Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nook Color Giveaway!!!

The all new Nook Color now with Apps!!!

Eric and I are pleased to offer this item for our next giveaway.  Our Kindle giveaway was super successful and we hope that the Nook will do even better.  If you do not know much about this item, you can click here to look at all of the features.  It has Wi-Fi, apps, long battery life, etc...  I daresay that this is better than a Kindle!!  

How to Enter

*This giveaway runs from June 1 - June 14
It starts at 12:00 a.m. on June 1st and ends at 11:59 p.m. on June 14th. 

*  Make a donation to our personal Paypal account located on the left-hand side of our blog (the Paypal button under the heading "Donations for Immediate Adoption Expenses").  We are using our Paypal so we can track who is making donations.  Otherwise we have to hound Reece's Rainbow for a donor list.  Donations to our personal Paypal are not tax-deductible.

*The more you donate, the more opportunities you have to win!
$5.00 = 1 entry
$10.00 = 2 entries
$15.00 = 3 entries
$20.00 = 10 entries
$25.00 = 20 entries
$50.00 = 100 entries!!
$100.00 = 200 entries!!!

*You can add to your chances by publicizing our giveaway on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
*Sharing on Facebook = 1 extra entry
*Sharing on Twitter = 1 extra entry
*Sharing on your blog = 1 extra entry
*If you grab Dima's Reece's Rainbow button and put it on the side of your blog (located on the left-hand side of this blog- it has his picture) = 5 extra entries!!!
*For any of the extra entries to count, however, you must make at least a $5.00 donation.  You must also leave a comment on this entry with a link to your Facebook, Twitter, or blog so I can verify.  Otherwise it will not count.

Thank you for your participation and good luck!!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Could Not Have Said It Any Better

Please take a moment to read this and consider these etiquette guidelines.  I can say that we have actually heard some of the following negative comments and they can be hurtful and counterproductive.  Thank you.

Supporting Families Considering Adoption

Please say/do these things:
*Say You can do it! or I'm excited for you!
*Say My (friend/relative/etc) adopted and it was a really great thing for them
*Say If you need support I know of a great book/forum/person who can help
*Be available to listen and talk about it as they're making a decision

Please don't do/say these things:
*Act like we're crazy
*Make critical comments
*Write it off as a foolish or impossible idea
*Assume that since you're not personally equipped or called to do this that they aren't either

Supporting Families in the Adoption Process

Please do/say these things:
*Say "Congratulations"
*Ask "How can I encourage or support you during this process?"
*Ask how things are going, what step they're on now, etc.
*Listen when they need to talk about the process, their progress, their feelings about delays and roadblocks, etc.
*Throw a baby (or big kid!) shower to show that you're excited about the new arrival

Please don't do/say these things:
*Try to talk us out of it
*Act like you know what it's like (because you don't until you've been there)
*Make placating comments like "it will all happen in God's time" or "try to just relax and enjoy the process"
*Tell us horror stories about long adoption processes or failed adoptions or troubled adopted children
*Think that we are saints, angels or otherwise put us on a pedestal. 

Supporting Families Who Have Just Adopted

Please do/say these things:
*Bring a meal, paper plates or gift cards for takeout food
*Offer to run errands or help with housework
*Bring a small gift, make a card or otherwise celebrate the arrival of the child(ren)
*Treat the family the same way that you would if they'd just had a baby - expect that it will take at least 6 weeks (probably longer) for them to get back into the swing of life
*Be respectful of the attachment process.  If the parents say "please don't hug/hold/feed/etc the child" then follow their wishes.
*If they seem overwhelmed, be encouraging and remind them that they can do this and that things will get better

Please don't do/say these things:
*Assume that the child is just like any other child (no child who has been in an institution is going to interact with the world like one who was raised in a loving family)
*Assume that you know how they feel or what it's like to be an instant parent to a traumatized child
*Give advice if it isn't requested
*Say "I told you so" if things are hard or don't go as expected

Supporting All Adoptive Families

Please do/say these things:
*Treat them like a normal family.  They are a family first, an adoptive family second.
*Don't refer to the new kids as "adopted kids" or biological kids as "their own".  They are ALL their own!
*Be patient as they learn to be a family and work on behaviors or habits picked up in the orphanage
*Be encouraging and accepting
*Ask how you can help make life easier
*Be patient with the child as he/she learns appropriate ways to interact in a family, manners, etc...

Please don't do/say these things:
*Ask questions about the child or their background in front of them
*Respect that there are aspects of our children's pasts that we may choose not to share
*Criticize parenting techniques that seem strange or unnecessary to you (almost all adopted children must be parented differently than those who have grown up in a loving family)
*Expect the family to fall right back into their old routine or to immediately take up past commitments

Supporting Families Experiencing Hard Times (an adoption that falls through, behavior problems, unexpected special needs, feeling overwhelmed, adoption disruption, etc)

Please do/say these things:
*Be compassionate
*Offer your help
*Say "I'm sorry that happened"
*Pray for them

Please don't do/say these things:
*Say "I told you so" or any variation of that
*Criticize their reaction or decisions (you never know what you'll until you're actually in that situation yourself)
*Imply that you could have handled the situation better
*Tell them that they did it wrong, didn't try hard enough, etc
*Offer platitudes like "everything happens for a reason" or "there are other children out there"

Specifically for Professionals Who Want to be Supportive

Please do/say these things:
*All of the encouraging things above!
*Offer your help and a listening ear
*Give suggestions if you are asked and have experience in that area
*Support the parents in the decisions they make for their child
*Realize that the parents and child are still adjusting to each other and that this process takes time
*Realize that you can be a powerful influence and support to an adoptive family!

Please don't do/say these things:
*Don't assume that you know the child better than the parents do
*Don't assume that what works in the classroom will work at home
*Don't assume that the child you see at school is the same child the parents see at home (this is especially true for children with attachment problems - they can present a completely different set of personality traits and behaviors at home vs at school!)
*Don't assume that what works with a child who has grown up in a loving home will work the same way with a post-institutionalized child

Rachel Whitmire
Post-Adoption Care Coordinator for Reece's Rainbow

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Silent Auction - Fail

Well, our silent auction was a bust so I am officially closing it down.  I had one bid on one item and I will be contacting that person this afternoon.  I am so thankful, however, for those that contributed items for the auction.  I suppose that I will flat-out sell the items.  Any takers?

Our yard sale, however, was a bit of a success as we made exactly $600.  Eric and I now have the money to get all of our Dossier authenticated and shipped to Dima's country!  Yay!  Thank you to those of you that contributed items for the yard sale or helped make the yard sale possible.  We are so grateful!!

Since we are still needing over $10,000 there will be more fundraising so more on that later.  In the meantime I need to nurse some sick little loves back to health.  Poor Elijah and Nathan have rotten colds and coughs.  They feel miserable!  I pray that Jeremiah does not catch it, but as he was leaving for church this morning he was sneezing and coughing, too.  So I foresee a very quiet afternoon in our futures and some sleeping little loves.

Thank you again to those of you that helped with the yard sale!!  It was a success!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

24 Hour Silent Auction - Made With Love *Edited for Correction!*

**Please read the instructions carefully.  I am so sleep deprived that I did not write the instructions properly the first time- SO SORRY!!!!!  You DO NOT have to donate unless you have made the winning bid!!!!!!

Our next fundraiser is two-fold.  We are having our second yard sale here at our home tomorrow and we will be holding a silent auction that will be taking place both here on our blog and at our yard sale.  It will only last today and tomorrow, so if you want to participate, now is the time!  Each and every item was handmade with love by a friend or family member who very much supports our adoption of Dima.  Our family is so grateful for the time each person took to make and or ship these items to us.

Rules for Placing Bids

1. Choose which item(s) on which you would like to place a bid.  Please note that a minimum bid has been set for each item.  You must meet or exceed that minimum bid for your bid to count.  

2. To place your bid please send me an email: jenny.monier@gmail.com and state specifically what you are bidding on and for how much.  Please also leave your phone number if you would like for me to call you if you are a winner.  Please make sure your subject states that you are participating in our silent auction!  All winning bids will be placed into our Family Sponsorship Grant with Reece's Rainbow which will be tax-deductible for you.  To get to our grant page click HERE.   

3.  The winner of each item will be the individual who placed the highest bid on that item.  Winners will be announced on Monday, May 30th on this blog.  Winners will also be notified via email or phone call.

5.  I want to add that these items will be displayed at our yard sale tomorrow and people will have an opportunity to bid in person.  If you are local and would like to come make a bid in person, that is fine, too!

If you have any questions please feel free to ask!  I am more than happy to help.

ITEM #1:  Child's waist apron made by Mandy McGee from Houston, TX.
Minimum Bid: $5.00
Close up of the fabric- super cute!  Fabric is 100% cotton.

ITEM #2:  3 sippy cup leashes made by Mandy McGee of Houston, TX.
Minimum Bid: $3.00

Close up of the fabric.  The fabric is flannel.
These leashes  can be attached to a stroller or high chair via a velcro clasp.

ITEM #3:  1 sippy cup leash made by Mandy McGee of Houston, TX.
Minimum bid: $1.50

Close up of the fabric.  100% cotton- perfect for a little girl!
Again, can be attached to a stroller or high chair via a velcro clasp.

ITEM #4:  3 elastic beaded bracelets for a child or petite adult made by Genevieve Imbrogno of Lancaster, PA.   Minimum bid:  $5.00

The colors are blue and yellow which are the colors of Dima's country!  Each swirled bead was handmade.
The bracelets are small and could fit a petite adult or a child.
ITEM #5:  3 flavors of homemade jams from Grandview Acres!  Made by Beth Foster of  Greeneville, TN.
Minimum bid:  $15.00. 

Peachy Keen


Monkey Mash (Grandview Acres best-seller!!).  

ITEM #6:  Baby quilt made by Susan Monier of Inverness, FL.
Susan is Dima's Grammy!!!
 Measures 30 in. x 35 in.  
Minimum bid:  $15.00
Close up of baby quilt.  Cute pattern and detail! 

Back of baby quilt #1.

ITEM #7:  Child's quilt made by Susan Monier of Inverness, FL.
Susan is Dima's Grammy!!!
Measures 3 ft. x 3 ft.
Minimum bid:  $20.00

Close up of child's quilt.  Super cute and fun!

Back of child's quilt.

ITEM #8:  Adult quilt made Susan Monier of Inverness, FL.
Susan is Dima's Grammy!!!
Measures 4 ft. 5 in. x 4 ft. 5 in.
Minimum bid:  $25.00

Close up of stitching on adult quilt.  Beautiful detail.

Back of adult quilt.

ITEM #9:  Twin size quilt made by Susan Monier of Inverness, FL.
Susan is Dima's Grammy!!!
Measures  5 ft. 2 in. x 5 ft. 9 in.
Minimum bid:  $30.00

Close up of twin size quilt.  Beautiful detail.

Back of twin size quilt.  more beautiful stitching.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Saw Dima TODAY!

Well, not in person, but I saw a picture that was taken of him today.  For now it is the next best thing.  There is another family at Baby House 18 right now and the Momma saw Dima and took this picture for me.  When I woke up this morning and opened my email and saw his picture I about yelled with joy and cried at the same time.  The boys and Eric came running to the computer and they, too, were super excited to see a recent picture of Dima.  Sadly Dima is not his smiley self in this photo and it makes me wonder what was going through his mind at that exact moment.  There he is seeing 2 more little ones find their Mama and Papa and he still there waiting.  Little does he know that he DOES have a family, but it breaks my heart to think that he must be so sad.  There is another family heading to Baby House 18 in less than 2 weeks and I know I will see more pictures of our little man.  But again, Dima will see another little one get a forever family and there he remains.  Hold on sweet Dima!!!  We are coming for you as quickly as we can!!!

In the meantime Eric and I are anxiously awaiting our approval from Immigration.  Our family doctor has so graciously agreed to write a letter on Dima's behalf stating that Dima needs to be here to get medical attention.  While we do not specifically know Dima's medical background, at the very least our doctor can attest to the fact that a child over in Dima's country with special need is not getting the medical care that he or she so desperately needs.  As soon as our Officer gets that fax she will email the approval to us and we can get everything apostilled and get that Dossier off to Dima's country!  We are so close (with paper work) that it is so exciting!!!  Please pray that we get approved today or tomorrow and that we are fully funded in time to go be with our sweet boy!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One More Step Closer!!

I made a call to Immigration this morning on a whim that maybe, just maybe we have been assigned an Officer for our adoption.  So glad I made that call as we do indeed have an Officer!!  She was assigned to us yesterday afternoon and I was able to speak with her directly.  She was super nice and helpful, and she has requested that we send her a letter from our doctor stating what the possible complications of Down Syndrome could be for a child.  As soon as I got off of the phone with her I put a call into our family doctor who is the father of a child with Down Syndrome.  I am hoping that he will help us out so we can quickly get our approval.  The moment we get our approval we will be able to send our Dossier off to Dima's country!  I am so excited to be so close to getting our Dossier overseas!  Will you please join us in prayer that Immigration would grant us our approval this week?


I am fairly certain that most of you reading this blog have heard of or even read the book Radical by David Platt.  If you have not yet heard of this book and you claim to be a Bible believing Christian, I challenge you to read this book.  No, it is not the Bible, just a book written by a man. But this man has a very relevant message to share with today's church in America.  A very urgent and relevant message.

Eric has taught on this book 3 times at our church and we were pleased that some really understood the urgency of the message.  One woman even downloaded it to her Kindle as Eric was teaching and she has been doing all that she can to live her life radically for Jesus (she is in her 70's!!)!  For me personally, I do not ever want to forget what I read.  I do not ever want to forget that there is a sense of urgency here.  People are dying, suffering, hell-bound, and we in the church feel the need to quarrel over tiny, insignificant things.  There are people in our own community suffering in ways we cannot fathom and churches are more about entertainment and tickling people's ears.  They do not want to offend anyone by speaking the truth.  There are children dying, alone, and very afraid in this world and some people could care less because they are not American children.  Even though these thoughts have been swirling through my brain for the past 2 weeks, typing those words and then reading them makes me sick at my stomach.  Our culture is so self-centered and it must grieve God so very much.  I am sickened even by my own selfish thoughts and behavior!  I do not want to be "stink" to my God- I want to be fragrant and potent.  I want to live a life that would direct people's attention to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Even if that means people do not want to be my friend or say nice things to me (or about me), even if that means Eric and I give up everything to save one life, even if that means not being fully understood, even if it means that I make people angry at me, I. Don't. Care.  I cannot live my life the same as I have lived for so many years.  I just can't.

So what does this all have to do with our adoption?  Why is this in our adoption blog?  Because God has used Dima and the other 146 million orphans to change our lives for the better.  God has shown us the suffering of innocent little children and Eric and I could have very easily asked, "Why are you, God, allowing this to happen?"  Instead we heard God whisper in our hearts, "Why are you not doing something about this?"


Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Not About Me

Given some things that I have heard from fellow Christians over the past week regarding our decision to adopt Internationally (and a special needs child to boot!), I feel the need to share that this is not about me or Eric, or our selfish desires.  If you took a moment to examine the sacrifices that families repeatedly make to adopt these children, you would plainly see (I hope!) that this is anything but selfish.  It saddens me that people could be so hardened and turn away from God's plan for all people.  Those that have the hardened hearts may not see it that way, by the mere fact they are blinded by their hardness of heart.

Our humble little family has been stretched and bent in ways I did not even know possible.  We have been blessed to see God work miracles in our lives and that of other families that have boldly stepped out in faith.  I rejoice in the goodness of God and see it!  I see little ones who their own families believed were destined to die a slow, lonely, and painful death restored to health and happiness by those that saw it the way Jesus sees it!  I see families not quite funded on their rescue mission be fully funded in a matter of hours.  Jesus sees where there are needs.  I see the heart of my own children changing and desiring to serve God without apology; to see beyond themselves.  Jesus had to work on Eric and I first and show us His way.  Do you not think that if we were doing something so "awful" that maybe God would not have brought our family this far?  God's love knows no boundaries- I pray that my love never has boundaries, either.  That would be awful!!  God will also hold Eric and I accountable on how we teach our boys to love their neighbor as themselves.  Our neighbors are not just the people that live here in Ocala, FL, or the State of Florida, or the Southeastern United States, or the United States in general- the entire planet is our neighborhood.  God died for all people!  So here we are.  Humbly walking in the way that Jesus has shown us.

I would like to share the following song with you.  I pray that you would see it the way Jesus sees it.  It's not about me (or you!).  All that we are doing is for HIS glory and fame!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

147 Million Minus One Silicon Wristbands Are In!

The 147 Million Minus One wristbands were delivered 5 days early!!  They are 100% silicon with the words "147 Million Minus One" stamped on the outside.  The colors are blue and yellow (swirled) which just happen to be Dima's country's flag's colors.  So what is significant about the number 147 million, you ask?  That is the estimated number of orphans in the world today.  It is a sad number, one that could be significantly lowered if more families stepped up and opened their home to just one child.

The wristbands are $2.00 each and we will happily ship them to you.  We are not charging for shipping but should you feel generous enough to throw another dollar or two into your donation, that would help significantly with our postage expenses.  It is not required, though.  To pay for the wristbands please use our personal Paypal account (not tax-deductible) so we do not have to hound Reece's Rainbow a million times a day to get a donor list.  The link for that is on the left-hand side of our blog in the section: Donations for Immediate Adoption Expenses.  The money from the sale of the wristbands will be going towards the cost of apostilling our documents for our Dossier.  Apostilling is basically a notary of a notary with the State's seal.

Please also do not forget our adoption t-shirts!  We still have some available and they would look awesome with the wristbands.  Please see this entry to learn about the styles and sizes that are available.

Thank you for supporting Dima and our adoption!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Refuse

My new anthem.  Just had to share.  Thanks, Debbie, for sharing this song with me.

Who Are We?

My heart has been heavy this morning after some comments that have been made to myself and some of my friends regarding our adoptions of International children with special needs.  It only reveals the greater symptom of a more serious problem.  What I am about to share is not to be rude or disrespectful in any way.  I will, however, speak with truth in love.  I am obligated by my Creator to do so.  There is no way that I can sit idly by and just keep silent over something that grieves God's heart so very much.  It would be be dishonoring to Him.

Comments that indicate that those of us here in the United States should not adopt a child from another country, especially a child with special needs, is flat-out counter to our core beliefs as Christians.  Who are we to decide who is worthy of a loving home?  Did God discriminate when He sent His son to die on the cross for all of the world?  Did He say to Jesus, "Now go die on the cross to save the world from sin, but only the people that live in the United States (or insert country of your choice here) and accept you as their Lord and Savior and get baptized".  If anyone can provide me with the Scripture that supports that I will stop my crusade to advocate for all of the children in the world that need a home.  I will drop everything with Dima and adopt only children from the United States. But since I am confident in my relationship with my Lord, I feel secure in what it is that myself and so many other mommas are doing.  I know that God loves ALL children and He desires for ALL children to have a home.  Sadly, I see that our society is ignorant of what truly goes on in the world of orphans and it is an indicator of a greater symptom: selfishness.  

In the same way it is not my heavenly Father's will that even one of these little ones should perish.  Matthew 18:14

Did anyone see Jesus say, "In the same way it is not my heavenly Father's will that even one of these little ones from the United States should perish?  No.  God has no borders or boundaries on His love.  And thank goodness that He doesn't!!  Otherwise you or I could have been on the negative receiving end of His plan.  I praise Him that He sent His son to die for me, for Eric, for my boys, and for anyone who reads this blog post!!  He died for EVERYONE!!

Another point that was shared with me as I am sitting here and composing this post is that Jesus was not a politician.  Jesus was not ethnocentric- Jesus was KINGDOMcentric!!!  As Christians we should be KINGDOMcentric, too!!  If we want to live as Jesus, we need to get our minds focused on things above and abroad to see God's greater plan.  Yes, I live in the United States, but I am also a citizen of this world.  Above all I am a citizen of God's Kingdom!!

So who are we, dear brothers and sisters, to decide who is worthy of our love? 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:16-18.

So take a moment to evaluate where your loyalty lies.  For me it is a no-brainer.  I have material possessions and the ability to care for another precious child and I love God.  I care not what man says, I care what GOD says!  I will not withhold my love from a child or anyone else for that matter.  I also know that at the end of the day I am held accountable for my words and deeds:

Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help.  If you say, "Hey, that's none of my business," will that get you off the hook?  Someone is watching you closely, you know- someone not impressed with weak excuses.  -Paraphrase of Proverbs 24:12 from The Message.

Reading that makes it perfectly clear to me that if I am aware of Dima and his need and do nothing because he lives in another country, God will be displeased and hold me accountable.  Saying that people should not adopt children from other countries is flat-out a weak excuse.  Christians should be concerned with what God will have to say at the end of the day.

I also look at the situation from the perspective of what God thinks about children.  Do you remember the account of the children flocking to Jesus and the disciples attempt to shoo the children away?

The people brought the children to Jesus, hoping He might touch them.  The disciples shooed them off.  But Jesus was irate and let them know it:  "Don't push these children away.  Don't ever get between them and me.  These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.  Mark this:  Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.  Then, gathering the children up in his arms, He laid His hands of blessing on them.  -Paraphrase of Mark 10:13-16 from The Message.  

Who are we, dear brothers and sisters, to shoo the children of the world away from their families who have heeded God's call?  Jesus made it very clear that children have a high value in the Kingdom of God.  Are you KINGDOMcentric or ethnocentric?  Do you want to be like the disciples and shoo away children?  I assure you that a vast majority of the orphans overseas are not in church and getting saved and baptized.  These children have no hope....no chance of being raised in a good, Christian home if we do not step up to the plate and be about our Father's business.  None of us have an excuse.  Not a single one of us.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fingerprinting Complete/Adoption T-Shirt Fundraiser

Good morning!  It is amazing what 10 hours of sleep will do and  I feel like a million bucks this morning!  Eric and I had been exhausted due to yesterday's adventure.  We traveled to Orlando bright and early to get our USICS fingerprinting done- yay!  Eric's prints were accepted and went through the computer, mine were rejected by the computer so they had to do it the "old-fashioned" way and do ink prints.  We will not know for a week or so if my prints were accepted (yikes!).  But it is done for now and I rejoice at being one step closer.  The Immigration office in Orlando is right by the airport and seeing the airplanes take off gave me butterflies at the thought of taking off to go get my Dima.  That time will come before we know it!

After the fingerprinting we then ventured off to Brooksville to pick up some awesome t-shirts donated to us by Lindy House.  Lindy and her husband, Guy, leave in 9 days to meet and bring home their 2 precious boys from Dima's country!!  When Guy and Lindy did their fundraising they had someone design some snazzy adoption t-shirts to sell.  It was a success for them and they had some leftovers to share.  I now have in my possession some very stylish adoption t-shirts to sell and 100% of the profit will go directly towards our adoption.  The shirts are $15 each, with 2 designs to choose from.  Here are some pictures of the shirts below being modeled by Lindy's brother and sister (the photography is Lindy's doing- isn't she amazing?):

If you wish to order one (or 2 or 3!), please use our personal Paypal link (not tax-deductible) on the left-hand side of our blog.  In the notation of your donation, please specify that it is for an adoption t-shirt, how many, and what size.  Before you place your order, however, please let me know what size you need so I can confirm that we have what you need.  Also, if you are not local to me I am more than happy to send your order to you.

Here is our current inventory:

Of the "Do something lasting with yours" shirts we have:
6 size smalls in blue
2 size mediums, one in blue, one in a burnt orange
3 size larges, 2 in blue, one in gray
2 size x-larges, both in blue
1 size 2x in gray
1 size 4x in white

Of the "Adoption Rocks" shirts we have:
2 size smalls
2 size mediums  1 medium left!!!
2 size larges
1 size 2xl

Finally, so may of you have inquired about our silicon wrist bands!  Our order is slated to arrive at our home on May 25th and as soon as we get them I will snap a photo or two of them to share with you exactly what they look like.  It is exciting to see how enthusiastic so many of you are over the wrist bands! Yay!

Now let's get these t-shirts sold!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


We interrupt this blog to announce that our fingerprint appointment letters arrived in the mail this morning!!!  YAY!!!  While our actual appointments are not until June 8th, we are going to go ahead and do a walk-in appointment and get it done tomorrow!!  That means the next step is getting an Immigration Officer who will then approve us to send our Dossier over to Dima's country!!  WOW!!  I confess that it suddenly feels like it is all going so fast and it is a rather exciting and wild ride.  The boys are also super excited and were jumping around as I came sprinting back from the mailbox waving the letters over my head yelling, "We got them!  We got them!"!!  The neighbors must think I am a loon, but that's O.K.  Praise God for His timing in all things!!!

Someone Is Not Impressed With Weak Excuses

Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, "Hey, that's none of my business," will that get you off the hook?
Someone is watching you closely, you know— Someone not impressed with weak excuses.

Paraphrase of Proverbs 24:12 from The Message

I have been mulling over this verse at length since yesterday.  While The Message is a paraphrase, I like it's spin on the verse- it is direct and piercing.  This verse was key in our decision to adopt Dima, though it can be applied to just about any area of our lives.  

But I am going to look at this verse from an orphan/mission perspective.  Eric and I frequently get the question, "Why aren't you adopting a child from your own country?  There are so many children here that need a family!".  Yes, I absolutely agree that there are so many precious little ones that need a family right here in our own country.  No doubt.  As a Christian, however, I try to look at things through God's eyes, not my own.  To God, He loves ALL of the children of the world.  You know the song Jesus Loves the Little Children, right?  More than likely you even sang it in Sunday School back in the day:
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow, black and white, ALL are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
Jesus died for all the children, all the children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow, black and white, ALL are precious in His sight.
Jesus died for all the children of the world.
I didn't see anywhere where it said, "Jesus loves the little children, just the children from the USA"....nope.  It said ALL of the children.  

So as Eric and I prayed (even after considering domestic adoption), we were and still are very certain that God put Dima before us.  It matters not to God that Dima is in an Eastern European country.  The bottom line is that Dima needs a family and we are it.  Who is anyone to question God?  To be perfectly blunt, every time we are asked that question, it is a slap in God's face. Who are we to question?
Just because we live in the United States does that mean we turn a blind eye to children in other countries?  Is it Biblical to ignore the plight of orphans overseas?  Sure, it is all well and good to send missionaries to orphanages to visit with the children and play with them, but it is temporary.  In the long run it does not solve the orphan crisis.  (Yes, this is a CRISIS!)  The only true way to solve the orphan crisis is to get these children into forever families.  And I do not think God cares about borders.

A Bible verse that is popular in the adoption community is the following:
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
Paraphrase of James 1:27 from The Message.
Orphans do not have the love of a real family and they DO long for a family.  Ask any family that has set foot into an orphanage- time and time again I hear about how the little ones wander up to them and ask, "Mama?  Papa?".  There are many orphans that are homeless, too.  Even if an orphan is in a "decent" orphanage there is still something missing in their lives.  Jesus preached about love and his message and the Gospel message itself, is about restoration!  By bringing these orphans into our homes, there is restoration taking place!  Again I ask, in the context of God's plan for humans, should it really matter wether or not Eric and I are adopting domestically or Internationally?

God is not impressed with weak excuses for not doing something.  If Eric and I were to use the excuse of "Dima is not a child from our own country" God would not be impressed by that.  That is a very weak excuse!
On that note it is our prayer that all orphans, be it domestic or otherwise, would find a family.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Dima!

Today is Dima's 7th birthday.  I wonder if he knows that today is his birthday.  I wonder if someone hugged him and wished him a Happy Birthday.  He deserves better than whatever it is he had or did for his birthday today, that much I do know.  That precious child deserves to be with his family, to be loved unconditionally for who he is.

I woke up this morning determined that I would not cry because a birthday is a happy occasion.  But alas, after a lovely morning at church, I came home and cried like a baby.  This momma longs to have her son home.  He should be celebrating his birthday with his family and friends, not left in an orphanage.  My heart not only grieves for the boy whom I love so dearly and have never met, but for all of the little ones that do not have a family.  So while I rejoice that Dima is another year older and will probably be celebrating his next birthday with us, my heart cries out for him; longing for him to be here in my arms.

This time next year, however, I know that all of this time of waiting will seem like a distant memory.  We will be at Easy Street with all of our friends and family celebrating the life of a child who God chose for us.  Not only will he bring love and happiness to our family, but he will be a blessing to anyone who meets him.  His smile is contagious, his laughter is music, and his love is pure.

Please pray for our Dima today.  Pray that he is happy, healthy, and safe.  Pray that God prepares his little heart for all of the good things to come.  Please pray for our family, too.  While we fully trust God in all things, please pray that His love sustains us through the waiting and the remainder of the paper work.  Pray that God also continues to prepare our hearts for the changes to come.  And finally, please pray for those in our lives that do not fully understand what we have been called to do.  Pray for hearts to be changed and eyes to be opened.

Happy Birthday, Dima!  We love you and are doing all that we can as fast as we can to come and bring you home.  Please know that you are already so loved.  You have a Mama and a Papa who are over the moon in love with you, 3 brothers that fight over who gets to hug you first, and a church family that is praying for you each and every day.  You are special!  You were fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves you even more than your Mama and Papa or your brothers.  Hang on, little one, we will be there soon!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where's Dima?

I found some pictures on my camera last evening from an afternoon at our local park.  The boys were having a fabulous time playing together, but there was definitely someone missing from every one of these pictures...can you guess who?

Jeremiah, Nathan & Elijah...minus Dima
Jeremiah & Elijah

Jeremiah could have enjoyed swinging with Dima.

Elijah thinks about how great it will be to play with Dima.

Nathan cries for Dima almost every night.

The boys are happy and love each other very much, but they have more love to give to another brother.

This is the sweet face missing from each of the pictures!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Am Weak - He Is Strong

Throughout the journey of adopting Dima I have heard many people tell me how strong Eric and I are or how wonderful we are for opening our home to a special needs child.  While those are nice things for people to say, they are wrong.  Eric and I are weak and helpless.  This adoption could never take place if it were in our own strength and it would probably never even happen, period!  Day after day we have to fully rely on God's love and grace to get us through each task.  For those of you that have never gone through this process, I just want to be transparent for a moment and say that this is not for the faint of heart.  There are moments where I have found myself absolutely dissolved into tears over a single piece of paper.  I get shaken out of it, however, when I resolve to let God handle it.  As I sit there in a heap crying like a 2 year old, it is as though I look up at my Heavenly Father with my arms outreached to Him.  I want Him to pick me up and do this for me.  In my own strength I cannot do it.  I cannot make things happen as I want them to.  Time and time again my Heavenly Father reaches down with a loving smile, picks me up, calms my spirit, and carries me a little bit farther along.  So no, I am not some super strong woman made of steel.  I am more like Silly Putty.  Really pathetic Silly Putty!

As for the we're "so wonderful for opening our home up to a special needs child"?  Well, not really.  Eric and I are only doing what God asked us to do.  It is really no different than doing anything else that God asks us to do.  To Eric and I this only seems logical- normal, actually.  Why NOT adopt a child with special needs?!  Isn't that just showing the love of Christ to someone?  Isn't that something that Jesus would encourage us all to do?  To love the least of these?  And I assure you that even after our sweet Dima gets home we will have moments where we feel utterly overwhelmed and second guess ourselves.  But I also know that time and time again my Heavenly Father will give us the grace that is sufficient to ride out the bumps of the adjustment and all will be well.

So all glory to God in this process.  Without Him we are nothing.  With Him we can do everything!

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(Im)patiently Waiting For the Mail

I am hoping that we receive our fingerprint appointment letter in the mail today.  As soon as I have that letter in my hot little hands Eric and I can make arrangements to head to the immigration office and get our biometrics (fingerprinting) done.  We are also going to be asking our family doctor for a letter  stating what the possible complications are of a child with Down Syndrome so we can give it to our future immigration officer.  Immigration is not necessarily expediting petitions to adopt from Dima's country, but if there is a possibility that a child  needs medical attention, they will expedite.  Eric and I do not know much of anything in particular about Dima's health, but we do know that we will not really know for absolute certain until he is home and has been examined by our pediatrician.  Medical care in Dima's country is vastly different from that here in the States and who knows what they have diagnosed Dima with and why.

So as we wait the boys and I have been busy with finishing up our school year.  Yesterday afternoon for our P.E. class (physical education) we played in the pool for 5 hours!  It was heavenly.  Below is a video from our fun.  Take note of the 2 boys rocking their mohawks.  The pool water seemed to react with the dye and now Elijah and Nathan have purple mohawks!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Videos from Elijah's "Mohawking" Day!

Eric and I were certain to take video throughout the "mohawking" process.  It took all afternoon and into the evening since we did it in stages.  All in all I would have to say that yesterday was THE BEST Mother's Day I have had so far in my mere 8 years of being a mother.  Next will be even better since I will be able to celebrate it with all four of my awesome boys.  Elijah told me last night before bed that he would like to get a dyed mohawk for me every year for Mother's Day- what a swell guy! Ha ha!  Well, enjoy the videos and have a great Monday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Elijah's Mohawk Challenge - Pictures

Again, we still are amazed at what the Lord did with Elijah's challenge.  For those of you that missed the last entry, Elijah's challenge brought in $1525!  Elijah's highest amount for his challenge was $500!  WOW!  Elijah is just 6-years-old and has faith like you would not believe.  While he was somewhat surprised at first, Elijah later revealed that he was not super surprised because "God can do anything!".

Our little Nathan (who we usually call Sammy, by the way) even got in on the action since we raised way above what we had hoped.  He cried halfway through, though, and I felt badly about it.  Poor Nathan!

So below are some photos from today's grand adventure!  Thank you again!

Elijah & Nathan waiting for the dye to set. Poor Nathan was crying:(

My selfless Boo Bear:)

My funny Nathan:)

My awesome boys!

Elijah was trying to be a "cool dude".

It was also so wonderful to watch Elijah encourage his little brother.  While Nathan was crying Elijah would tell him that what they were doing was a good thing, something selfless rather than selfish.  I am very pleased that Elijah has been so proactive about bringing his new, "older" brother home.  I should add that Jeremiah has been diligent in his prayers for Dima and I am thankful that I have such a prayer warrior on my hands!

Elijah's Mohawk Challenge Results!!!

When I woke up this morning I truly did not think that I would be dying Elijah's hair pink today.  Was I ever so wrong!!!  At church this morning I was handed $1500 in cash and then found that our grant with Reece's Rainbow had grown, too!!  In all Elijah's challenge raised an amazing $1525!!!  So not only will Elijah be getting a pink mohawk today, but our little Nathan will, too!!!  Jeremiah has politely bowed out of participating (and that's O.K- I didn't want to force anyone into something they do not want to do).  If Eric had hair, however, I would have asked him to participate but poor Eric has no hair!!!  Eric and I continue to be amazed at how God is providing for our adoption but it only confirms one thing- LOVE ALWAYS WINS!!!!

So on that excited note, I am off to Wal-Mart to purchase pink dye for my sons' hair.  Eric and I will be posting videos of our endeavors later this afternoon so stay tuned.  And you know what?  I could not have asked for a better Mother's Day present than to have to dye my sons' hair pink to raise money to bring another son home.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Elijah's Mohawk Challenge

So far Elijah has made $25 from his challenge that he issued.  Thank you Rev. Meyer for your generous contribution!  You gave Elijah hope and that is all he needs to keep his chin up.  Elijah has not given up hope of even getting $200.

In the meantime I am getting things together for a silent auction that will take place here on our blog as well as locally here in Ocala.  Eric and I had planned on having an elaborate pasta supper fundraiser in our home next weekend to celebrate Dima's 7th birthday, but there is an event taking place at church and I do not want to compete with that.  The silent auction will begin on Saturday May 15th and run through Saturday, May 28th.  Everything is homemade and crafty, made with love.  We are willing to ship items to the winners so no worries there.  OR, if you live locally, you can bid on the items at our yard sale which will be on Saturday, May 28th.  We will have a new assortment of items for the actual yard sale, baked goods, Eric will have the grill going with hotdogs and other goodies, and we hope to see some familiar faces!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

We Received a Grant!

Yesterday afternoon Eric and I were informed that we are the recipients of a grant from a company called Christian Financial Resources.  The grant is for $2500 and that amount is reflected in the thermometer located on the left-hand side of our blog.  Eric and I are over half way funded and now only need to raise $12,500 to meet our goal!  But the manner in which we received the grant is nothing short of a divine appointment and we are amazed at how God works.

Back in March a gentleman, Mike, from CFR had an appointment with Anthony, our senior minister.  Anthony had been called out on some sort of emergency so Mike was directed to Eric's office.  Eric and Mike chatted for awhile and eventually the conversation turned towards family.  Eric happily showed Mike the pictures hanging on the wall of our boys, and in those pictures are pictures of Dima.  Eric shared our family's story and Reece's Rainbow with Mike.  When it was all said and done Mike asked if we would like to be considered for a grant from CFR.  That was not at all difficult question to answer!  We absolutely wanted to be considered!  Over the past several weeks Eric and I complied the necessary information for CFR and yesterday all of our efforts paid off.

We are so grateful for our grant and humbled that God would work in such an amazing way to bring funds to our adoption efforts.  As I share in almost every entry, love always wins.

On that note, please do not forget Elijah Mohawk Challenge!!  Click here to see Elijah's video on how you can participate.  We still need to raise $12,500 in order to be fully funded and we can see the light at the end of a very long tunnel!!  You can also participate in Dima's 1,000 Birthday Wishes  by donating a mere $10 to our FSP and passing the word along.  Again, if 1,000 people donated just $10.00, we could raise $10,00 putting us just $2,000 shy of being fully funded!  $10.00 is not really much money and most of us spend that much at Starbucks in a week.  Is not the life of a child more important than a cup of coffee from Starbucks?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Elijah's Fundraiser Challenge to YOU!

So there you have it!  My sweet Elijah is willing to cut his hair into a mohawk and dye it one of three colors depending upon how much money we raise by Mother's Day!!  He thought of this on his own as I was giving Jeremiah a haircut this afternoon.  Elijah's hair appears to be short, but it is indeed long enough to have put up into a mohawk and dyed a silly color.

You can make your tax-deductible donation to our Reece's Rainbow grant here and make certain you specify that it is for Elijah's mohawk challenge.  Again, if we raise $200 by Mother's Day he will have his hair cut into a mohawk and dyed green.  If we raise $400 by Mother's Day he will have his hair cut into a mohawk and dyed red.  And if we manage to raise $500 by Mother's Day Elijah will bravely cut his hair into a mohawk and dye it PINK!!! If we raise more than that, well, we will be thankful and maybe make things a little more interesting.  As his mother I am O.K. with this and think that it is O.K. to do something a little "crazy" (and not permanent) to raise money for orphans.  Elijah especially has a heart for orphans and even plans on advocating for the orphans that Eric and I will have to leave behind once Dima is home.  Who am I to stop Elijah's mission work?!

We are only $15,000  $12,500 away from being fully funded!!