Monier Fundraiser in the subject line so she can get back to you ASAP.  Again, given the news our family received about the possible change in adoption laws in Daniel's country, our family needs to move quickly with the process so our Dossier can be sent overseas no later than May 31st.  That also means we need to be fully funded and ready to travel.  Will you please be a part of this miracle for Daniel?

So on that note I am off to get things moving!  Thank you for all of your prayers and support!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Never a Dull Moment

Our Dima Day at Easy Street was a super success.  We raised enough money to cover Daniel's Visa and medical exam which is about $500.  Not only did we raise money, but we had fun with our friends and THAT is priceless.  A HUGE thank you to all who came out to support us!  Our next fundraiser begins tomorrow, March 11th.  It is a Pampered Chef Fundrasier!  Some of you have requested this one, so I hope this is another successful fundraiser for Daniel!  To learn more about it, please click here.

In the meantime we have had a little bit of a medical issue with our oldest son, Jeremiah.  He had a stye in his right eye that has turned into something pretty nasty.  I will not bore you with all of the details, but suffice to say even after receiving some medical treatment he is currently at the ER with Eric up at Shands in Gainesville.  My poor Jeremiah can hardly even see out of his infected eye not to mention that the infection is pretty icky.  The last text message that I received said that the ER doctor was consulting with a pediatric opthamologist.  I am praying that they have wisdom as to how to handle this infection.  In all, however, we have spent 2 days attempting to get proper treatment and Jeremiah has suffered.

On a really happy note, however, we got our passports today!!!!!  That means we can really get moving on our paper work- YAY!!!!  Seeing those passports made this all just a little more real and that did my heart some good.  We also received our business cards and prayer cards that we made up to pass out to anyone and everyone.  The more people that hear our story and see our blog the better.  And who knows?  Maybe another little one will be found, too.

Another piece of good news:  there is another little one from Daniel's orphanage that has been found (maybe even 2!)!  It is so wonderful to hear of little ones being found by their forever families.  I can only imagine how happy that makes our Heavenly Father, too.  Eric and I pray that our adoption not only impacts Daniel (of course!), but other children and families as well.  If you have ever considered adoption, even if just a fleeting thought, may I ask you to prayerfully consider one of Reece's Rainbow's waiting children?

Well, I am getting text updates from Eric.  It looks as though Jeremiah will be heading back up to Gainesville tomorrow for further evaluation.  In the meantime we are to continue antibiotics and warm compresses.  What a long day it has been for my sweet boy.  He has not been home since 11:45 this morning and it is now 8:30 in the evening.  My poor, poor Jeremiah.

Never a dull moment, huh?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Urgency!

First, today is DIMA DAY at Easy Street Family Fun Center!!!  The action begins at 4:00 p.m. and goes all the way to 9:00 p.m.  Our family will be receiving 50% of the evening's profits which will go directly to our adoption grant with Reece's Rainbow.  Now more than ever we need to raise our funds as quickly as possible.

Yesterday I received an email from the Director of Reece's Rainbow that caused my heart to skip a few beats and not in a good way.  There is a possibility that adoptions in our son's country may be put on hold or worse come this summer.  All of us have been encouraged to get our Dossiers submitted overseas ASAP so as to avoid any possibility of loosing our children.  I want to reiterate, however, that nothing final has been decided, we were just given a fair warning that things could change.  What this does mean for our family is that we need to step everything up about 10 notches.  We need to get our paperwork completed and raise our money a few months ahead of what we had originally expected.  We essentially have 2 months to raise $25,000.  Typing this makes me feel a little panicked inside but with God all things are possible, right?  Eric and I are choosing to step out in faith and fight to bring Daniel home as quickly as possible.  Will you help be a part of this fight?

Second, I am working on several different fundraisers.  The next big fundraiser will be an online Pampered Chef Party hosted by a sweet gal up in Pittsburgh, PA.  Details will be posted tomorrow, but I can tell you that it will begin THIS FRIDAY (March 11th)!  We also have an online coffee shop though Just Love Coffee where we sell Fair Trade coffees and other products.  Our family makes $5 per bag of coffee and a few dollars off of the other products listed.  Even if you do not drink coffee, a gourmet bag of coffee makes a fantastic gift.  To find a link to our online shop, look at the left-hand side of this blog.  You will see a little blurb about our Just Love Coffee fundraiser.  That or click the highlighted text in this paragraph.

Finally, we need prayer.  Prayer is the most important element in this entire process.  Without prayer anything we do is fruitless.  Please pray for protection over Daniel, that "the powers that be" do not make any changes to the laws for adoptions, that our family would not hit any roadblocks with our paperwork, and that we would be fully funded in 2 months.  Prayer changes things...our paths are paved in prayer.

In the meantime I am going to keep this Scripture near and dear to my heart:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26



You will want to disable the media player at the bottom of the blog before pressing play on this video:)

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Angel Among Us

There has been a newcomer to our church who is very special.  Her name is Cindy and she has Down Syndrome.  If I remember correctly she is in her 40's, lives with her sister, and had been adopted as a child.  Everyone that comes in contact with her walks away a happier person.  Cindy just radiates happiness and loves everyone she meets.  It is as though she is an angel in disguise.

Yesterday was a super special day at church.  When I saw Cindy come in and sit down I went right over to greet her- I was thrilled to see her once again.  Cindy excitedly told me that she is so happy to be at our church and that she was so happy to see us all once again.  I told her that we, too, were happy to see her and that we hope she keeps coming back.  I was on the Praise Team yesterday so I was up front singing and could not sit with Cindy.  Even better, however, I got to see this special person worship God with everything she had.  Cindy is partially deaf and while she can speak and has some hearing, she also is fluent in ASL (American Sign Language). She signed through most of the worship and it was delightful to see. After each song she would give me a thumb's up and mouth, "Good job!" to me.  I was so touched by her sweetness and her excitement to worship God.

At the end of the service I made an announcement for our Easy Street Fundraiser and also shared that we found our son through Reece's Rainbow, a Down Syndrome adoption ministry.  Cindy heard that loud and clear!  As soon as the service was completely over she came right over to me and said, "Did you know that I have Down Syndrome, too?".  I gave her a big hug and said, "Cindy, I knew from the moment I saw you that you were a very special person".  She then insisted on meeting Eric to tell him the good news, but Eric did indeed know who Cindy was and that she has Down Syndrome.  I chuckled to myself as I led Cindy to Eric.  When I formally introduced Eric and Cindy to each other Cindy exclaimed, "I have Down Syndrome just like you little boy!".  Eric couldn't help but give a little laugh as he embraced Cindy and said, "Thank you so much for sharing that with me!".  What I love is that she sees things through such innocent eyes and doesn't even really think of herself as "disabled".  Sure, she has an extra chromosome, her hearing is not 100%, and she cannot drive, but she seemingly leads a very happy and fulfilling life.

After Cindy left for the day I reflected on how she just kind of showed up to our church and seems to fit in.  I think God has led her to us to make way for our Daniel and hopefully for others just like Cindy and Daniel.  Cindy brought so much joy to everyone she met and she especially touched my heart.  I think of her as my angel.  Not literally, of course, but more like an encourager.  Every time I see her I am encouraged to keep moving forward in our adoption journey and I look forward to having someone in my home every day with the joy that Cindy has.  I sincerely think that those blessed with an extra chromosome are truly special people sent to us, to give us a new perspective on life and to bring us joy.

--Jenny 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Jeremiah!!

Yesterday my sweet Jeremiah turned 8- wow!  Where is the time going?  I can distinctly remember the very moment I found out that I was pregnant with him, running out of the bathroom waving the pregnancy test in the air.  Eric didn't believe me and made me take several more tests to confirm what I was already very certain was true.  Jeremiah made me a momma.  He was such a happy and easygoing baby that we decided to have another one right away.  When Jeremiah was just 7 months old we became pregnant with Elijah.  I wish I could say that Elijah was just as happy and easy, but regardless, we just love being parents.

Birthdays are a big deal in our home.  When one has a birthday they are king (or queen in my case) for the day!  Jeremiah decided not to get dressed at all, played outside in his pajamas, got wet in the rain, watched some Loony Tunes, had us take him to Golden Corral for supper (he was dressed for that!), and fell asleep in our bed watching Toy Story 3.  I should add that Jeremiah woke up to helium balloons tied to his chair at the breakfast table and a pile of gifts from various family members.  I permitted him to open just one gift in the morning, and it was something from his Uncle Geoff (my younger brother)- Nerf dart guns!  A good day for my Jeremiah!

Today we are all recovering from our partying (ha ha!) and doing various chores around the house.  Eric and Jeremiah went off to recycle cans to get more money for our adoption expenses and run some other errands.  In fact, I just received a phone call from Eric that blew me away.  He had to get our pool water tested at Pinch-a-Penny and while he was in there he asked the manager's wife if they would hang a flier for our big fundraiser at Easy Street.  Not only did she agree to do so, but she wrote a check out to us for $100 to go into our adoption grant with Reece's Rainbow.  I am so overwhelmed with gratitude!  God is just providing in ways that we least expect Him to.  We also had a complete stranger donate to our cause in the Dollar Tree on Thursday when Nathan was passing out fliers for our fundraiser.  For anyone that does not believe in miracles, ask me about miracles.  This entire adoption process is a miracle in and of itself!

Well, I best get back to my Saturday chores.  I also hear a little someone (Nathan) in the kitchen and I better see what it is he is getting to eat.  Have a great weekend!

--Jenny




Thursday, March 3, 2011

All Around Me

Yesterday our family had the privilege of attending the Special Olympics to cheer on a wonderful boy from our church.  Not only did we want to cheer on this great little man, but Eric and I also thought it would be a good idea for our boys to see children with special needs up close and personal.  Sure, we have met Maria Falvo and her 2 little Eastern Europe loves (Benji & Taiya) but for once I wanted my boys to be the minority...I wanted them to see things through the eyes of special children.

A multitude of disabilities were represented yesterday but we kept a special look out for anyone with Down Syndrome.  I really had a desire to show my boys just how active and happy children with Down Syndrome can be.  And boy were we blessed!  We saw several children with Down Syndrome and even had the honor of meeting them up close and personal.  One little girl, Emily, took a liking to my boys and hugged them over and over.  Jeremiah was a little taken back by her overt affection towards him, but Elijah and Nathan ate it up!  Elijah kept giving her the "thumb's up" and telling her she did a great job (sweet Emily had 2 blue ribbons from the day's events!) and Sammy talked up a storm to her and held her hand.  I think he was telling her about his new brother, Daniel, but I am not entirely certain.  Little Emily also took a liking to Eric and hugged him a few times and thanked him for coming to cheer everyone on.  We also met a few other children with Down Syndrome, and again and again we were welcomed with love, affection, and happiness.  My boys (even Jeremiah!) were so excited to be around such happy kids which made them even all the more excited to be getting a new brother with Down Syndrome.  As I stood back and observed everything, I felt so emotional.  I don't know if I can even properly explain, but all I know is that seeing all of those amazing children made my heart ache for my son.  I even allowed myself to think that maybe, just maybe, someday we will be there to cheer on our own special boy and he, too, will get a blue ribbon.

The best part of the day, however, was watching our little friend, Eric, from church, participate in the 400 meter walk.  We stood at the starting line with him and cheered like mad.  Then before we knew it our 3 boys ran off with him around the track.  Eric cannot run the whole way around, but he would jog from time to time and all 3 of my boys jogged along side of him cheering him all with all that they had.  Tears blurred my vision as Eric crossed the finish line and I was so pleased for him as he received the blue ribbon!!!  My heart swelled with happiness to watch my boys be such good little friends to their friend, Eric.  It showed me that they will be fantastic brothers to Daniel and be there for him; to cheer him on in life.

To top off our fantastic day I met a special woman whose name is Cindy.  Cindy showed up at our church last evening as a newcomer to our Wednesday evening Bible Study.  What makes Cindy extra special is that she, too, has Down Syndrome.  I kind of saw Cindy's visit to our church as a special sign from God...O.K., maybe I am being dramatic, but I couldn't help but rejoice in her visit.  You see, we found out that she is also adopted.  God is so good!  Need I even write just how amazing I think that is?  God is setting things up at for our church to welcome a whole new segment of the population to come and be a part of our church family and He started with Cindy.  To that He will add our Daniel.  I am praying that more families from our church would adopt, too, and add to our "special segment".

In the meantime I must wait.  I must wait on God; timing for our family and for Daniel.  I will continue to pray for him, day dream about him, think about what it will be like to see him for the first time, and how wonderful it will be to embrace him for the first time.  I wonder if in his heart he knows that he has a family...I wonder if he has moments where he daydreams, too.  While I wait I will continue to advocate for these orphans that so desperately need a family and praise God that He spoke to our hearts and led us to Daniel.

--Jenny

And the Winner IS........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

O.K, after over an hour of attempting to upload a video to Blogger, I give up.  I will just announce the winner and post the video to our Facebook page (we have a Facebook page for our blog now, so stop on by and "Like" us!!).

The winner is LINDY HOUSE of Brooksville, FL!!!!!!!!  Jeremiah drew her name out of his John Deere hat and it was totally random (I promise!!!).  Lindy and her family are in the process of adopting TWO little loves from Eastern Europe and I know that this gift card will come in handy.  Get those precious boys some clothes, girl!!!

A huge thank you to all that participated or passed the giveaway information along to family and friends.  We are also extremely grateful to anyone that simply prayed for us.  More important than raising money is lifting up prayers on our behalf to our Heavenly Father.  Without prayer anything we do is fruitless.  So thank you!

We will be having more giveaways so stay tuned.  You never know what may pop up!  Thanks again, everyone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We Didn't Forget!!!!

Hey everyone!  We did not forget to choose a winner.  Our family was at the Special Olympics this morning and by the time we got home we had a very car sick Jeremiah.  I am in the process of getting him cleaned up and settled.  Please be patient!!  Thank you!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Less Than 12 Hours & One Week!

If you have not yet participated in our Old Navy gift card giveaway you have less than 12 hours!!!!!  Donate to our adoption and have your name in the running to win a $50 gift card to Old Navy!!!!  Sadly, the odds of winning are pretty good:(  Let's see how competitive y'all are!!!  Who doesn't need some new clothes?!

In other fundraising news, this morning the boys and I met with Jenni Pinard, manager of Easy Street Family Fun Center.  We have things ready to roll for Dima Day which takes place one week from TODAY!!!!  From 4:00 pm. - 9:00 p.m. Easy Street will be donating 50% of the evening's proceeds directly towards our adoption grant with Reece's Rainbow.  Can I just take a moment and really commend Jenni and her staff for going above and beyond for our family?  I am really just blown away at how generous and helpful Jenni has been.  So even if you can't make it to our fundraiser, please swing your business her way.  Easy Street has done numerous fundraisers over the years and they deserve to be blessed in return!

During our event at Easy Street Eric and I will be talking with anyone and everyone interested in adoption, Reece's Rainbow, and of course telling everyone about our son, Daniel!  Jeremiah, Elijah & Nathan will be working behind the token counter selling tokens (with Jenni's help, of course!) and they, too, want to tell everyone about their brother.  Even if you just come for a slice of pizza and a drink we would be so thankful.  One of the party rooms will be available to those that do not want to play games and just want to hang out.  I want to be able to show pictures and video to Daniel of this event and help him know just how many people love him and how hard we all worked TOGETHER to bring him home.  He matters.  His life is important.  He deserves to be loved and live a happy life.  Won't you be a part of this special event and celebrate with our family?!

--Jenny