Sunday, July 31, 2011

Update to our iPad2 Giveaway!

We've decided to up the ante! We're going to be adding to the grand prize package over the next week. Right now, we've had 36 donations come in through the chip-in. When we reach 46 donations (we are asking for a minimum of $10 donations) we will add this to the prize package:

You can read about the CaseCrown iPad2 case on the amazon website.

For every 10 new donations we receive ($10 or more) we will add another prize to the grand prize package. Don't forget to track where you're sharing and come back and let me know for your free entries into the giveaway. We want to make this last week of the giveaway amazing! You all have done such a great job of helping make this a success, now, we want to give a little something back!

There will be other fun announcements, so check back often this week! To read all about the iPad2 Giveaway! follow the link and learn how to enter and earn your chances to win the iPad2 and help bring Joseph and Samuel home!

This is ALL about our boys! We want them to come home and we want to be ready when the time comes to go and get them. Help us knock this fundraising out, so we can turn our attention to the fun parts of preparing for our sons. Preparing their room is something we've been putting off, because we know it's important to have this money raised first. We are so excited to be able to focus on creating a place for them that is all their own. A place prepared with love, specifically, for our boys. We want them to know from the moment they walk through our doors and into their new home that they are loved and wanted and that we're so excited to have them home.

Let's do this! As always, thank you for your help and your love! We are blessed by each person who has chosen to join us on this journey!

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, July 29, 2011

Forever Family Friday

A few months into this process I shared a story with you in this post. I think some of you thought I was exaggerating until we saw the photos of Teri Lynn after her transfer. There are so many more just like Teri Lynn and today, I'm just going to list their photos and links to their Reece's Rainbow profile. Each of these beautiful children has either been recently transferred to a mental institution or is in danger of being transferred, shortly.
Sasha I've shared sweet Sasha here, and he's been transferred since that post.

Heidi was recently transferred and she looks so sweet in her photo. Lord, please, send Heidi a Mommy and Daddy.

Easton He looks like so much fun in this picture. My heart breaks to think of what life in a mental institution is doing to his sweet spirit.

There are so many...just like these. They need families. They need us to decide to do more, to love more.

Please, please, consider praying and sharing their photos. We need to find their families. Teri Lynn is still waiting and she has a $22,000 grant. All of these children have not been blessed with such a large grant, but they do all need families.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something...Their lives depend on us!

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Joseph's Care Package

We are sending a care package over for Joseph this week. We have friends who are picking up their son from the same orphanage that Joseph is in. They very kindly offered to take a package for Joseph and we've had fun getting it together for him. I had lots of great suggestions. We decided to purchase a travel size pillow pet and take pictures of each of us loving on it and it hanging out around our house. This way Joseph can hold the pet that we've loved on and slept with for almost a week and he can see it with us in his photo-book. We included a picture of the outside of our house and of his Daddy's big red truck.

Here's our album:  Julianna chose the panda bear pet for Joseph and Eli chose a puppy dog for Samuel. He'll be keeping it safe until we have a chance to send it to Samuel or hand deliver it. I hope you enjoy the photos, but I really hope Joseph loves them. It's a blessing to be able to send them and have him know we're coming. We're sending along a few other toys, too.

Please continue to pray for our boys and don't forget to share our iPad2 giveaway. We're in the final push to bring in donations with this giveaway. It will end on August 5th! Thank you all for your support and especially for your prayers.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something.

Hidden in Christ,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fingerprint Success!

Marty and I were up and out around 5:00 am, yesterday to make the 2 and 1/2 hour drive to Charlotte for our fingerprinting appointment. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly the appointment went. We were in and out in 15 minutes. We are thankful to have another step behind us.

What happens now? We wait for USCIS to process those fingerprints along with our i800A application. We are sending out our last few documents for our dossier that still need apostilles this week. As soon as we have our USCIS approval we will get it apostilled and send our dossier over to the boys' country for translation and submission. We are praying for September travel dates and this is looking more likely every day. We are so excited to meet our boys!

Our iPad2 giveaway is going well. We're excited about how many people are sharing our story and we are blessed by all who are giving and praying. Your support is changing our lives and the lives of our boys. You can check out our giveaway here. We also have a Celebrating Home Catalog fundraiser happening. If you're local and would like to see a catalog, just send me a message and I'll get one to you. Thank you to everyone who is selling for us. I can't wait to hear the totals in a few weeks and share them here with everyone.

We are inside our 6 month window, now! Praise God, our boys are coming home! Will you continue to pray that they will be home by Christmas? This would be a wonderful Christmas miracle to have our whole family together on Christmas morning.

Thanks for caring and believing in our boys.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, July 22, 2011

Forever Family Friday

It has been a hard week for many in the Reece's Rainbow community. We've been rocked by the photo's of Terri Lynn. We've prayed as we watch the unfolding story of the Warner family. We've cried with the Barnett Family as they work to raise the last $10,000 needed to bring their 3 little ones home. They should travel in the next few weeks and two nights ago their laptop was stolen from their car while at their church's VBS. A laptop with documents needed for their adoption.

Satan is fighting hard. He does not want to see children rescued and brought home into loving families. He'd rather they not be raised into Godly men and women and used for Kingdom work. Well, Satan, you can stuff it! We won't back down or quit fighting for these little ones. Their lives are valuable to God and so they are valuable to us!

So, for our Forever Family Friday post, I'm going to list some photos from Reece's Rainbow. If you see a child you'd like more info on just click their name under their photo and it will link to their Reece's Rainbow profile. Pray and ask God if one of these children is the pot of gold waiting at the end of your rainbow.

Celine- She's in danger of being transferred to a mental institution soon! She will change from this beautiful, smiley girl, to a shell of her former self, when that happens. Please let's save Celine from the institution!

All  of these children are waiting for their forever families. Will you pray and share their photos? Thanks for letting me share them with you!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why Children with Down Syndrome?

There are all kinds of questions people ask when they find out we're adopting. Especially, when they learn that no, we don't have fertility issues; yes, we do have two children already; and that we're adopting boys with down syndrome. There are a few brave souls who come right out and ask the hard questions. There are even more who just end the conversation quickly, when they learn the boys have down syndrome. Then, there are the ones who speculate about the financial gain we must be getting by bringing our boys home. Let me assure you, not only is this adoption costing a ton of money, but we fully expect our boys to continue to cost us a fortune when they get home. Eli and Julie certainly do :)

So, why children with down syndrome? Well, there are all kinds of reasons and we've covered a lot of them in other posts. Today, my answer is WHY NOT? I know from hanging out with my Uncle Roy (who has ds) how much fun a family member with a little something eXtra brings to the table. I read blogs like this one and I see all the JOY our family has to look forward to and I think, WHY NOT?

Somethings will be a challenge, okay, many things will be a challenge. It's hard work raising kids into healthy, capable adult, even when they're not sporting an extra chromosome. Usually the things in life that cost us the most, the things we work the hardest for are the things we cherish the most. We're ready to take this ride with our boys. We're praying that God will equip us to raise all of our children into mighty kingdom warriors! We know that He who began a good work in each of us will see it through to completion. Our greatest hope is to one day stand in the presence of our Almighty, Creator God and have our children standing beside us.

So, my answer is WHY NOT? Have you asked yourself, recently, if God might be asking you to adopt a child with down syndrome? WHY NOT?

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Side note: Don't forget about our iPad2 Giveaway!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We got our FBI background checks in the mail on Friday and Saturday! Thank you for praying that they would come back quickly. Our fingerprinting appointment for our i-800A (USCIS paperwork) is on August 25th in Charlotte. We're in the process of deciding whether or not to try and "walk-in" one morning this week. I'll let you all know to be praying the night before if we decide to go for it. We really don't have the funds to drive to Charlotte only to get turned away, which is a possibility. I know the 25th is not too far away, but everyday counts when you have children waiting in an orphanage.

Our iPad 2 giveaway is up and running. We've had $450 donated through the chip in and some checks are on their way, too. We've almost covered the cost of the iPad2, so someone will be the new owner of an iPad2 when the giveaway is over. We've set up a facebook event to help spread the word. It's a public event and you can check it out here and invite your friends. We've found that facebook is a great tool for spreading the word about our boys.

We're also doing a Celebrating Home Catalog fundraiser and I have some people already selling. If you'd like to help with that, please contact me and I'll get you set up with a catalog. We are making 50% profit off the sales!

I wish I had an update on the boys, especially Samuel as he has been heavy on my heart this week. Will you join us in praying for both Samuel and Joseph? Pray for their safety, health and that their care would be in compassionate hands until we get to them. I'm asking God for an update on Samuel to come soon. We've had many updated photos and videos of Joseph and they bring so much comfort. We'd really love to be able to put "eyes" on Samuel and see that he is doing okay. God is really growing our faith and trust during this adoption process. Pray for us, too, during these growing pains.

Thank you for reading, praying, supporting, and caring.

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Forever Family Friday

Lately, we've been seeing quite a few Now and Then photos of kids...

Now and Then photos can bring JOY or sorrow.

The photos I'm going to show you, today, will cause grieving.

I know this precious little girl is grieving the Father's heart, as He waits for her family to respond to His call to bring her home.

This is an older photo of Teri Lynn

She looks healthy and content, with her full rosy cheeks.

She's clean and her beautiful hair is fixed nicely in a pony tail.

She hasn't realized, yet, the desperation of her situation.

All of that changed when Teri Lynn was transferred to a mental institution recently.

A sad place to be, where they lock children away who are different in anyway.

Here's Teri Lynn's photo from the institution.

Her color is faded and her hair has been shaved off, but most concerning of all is how very sad she looks.

Is she loosing hope while she waits?

Are her dreams of a family fading?

Does she no longer believe that anyone cares?

The second photo tells a story all it's own about the reality of what these children will and do face when we don't get to them in time.

Teri Lynn is still adoptable. Her family can still save her.

If you want more information about Teri Lynn or you just want to make a donation to her tax-deductible grant to help remove the obstacles for her forever family, you can click here to see her Reece's Rainbow profile.

Thanks for joining me for Forever Family Friday and for letting me share Teri Lynn with you.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

PS Don't miss out on my friend, Jane's Forget-Me-Not Friday post. She'll link you through to lots of orphans who need a family. Thanks, Jane for letting me link :)


Some of you will remember Meredith from a previous Forever Family Friday post.

You can check it out here.

This is another photo of Meredith and I knew I had to share it.

She's such a beautiful little one.

Won't you help us find her a family?

We'd love to bring her home, but we've been called to be Joseph and Samuel's family.

Maybe you're her Mommy?

She is quite the little princess, isn't she?

She's waited far too long.

If you want more information about Meredith, click here to read her Reece's Rainbow profile.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fingerprints of God

It's incredibly easy to look at other people's lives and see the fingerprints of God. It's much more difficult to be walking your own journey and KNOW that God is with you. We started this adoption not knowing where God was taking us. We knew He wanted us to adopt, to be open to bringing home an orphan or two. We didn't know that those orphans were coming from Eastern Europe.

I want to make sure that I clearly acknowledge the fingerprints of God whenever I see them, especially in my own life. Marty and I started seriously considering adoption around the first part of this year. I knew in my heart, we could parent "special" kids, but Marty was much more reserved and uncertain. God showed me Reece's Rainbow and I showed Marty and we spent many days and nights discussing and praying about where God was leading us.

We thought, "Maybe we can just adopt two healthy children from Africa." So we headed down that path.
We found an agency. We took their orientation. We met with our Pastor and sought spiritual counsel and Godly wisdom. Everyone we knew were in agreement that this would be a great thing for our family to do.

Meanwhile, God had shown me the children in Eastern Europe. He had opened my eyes and then Marty's to a truth we could not ignore. Three times we tried to pay our initial deposit money with the agency that would facilitate our Ethiopian adoption. Three times, God clearly interrupted our plans. We even decided we would put that we were "open" to a child or children with special needs from Ethiopia. We were doing everything possible to satisfy what we knew God was telling us without being fully obedient.

Finally, I told Marty that I would most definitely follow wherever he led our family, but that he was going to have to pay that initial deposit himself, because I just couldn't. Well, turns out he couldn't either. God had been dealing with his heart, as well. Within a few days we had committed to bringing "Dawson" home.

We have been totally at peace about our decision ever since. Isn't it amazing how being inside the will of God brings such contentment? Could we have adopted from Africa? Surely, God would have been pleased and God calls many people to Africa and other places to adopt, but he was calling us to two precious boys in Eastern Europe. Two littles who had been overlooked and abandoned. Two children who were meant to be ours. I'm so glad that even now as I look back I am able to see the fingerprints of God along this journey. There is no room for doubt. Our hearts are overflowing with love for our sons. Our sons, who like Eli and Julie, were handpicked and created by God himself and who are covered with His fingerprints.

Their lives and ours will forever look different, brighter and more beautiful, because we have each other. We chose to hear God's voice and respond with obedience. While we were slow followers, we know that God is honoring our obedience. We are ever grateful for the fingerprints of God covering our lives, our journey and our family.

Please continue to pray for us and advocate on behalf of orphans everywhere.

If you want to be a part of our miracle, read here to learn about our recent fundraising efforts and join us on this journey to our sons.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Forever Family Friday

What happens when a child spends too long in an orphanage?

Here's a photo of Cyril as a toddler

He looks happy and joyful. 
Maybe he's not been in the orphanage for very long.
Maybe he hasn't realized, yet, what he's missing.
One might look at Cyril and be fooled into believing his need is not so great.
He looks well cared for and content.

Here's a photo of Cyril from this year.
He's turning 5 years old in December.

This precious boy doesn't look joyful, anymore.
He looks sorrowful, sad and lonely.
He looks like he's had quite enough of the orphanage and is ready for his Forever Family to come.

Is God calling you?
Is He asking you to bring Cyril home and help restore his JOY?

Cyril was created by God with a purpose and a plan.
Cyril is fearfully and wonderfully made and deserves an opportunity at a happy life.

Cyril has a very special friend here who loves him and is trying to help raise his grant fund, so that when his Forever Family comes they'll have help to bring Cyril home.

I would encourage you to head over here to Nevin's blog and read about how you can help Cyril.
Nevin is such an encouragement to my heart.
He loves Cyril and wants to help him.
Can we join him on this mission?

Will you share Cyril's story on your facebook or blog and help find his family?

Will you pray and ask God if Cyril is your son?

Will you ask God to untie any "nots" that might be keeping Cyril's family from him?

Thanks for letting me share Cyril with you this morning.

Thanks for taking the time to read his story and pray for him.

Hidden in Christ,

I'm going to link-up to a couple of other blogs who do a similar post on Fridays, so check back and I'll have those up soon.

Here we go. There may be a better way of doing this but I'm not all that techno-savvy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adoption Update

I realized it's been awhile since I posted an update on where we are in the process. So, here goes...

1. We have submitted to USCIS for approval to adopt the boys and have received our biometrics fingerprinting appointment for July 25th at 8:00 am in Charlotte, NC.

2. I called the FBI, yesterday, and was told that the clearances we sent off for are coming in this week. These are for our Dossier.

3. We need to go by the local police dept. and get letters from them, also, stating we don't have a record here in the city.

4. We have one more 2 hour course to complete online.

5. We hope to be able to submit our Dossier in August and travel for our first trip in September to meet Samuel and Joseph.

6. We're working on raising the last $10,000 and have an iPad2 fundraiser going. Click here to find the details.

7. We're continuing to pray for our boys health and safety, while they wait.

Please join us in praying our way through this process. We're blessed by each of you, who have chosen to be a part of our miracle.

Hidden in Christ,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Will you leave your lights on?

A big news story here in the USA has been the Casey Anthony trial. I didn't watch much of it and wasn't waiting by the television for the "verdict" that man would hand down. I was amazed by the out pouring of love from complete strangers for this beautiful little girl Caylee, who was murdered three years ago at just 2 years old. An event on facebook was started to leave your porch lights on in remembrance of Caylee. It's a beautiful thing to watch communities come together and love a child.

Then, today, I read about the passing of another beautiful child. A child whose death was also tragic and unnecessary. Look at him and tell me,  "Would you leave your lights on in remembrance of him?"

This is Warner. A little boy who lived his whole life alone in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. Warner is gone home to be with Jesus at just 2 years old. Warner's death could have been prevented with access to good medical care and a family that loved him. I believe Warner would have thrived on love and been an amazing blessing to a family.

Caylee and Warner are home now, resting in the arms of Jesus. It seems to me like the very best way we could honor them both is to do everything we can to prevent harm from coming to any child. Warner has many friends on Reece's Rainbow who are waiting on a family. Could you be their family? Might you be the hope they're waiting on?

I watched as millions of people grieved Caylee by leaving their porch lights on. How will we grieve Warner? What will we do for the millions left behind?

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something, before it's too late.

Hidden in Christ,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Here's the DEAL!

I'm gonna lay it all out here and then give you a chance to do something BIG and maybe win something BIG, too! Here's the deal. I see families all the time who are pressed for funds right up until the day they bring their kids home. I don't want that to be us! I know some of you are over the fundraising already. I promise you, we're over it, too!

So, I have a proposition...let's get this thing done! I'm going to set a $10,000 goal and one month from today my prayer is that we will have blown that goal out of the water! We're getting close to our first travel date and we'd love to be fully funded when we take that trip. After much prayer and consideration, here's what we have to offer...

That's right! We're serious! You can give for a chance to win an iPad2! I don't own an iPad2, but I hear they're amazing, a must have. So let's cover the rules and then we'll be off, with one month to get fully funded.

How to enter:
$10.00 = 2 entries
$20.00 = 5 entries
$50.00 = 15 entries
$100.00 = 50 entries

You can also get a free entry every time you share this giveaway! That's right! We need you to share on your facebook, blog, social media of any kind counts. Just come back here and leave a comment telling where and when you shared and you've earned a free entry! 

If you are the chosen winner and you don't want an iPad2, we'll be happy to substitute a $500 gift card to the Apple Store!

The iPad2 is being bought with the money donated, so if we don't pass the $500 mark then we'll split the proceeds with the winner 50/50. We fully expect to pass the $500 mark, just needed to put that disclaimer in there.

Now, that we've covered the rules, here's where you can donate. Through the chip-in on the right-hand side of the blog and yes, it is tax deductible or you can contact me for mailing instructions. Donations will be taken through August 5th and a winner will be drawn on August 6th.

Alright, let's get this done!

Thanks, everyone!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

While I'm waiting...

I spent the early morning hours torturing myself looking at the blogs of some families whose adoptions are complete. I followed a lot of their journeys and watched as God moved mountains to bring their children home. It's a blessing and encouragement to see what's coming for us. It's also a little sad to think of how far we have left to go. I want my boys home, now! God is, constantly, teaching me new things. Things about his timing and his unending grace.

Doesn't change the fact that I want my boys home, sooner rather than later. I read once of how God has an appointment with each of our circumstances. It's similar to when we have a doctor's appointment. You schedule the appointment months in advance for 2:30 in the afternoon. Well, you can show up at 11:00 and begin to request to see the doctor, but you're most likely going to wait until 2:30. You waited for months and now, you're anxious to have your appointment. We're like this with God. We're moving toward a goal, an appointment with God and our circumstances, but we can not hurry God up. We can rant and rave and throw a fit or we can just show up available for him to use us when he's ready. When the time is right.

This is hard. It's even harder when you have children waiting for you in an orphanage in EE. Children who aren't receiving the level of care and attention you know they deserve. God is calling, though and I am listening. He is asking if we can be faithful and just walk where he leads, patiently, serving in the waiting. The answer is we can! With the help of the Holy Spirit, who is our comfort and companion, we can do this. It will be worth the journey. God has an appointment with us and with our boys in the not so distant future. He does "set the lonely in families" and he will not forsake our boys.

I went looking for my JOY this morning and seeing those beautiful families who have already been made whole through adoption, brings that JOY flooding in. It floods my soul and causes rejoicing. While I'm waiting, I will serve, I will pray, I will advocate and I will give. I will give out of my need, because our need is great, but God is good.

I would encourage you to be available to walk where God is leading. The first steps are the hardest. The fear creeps in and your faith may be weak from lack of use, but keep walking. It gets easier to trust him. It gets easier to remember that he has good in mind for you and not evil. If you keep walking, there will come a "But God" moment in your journey, where God steps in and changes your circumstance forever. Your faith will grow and the journey will get easier. God is looking for obedience.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support!

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, July 1, 2011

Forever Family Friday

My favorite day of the week is here! 
We all love Friday's, but it's my favorite, because I get to share a new little one with you and pray that he touches your heart and moves you into action.

This little man is in the same orphanage as our Samuel.
Maybe they play together.
One day soon, Marty and I are going to walk in that orphanage and carry Samuel out.
We're going to leave "Vinnie" behind.
It's heartbreaking to think about.
We know God has a family for Vinnie. We just need to find them.

Here's Vinnie!

Can you imagine how he's going to light up the room when he smiles?
Wouldn't you like to be the one who makes him smile and giggle?
To hold him close and call him son...

Vinnie will be 4 years old this December. He could meet his family before his fourth birthday! 

Vinnie's grant is pitiful. It has $0.00 in it.
If Vinnie's not your son, will you share his picture and maybe help his grant to grow?
Let's show the world that Vinnie is valuable.
He's worth giving up a lunch or two at your favorite restaurant.
Go here to give and print off Vinnie's picture and pray for him.
Pray for his family to come and for his JOY to be restored.
No little one should look as sad as Vinnie does.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support!

Hidden in Christ,

Update: Go here and see more photos of Vinnie! Also, this family is committed to funding $4000 toward Vinnie's adoption! Yay God! Now, we just have to find Vinnie's family!