Monday, September 8, 2014

Down Syndrome Awareness

I have one more fund raiser to share with you.
I have been working closely with a local t-shirt printing company and designed two different Down Syndrome Awareness shirts.  Each shirt is available in sizes 2T through Adult sizes.  The adult shirts come in both men's and women's styles.  Click HERE to get your t-shirt.
Here are my two designs:
Please share these with anyone who might be interested.  Let me know if you have any questions or difficulty ordering.

It's a Waiting Game

There is not really much to update as far as the adoption goes right now.  Our Dossier was submitted to the children's country early last month.  It should have been translated by now and sent to the Prime Minister.  Now we just have to wait and hear if the PM will approve us.  Once we get approval, we will be invited to travel to meet the children.  The plan is for me to go by myself so that we can save money and so that Jason can save up his vacation time.  It will also be easier on Claudia that way. 

We really do not know what the timeline looks like right now. Another family that submitted their Dossier a few months before us was invited to travel within just a couple of months after the submission. However, in the month of August, there is a holiday in which the Gov. (in our children's country) shuts down for a period of time. During that time, our file just sits. I am expecting to travel this year, I'm hoping for early November, but I honestly have no idea when travel will happen. For now we are waiting, saving money and trying to fundraise.

This month both "Callie" and "Chance" have birthdays.It would mean so much to us if you would consider donating $13 (or any amount) to our FSP: HERE in honor of Callie and Chane's birthdays, that will be their combined age at the end of the month. I call this the "Lucky 13" as 13 is their combined age on what will hopefully be the last birthday wither of them have without a family.

I also recently started selling Celebrating Home as a way to raise money for our adoption as well as for other families and causes. 25% of every purchase made through this link: HERE will go directly towards our adoption. Check out he Ooh La Lamp, it is my favorite item! Also, in the month of September all framed art prints are 25% off. It is not too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping! Celebrating Home has something for everyone, we have a wide variety of products:


I am still selling Origami Owl, and I want to say that we have some amazing new items available for sale!  Make sure you check out the CORE collection, our new Bridal line, leather wrap bracelets and our Lanyard Lockets (badge holders).  Our new Fall/Winter catalog has over 300 new items!  You can shop through this link: HERE

Claudia has been doing well, she turned 5 this summer and just started Kindergarten last week.  So far, so good.  She is definitely testing things at home and is not happy when she does not get her way (who is?)  We're working through some behavioral difficulties right now, but I think once she gets into the routine of school, things will get better.  Claudia has Speech Therapy 5 days a week this year and we are hoping that her communication skills improve this year.  Jason and I believe that a lot of her behaviors stem from not being able to communicate everything she wants to us.  Claudia is very good with her ASL, she picks it up as fast as we teach it to her.  I really think that Jason and I are holding her back by not learning more ourselves.  We understand her signs and her new teachers are impressed with them, but her fingers are so stubby and her fine motor skills still need improvement, so her signs don't always look right, even though we know what she is saying. 

Claudia learned a lot in preschool, she really did very well and thrived there.  I was anxious to send her to kindergarten, mostly because of her size but I do think that she learned about as much as she could from her previous school and that she was ready to move up.  We can't wait to see what this year brings!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Making Progress...Finally

Yes folks, you read that right, we are making progress!

Today I made the long drive to Albany to have the documents for our Dossier Apostilled.  I drove all by myself.  Those of you that know me, this is a big deal.  First of all, I strongly dislike driving in the rain, I got plenty of that on the drive there and back, but thankfully while I had to walk around Albany there was no rain!  Second of all, I am not a city girl.  I don't do city driving.  I don't do on street parking if I can avoid it either. Both of those things make me nervous.  Yep, I had to do both today, I even had to pay with a parking meter... this is a big deal folks.  Not only that but I also had to park on the left hand side of the street on a one way street, and it was legal.  Craziness!  Yep, I'm a country girl.

I decided to drive to Albany and have our paperwork done same-day instead of mailing it out, I figured this would save us about a week and a half.  I was wrong.  I quickly found out that one of our documents was incorrect.  Thankfully I could go to the Dept. of Health, only 10 minutes away to have that taken care of.  So I left the DOS, went to the DOH, waited for my new document, went back to the DOS and had that document Apostilled.  After a quick stop for lunch, gas, cash and caffeine, I was back on the road to home. 

Once I got home, I gathered the rest of the documents needed for our Dossier, went to the bank, got a big fat Cashiers Check to submit to our placement agency, went to the Post Office and mailed out our Dossier!  It took 2 envelopes because 36 notarized, certified, Apostilled documents take up a lot of space!  But IT IS DONE!

Now I pray that everything was done properly and that we can now sit back and play the waiting game.  If all of our documents look good, they will be shipped to Callie and Chance's country.  There they will be translated which should take about 2 weeks.  After translation our paperwork will go to the Prime Minister of the country for approval.  This could take about 3-4 months.  After approval, we will get invited to visit the children to get their official referral.  I am hoping that we (I) can travel in December to meet Callie and Chance.

After spending about a week with the children I will come home and we will wait AGAIN for the Prime Minister's approval, this could take 4-6 months.  With that we can fill out more paperwork stateside, get final approval and travel for trip #2.  That process should take about 2 months.  Trip #2 will be about 3-4 weeks long in country with the children, then we will come home as a forever family.

This timeline is an estimate and can change at any time, but it looks like the children could be home in about a year give or take a couple of months.  That sounds like such a long way away, but every day that passes is one day closer to being a family of 5!


Monday, July 21, 2014


Hi everyone!  I wanted to tell you about an exciting new ministry called 5/5/5.  5/5/5 works hard to raise money for 5 families each month, on the 5th of every month, $5 at a time.  It was started by 5 adoptive mothers that had a vision of wanting to help families with the final costs of their adoption.  Many times at the end of adoptions there are unforeseen costs or agency fees that need to be paid.  The ladies of 5/5/5 wanted to help ease the burden of some of those costs.

How does it work?  5/5/5 has a page on Reece's rainbow: and they request that donors donate $5 or $25 each month (you can set your donations up to be recurrent).  Of the $5 donated, $1 will go to each of that month's 5 families.  Throughout the month, donations will be collected and will be released to the lucky families on the 5th of the following month.  Then, a new set of collections is made for the next 5 families.

Visit and LIKE the 5/5/5 Facebook page HERE.
Follow 5/5/5 on twitter HERE.
Make your donations HERE
Visit the 5/5/5 blog page HERE.
For additional information, you can email 5/5/5:

July is the very first month for 5/5/5, at this time they have already raised $727.32.  There is still about 2 weeks left for more donations to be taken in.

We have been blessed to be one of the 5 families chosen for the first month of 5/5/5!  It is such a blessing.  Thank you 5/5/5!

This month, the Aschoff family (another family receiving the 5/5/5 grant this month) has added some incentives to help us grow this month's donations.  They have up for grabs some T-shirts and jewelry!  For more details check out the FaceBook Page and scroll down through the timeline a little bit.
Imagine, if we could get a group of 5000 people to each donate just $5 each month, families would have a huge blessing of $5000 to go towards the final costs of their adoption!  This ministry has the potential to be a huge blessing to 60 adoptive families each year!  They cannot do it without your help.  Can you spare just $5 a month?  How about $25?  Can you share about 5/5/5 on you FaceBook, Twitter, blog or other social media?  Every single donation counts!
Please help spread the word.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Updates and Reunion!

There is not a lot to update you all on as far as our adoption of Chance and Callie goes.  We are just about ready to send our paperwork off to the state capitol to be Apostilled and then we will submit our Dossier.  We hope that our case is seen quickly and that a referral will be made.  I really hope that I will be able to travel in the late fall, I'm not wanting to go in the winter! 

We have finally gotten confirmation that Callie will indeed be 11 this year, not 8.  We were pretty sure this was the case, but we finally have it in writing.  We did not care one way or another, but we wanted to be as prepared as possible!

Jason and I have been doing a lot of research and had many discussions on adopting an older child.  Things will go much differently with this adoption compared to Claudia's adoption.  Most of this is because both Chance and Callie are in orphanages (Claudia was in foster care), and also because Callie is an older child and may have more difficulty in her transition into a home.  I will write a more detailed blog post about how things will work once we get the children home once we get closer to having them home.

Please continue to pray for our soon-to-be children and for a smooth and quick process.

We are quickly finding out this summer that Claudia is a water bug :)  Our friend brought over a small pool for Claudia to use at home and she loves it!

We spent the last couple of days in Cave City KY hanging out at the 2014 Reece's Rainbow Reunion!  We had a blast meeting other families that are "in the know."  It is nice to talk with other adoptive families, especially ones who have adopted children with special needs.  It helps us to feel like we are not alone in some of our struggles.  One of the best parts of our time at the reunion was meeting so many children that I had seen only in pictures through Reece's Rainbow.  It is amazing to see how far they have come!  I wish I had my camera on me and was able to take more pictures.

I did however get some pictures of Claudia enjoying the water :)


She did not care much for the splash pad, except to play with her reflection, and lick the water...

Just hanging out...




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

That's right folks, today is my birthday, a big one at that!  I just turned 29.  Where did my 20's go?

I got a nice surprise for my Birthday; today we recieved our updeated USCIS approval for 2 children!  The Us government says that we can adopt both children!!! 
Callie and Chance, we are working hard to bring you home!
So what happens now?  We have to submit our Dossier to the children's country.  In order to do that we will have to have several documents certified and Apostilled.  We have most of those documents ready to go.  Once NYS Apostilles everything and sends the paperwork back to us we can submit our Dossier to our placement agency for review, as long as they are satisfied with it, our Dossier will be sent to the country.  Then we wait.  It may take several months to hear back from the country.  If all goes well, we will be invited to meet the children for trip #1.  At the end of that trip, we decide if we want to move forward with adopting them, signn the papers and go home.  Then we wait another 4-6 months for a court date, go back to their country and stay for about a month.  For trip #2, I will have the children for most of the time and real bonding can begin.  After a month or so, we all come home!  The process could take a year or so from now to be finalized.  Please pray for a speedy and smooth process!

Our biggest hurdle currently is the fee that we must submit with our Dossier.  We will owe our agency $9000, at this time we simply do not have that.  I currently have a give-away going on to help us raise the funds needed for the next payment:
Party Lite Give Away with a First Prize AND a Runner up Prize! Donations will go directly toward our next fee and must be sent to our YourCaring Account:
Each entry is $10, once we have $300 in our YouCaring account, we will draw the ...winner! You may also earn a free entry by sharing this on FB or Tweeting about it, post here or PM me with your entries!
First Place Prize is a Party Lite Change-O-Luminary, a luminary that takes tea light candles. It comes with 3 sets of shades: Spiderweb, Snowflake, Fall leaves, or you can leave them all off for the spring/summer. You will ALSO get 36 Tea light candles, 12 each of: Cinnamon & Bayberry, Pine Berry and Holiday Spices.
Second Place/Runner up will get 6 of each of the following 5 scents of votive candle: Ocean Mist, Seaside Mist, Black Raspberry, Mulberry and Strawberry Rhubarb.

The money must be sent to our YouCaring account, not our Reece's Rainbow FSP.  We will not have access to the money in our FSP until we are going on trip #1.
Another way you can help us out is to buy from my Origami Owl website: or host a party either online or in person.
We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we navigate through the process of this adoption.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Firsts for Claudia

Claudia has been home well over a year now, but she is just now getting to experience some new firsts.  A year ago, there was just no way she could have done the things we did this weekend.

On Friday night I took Claudia to our local carnival for the Fireman's parade.  I was not too sure how she would handle it but she did really well.  For the most part she sat on my lap the whole time.  We were even sitting next to another little girl, Claudia only tried stealing her stuffed dog once...  Claudia REALLY loved the marching bands as they walked by, she giggled with glee at each one.  I think she especially enjoyed the drums.  She also liked the noised the fire trucks made.  I was so proud of how well she did and that she sat pretty still through most of it.  If there were long gaps between entertainment she would get antsy, but overall she did great!

Yesterday I took Claudia to her first amusement park.  Last year she was just too small and was not able to walk, so she would not have been able to ride anything.  This year there are a few things she can ride, so we took full advantage of it.  She went on the kiddie boats, cars, airplanes, roller coaster, and on the carousel and tea cups with me.  Claudia was terrified of the carousel, I'm not sure what it was, she looked up at the mechanisms that made the horses move and started screaming and crying with fear.  She enjoyed the up and down movement of the horse for about 30 seconds though before she wanted me to hold her.

Claudia loved the little cars and liked watching the other kids in them too!  She loved the turtle roller coaster as well.  Twice when she was in it she had to share the car with other kids and she did really well!  I took her to the park not only for fun but also to help her learn to wait in lines and to get along with others.  She had a hard time understanding that she had to get off the rides before she could get back on and would not let the workers help her off, she was also not happy when mommy had to come and take her off!  I try to use what i can to teach her.

She did really well until the end of our time there when she was getting tired and not wanting to listen.  Then she wanted to stick her hands in the water on the boats and get out of the restraints on the airplanes... not good ideas, so we went home.  She had a blast and it wore her out!  Claudia wanted me to carry her most of the day.  I'm glad that she looks to me for comfort and knows that I am the one that provides for her, but my shoulders are feeling it today!

Next time we will venture to the water park too, stay tuned to see how that goes!