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!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Our Dossier Is Done!

We received our fixed immigration approval, so we took care of that and sent it on its way! We have finished our dossier! Now we are waiting for it to be submitted. I am SO excited!

Our Superman shirts are in! If you haven't gotten an email, let me know! Most of them have already been mailed out. The blue shirts were a different shade than we expected, so I contacted everyone who ordered one. If you want a replacement, I will gladly provide one!  Our next order will be going to the printer in a week or two.

Other than that minor mix-up, I am very happy with how the shirts turned out. The company was great to work with and I would recommend them to anyone else printing shirts in our area. Contact me if you want me to pass on their info!

I am starting to get items listed on the auction page. You will be able to email me to enter a bid without a Facebook account. If the auction page is not available, it may be offline temporarily while I am loading photos and descriptions. It will go up again as soon as I am finished.

You can see our auction here:

I will be making wooden knitting needle sets if anyone is interested. I may or may not dip into my fabric and yarn stash. I have been debating whether I should post the materials or make and sell things with them. I still haven't decided! These will be for sale ahead of time and in the auction.

My children have been begging for a way to contribute to our fundraising. They have offered very treasured possessions for the auction. One of them even suggested we make our own money to pay our expenses. (No, we won't be counterfeiting!)  We agreed that I will post a few auction listings for pictures they have made. They are very excited to be able to help.

I will also be listing our last outline shirts in the auction. We have had more interest in these. Once we have sold our remaining shirts, we can reopen that fund. We need to be able to sell fifty shirts for them to be printed. I will include our remaining Superman shirts in the auction and also offer a place to order one if we don't have your size or favorite color in stock.

If you have anything you would like to donate for our auction, please let me know! Typically items like gift cards sell well and are inexpensive to ship.


I am happy to say that more people are posting about Salome! Her birthday is still quickly approaching, but it is heartening to know that more people are spreading the word.  I will be honest. A few others and I have been shouting for Salome for months. It didn't seem to be helping. I was feeling negative about the apparent lack of interest.  This is a huge step in the right direction. I hope it is a turning point!

Here is one of the posts that people are sharing:

There should be another big one soon too!


I am offering two gift cards for donations to this family.  You can have a $50 gift card to Montgomery Inn or a $25 card for Honey Baked Ham if you make an equal donation to their account.  Contact me if you donate so I can send you your card! The boy they are adopting used to live at the same place as Theo and Orion.  He aged out during the fall.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Next Fundraiser: Empty the Shed Auction for Theo and Orion!

This is our shed.  It is filled, floor to ceiling, with bins.  Since I haven't seen the contents of most of these bins since we moved them into the shed when we bought this house, I don't think we need all of these things.  What we do need is to finish our adoption of these boys.  So we are emptying the shed!

I will start posting items on our Facebook page in anticipation of kicking off the auction on February 17th! It will run for 2 weeks, until March 3rd. If you have anything you would like to donate, please send me an email at so I can list it! I can give you credit and link to your site or I can post items anonymously. If you are local to us, we will also start collecting items for a silent auction at our spaghetti dinner soon.


Thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting our fundraisers in any way.  It means so much to us to see so many people helping us and helping these incredible boys!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Mistake?

A paperwork mistake? During adoption? Who would have guessed? (That was a joke.) With all of the mountains of paperwork we need to complete, mistakes are bound to happen.  This one was a typo with our immigration approval! It should be fixed and sent again shortly.

I'm even more impatient than usual because of the things going on in Eastern Europe.  It will be much easier for me to be at peace knowing I've done all I can once this is fixed. At that point it will be out of my hands, and whatever happens is out of my control.

Fundraising: We still need about $5700 more to cover our costs for Theo and Orion.  That is $2850 per child; $2850 per life! We WILL commit to a third child once we raise the money for these two.

Our Vacation AUCTION will finish tomorrow (Sunday) at 10 PM EST.  Bidding is at $250 for a WEEK in a 2 bedroom 3 bathroom suite with a full kitchen and dining area!

We do still have a few extras for both of our shirts! If you missed ordering, contact me to see if we can work something out!

I'd also like to ask everyone to please remember Salome. Her giveaway is almost over, but a family has not stepped forward yet.  A family needs to send in the i600a before her birthday on March 13th. She is so worthy of a family.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Immigration Approval!

I am so excited! Our final immigration approval has been issued! It should be in our mailbox any day now.  This is our last piece for the US side! We just need to go through the notary and apostille process, then our last papers will be sent out. I will be stalking the mail carrier!

I am trying to remain calm about fundraising too.  Trying! Actually, the word calm isn't even in my vocabulary today.  I am bouncing all over the place because I am still so excited! But I'm also trying not to worry about the funding and keep plugging away on it. Moving on to the next stage is a good reminder that we need to raise the rest of this money within a couple months.

I also have a new photo of each of the boys to share with you! These kids are the reason we have put in so much time, energy, and money!

Don't you love Theo's smile? We certainly do!

Orion is a very good supervisor and helper!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tax Day!

Now that we have fixed one paper, it was time to redo our taxes and sign a paper affirming our signatures.  We did this already for the taxes filed last year, but with the new year we need a new set of documents. We finished the taxes today, so we just need to notarize that paper and wait to receive our immigration approval. Then those two documents will be sent together and our dossier will (fingers crossed!) really, truly be finished. I am getting a little nervous about the state of things in the country we will be traveling to. I am worried for the people who live there, and I am also worried about how the events may affect our adoption. The sooner we are there and back with the boys, the better!

We are sending in the orders for our Superman shirts tomorrow, so this is the last call if you want one!

All of the shirts from our other sale should be sent out and received soon.  Thank you to everyone who helped us by purchasing one! I do have a few extra adult t-shirts in different sizes if anyone wants one.

We are getting a date set for a spaghetti dinner at our church. We will also be doing a silent auction with the dinner. We are still getting things set up with the local paper to advertise for us. I am hopeful that we will have a good event!

We are also collecting shoes! If you want details on how you can help us raise money with shoes (you don't need to be near us to help!) or raise money for your own family's adoption, let me know!

I have also been talking a lot about Salome. I would be so happy to see her in a family.  The giveaway for her has had very few entries. Right now your odds are about 50% for prizes worth as much as $50! Please take a look at the giveaway for her HERE, at the things I've written about her HERE and HERE, her Reece's Rainbow profile with a grant for more than $6000 HERE, and the video about her HERE.  Please share her.

She is so wonderful already, I can't even imagine how joyful she would be in a family. Consider what your life might look like with her in it.  Would you take her on a walk through your neighborhood? A lot of the kids in her building don't go outside for years at a time. Would she snuggle on the couch while you read to her?  Would you dress her in her own cozy pajamas before bedtime? My kids are enjoying cake and cupcakes tonight. Has anyone ever given her a piece of cake, then lovingly washed all the frosting off her fingers and her face while she giggled?


Please remember these families also!

So I said before I would love to see what would happen if a chunk of money was showered on Casey's family.  That is still true! Want to know why? They are also going to be Iggy's family.  Do you remember how he aged out over the summer and so many people were so devastated? This is a chance for redemption.  Their FSP needs to say $8300 and they travel in February. They are having another auction!



The Campbell family needs $13K more and they travel in about two weeks. They have an auction going on right now!


The Jenks family needs their FSP to read 23K! They are adopting TWO older girls.  It should be pretty clear by now that these older kids are close to my heart.  I love seeing other families who are also taking older kids into their homes and their hearts.  They travel in February, and I would love for them to be funded. They are selling an adorable unit for young kids on their feelings and emotions.  

There is also a $1 entry giveaway for a tablet, benefiting this family.  Check that out here!


The Claus family is not yet fully funded for Donald.  He turns 4 this week, and they are asking people to donate $4 in his honor.

Donald March2013 (12)


The Novit family is adopting a sweet little boy, and they travel in the spring! Colleen is a great advocate for so many children, and she deserves that same support! They are looking for auction items at !


The Kunkle family is adopting adorable little Jenni.  They have a puzzle piece fundraiser right now.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Birthday Boy!

Today is Orion's birthday.  He turned 13. We have a few birthday traditions in our house. One of them is that we repeat "Happy birthday, birthday boy!" (or birthday girl) over and over again throughout the day.  I can imagine our comedian loving all the silly things we do.  I can't wait to hear his laugh!

He is getting so big! I can't believe how much he has grown, just in the last few months. Sometimes it is hard to look through all the photos I have of him and see how little he was and how long he has been waiting. A lot of birthdays have passed without a family. As hard as it is to look at these, it is really amazing that we have so many photos of the boys. I am so thankful that we can see how they have grown up, even if we couldn't be there for that part of their lives.

These two photos are from a couple weeks ago.  Look how happy he is to try on clothes.  He will have a whole dresser full of his own clothes soon. See him looking through that book? He will have walls and walls of books when he is here.

This picture is from the fall.  Look how much he has grown since then! I love seeing him with his friends.  It would be so amazing if we could recreate this picture in a couple years with all of the boys in families!

This is from winter last year, near his birthday. They have been in the group home for a little more than a year here, and it has been a great thing for them.

This is the year before, 2012. The boys had only recently moved into their new home.  

And this is from near his birthday in 2011. Isn't he little here?

  Here he is in the summer of 2010. I love this picture.

This is from the summer of 2009. At this point the institution has started receiving more and more visitors to work with the children.

Here is Orion in the summer of 2008. At this point the boys have started to have some time in separate, smaller groups.

This is from a very early visit the charity made to the institution in December 2007 to bring toys and spend time with some of the children. The boys spent all of their time in large groups at this point.  

These are from the charity's first trip to the institution in the spring of 2007. Orion had just turned 6.  These are the oldest photos we have.

We don't know what his life was like before that. We don't know when he might have been transferred to the institution, although many of the other children arrived before they turned 5. We don't know if he was in a better place before being transferred or if he ever lived outside of an institution.

We know that when the charity first visited the orphanage, it was the most overwhelming sight they had seen. We know that the conditions have slowly and steadily improved at the institution, but most visitors would still say the same thing.

Things have improved for Orion and Theo. They were spending their days in an empty room with 30 others with disabilities, both children and adults.  After that, more caregivers were added and a few of the boys began to spend some time in separate smaller groups with some instruction.  Eventually, the group home was built and the boys moved in. They have more attention than before and more lessons, but it is not the same as being in a family. There is also no hope for a future beyond staying at the institution and possibly tending the grounds as some of the other boys who have grown into men do now.

We are very excited to celebrate next year as a family.  If you would like to help us make that happen, we are currently selling Superman Was Adopted shirts to raise the remaining funding we will need to complete the adoption process.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sweet Salome Is Almost 16

We are kicking off the giveaway for sharing Salome! I can't wait to see how many people will see this beautiful little girl for the first time. The full details for the giveaway can be found HERE. I have talked about Salome before.  You can read that post HERE. There is also a video starring her HERE. Her profile and grant on Reece's Rainbow can be viewed HERE.

What do you think when you see her picture? Can you look past her shaved head? Can you look past the signs of institutionalization? Can you see the joyful child inside her? You have to look for it, but she is in there.

As awful as conditions are in this kind of institution, they are that much worse for the children who are not favorites.  Salome isn't cute like some of the younger children, so she gets even less attention. The thing she loves the most, she gets the least of. I think she is beautiful.  I wish I could show that beauty to other people.

Once she turns 16 she will never have a chance to leave the world she lives in now. She doesn't know how important her birthday on March 13th will be. Who has celebrated any of her other birthdays?

Once she turns 16, there will be no hope of ending the monotony of time in her crib. It will be broken up by an occasional bottle and diaper change. She will get baths, but not as often as they are needed. If she is very lucky, she will get to spend a short amount of time in the playroom with other children. She is not one of the favorite children though, so she will not get the extra time and attention that helps to keep those children alive just a little bit longer. Look at how long she has survived in a place where more than a dozen children can die in a year, where most of the bedridden children like her are buried behind the institution instead of passing another birthday. She is so strong to survive for so long while being given so little. I want her to do more than survive. I want her to live!

Salome needs a family who can accept her where she is and help her grow as much as possible. She has made an amazing amount of progress with just a little bit of time with a massage therapist recently hired by Maya's Hope. So little has done so much for her.  She can sit up.  That doesn't sound like much, but it is when you have spent a lifetime in a laying down room. I don't know what her limits and her potential really are.  I know that her life would be better with a family. I know that a family would be better off for having her in it. I know that she deserves a family just as much as any other child.

Please see her. Please help other people see her too. Help them see this beautiful girl with such strength, locked away on the other side of the world. There is a family out there for her. Maybe they aren't sure yet if they are the right family. Maybe they haven't even seen her picture yet. Help them find each other.


Remember, go HERE for all of the details about the Sharing Salome Giveaway.  There are tons of prizes, including the Ukraine outline shirt we are no long selling and the Superman Was Adopted shirt we are selling now, plus things from Russia, gift cards, a $50 donation to the waiting child or family of your choice on RR, a personal portrait, and more!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

So Much

Before I get started, I want to mention these two things so they don't get lost at the end.

Thank you to everyone who supported our giveaway! We have contacted the winner and we hope she will enjoy her vacation!

There will be a giveaway for sharing Salome that will start on Sunday.  You can read more about Salome at the bottom of this post and at a post I wrote HERE.  She is turning 16 in March and needs a family desperately. If you would like to donate anything to the giveaway PLEASE let me know! We need to have as many people as possible see her so that she can find her family.  There is a family out there for her.  I just know it!  Help us find them!


This is the longest blog post ever, and I am so sorry for that! I don't have the energy to shorten it or break it up into different posts. I am so burnt out right now.  We have had so much good stuff in the last couple days, but also a little more of the "hard" creeping in.  Is the good there to help us overcome the hard? I hope so, because it is taking a lot of intentional effort today.

So let's talk about the good.  Life is good in so many ways! We were able to walk in and get our fingerprints done early. That was incredible by itself.  It shaves more than a week off for us. We called those in and found out we already have an officer assigned to us. I've heard good things from other families about this officer, which is reassuring.

We are selling our SUPERMAN WAS ADOPTED shirts, and we have had a nice response so far.  We are doing all the legwork on these ourselves, so we are getting a lot more personal interaction than we could with our previous shirt fundraiser.  It has been so neat! We are talking to people who have adopted from or will be adopting from so many places.  There are so many beautiful families and beautiful people in the world, and it has been such a positive experience for us to hear from so many people. That has lifted my spirits beyond measure.

Needing to raise some of our adoption money has been hard on my pride. It puts me outside my comfort zone in so many ways. It has been a miraculous experience too though.  We have received so much unexpected support, both financial and emotional. Seeing friends and family and strangers share pictures of our boys and share our journey to adopt them has been so uplifting. I am very much a person who is happy to stay quiet about things, happy to do things on her own by herself.  I can't do that with this! I have to move beyond myself to get these boys home.  That's hard for me to say, but it's good for me to say too.  In return, I have been given the chance to see so many people offer support.  Each penny in our account, each time someone shares a fundraiser, that's a little miracle in my eyes.  I am a recovering cynic, and this has been so good for my heart and my soul.

One of the nicest things about those shows of support is that they always seem to come when we need it most.  We get home from struggling with a particular document to find someone telling their friends about these boys.  We hit a setback, but make a connection with another family.  Another adoption expense comes up, but a donation comes in.  We've had a few more hard things over the last couple days, so it's really nice to see the support too.

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Let's start in on our hard things.  My 4 year old was kicked out of her ballet class yesterday.  Yeah, that was embarrassing.  With our bitterly cold temperatures, none of my children have gotten the outdoor playtime little kids need so badly.  Everyone in the studio was on edge because of one family's medical crisis, and one of the instructors couldn't be there because of it. In retrospect, when I realized the other instructor wouldn't be there, I should have pulled my daughter out proactively.  I feel a bit guilty for allowing her to remain in a situation where I knew she would fail. If things aren't better next week, we may need to pull her out of the class for the rest of the year.  The combination of the classroom environment and the way misbehavior is handled in the class without the second instructor are just a recipe for disaster for my daughter. We have been working so hard to help her succeed, and she was making a lot of progress. It's not worth it if it starts causing setbacks.

We have one document we are in the process of re-doing.  That isn't a big deal, mostly just an annoyance.  Then we also just found out we won't be able to submit our dossier without a newly filed tax return. With the timing of everything, there is a chance we will have our immigration approval in hand and need to wait on tax documents.  That was frustrating.  We can e-file on January 30th IF we have all of our papers by then. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't that big of a deal.  We thought we were just about at the finish line for this side of the ocean, so it is mentally tough to think we might need to delay things because of taxes.  I hate taxes anyway.  (Surprising, huh?)

I am also worn out from the fundraising.  Our family needs a certain amount of money.  I tried posting it as the header for the blog, before I remembered that we would be spending money out of pocket for the shirts and shipping.  We won't know exactly how much more our FSP needs to read until the shirts are all ordered and shipped, but I'm going to leave the amount at the top for now. I'm trying to find a way for the local paper to do a story about us and a spaghetti dinner we will be organizing plus our shoe drive, but I have to coordinate so many schedules to set it up! I really want that to be a success because that is our local community who will see the difference in these boys once they are here.  I want people to be able to be a part of that, and I can't let calendars get in my way!

There is so much need, and sometimes it feels like so little to go around. I thought that, until I looked at some math another family posted.  I have 300 friends on Facebook. If every one of them donated $40, we would have enough money to complete our adoption including the third child at the same orphanage. If we adopted the child in a different region, another $40 from all of those people would cover those costs too. I have NO expectation for people to give us money. It was just eye-opening to see how quickly that money can be multiplied if it is given by so many people.

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So, more on the need of so many families.  If you would like to fundraise for your own family or a different family or a waiting child, you can read more about the SHOE DRIVE.  It doesn't cost you anything, and everything you collect is credited to the Reece's Rainbow account you select.

Here are some families who need some support!

So I said before I would love to see what would happen if a chunk of money was showered on Casey's family.  That is still true! Want to know why? They are also going to be Iggy's family.  Do you remember how he aged out over the summer and so many people were so devastated? This is a chance for redemption.  Their FSP needs to say $10K and they travel in February.



The Campbell family needs $14K more and they travel in February. They are having a really fun event on Saturday where you can donate a dollar for their daughter!


The Jenks family needs 19K! They are adopting TWO older girls.  It should be pretty clear by now that these older kids are close to my heart.  I love seeing other families who are also taking older kids into their homes and their hearts.  They travel in February, and I would love for them to be funded. They are selling an adorable unit for young kids on their feelings and emotions.  


The Claus family is not yet fully funded for Donald. They met their matching grant, but they aren't done fundraising yet! They have an auction here!

Donald March2013 (12)


The Novit family is adopting a sweet little boy, and they travel in the spring! Go look at this adorable little face! Colleen is a great advocate for so many children, and she deserves that same support! They are so close to $3000! Can anyone bump them over that?


"Salome" is turning 16 in March.  She is delayed, but she is very sweet and she loves attention.  She has the best laugh ever.  I would love to see her in a family!  I have posted about her before HERE.  You can see her Reece's Rainbow page HERE, and here is a video she stars in. Her grant has $6343 now! 


The New family is now fully funded! That is so awesome!