Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Moving Forward

It has been about a month since I last blogged, to be honest, I have not had the energy or motivation.

Just about a month ago, Jason and I got some upsetting news regarding our adoption.  When Chance and Callie's government was working on approving us to adopt the children, they found out that Callie was not available for adoption.  This came to a huge surprise to us, as she has lived in an orphanage for nearly her entire life and to our knowledge has never been visited by biological family.  I won't go into detail with the specifics, and to be honest, a lot would be speculation on our part.  To put it simply, there was a paperwork error over 11 years ago and Callie was never made available for adoption and no one has been serious enough to want to adopt her to catch the mistake.

Our adoption agency has been fantastic through everything.  They were quick to let us know of this situation and lay out our options for us.  Our in country representative thought the situation could be rectified but it would take a minimum of 4-9 months before Callie would be made adoptable internationally.  We had 3 choices:

1) Wait it out and see what happens, this would delay our adoption of the children by at least 4-9 months, but at least we would still be working towards adopting both of them.

2) Pursue the adoption of Chance only (we really never considered this an option, as we believe Callie is meant to be our daughter)

3) Adopt Chance now, then submit a new Dossier (start a whole new adoption) for Callie once Chance is home with us and Callie is available for adoption.  This alternative would mean that Chance would spend less time in an orphanage and come home sooner, but it would also mean that Callie would have to wait at least another 18 months before having a family.

The agency asked us to give them and the in-country team one month to work on the problem and see where we were at the end of that time.

3 weeks after we learned about the paperwork issue, we were notified that Callie is now available for adoption, but there is a catch.  According to the laws of the children's country, a child must be made available domestically for 3 months before they will be eligible for International adoption.  So now we wait.  The chances of Callie being adopted within her country are slim to none, no one has stepped forward for the 11 years she has been an orphan.  Yes, it is silly that she has to wait the 3 months, but that is the law. 

In the beginning of March, we anticipate that Callie will be made available for International Adoption and that I will FINALLY get to meet the children and sign the paperwork saying "YES!  We want to parent Chance and Callie!"  March seems like such a long way away, but at least I now have something concrete to look forward to.

If I am able to travel in early March, that puts my second trip towards the end of the summer and means the children will likely be home by the end of summer or in the early fall.  Please pray with us that things will go smoothly from here on out and that the finances will be available when we need them.

If you feel led, please consider making an end of the year, tax deductible donation towards our adoption HERE.  Every penny counts.

We're on our way!

Monday, November 17, 2014

School Pictures

Claudia's Kindergarten school pictures just came back!  Posted below are her Preschool and Kindergarten pictures.  See how much she has grown and matured!

I love this girl so much and I can't wait until her brother and sister are home!  I am hopeful that we will hear something any day now!  Right now we are still waiting on Prime Minister approval and then travel dates.  Please pray that we hear soemthing soon.

Angel Tree and Christmas Shopping

It is that time of year again, the temperature is getting cold, the snow has started to fall, stores are playing Christmas music, I don't know about you, but I'm ready to do some Christmas shopping (or Holiday shopping if you prefer).  I have chosen to do my best to help others while I do this shopping.  Knowing what I know about the care that orphans often receive in orphanages and institutions and seeing the progress they make once in loving families, I have chosen to help them.

This year, my friend Natalie is helping to host an online Virtual Craft Fair.  This online event will benefit several causes. 50% of the profit of each purchase will go to help buy ipads for the Speech Pathologists at Elim Christian Services and to help two little girls with special needs find their forever families through Reece's Rainbow.  In addition to these causes several of the vendors will use the remaining profits to benefit other children or causes.  I have  Celebrating Home and Origami Owl parties set up through this even and will be donating 50% of my commissions to my Angel Tree Child Annalise.  Visit the Virtual Craft Fairs Blog to learn more. 

It is easy to shop, here are some simple instructions from the Virtual Craft Fairs Blog:

*You can shop any time between November 16th and December 6th.

*Just go to this blog post
 and see who the vendors are.

*Click on the link that says Website Page and shop away.

*Make sure to look and see if there are any special instructions listed so we get credit for your order.

*That's it!! 
Make sure you join the FaceBook event.  Vendors will be featuring sales, special items, and special offers on that page. We will also be featuring a vendor daily and sharing their story.

Please share this blog and the Facebook event with your friends and family. Everyone is Christmas shopping. Why not help someone else with your purchase? 

Please consider doing your Christmas shopping with others in mind this year.

I am still hosting an online fundraiser through Celebrating Home specifically benefiting Annalise, please check that out HERE.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Angle Tree 2014

Hi everyone  it is that time of the year again!  Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree.  I am excited to announce that for the very first time, I will be participating!  I have chosen to be an Angel Tree Warrior for Annalise, a very special little girl who is from the same country as our Chance and Callie.  As a matter of fact, she lives with and is BFF's with Callie.  My goal is to raise at least $1000 to her Angel Tree fund.  My ultimate goal is that this will help her family step forward more quickly.  If she is not adopted in the next few years, she will likely spend the rest of her life in an institution and will have no hope at a "normal" life.  Here is what we know about Annalise:
Born August 2003 (or maybe December)
Down syndrome, CHD (repaired)
This energy filled and vibrant little girl was born with Down syndrome in August of 2003 and is ready for an active family with lots of structure. She can understand and speak two languages, including English. She had surgery to repair a heart defect in 2003, but has required no additional treatment. Annalise is beaming with sunshine and loves cell phones and cameras, like all curious little girls! She loves to be the center of attention and is very smart!
Updated April 2014:
Annalise Photo 2014 - April 2014
Annalise is an active, friendly girl who speaks clearly with an extensive vocabulary. She uses short sentences and understands two languages, one of them English. Annalise walks independently, including up and down stairs.
Annalise has great self-help skills. She eats and drinks as well as dresses and undresses without assistance. She can wash her hands and brush her teeth on her own.
Annalise attends school where she has learned to count, recognize 25 letters, cut with scissors and paint. She can re-tell a short story and participates in simple games. Annalise likes to listen to music and dances very well. She would thrive in a loving family.

I have an online Celebrating Home Fundraiser set up specifically for Annalise, 50% of the sales made through THIS LINK will go towards Annalise's Angel Tree Fund. You will find candles, aroma beads, wall and desk plaques, purses, baked goods, cookbooks, books, and more! Please check out the fundraiser and share it with your friends. I'm sure you will find some great Christmas gifts!

If you don't find anything you would like to purchase above, you can make a donation to Annalis'e Angel Tree fund directly through Reece's Rainbow.  Here is the link to Angel Tree:
http://static.reecesrainbow.org/angeltree2014/  The easiest way to find Annalise is to CTRL, F and type in ANNALISE.  If you can't figure that out, just search through the children on that page.  If you donate $35 or more to her Angel Tree fund, you can get a Christmas Tree Ornament with her picture on it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Living Vicariously Through Friends

I have some exciting news to share with you . One of my friends recently left for Chance and Callie's country for the pick up trip for her son. My friend's son happened to be in the same orphanage as Chance, so she was able to share some beautiful pictures with me. Let me just tell you that he has THE BEST smile, he's got a mouth full of teeth now and appears to be happy and doing very well. The news gets even better though!

A few days later, my friend got to go with some of the orphanage workers to a therapy session where there were children from a different orphanage. One of those children happened to be Callie! My friend did know that she would see her ahead of time, and the orphanage staff are aware that there is a family pursuing both Chance and Callie, so guess what?!? They brought Chance along as well! Did you hear me??? OUR CHILDREN HAVE MET! And we have pictures! These pictures are priceless, Callie was so sweet to little Chance. I wish I could share them.  Of course the children have no idea that they will be brother and sister, because things could fall through at any time.

Seeing the pictures of these children together makes me long to be there with them. We are still waiting on Prime Minister approval. Once we get that, we will be invited to visit the children. I will be making that trip alone for both logistical and financial reasons.  It is still my hope to travel for the first trip this year, that may or may not happen.

Please keep us in your prayers.

I wanted to share with you a new fundraiser we have going on.  My talented cousin, Claudia painted two trees to fill with heart shaped leaves.  Each tree will hold approx. 50 leaves.  For each $5 donation we receive for the trees, the donor's name will be placed on a tree.  The donor will be able to designate which tree to put their name on.  One name per leaf.  Once the trees are filled up, the pictures will be put in the children's rooms and they will have a wall full of people who already love them.  Below are the trees, both bare and with some leaves to show you what they will look like (minus the names) when they are finished.  Donations can be made here: Reece's Rainbow FSP please leave a comment that you donated, the name you want on your leaf and which tree you would like it to go on.

I also wanted to point out that I am still selling Celebrating Home.  For the remainder of October all of our candles are on sale as well as some of our lovely fall decor.  Please check it out through this link HERE, and share it with your friends.  This link will only be active until the end of the month: CELEBRATING HOME  Also, you can LIKE my Celebrating Home FaceBook page to see the newest deals: FaceBook Page

I am also still selling Origami Owl.  We have our new Holiday items available now.  Click HERE to see the everything that Origami Owl currently has to offer.

Your purcahses with the above links will help us bring Chance and Callie home.

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!