Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Update on our funding

I just wanted to let you all know where we are with raising the funds to bring Dawson home. We started telling people we were going to adopt and "officially" fundraising around the first of February. We did not have any of the funds necessary to start the process. We just began to speak in faith about what God was calling us to do. We have been amazed at how people have responded. We did one give away of a vacation at our timeshare property and raised close to $2000 with that. We are a little over $7000 total toward a $22,000 goal. Mostly, due to people seeing the need and responding with a gift. We have some amazing friends and family. We will never be able to express our gratitude to each person who is playing a part in bringing our son home.

Dawson is already loved by so many people and we can't wait to share the stories of his homecoming with him. For all intents and purposes, this will be his birth story. Every child likes to hear about how they were planned for (or not, in the case of many "surprise" babies) and how excited their parents were in anticipating their arrival. I won't be able to share with Dawson about his birth, but I will be able to share about all the wonderful people who helped bring him home. About all the planning, praying and preparation that went into reaching him on the other side of the ocean.

We're waiting with arms eager to hold our boy. Hearts full of love for him. We're also waiting surrounded by friends and family who are excited to know him. We're thankful for each of you, for your encouraging words, for your acts of kindness and sacrifice. We have a ways to go in raising the funds to bring Dawson home, but when we look at how far we've come already, we know God can do it! Please continue to pray for us and if you want to help bring Dawson home you can make a tax deductible donation through the following link: http://reecesrainbow.org/sponsorrhodes. Thanks for all your love and support.

Hidden in Christ,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Introducing our boy!

I am so excited to be able to share about our boy on here. We're calling him Dawson, for now. This is the name given to him to protect his privacy. Just like we can't mention the name of the country where he lives, we also won't be able to share his name until the adoption is complete. That being said, here is Dawson:

He's three and a half years old and he has stolen our hearts! Our family is moving as quickly as we can through all of the necessary paperwork to bring this little guy home. Please join us in praying our way through this process and consider making a donation through our family sponsorship page. All the funds raised will help us bring Dawson home. Here's a link to that page: http://reecesrainbow.org/sponsorrhodes. I'm hoping to have a permanent link here on the blog soon.

For those of you who are wondering, Dawson does have that extra special chromosome that results in Down Syndrome. We're so blessed to be able to bring him home and provide him with a future that he just could not have in EE. We know that God chose us for Dawson and Dawson for us. We already dream about the time when he's home. We can't wait to show him the world outside of the orphanage. We're excited to intoduce him to our amazing family and friends, but most importantly to Jesus! We can't wait to see what big plans God has in store for this little one.

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Forever Family Friday

I spent some time this morning scrolling through the faces of Reece's Rainbow. I was praying and asking God to show me the "right" one to bring you, today. I wasn't surprised to hear his voice quietly correcting me, saying, "There is no wrong one." I hear you, Lord. They all have desperate need for a family, for a home, for love and laughter.

That being said I am going to bring you one child and hope that by showing him off here, his Mommy and Daddy will see him and fall in love. Then they will move mountains to get to him. Why do I believe this is possible? Mostly because I serve a BIG God. He's in the restoration business. He's still God of the universe, very much able to do exceedingly, abundantly above anything little old me could dream of asking for. So, with a heart full of hope, I bring you, Darren.

Isn't he just the sweetest boy? I look at him and I see a boy who needs a Mommy. a Mommy to clean his little face and then kiss his chubby cheeks. I imagine him fresh from the tub, wrapped in a towel and smelling sweet the way freshly scrubbed littles do. I imagine him dirty and sweaty from a hard day playing in the yard with his Daddy. It makes me want to snatch him up and breath in the sunshine and sweat that brings JOY to a Mommy's heart. The JOY of knowing that all is right in the world when your little boy smells like sunshine and sweat. I can hear his laughter and can almost see those sweet little hands resting gently on his Mommy's face. There's a family out there for Darren. They're going to take one look and fall madly in love. They're going to look and see the son God has waiting for them in Eastern Europe.

If you think you're Darren's family or you want to learn more about him and share his story with others, follow this link to his profile: http://reecesrainbow.org/darren4103. He already has a nice little grant that would help his family bring him home. If Darren's not your boy, please take a minute and pray and consider donating to his grant. I want to be real here and tell you the money does matter. It would be a shame for Darren's Mom and Dad to be discouraged from going to get him over money. If you can't adopt, maybe you can help fund someone's adoption and if you can't do that, you can PRAY! Pray and ask God to remove the obstacles keeping Darren from coming home. Thanks for letting me share my heart and the passion God has given me for the orphans.

Hidden in Christ,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


As we plow through this mountain of paperwork, that at times seems unending, we are so thankful. We are thankful that somewhere on the other side of the world our son's Mother chose life. All life is sacred and precious and it is our priviledge to plow through a mountain of paperwork to honor her choice for our son. We're coming, little one, and when we get there you're going to be amazed at how loved you are.

Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Missing in Action

I've been missing on here this week. I've had the flu and a sinus infection and just been miserable. While I was missing in action, things were still happening. Our commitment paperwork came back in the mail, yesterday. It has been apostilled at the Secretary of the State's office and will be sent to California on Monday. We're still waiting on the money to send with that, but we know God's going to provide. It won't be long and you'll see our boys picture on here.

I spent a lot of time alone in my room this week. It's where my germophobe hubby has kept me quarantined. So, while I had time to think and pray, I began to ask God how did things get so bad in Eastern Europe. Not why did he let them get so bad, because I think we need to be careful not to lay blame at God's feet that doesn't belong there. Rather, how? How did it become okay in a modern society to deem human beings unworthy of not just love, but of basic human rights? The answer I heard was heart stopping and caused weeping of repentance from a heart full of grief. The answer is simple, "The Church went missing in action." Dear God, forgive us! We are responsible. We, too, have counted them unworthy by our inaction.

It's time to rise up as the body of Christ and say, "NO MORE!" No longer will we sit by and watch while they starve to death. No longer will we be complacent while they are tied to beds and left to sit in their filth for hours. Never again, should a Mom travel the world after pouring her heart and soul into an adoption, only to stand before a judge in EE and be told, "You may not have this child. There is no life for him, better than an institution." He's her son! She loves him and longs to bring him home and show him how worthy of love he is, but they can't see the beauty behind the extra chromosome. Never again, should another Mom make it out of EE only to fly directly to the nearest children's hospital with her 3 year old daughter. A daughter, who only weighs 11 pounds, because she has been so severely mistreated and neglected. This little girl, Carrington, is in the fight for her life, today, because the church went missing in action.

What can we do? We can PRAY! Pray and fast like never before. Satan has a stronghold in Eastern Europe. He's destroying beautiful children because we're not raising the standard against him. He has no power or authority when we take our place. He must back up and take his hands off whatever we lay hold to in the name of JESUS! Join me in claiming all of EE for the glory of God, but especially the orphans. Pray like they belong to you, because, in fact, they do. God has commissioned us to care for the orphan. There is nothing greater we can do for them, than to pray. Pray for the families listed above. Pray for Kirill's family as they regroup and figure out what the next step is to bring him home. Pray for Carrington's family as they help her fight for her life. Pray and ask God what he wants you and your family to do for the orphans. Let's meet each other at the throne of grace and lay claim to some victories for the kingdom of God.

I'm going to close with one of my favorite quotes by Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Let's not let evil win this round.

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Forever Family Friday

**********Pauline has a FAMILY!***********

On Forever Family Fridays, I'm going to advocate for a child who needs a forever family. For my first Forever Family Friday post I want to introduce you to beautiful, little Pauline.
Pauline is 4 and 1/2 years old living in an orphanage in EE. She is HIV positive and needs a forever family quickly. She is in an orphanage, now, where she receives the life saving Anti-Retroviral meds that she needs to stay healthy. She is facing transfer to a place where these meds will no longer be available to her. On ARV's the life expectancy of a child living with a positive HIV status is 60 years or longer. She is healthy, happy and learning, now. If she is transferred and her meds are stopped, her life expectancy drops. She may only live 5 years or so, before dying a horrible AIDS related death. This is 100 % preventable. She needs a forever family. Here in the USA, she would have access to all sorts of life saving medicine. If you would like to learn more about raising a child with HIV follow this link: http://www.projecthopeful.org/. Please pray for Pauline and help spread the word that she needs a family. If you want to make it easier for a family to bring her home follow this link: http://reecesrainbow.org/pauline3301 and make a tax deductible donation that will help remove the financial barriers standing in the way of Pauline finding a home. If you're interested in other resources or information regarding adopting an HIV positive child, send me a message and I'll share some additional information with you.

Matthew 18:5 says, "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." We must remember that God has called us to be Jesus to the least of these. He is not willing that any should be lost, but that all would find him. Now is our chance to show the world our Jesus. It will matter to Pauline how you respond. Will you share her story? Will you help find her forever family? Will you pray and ask God to show you if you're the hope she's waiting on? Thanks for letting me share my heart and thanks for anything you do to help Pauline. I'll be sure to update you when Pauline's forever family finds her.

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I'm really too tired to blog, tonight, but wanted to put up an update.

1. We did our intake interview for our homestudy this afternoon. It was successful!

2. I haven't been able to get my passport. After two trips to the courthouse, I need to get my pictures retaken.

3. We are frantically trying to get our commitment paperwork done and sent out, so it can be hand delivered in EE on Tuesday.

4. I will be driving to Richmond tomorrow to get our commitment documents apostilled.

We're in the thick of it. We need your prayers. Prayers for patience and perserverance. Keep checking back. It shouldn't be too much longer before we can introduce our newest family member.

Hidden in Christ,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beautiful Lessons

I've been reflecting, today. Thinking lots about our boy and asking that God keep his care in compassionate hands, until we get to him. 6 months ago, if you had told me I'd not only be adopting a child with Down Syndrome, but doing so joyfully, I'd have thought you CRAZY! But God...but, God steps in and turns our hearts where he will. He turns our heads, so that we see new truths and cannot look away. I have had a passion, all my life, for the littles. For the lonely, hungry, abandoned children who want to be loved more than they want their next breath. I have travelled the world (not much recently) to hold these children. Whether they were on the busy streets of London or the dirt roads of Africa, they have called to me. To love them, to play with them, to teach them that the God of Heaven made them each fearfully and wonderfully in his very image.

So, when I found myself at a website: http://www.reecesrainbow.com/ and I learned of the horrible realities that children with Down Syndrome and other "special" needs in EE faced, I could not look away. I could hear them calling to me, just like the littles before them. To love them, to play with them, to teach them that the God of Heaven made them fearfully and wonderfully in his image. I looked and saw beautiful, healthy children. Children who would be moved to an institution. A terrible place, where there are too few workers, too many children and not enough food. A place where children, beautiful, healthy children are tied to beds or left to sit for hours on a potty seat. Children who are playing with toys one day and the next find themselves on a car ride to a place with no toys. That car ride ends in a place that should not even exsist in our world, today. I could not look away. They are calling. Crying out for someone to see them, to tell their stories and to find their families. I will walk this path God has laid out before me, because if not me, then who?

Not only will I take this journey, but I'll do it JOYfully. Knowing that God has good in mind for me and for my family. He is leading us down a path that I am sure is going to teach us beautiful lessons about his grace and unconditional love. His love that takes what the world says is unworhty of love and turns it just the right way so that we catch a glimpse of him and heaven. If we look away now, we might miss the face of God. You've seen it. In a child's smile. You've heard it. In a child's laughter. You've felt it. In the sweet kiss of a precious little. I cannot look away, because I know that the reward is going to be worth the journey.

Hidden in Christ,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blown Away

I don't know where to begin. We're starting this journey with some amazing people in our corner. People who love us and pray for us. Friends and family, who before they've even seen our son, are giving sacrificially to bring him home. I want to acknowledge these people. They make my heart sing with JOY! They are the affirmation of our faith. Every dollar we've been given has been prayed over. We're praying blessings and more blessings back onto the giver. That God would do the miraculous and unexpected for you and your families. We have been blessed and humbled by your love and by your extravagant generosity. It's a long road ahead, but how can we lose with such amazing people supporting us.

I have to say, too, that God is so good to us. It's through each of you, that we see him working. We feel him in every hug, prayer, and word of encouragement that you extend. We could not walk this path alone. We could not make it to our son without you. So, there will be many posts like this, where I weep as I type and ask God to bless you. We can't wait for you to share in the JOY that our son is going to bring. We can't wait to share his life with each of you. We'll continue to ask God to remind you, every time you see our boy, that you were part of our miracle and his, too.

You blow me away!

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quit Hugging the Beam!

Marty and I first watched this video about a year ago. Since then a phrase commonly heard around our house is "quit hugging the beam." The above is not the routine we want to stand before our judge one day and have scored. What does it look like to quit hugging the beam? For us, it looks like a family taking a step of faith in obedience to a call from God. Is it scary? YES! Our faith muscle is weak and God is asking us to learn new skills and grow stronger muscles.

When I watch my Julie at gymnastics, I'm always amazed at how fearless she is when learning new things. I see other little girls who hug the beam, because they're afraid of falling. They need to hold the coach's hand and it may take months before they're willing to dismount on their own. The coach is patient and encouraging to both types of children. She's there to catch them when they fall and keep them from face planting on the beam when they try to learn a new skill too quickly. In life, we have the most amazing coach. He's our encourager. He loves us when we hug the beam. He loves us when we stand on our own, confident that He will catch us if we start to fall. He loves us when we are overconfident and nearly face plant as a result. He's not just our coach, but our Daddy God. He's proud of everything we do for Him.

Here's the thing though, in gymnastics and life, there comes a day for each of us to "quit hugging the beam." God and every other good coach expects us to get up and try! We must do our best confident that when we place our faith and trust in him, he will catch us when we fall.

For our family, this next step includes an international adoption. We're pushing up from the beam and beginning to stand. It's scary, terrifying really. It requires more faith than God has ever asked of us before. We know that He will hold our hand as we put one foot in front of the other, believing in him to support and uphold us. If we fall, he'll catch us and one day when we "dismount" and stand before the throne, we'll have one more precious jewel to lay at his feet in worship. A little boy, he called us to save. Could we keep hugging the beam? Sure. But, we'd miss the JOY in following where he leads.

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The First Post...The Reason Why We're Here...

The infamous first post...it carries weight, defines where we're headed, and  inspires people to return.

So, why are we here? I've often had people say, "You should start a blog." I've just never had anything I was passionate enough to keep writing about and that might keep others interested in coming back. Until now. Now, I have a passion for the orphans in Eastern Europe. A passion that wakes me in the night to pray. A passion that keeps their little faces ever before me. A passion that will no longer allow for inaction. I'm hoping to share that passion with you here. It's my desire not only to raise funds for our adoption, but to advocate for all the littles that we cannot bring home. Maybe here you will read their stories, maybe here you will find the son or daughter you didn't know you had.

Somewhere in EE (Eastern Europe, this is how we'll refer to it) there is a son waiting for the Rhodes' Family to get our act together and come rescue him. You may think "rescue" is a strong word, but the reality is we are on a rescue mission. You see in EE our son was born and deemed unworthy of love, unworthy of family, unworthy of a home. Why? Because God made him "extra" special. He was born with an extra chromosome which results in Down Syndrome, sentencing him to a life as an orphan. Worse still, if we do not get to him quickly, he will be transferred to a mental institution where he will rot away, until death finds him.

We will not allow that to happen. Why? We serve a God who is in the business of "setting the lonely in families." He's a redeeming God. A God, who in all of his wisdom set in motion the very plan of adoption. He promises not to leave us as orphans. He gives us a new name. He makes us joint heirs to the kingdom with Jesus Christ, himself. So, when we look at our son, we will forever be reminded of redemption's plan. Of how each of us went from being nameless orphans, unworthy of love to sons and daughters of the King! We will rejoice as God leads us on this journey and invite you to join in the process.

Please pray for us whenever God brings us to mind and check back often to see what type of fundraising we have going on. It won't be too long and you'll be able to see our new son here. Just getting the commitment paperwork done, so we can go "public."

Hidden in Christ,