We are home with Amos, Daisy, Lee and Violet! Meanwhile we have jumped in again for one last very special girl. If you would like to help with that, you can make a non-tax-deductible donation HERE that we can access immediately. You can also make a tax-deductible donation HERE that we can use once we receive travel dates. Or by donating HERE you can help provide her and other children at her orphanage the care and nutrition they desperately need. See all of our current fundraisers HERE. We are thankful for any support you can offer!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


This has been a hard Christmas season.  Some good things, some joy, but also a lot of hard.

I am missing people.  I am missing people who have passed away or who live too far away to celebrate with us.  I am missing children who aren't yet here. I am missing connections with people that I thought would be supportive, but do not understand why we have chosen this path. I am also rejoicing that we have received support from unexpected places, even strangers.

I feel like I am failing to convey the urgency we feel for this adoption. People don't understand why we are doing this if we need to fundraise. People don't understand why we need paperwork filled out quickly and accurately. Is this a personal failing? How do I better communicate this need? How do I shout, "Look at this need!" without scaring people away? How do I share enough that people are no longer in the dark, but not so much that they are overwhelmed? How do you make people care? Can you?

This is something that falls heavily on me. If I could be more eloquent, more passionate, more concise, maybe I could inspire people to care.  I could make people see what I see, feel what I feel, maybe I could make the people who care move to action. But my explanations are not brief, and my passion has not inspired others to help us. So I will take this opportunity to explain myself, and embrace the fact that these mere words will fall short of sharing the true depth I wish I could express. I hope that if you have had these thoughts and left them unspoken, you will read my words and feel the things I could not say.

Why should we help you? We didn't ask for help when we had our kids. If you can't pay for the adoption, how can you pay for their needs?

Okay, for starters, we have come up with about $25,000 in cash without fundraising. International adoption is expensive. I wish it was as simple as seeing that children need families, but most of our expense are for documents, filing fees, and travel costs to pick up the children. If we waited another year or two, we could come up with the whole amount in cash. So why not wait? We don't want to wait because children die while you wait. The children who aren't dying aren't really living either. Even in "good" places, the conditions are bad. You can have school age children the size of infants and teenagers the size of toddlers. Children are drugged so they will be more manageable. Girls have their heads shaved to prevent lice. Children lay alone in cribs all day because they have a disability, but they would be attending mainstreamed classes in school if they were here. Things go untreated. Some children lose sight or hearing; others never learn to walk or talk.

We feel a sense of urgency because it is urgent for these children. Since we began this process, a boy we were considering adopting died unexpectedly. If we wait for two more years, Theo will no longer be eligible for adoption. I do not want to be depressing, but the truth here is depressing.  If you age out of the system as an orphan, your prospects in life are not good.  If you age out as an orphan who is not able to walk, who has spent his life in a mental asylum because he was born with special needs? You don't exist.

Why are you adopting when you have children already? Other people want to adopt too.

If other people were willing and able to adopt these boys, they wouldn't be orphans at almost 13 and 14. The truth is that not many people are interested in adopting children with disabilities, and even fewer are interested in adopting teenagers with disabilities who have lived in institutions. People in their country will not adopt these children. If they were willing to, they would have done it already. We are not on a five year long waiting list for healthy infants. These are children waiting for families, not the other way around.

Why are you adopting when you have children already? Why aren't you thinking of them?

First, I want to reassure people that we are thinking of them. Through every step of this process we have considered how the decisions we make would affect our whole family. The idea that we are bringing new people into our home, who have had their own life experiences and been shaped by those experiences before they come into our home, can be scary.   I will say that there are many children who have needs, both physical and emotional, that our family is not equipped to handle.  We know that. We know that this will be hard, and that there will be sacrifice from everyone. We are okay with that.  We feel that we will all be gaining from this also; that we are the ones who are lucky, blessed, by the opportunity to add these sons to our family.

Think about what your thought process would be before you make a lifetime commitment requiring $30,000.  Not something to take on lightly, right? We discussed this long before we made our decision.  My husband and I were talking about adoption, and having a large family, before we started dating! We have had meetings with counselors and with the social worker granting us approval, questioning our motivation and level of preparedness. We have completed almost 20 hours of coursework required by our homestudy. We have done extensive independent reading about adoption and the particular special needs we anticipate dealing with.  We have talked with real, live families who have adopted real, live children from the orphanage we will be traveling to and similar institutions.

It really isn't anyone's business, but many people have asked, so we will add this.  We are able to continue getting pregnant and giving birth.  Adoption is ALWAYS an option to build your family. We are choosing this because we think it is the best choice for our entire family right now, not as a second choice.

Why are you adopting older children? They will be predators.

Whew, this is a tough one, but it comes up a lot. I like that it recognizes that these children may have been victims of abuse. Our children will be coming from a tough place, and the potential for previous abuse is a part of that. As for the rest of it, we recognize that people who have been victims of abuse may repeat those actions.  We don't know whether or not these boys have been abused, but if they have, that is their information to share when they are ready.  Not ours. We are aware of that possibility, and we are arranging things to make sure everyone in our house will be safe. If they have been abused, we will help them heal from that abuse, and be mindful of it.

If this is something you are worried about, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that statistically, relatives, friends of the family, and significant others of single parents are all highly probable risks for abuse. Beyond that, you are calling our children predators.  If you have actual evidence of harm at any point, of course we would act immediately.  Otherwise, consider how you would feel if we called your spouse or child a predator with no evidence for the claim. This is something we have considered, and we do not have the impression that our children have predatory behavior, based on the experiences of people who have spent time with them.

Why would you want to take care of all of them? You can't take care of all of them.  You can't afford all of them. Taking care of them will ruin the lives of your other children.

These ones seem to go together.  For starters, I am a stay at home mother right now.  I love children.  I have my own things that I love to do also, but I love caring for my children. I am an effective advocate for my children and their needs in therapy, to the extent that new providers ask if I have a professional background in their specialty. I am familiar with our local special needs network because of the needs of one of my sons.  We live in a small community, and while our county has less resources than a large city, everyone knows us and is familiar with us.  In addition, we have several major hospitals for needs like cerebral palsy within a reasonable drive. We have world-class speech resources within an hour's drive. There are therapy options for children and adults with CP. I have been in contact with all these resources, and many more, as we have made our decisions. Our current insurance covers our medical costs, in addition to the potential coverage of costs by the state. We have considered the possible needs of these children in terms of cost, emotion, and time, and we still feel that this is the best choice for all of the members of our family. We do not think they will ruin our lives or the lives of their siblings.

There are so many children here. Why are you going there instead of taking care of children here?

There are many children here who need families, and there is a need for foster families.  Adopting domestically is great! Fostering is great! All children need families.  That means that children here need families, and children in other countries need families too. The conditions for children with special needs in other countries are not good. Special needs, particularly speech delays and cerebral palsy, are very near to our hearts because one of our sons has similar needs. If he had been born in Eastern Europe, he could have ended up in those same institutions even though his needs are really quite mild.  This is why we feel drawn to adopt children with special needs from the country we are traveling to.  If you would like to pursue domestic adoption or foster care and don't know where to start, check out AdoptUSKids.

How do you know it isn't a scam? I know someone who was scammed by an adoption agency. How do you know that the grant foundation isn't a scam?

This is a very real problem in the world of adoption.  We too know people who have lost money and had their hearts broken by unethical individuals and agencies.  For multiple reasons, we are certain that these are real children.  In this country, there is always the chance that a child could be adopted by someone else before you get there.  It is rare for that to happen with older children with special needs. The majority of our expenses are not due until we are actually about the meet the children. I am willing to discuss this more privately.

Who will take care of them after you die?

This is a good question, although somewhat morbid.  We did consider that there are many people who need to support their adult children who don't have special needs.  If these boys have special needs, that means they are even more likely to live with you forever.  Right? Well, not necessarily.  There are a lot of options for independent living and living in a good group home setting.  Our county has a training center for individuals with developmental disabilities and also helps people find jobs.  Our property is set up so that we could add another house here, and we intend to do that. That would give us the option of using our current home as an apartment for them if they wanted to stay here but live separately, and we also intend to build an in-law suite into the other house.  That is a little ways into the future.

For the financial aspect, we have been talking with a planner about the best way to establish insurance and trusts to provide money for long-term care without affecting benefits.

I have filled this page with words, but words fall short.  Less is more.  What is the answer to all of these questions? The answer is that we want these boys to be our sons.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What are we waiting on?

Confession: Sometimes I am impatient.  I am tolerant, meaning I can put up with a lot.  I just don't like when things take a long time.  Patience is a virtue I lack.  Right now, I wish the entire adoption process was already completed, so that we could focus on our real tasks of loving on and healing the kids.

It pains me that I spent an afternoon requesting marriage certificates for the sixth time.  The county clerk knows me by name now, and it hasn't actually affected our forward progress, but there are so many things I would rather be doing. My doctor's practice manager is balking at filling out my medical form and providing licensing information.  I am trying to stay calm while I explain what I need and why I need it, and what will happen to the paperwork when I receive it.  Inside I am screaming, "Can't you see the urgency of this? Stop worrying about the petty medical filing bureaucracy for two minutes, and sign the paper. It is the same thing you filled out for the state!"

I am counting to ten.  I am breathing deeply.  I am praying.  Would you like another confession? I don't pray nice, flowery prayers that you could read aloud in church.  My prayers are usually things I mutter under my breath like "Dear God, please let there be a matching pair of shoes under this bed," or "Please don't transfer me to voicemail, for the love of Jesus."

I am also checking my email ten times an hour. Not a day. An hour. (Yet it never fails that I receive all of my emails when I am away from the house running errands. Why is that?)  I have heard this from other people in the adoption process, and I just thought they were exaggerating.  Nope. It has gotten to the point that I turn off the router when I am working in the kitchen so that I don't hit refresh every time I walk past the computer. It would be comical if I wasn't serious!

There are other things too. I look at pictures of the boys when they were younger.  I have photos of both of them from six years ago.  They were babies. They were just little babies, toddlers.  There are pictures of the adults from the same institution, and they were only little children.  You want to stop time, go back and change it. But you can't, of course. It is life, and those little babies are now teenagers.  The older children in the photos are now adults, and will never be given a chance to leave.  At least the ones who haven't turned 16 yet still have the hope of having a family, even if they don't realize it.

This whole process is filled with pain and anxiousness and worry and hope. And love.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Okay, today, December 16th, is your very last day to enter our Vacation Giveaway. Drawing tomorrow! Now or never!

Now are you ready to see the shirts?

Aren't they awesome? Don't you want one?

You really, really do, right?  You can buy them here!


Here is the pricing outline:

Adult and youth size t-shirt are $18.  Long sleeve shirts are $25. Hoodies are $40.


Looking for more fundraisers? HERE are the Reece's Rainbow family fundraisers running through Friday the 20th!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

New Fundraiser! Who Needs A Shirt?

As our Vacation Giveaway draws to a close, I can't wait to find out who the winner will be! There are only a couple days left, and not many entries.  We have received just over $300 in donations, so you have a really good chance to go to Florida! If you want to enter, make a $10 donation to our FSP through THIS LINK or the button on the right side of the blog, then email me at with your receipt.

So, what is next? T-shirts! 

Orion says, "T-shirts? Nice!"

Our t-shirt sales will begin on Monday. Consider this advance notice for some awesomeness.  We put extra time and effort into creating a shirt that we hope will appeal to a wide audience, but still showcase our family's journey. 

Originally we were planning to do a flash sale that would be able to ship in time for Christmas.  Because of a few delays, that will no longer be possible.  Instead, we will begin taking orders on Monday.  If we receive 50 orders quickly, we will request for that batch to be printed and shipped to you. Then we will start taking orders for another batch.  If it takes longer, we will set a date at the beginning of January to close the orders and ship them all at once.

So what are they going to look like? You need to wait for Monday to find out! Here are some hints.  The background is grey, and the design is blue and yellow. The design shows both our love for these boys and our love of where they come from.  Want more than that? You'll see it on Monday!

Friday, December 13, 2013


I'm going to focus on another child today, one we aren't adopting.  She is at the same institution as the boys we hope to adopt.  She turns 16 in March.  16 is a "special" age for adoption.  If a family doesn't file certain paperwork with immigration before a child's 16th birthday, that child is no longer eligible to be adopted into the US. You don't need a completed homestudy.  You just need to mail in one form. Some countries have their own cut-offs as well.  In China, a child needs to be adopted before they turn 14. Turning 14 or 16 without a family can mean a lot of different things. Most of them are bad.  For the girl I'm going to tell you about, it would mean spending the rest of her life in a crib, maybe graduating to a bed eventually.

This girl is known as "Salome" on the Reece's Rainbow site.

See how she is sitting up? None of us knew she could do that! She can sit independently for at least an hour.  That's pretty impressive considering she spends most of her time laying down in a crib.

Even though she spends most of her time in that crib, she has an amazingly sunshiney personality.  Check out this video of her giggle.  I love it.

The MOST adorable giggle ever.

Did you see it? Did it make you smile?  If you didn't click the link to view the video, go back and do it.  It would make the Grinch's heart grow a few sizes. She giggles. She even chortles.

So, here is this sweet girl.  She loves attention.  Unfortunately, most of the time she doesn't get much of it.  This is where she spends most of her time.  In her crib.

There is another photo of her in her crib HERE.

This photo of her shows one of the nice treats she gets on occasion.  She is out of her crib and with some of the other children for playtime.  I say children, but the boy on the left in this picture is nearly twenty, although he looks much younger.  She is out of her crib though! LOOK!

When she has the chance to get attention from people or spend time being tickled she glows with happiness.  She laughs. She smiles.  She comes to life.  Wouldn't she have so much fun sitting with a bunch of brothers and sisters during storytime? Wouldn't she love having her back rubbed while her mama and daddy sing lullabies before bed? Wouldn't she enjoy spending time outside in the sunshine and being taken along on walks through the neighborhood?  

Yes, her need is more urgent because of her age and because she will remain bedridden if a family doesn't step forward before her birthday in March.  But she deserves a family because of her merits, not just her need.  She is a treasure, and a family would be so lucky to have this sweet girl in their home. She reminds me very much of the son of friends of my family.  He brings his family so much joy, and they love him so dearly.  He is so precious to them.  She could do the same for a family, and they could do so much for her.

She has a large grant through Reece's Rainbow, to help cover some of the costs for a family who steps forward for her. Right now her grant would cover the cost for a family already adopting from the same orphanage to adopt her as well, and it would almost cover the cost for a family adopting from a different orphanage in the same region. You can donate to her grant to help ease the financial burden if an interested family were to step forward.

Recently she has been receiving massage therapy with other children at her institution because of donations to (the AMAZING) Maya's Hope.  Check out this clip, which shows how much she loves that therapy! This therapist is a brand new development thanks to lots of work behind the scenes by incredible people who are dedicated to these kids, and it will be great to see how much the children blossom.

If a few minutes of massage or a little bit of attention can make such a difference for Salome, imagine what her life would look like with the benefit of a family and therapy. She doesn't have much time to find that family.  Without her exact birthdate, we should assume her birthday is in the beginning of March.  At best, it would take a week for her paperwork to be filed.  In order to have it in by the beginning of March, we only have about two months from today.  Her family needs to see these pictures and videos of her in the next two months.  They could have an amazing life together, but they need to find each other first. Can we make it happen?


I have written another post about Salome HERE, and she stars in a video HERE. Check them both out!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Exciting News, Part 2!

Okay, so you know that we're heading to Eastern Europe because we plan to adopt Theo right?  If not, here is Theo.  He is amazing.  He is very loving. He is on the quiet side, at least until you turn on the music.  He loves music, and he does a great job rocking to the rhythm.  He also plays a mean drum.


In contrast to Theo's quiet personality, there is another boy at the same group home who is very energetic.  He is just as loving, and he is just as fond of music.

Do you see where we are going with this? Hello, dance parties in the living room!

This is Orion. If you are a fan of the kids at Orphanage 50, you will recognize him immediately. Somehow he seems to find himself front and center every time someone has a camera.  His excitement and his enthusiasm shine.


These boys have lived in the same institution for many years, and they'll be coming to a new home together as well. Are you excited? Cause we sure are!

There will be some additional costs required to add a second child.  They are lower because these boys are at the same place, but it will raise our in-country costs by about $5000. If you'd like to play a part in helping us welcome them home, you can make a tax-deductible donation by following this link:

Our Vacation Giveaway is also running until December 16th, so there are only a few days left to take part! Check it out HERE!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Homestudy Draft, Plus A New Picture!

If you've never taken part in the adoption process, the paperwork required for all of the different steps might seem confusing and overwhelming to keep track of. It's not much better when you're actually doing it. Okay, so it isn't really that bad as long as you just do the next thing, but there is a lot to keep track of.  I talked about it a little bit HERE.

What does the homestudy say? It talks about your home, background, family, medical history, training, parenting style, and general suitability for adoption. It lists the numbers of children, ages, and special needs you are approved to adopt. Before the social worker writes your homestudy, you spend a lot of time learning about adoption and your social worker spends a lot of time learning about you.

The homestudy is your first big checkpoint.  We now have a draft of ours, so after a few revisions, we will be completely done with this first stage. Woohoo!

What does that leave? We need to get our immigration approval. We need to complete the last couple documents to send to Eastern Europe, where they will be translated.  When both of those things are finished, our dossier will be submitted to the government! They will look things over and approve them, then give us permission to travel.

When will that happen? This is a tougher question to answer.  We know what steps we need to take, but not how long each one will require.  The average time for immigration approval is listed as 2.5 months, but obviously some people are faster than that and some are slower.  Hopefully because we are planning to adopt a waiting child with special needs, we will not have any unnecessary delays.  Once that last form is received from immigration, our dossier will be submitted.  The other forms will already be completed, sent over, and translated to make things move as quickly as possible. Our time to travel is also very fluid.  Some people get travel dates within a month of submitting and with as little as three days notice before they need to appear in Eastern Europe! The average is two to three months. We won't be booking flights in advance, that's for sure!

We think this smile is worth all of the work though.  What do you think?

By the way, it's Friday! Our Vacation Giveaway is listed in this week's Reece's Rainbow Friday Family Fundraisers. Check out some of the neat things other families are doing to raise money!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Do You Love Going To The Doctor?

You know how you always wait forever for the doctor, but if you're a mom like me that's okay because it's kind of like the "me time" everyone says you're supposed to get? Hey, half the time we are wearing nothing but a paper gown and listening to terrible music, but it's still a mental health break.  This wasn't that kind of doctor visit.

We needed a form for my husband, but I needed to make sure it was done correctly.  Then the doctor's signature needed to be notarized.  This only required about two minutes to complete. It took an hour and a half to get to that point though. Did I mention we also had all four of our kids with us because it seemed silly to get a babysitter just to have a paper signed at the doctor's office down the road from our house? So there we were, the six of us, plus the notary, together in the smallest room ever.

Apparently both the person at the front desk and the nurse didn't understand us when we said we needed the paper filled out and signed, and that my husband had talked to the doctor about it at his last visit. We waited, and waited, and waited. Eventually, the doctor came in, was incredibly helpful and accommodating as he signed the papers and gave us his license information, and we were done.  He was pretty surprised that the staff didn't just pull him aside to sign it between patients.  So were we!

I really hope there aren't any problems with it.  The nurses were looking more and more concerned each time they walked by our exam room and counted the number of people we had.  The kids were good, but four children in a tiny room for more than an hour is a lot to ask.  I don't think the notary would agree to come back and do it again either! Fingers crossed it's okay!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Today was another paperwork day.  Have I mentioned that while we are within an hour of great hospitals, we are also very rural?  Well, we are.  And today was a perfect example of that.

We need someone to notarize a doctor's signature on my husband's medical records.  There are traveling notaries in the big nearby city.  None of them were willing to drive all the way out here.  We are willing to pay handsomely, but no one was interested.  Side note: I remember three other people wanting to become a notary after going through the adoption process so they could help other families.  Add me to that list!

We called the county clerk who seals all the notary stamps before they can go to the state to get an apostille. First they had no idea why we were even talking to them.  "That needs to be done in Nevada or wherever you are going." We finally explained why we needed this form done here, so that it could be sent to Eastern Europe and translated. They suggested we ask the only bank in our town.  Great idea! Unfortunately, I had already asked them and they said they couldn't leave the bank during business hours.  Then they gave us the number of a local insurance office. They are willing to do it for us. I gave a huge, dramatic sigh of relief. We will be switching all of our policies when they come up for renewal.

So now we have my husband's medical forms lined up.

Now we need to line up my medical forms.  My doctor actually has a notary on staff, because they are in that big city.  They don't do TB tests though! We tried to get my appointments scheduled with them a month ago when we discovered this.  I don't see my husband's doctor, so his office can't do the test. We were sent to our county hospital.  They can't do them unless we work in a health or food service field.  The county health department can.  Hooray! That will be tomorrow.  Between playing phone tag and the general holiday season, things that should have taken days have taken weeks. Once I have that in hand, I can have the remaining form completed.

Most of the previous work was completed over the phone.  It's a pain, but at least I can do it from home. Remember how I said that the county needs to check on a notary before a form can receive an apostille? Well, one of our forms was notarized by someone who is registered in a different county. We asked their work hours last week.  We made the drive out to that county today.  Their clerk is on vacation for the next week. We spent an hour and a half in the car, and didn't even get a single completed paper for our efforts!

Better luck next week. It will all be done eventually.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Brains Are Amazing.

This was posted the other day on a group for adoptive parents of children with cerebral palsy.

Theo has cerebral palsy.  Since he has never received therapy and hasn't had a thorough medical examination by an expert in years, if ever, we have no idea of what he will be able to do after therapy.  If what he can do now is what he will be able to do in five years, that is fine with us.  He is wonderful.  But if he can do more to make his life easier, to make it easier for him to be independent, we want to support that too.

The brain is an amazing thing, and we are only beginning to scratch the surface. This is exciting stuff!

Aquatherapy, hippotherapy, therasuits, even the basic developmental materials that can be adapted for different needs, these are all amazing things.  We don't know yet what Theo's best options will be.  He has a lot of strengths.  He cannot walk on his own, but he can move himself around and he can sit up well.  He can feed himself.  He does have at least some speech and language, and we also have amazing PROMPT speech therapists within an hour.  These are the things we know so far.  We will be able to learn so much more after we have spent time with him.  We can't wait!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Vacation Giveaway!

Update 1/27/2014: We have a winner! Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part and helped us make this a great fundraiser!

So, who wants to spend Valentine's Day at Disney in Florida?

We are auctioning the week from February 8th, 2014 to February 15th, 2014 in a two-bedroom, three-bathroom villa that sleeps 8 people. You will stay at the Westgate Towers resort, just minutes from Disney.

These rooms are beautiful.  There is also a full kitchen in your suite, plus a dining and sitting area. Here is the floor plan.

You will need to buy your own park tickets, but my husband is a Disney expert, and he is willing to help you plan any part of your trip and answer any questions you may have!

Would you like to know more about what we are raising money for?  

This is Theo.  Theo lives in an institution in Eastern Europe.  He loves music and going for walks.  He also has cerebral palsy.  He does not receive any kind of therapy right now.  He is incredible, and he has so much potential.  We are in the middle of the adoption process right now!  So not only will you have the opportunity to take a wonderful vacation with your family, you'll be able to help a child get a family of his own. How cool is that?

We are also adopting Orion now!  Orion is an amazing, funny boy who is just a ton of fun. He is curious and excited about everything! We can't wait to have both of them here!

Monday, November 25, 2013


Okay, I am over-the-top excited for this.  This is going to be the most awesome, ginormous shoe drive in the history of the planet.  Or at least close to it.

Who can you collect shoes for? 

You can collect shoes to raise the grant of your favorite waiting child.  You can collect shoes to raise money for your family's adoption.  You can even collect shoes to raise money for another family in process!

Do you want to participate?  We have three regions or zones.  

The first region is within 125 miles of Holyoke, MA.  If you are in this zone, our first 500 lbs collected will earn 30 cents per pound.  That is about 10 packed boxes, which we should be able to collect very quickly.  After that, this region will earn 35 cents per pound.  Personally delivering is another option if you live near the facility we are shipping to.  If you have a large quantity, say 1500 pounds of shoes, you can earn 45 cents per pound by delivering the shoes yourself and eliminating the shipping cost to the business we are working with.

Our second region is everything outside of the first region, heading west through Ohio. This will include the areas of New England further than 125 miles from Holyoke, MA.  It will also include the rest of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio. This region will earn 20 cents per pound on the first 500 pounds collected, and 30 cents per pound after that.

Our third region is everything south and west of Ohio.  This region will earn 20 cents per pound. We don't have a minimum to meet for this region, but it is extra important that we send the right kinds of shoes and that we pack our shoes as tightly as possible in the boxes from this region. I know this region will go as far west as Missouri.  If you're further than that and you're interested, I can see if you can be included too.

So what kinds of shoes do we need?

We need gently used shoes that can be cleaned up and reused. We can use men's shoes, women's flats, kid's shoes, athletic shoes, and sandals. The shoes will be sent to Africa, so there are a few kinds of shoes that we can't accept.  We can't take any boots, like snow boots or fashion boots. We can't use stilettos or spike heels, although flats and low heels are okay. We also can't take flip-flops or crocs. I have a PDF poster that shows the type of shoes we want.


You can start collecting shoes now!  Talk to your local community.  You can go to your churches, schools, friends and family. We've had recommendations to ask resale shops and garage sales for their leftover shoes.

I've got shoes.  Now what?

Okay, do you have a lot of shoes or a few? It takes about fifty pairs of shoes to fill one of the shipping boxes.  If you have a smaller batch, we can try to find someone nearby for you to combine with.  We can prepay for boxes and be reimbursed or you can use your own boxes if you have a good supply of uniform boxes approximately 18" by 18" by 24".  We will get you shipping labels, and you can drop the boxes off at the store that will be shipping them.  For larger shipments we can get a pickup of your packed boxes.

How do you know who should get credit for these shoes?

When you tell us you are ready for a batch of shipping labels, you will also tell us whose account you want your shoes to be credited to.  We will keep track of the numbers on the shipping labels.  Because of the tracking system we are using and the company's shipping system, it will be very important to not print the same shipping label more than once.  When the company receives your shoes, they will mark the shipping number and any other coding and weigh your box.  Reece's Rainbow will get checks from the company for the weight of those boxes, and they will use those tracking codes to make sure that the money earned goes into the correct accounts.

How long will this go on for?

Hmmmm....forever?  Well, maybe not forever, but it will go on indefinitely.  There isn't a set deadline for this fundraiser to end.  You can collect and ship shoes throughout the year.  That's part of why this is so awesome.  Reece's Rainbow could be receiving a check every week for the next year!

Have more questions? Feel free to contact me here or on Facebook!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What Are We Working On Right Now?

Where are we in the process?

So, here is where we are right now.  Our homestudy is mostly finished.   We have provided all of our paperwork and we have a single remaining visit this week.  Once that has been completed, we will be mailing copies to USCIS and to Eastern Europe.

Our USCIS paperwork is in! So the clock has started ticking on that front.  That is good - we could adopt any child whose 16th birthday is before the date we were logged in the system.  It also means that our paperwork is on its way to the correct place within their system, and we can send the homestudy as soon as it is finished.

Then there is the mountain of paperwork we need to send to Eastern Europe.  The first batch of those papers will be going out soon.  Finding an available notary, taking our papers to the county, then getting apostilles is tedious.  I think my husband has said, "They need us to do what?" about every single document. We are working our way through it as quickly as we can.

We also have a few fundraisers in the works.  We are really excited about the shoe drive we are organizing.  It has the potential to benefit so many families. Anyone in the eastern half of the United States can participate to raise grant money for waiting children or for families currently in process.  Plus we should have a t-shirt sale ready in time for the holidays!    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Exciting News!

For those who haven't heard, our family is growing!  We will be blooming in even more new and exciting ways.

This is Theo.  He is an incredible 14 year old boy who likes to go for walks and dance to music.  We are working as fast as we can to complete all of our paperwork to travel and meet him!