Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dossier is on it's Way!

Our Dossier has made it to Germany! So, well on it's way to our Eastern European country. When it arrives, it will be translated and submitted for our referrals of Joseph and Samuel. Then, what we've all been waiting for will finally happen. We will receive travel dates to go and meet our boys!

After our first trip, which we're hoping will be by October at the latest, we will come home and assemble our stage 2 dossier documents. A lot less than the first round. We'll also have to deal with USCIS, again, but also a much shorter process. All in all, we should head over to pick the boys up about 4 months after our first visit. Please, continue to pray that things will move as quickly and smoothly as possible. We don't want Joseph and Samuel in those orphanages any longer than necessary!

We still need to raise about $7500 and are hoping to take a chunk out of that with our Yard Sale on Saturday. I'll be sure to update you. Also, I've had a couple of friends ask about the total from the Celebrating Home fundraiser. We raised $324 and will do another one in October. Lots of exciting things coming up. I am organizing another blog giveaway. If you have anything you'd like to donate, please let me know. These have been the easiest way to raise funds and spread the word about our boys, so we'll keep doing them.

Thank you for praying and supporting our family on this journey. Keep watching, I have an announcement coming soon about a new blog I'm starting. I love to advocate for the kids on Reece's Rainbow and since one little girl has our hearts, I'm going to go full steam ahead and try to find her a family!

A hint: She has a button on the sidebar here.


Update: Meredith's blog is here! Meredith's Miracle

Monday, August 29, 2011

Super Quick Fund-Raiser!

My friend, Brooke, messaged me today while I was out playing in the creek with the kids. She sales Mary Kay and she wants to donate the next 48 hours worth of profits to our adoption. 50% of her sales, now through Weds will help to bring the boys home!

Click here to place your order and hurry :)

You can also help Brooke spread the word about her new business by liking her facebook page here: Brooke's Beauties!

We're so blessed with such wonderful friends, who are always looking for new ways to help bring our boys home!

Thank you, Brooke! Also, thanks to all our friends who will order or share between now and Wednesday!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Big News for Sasha!

Many of you will remember Sasha from this post. Since I wrote that post we have been praying and believing for God to send a family for Sasha. This morning I woke up and found Sasha on the My Family Found Me Page of Reece's Rainbow! I can't wait to find out who his family is and I will definitely be linking you to them.

This is Sasha. His family is going to need our prayers and most likely our financial support. Continue to pray for Sasha's health and safety as he's already living in an institution and that is where he will wait for his family.

The best part of adoption is getting to witness miracles week in and week out. Not a week goes by where we don't find a reason to rejoice at the goodness and sovereignty of God! He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above anything that we could think to ask! Sasha will have a family and that is a miracle that only God could orchestrate!

It's hard sometimes to see the photos and hear the stories and if you let it, it will weigh you down. It's worth it all when we see God show up over and over again for these little ones. Sasha has a family! Yay God!

I'll be sure to keep you posted about Sasha's forever family. In the meantime...

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

Rejoicing with Him,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Serious Business

We've had some eye-opening experiences this week in regards to international adoption, the need of the orphans, and the condition of one of our boys. I have removed some posts from the blog to protect many people, mostly the children who need families. I read a post on another blog awhile back that said, "if you don't believe in spiritual warfare, begin an international adoption." I'm not sure if truer words were ever written. I have said about all I can say, for now.

Except to ask you to pray. Pray for hearts to be opened to the needs of these children. Pray for the warriors on the front lines of orphan care. Pray for the ones behind the scenes, who are constantly bombarded with questions and often verbally attacked. It is easy to hide behind a computer screen, to say and do things we wouldn't necessarily do in "real-life." Pray for wisdom in how to proceed. Pray for protection and safety. So many times people ask me, "What can I do to help?" The answer is PRAY!

Prayer changes things. Prayer grabs the heart of God. Prayer defeats the enemy. Won't you pray? There are precious children whose very lives are counting on your prayers.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support.

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ordinary Hero

Who doesn't love a chance to be a Hero? To share our faith by being the hands and feet of Jesus? This great organization offers the chance to help children in Africa and pay for adoptions at the same time! I love it!

I have signed up to be a part of their affiliate program and for every purchase you make and select my name as the affiliate (at check out) we will receive 40% of the profits for our adoption. The best part, you can purchase a Bible for a child and they will receive the word and we will receive money to bring the boys home. Or you can buy a sheep and feed 40 children in Africa and we still receive money to bring the boys home! How about buying a child this blanket? I have been to Africa and seen the great need. If you know me well, then you know I am passionate about children everywhere and seeing their needs met.

I love this program! Please, take a minute to browse and don't forget to put my name (Amanda Rhodes) in the affiliate box when you checkout! We can all be Ordinary Heroes to someone!

Ordinary Hero Store, click the link to shop :)

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...SHOP!!!

Hidden in Christ,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Just received an email from our USCIS officer that our i800A application was approved! Thank you for praying! I sent her an email with the document she needed and in less than 4 hours she responded with our approval.

Next step: Receive approval in the mail (hoping for Thursday), drive to Richmond, have the final documents for our dossier apostilled and mailed to Eastern Europe for a referral to adopt our boys!

Once we have a referral, we will receive travel dates. It's looking like the end of Sept or first part of October. We're going to meet our boys!!

Thank you to everyone who has prayed and is praying us through this process. We are blessed by each of you.

Hidden in Christ,

Request for Evidence

The good news is we have an officer for our i800A application with USCIS. I spoke to her on the phone on Friday afternoon. The bad news is we got the dreaded request for evidence. Basically, an important date on one of our child background clearances was left out of our homestudy. I, immediately, emailed and called our homestudy social worker. She had already left for the weekend and will be returning to her office today, Tuesday. Please, pray that she will be able to get me the information I need this morning! Our Immigration's officer has said we should have our approval within 24 hours of getting this information to her.

It was sad, yesterday, to open the Request for Evidence knowing that had one date not been missing, it would have been our approval. As we face one more bump in the road, we stand firm in believing that God has our best intentions at heart. He is working behind the scenes for us and His timing is best. We will continue to do everything possible to keep moving swiftly towards our boys.

As soon as I have our approval, I will be driving to Richmond to get it and the final documents for our dossier apostilled. Then, we'll be mailing that package to the boys' country and waiting to hear about travel dates. Travel dates to meet our boys. We're coming, Samuel and Joseph, just hang on.

Please, continue to pray for Sam and Joe's protection and that their needs are being met.

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

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, August 12, 2011

Forever Family Friday

I missed last weeks addition of Forever Family Friday. If you came looking for it, I'm sorry. I promise to do better. I look forward to Forever Family Friday every week. I'm not convinced that I'm making a huge difference this way, but it's what I CAN do and I refuse to do less than that.

Most weeks, I'm thinking and praying about Forever Family Friday a few days in advance. I really desire for God to use this blog as a vehicle to bring Him glory. This week, I've been arguing with God. I do that from time to time. I think all the children on Reece's Rainbow (all children everywhere really) are fearfully and wonderfully created with an eternal purpose and calling on their lives. That being said, I'm human and so I'm naturally drawn to the children with good profile pictures. For as much as I believe beauty comes from the inside, sometimes it's very hard for me to see past a blurry photo of the top of a baby's head.

God told me early in the week who he wanted me to show you, today. I went back to Reece's Rainbow to double check and see if maybe this kiddo had a new picture, but he did not. I asked God, "How, how can I write a post about the top of this little boy's head and think I'm gonna find his MOM?"

God's response was that I AM going to be obedient and He is going to do the rest. I still wasn't loving this plan when I laid down last night. Then, God woke me numerous times to pray for this sweet boy and each time I could see his picture in my mind and I fell a little more in love as I prayed. You see, the photo is one small moment of Valenz's life, so far. He is a real child waiting for a Mom and he's at a disadvantage of having a not so great photo, but Valenz has the advantage of having a Mighty, Big God on his team!

So, here's little Valenz...because God said so...

He's cute in his girly heart overalls, yeah? I think that may be why he refused to look at the camera. If you're looking for a kid with a sense of style I think Valenz is probably your son! I love his soft, silky looking hair and you all know I'm a sucker for squishy-ness which Valenz is oozing from his sweet cheeks.

I'm praying that soon we'll have a better photo of Valenz, one that includes his Mom and Dad. He's a priceless jewel waiting on a family to step out in faith believing that he is worth the effort. You can read more about Valenz on his Reece's Rainbow profile. He's four years old and making great progress. His sad little grant is at $0.00. We're going to have to untie this knot for Valenz and his forever family! Will you give to his grant and pray that his family will find him. 

Will you ask God, if He's calling you to be that family?

I can't wait to see what God does for Valenz! Please share him with your friends.

Thanks for letting me share my heart and sweet Valenz.

Hidden in Christ,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What's Next?

In this never-ending world of fundraising that we have dived into, we are barely finishing one fundraiser before our well-meaning and helpful friends and family are asking,


It has begun to rank high on the list of most anticipated questions regarding our adoption.

The other being,

"How much longer til the boys are home?"

We don't mind these questions, in fact, we welcome them. They mean that people are thinking about our adoption and how to help us bring the boys home.

Sometimes, I don't know "what's next?"

That is not the case this time! 
We just finished our iPad2 Giveaway and we're wrapping up a Celebrating Home fundraiser on the 15th.

Thanks to an amazing church family we are planning another...
wait for it....


I know! Can you believe we're diving in again? 

The first one raised a CHUNK of MOOLA, so when asked if we'd be interested in doing another one, what else could we say, except for , "YES!"

Same as last time if you have anything to donate you can email me, facebook me or call me and I'll send Marty right over to load your items up :)


Yard Sale being held at Christ's Church on the Spruce St Ext in Martinsville, VA on Saturday, Sept. 3rd.
100% of the money raised will help bring our boys home!

We're so blessed to have the opportunity to do this again and thank you in advance for any and all help received!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New photo of Joseph

We are so blessed to have another picture of Joseph!
We have friends who are in "country" picking up their son, who was in the same orphanage as Joseph.

They were so kind to get us an updated picture and I'm one proud Momma to be able to share it with you!

Isn't he gorgeous?
 I cannot wait to get my arms around this little bundle of love!
I'm amazed by how blessed Marty and I are that God is trusting us with this precious boy!

I know, I'm gushing! I haven't stopped smiling since I first saw this picture.
This makes every piece of paperwork, every headache, every phone call, every mile driven, every fundraiser (yes even every fundraiser) worth the effort.

Joseph is our son and we can't wait to bring him home, along with his equally cute and just as adorable brother, Samuel!

If you want to make a donation to our tax-deductible grant through Reece's Rainbow, you can click the donate box on the right hand side of this blog.

Please, continue to pray for our boys!

We are so thrilled to be receiving two more blessings into our family.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Picture Post for Prayers

Please remember to pray for our boys this week!



I ask that you would keep the care of our sons in compassionate hands, until we can hold them in ours.
I pray that you would be their father and mother, until we can be your hands and feet to them.
I pray that you would use their lives to change others for your glory.
I thank you in advance for the privilege of knowing them and raising them into Kingdom Warriors!
I pray that you would speak to the hearts of friends and strangers, who would help us untie the knots that stand between us and our sons.
I pray that You would raise up mighty prayer warriors, now, to stand in the gap for our boys and for us as we ready ourselves to carry your light into a dark part of the world.
Let your light shine through us.

In the name that is most precious and holy, Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.

Prayers Needed

We have been asked to show our adoption video and speak at church this morning. Will you pray that God will give us the exact words He wants us to say? We would love to help raise awareness for the orphans and their great need. I went to bed last night dreading (I don't love public speaking) this morning and I woke up to find this post on my facebook. It does matter! We have to continue to advocate and God didn't call us to do the easy, comfortable things in life. So, we will step outside our comfort zone this morning and pray that God receives all the glory. Will you pray for us?

Also, join me in praying for my friend in the above post and her family. God is changing hearts and I believe he's about to untie some "knots" for this family.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...

Hidden in Christ,

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The winner is....

All total we had $1950 in donations, once we deduct the cost of the iPad2 and the case to go with it, we will be adding $1425 to our fundraising total! I'm going to show you "The List." There were 876 entries, so each person was assigned a number/numbers 1-876 and this is what "The List" looks like:

A couple of close ups:

Then I headed over to and put our numbers in the number generator...
Hit the Generate button and the number 30 was chosen!
Number 30 on my list was...

Brad F!!

I'm sorry for the quality of the photographs. I wanted to document this, so everyone would know it was done fairly.

I'll be contacting Brad F. We're excited for this family to be our winners! We love them dearly and are blessed to call them friends. Just as we are blessed by each of you who has prayed, shared and given throughout this process.

We're so excited about the money raised! We hundreds of dollars closer to bringing our boys home because of each of you!

Thank YOU!

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, August 5, 2011

You Did It!

We've had 10 new donations on the iPad2 giveaway since Sunday, so as promised here. We're giving the winner an iPad2 case and we're tempting you with another prize to add to the package! After we receive another 10 donations of $10 or more through the chipin, we'll be adding a $25 Amazon Gift card to the prize package!

Share, invite, pray and give as God leads! We'd love to keep adding to this package as the day progresses! You have all been such a blessing and an encouragement during this giveaway and the entire adoption process, we're excited to be giving something back to you!

The giveaway ends today and we'll add the $25 Amazon gift card when we reach 56 donations on the chipin.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support!

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spiritual Warfare and Adoption

I have formed close friendships now with a couple of other Moms in the process of adopting from Eastern Europe. The one thing we all have learned quickly is that adoption is not something the enemy is fond of. That's putting it mildly to say the least. In my own life, I have seen Satan attack every aspect of our family and home, since we began this process. I will call it what it is...spiritual warfare. The enemy does not want our boys to come home! He will do whatever he can to stop us from getting to them.

During this adoption we have left a church family that we dearly love, we have experienced huge financial losses in our personal finances, we have had close family members walk through what we pray were their darkest hours. We have struggled with fundraising when others make it look simple. We have small things happen every week that are just completely weird.

All of that being said, we will not back up! We are moving forward in the grace that allows us to BE everyday. The mercies that are new every morning. When the enemy comes against us, we are standing our ground. Not just standing, but moving forward. Everyday a step closer to our boys. They are ours and we will not let the enemy destroy them. He has worked hard all their lives to do just that, But God!

Satan would have rejoiced had our boys been conceived in the USA where they would likely have been aborted. He thought he had them when they were abandoned by their family and society to an orphanage. He was ready to throw a party when the time came for transfer to a mental institution, which surely would have led to their deaths. You see, his job is to find who he can devour and do just that. He saw weakness and vulnerability in our boys and tried to exploit it, BUT GOD!

On the other side of the ocean, God was moving. God was orchestrating a beautiful symphony written simply for our boys. He moved on the hearts of so many people before we even saw our boys' faces for the first time. People who advocated. Reece's Rainbow who listed our boys, so we could see them. Prayer warriors who are now seeing the fruit of their prayers. Then, God began to gently call our hearts in his direction. He knew that I was longing to not just see a miracle, but to be a part of one.

God began years ago, preparing us for our boys. He gave us a Pastor who understood and taught us to be debt free, enabling me to stay at home and our family to live on one income. God had long ago planted a seed in my heart for the orphan. On missions trips to Africa, South America and even Europe, God showed me their great need. I always thought I would go there and work, But God! God gave me an eXtra special Uncle Roy and allowed me to understand and see beauty where others could not. God united Marty and I in a mission for His glory.

So, you see, we will not back down! Satan can not have our boys and one day soon we will walk them out of an orphanage and into our family. We are asking you to pray for us, the weight is heavy at times. We also ask you to consider our need. We long to do the Father's will and trust that He can speak to hearts.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support!

Hidden in Christ,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Short Update because I'm tired

We just got in from a 2 day road trip to DC and back. We took our FBI clearances along with the Whiteaker's FBI clearances to the US Department of State for authentications/apostilles. We could have mailed these and waited around 4 weeks to get them back, but since we're praying that our USCIS approval will be back in the next week, that took the 4 week wait off the table. I could hand deliver and have them back the SAME day and so I did what any Momma in a hurry to meet her babies would do. I drove 5 hours with my Dad and my kids and took a mini-field trip to Washington DC. We had a great time touring the museums and learning about our country's capital and after a 2 hour wait at the Dept of State this morning, I walked out with our documents authenticated. No 4 week wait for us (or the Whiteakers) and I have to say, "Thanks" to my friend, Jessica Whiteaker for booking us a fabulous hotel room right in the heart of the city. One of the biggest perks of this adoption has been the amazing families we've met and the friends we've made. God just continues to bless as we follow His lead. So, we're one piece of paperwork closer to our boys.

Sadly, we haven't had any donations on our chipin for the iPad2 Giveaway here since Sunday. We'd love to see that number rise and we're offering additional prizes that you can read about here. The main thing is we need to get this money raised so we can bring our boys home. Will you help us?

Thanks to everyone who prayed for our safety as we traveled and for a speedy trip to the Dept of State. I felt your prayers easing the way.

Hidden in Christ,