The Family

The Family

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Embrace the "Hard"

Now before anyone thinks, "Well who is she to preach to me??", I just wanna let you know that I was just preaching to myself about this subject this morning.  In the shower.  It is often where I do some of my best thinking  ;)  And this idea came to me.  Why don't we just embrace the hard?  You know, those difficult things in life that we all have to endure.

They are bound to come eventually, and they come in all shapes and sizes.  When you are young you are naive enough to think that you can duck around them, avoid them somehow, that nothing bad will ever befall you.  Eventually we realize of course that we can't.  Life is made up of hard things.  Hard choices, hard circumstances.  Sometimes, life is just hard.

So I got to thinking...... why don't we just embrace it?  Them.... those hard things.  Because you know, it is when we are going through those difficulties that we learn SO much.  Is it always fun?  No.  But it usually ends up being worth it in the end.  Sometimes those hard things are actually good for us.  And often they end up being blessings in disguise.  We grow, we change, we learn.

And I am speaking from experience here.  I know most of us could.  I have lost loved ones to sickness, I have gone through health trials with my children, I have had financial difficulties, we now have children with special needs and deal with issues on that end.......  You name it.

So I got to thinking today, we only have this ONE life.  It is a gift.  And sometimes it is the most amazing, miraculous, fun gift..... and other times not so much.  But what would life be without those challenges?  How would we ever test our mettle?  How would we ever grow, become stronger, more convicted??  We are put here on this earth to make a difference.  We have to be strong to do that.  We need to have experienced life.  The good and the bad. Many times, things we do in life would never get done without a previous experience propelling us forward.

If I had not lost my mother as a teen would I still have the same empathy for others who have lost a parent??
If Atticus had not developed Leukemia would I still know what I know about childhood cancers and be able to support other parents as well?
If I did not have children that struggle with learning disabilities would I still be an advocate?
If we had always been rich would I appreciate the things I have that we have worked so hard to obtain?

Some of these difficulties I would have never chosen-- I would much rather have my mother living and Atticus healthy.  Of course.  But so much that happens in life we have no control over.  All we can control is how we handle it, our attitude, and how we go on... what we do with that experience.

I know there are days for me when having a large family is just HARD.  The squabbles, the noise.  And  expanding our family through adoption has not always been a walk in the park.  There are seemingly insurmountable hurdles to overcome.  But I would not change it for the world.

There are days when having children with special needs is just no fun either.  I have heard parents say many times that they are overwhelmed at their decision to adopt kids with special needs because it turns out that now, life is just much more difficult and different than they would have ever imagined.  The way they envision their future is different too.  And you know, I get that.  Sometimes you just seem so engrossed in what is going on now  that it is hard to see the light.  But the light is there.  What you are doing is HARD but it is important.  That hard stuff usually is!  It is what life truly is made of......   not the shopping trips and dinners out with friends.  That is fun, but is it meaningful?  Does it give you a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Sure it is all about balance too, we've got to have the fun and the lighthearted sometimes in life right?  It keeps us sane. But I guess what I'm asking is is that all that we want?  The fun and the easy?  The stuff of life that lacks true substance?

And there was nothing in particular to me today that made me start thinking about all of this, just pondering life in general I guess, contemplating all our own challenges and difficulties, as well as our blessings. It just got me to thinking, life without the hard is boring.  We accomplish so much more when we tackle those hard things head on.  We make such a difference in the world when we step out and challenge ourselves to do something difficult!!  Think of running a marathon...... or birthing a baby without medication........ or adopting that child that is going to just rock your world!  Hard.  But so worth it.  And such an amazing feeling in the end, that you did something extraordinary.

No one ever got that feeling by just coasting through life.  Nope.

It is like my friend who is contemplating a move to Ghana with her husband and young children.  She wants to make a difference, and she feels that God wants her to also.  Would it be easy to leave all that you know, your conveniences and your security of your home, job, etc to traverse across the globe to a country where you can't just run to the nearest Target whenever you desire?  Nope.  Not easy.  Hard.  And worth it.

So there are my thoughts for the day.  As much to myself, if not more, as to you.

Step out, embrace the hard.  Or better yet, when the hard stuff of life finds you, move through it with grace and acceptance.  Now that doesn't mean roll over and let it get the best of you.  Oh no.  Rather step up to the challenge and show it what you are made of!  Grow, change, learn.  That's life after all, and it is darn good.

Colossians 1:11

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.

James 1:2-4

Testing of Your Faith Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Almost There!

On the Reece's Rainbow website families who are adopting are grouped into categories.  There are "New Commitments" all the way up to "Traveling Now."  Well the page right before "Traveling Now" is the "Almost There" page, and that is where we have landed!

It is both an exhilarating and a frightening thing to be on that page.  On the one hand, you are crazy excited!  Being listed there means that you have completed one of the hardest parts of adoption.... your dossier.  It has been sent into the hands of the Powers That Be to be processed for your adoption, and the only thing left to do now is to wait until you get the call to travel!  On the other hand, it means you are in the home stretch and traveling for your child is not far off!  Exciting yet nerve wracking, thrilling yet scary.

Well folks, that is where we are, in the home stretch.  It is an amazing feeling to be here knowing that our child is eagerly anticipating our arrival and that we are sooooo close to bringing him home where he belongs.

We are soooooo close financially too!  Mere hundreds lie between us and being fully funded.  $224.00 to be exact!! We have had an amazing cheerleader in our friend Julia Nalle who for the past few weeks has highlighted us on her blog and included our family in her fundraiser.  Her SEPTEMBER SYMPHONY has raised THOUSANDS of dollars for families like us, already committed to children, and for children yet unchosen in hopes of getting the families funded for their adoptions and the other children seen so that they might have families coming soon for them as well.

And you know what made my heart just soar today???  What reminded me of the goodness in the world??  That today, knowing we are getting down to the wire with our fundraising, finding out that a teenage boy of 18 donated all the money he had set aside for himself...... to us.  To our teenage boy.  To get him home.  Because this certain young man has been to Ukraine, he has seen these boys who have aged out, he has seen their plight and their desperation.  And his heart was moved to help.  What a blessing to us!  This boy knows what our son will face on his own, because he has seen it with his own eyes.  He traveled with my son Evan and with Tim this summer when they went on their mission trip.  And he wants to help.  God bless him and every person who has helped us on our journey through prayers and donations.  It means so much to us!

Today is the LAST DAY of the fundraiser and giveaway.  It is the LAST DAY for us to get funds donated so that we can meet our matching grant.  A $3700 matching grant!  No small drop in the bucket that is for sure, and the difference between us being fully funded for our son, and struggling to bring him home.

He has waited a long time.  And we are ALMOST THERE.  Can you please help us cross the finish line today???

Thursday, September 19, 2013

So Far.......

Thanks to the amazing generosity of others, we have raised
$1303 towards our adoption in just the past few days!!! 
Yet again, we are humbled and grateful for the outpouring of love and support which will enable us to travel for our son in just a few months!!!!! 
Thank you!
We are well on our way towards our goal of $3700, and since that is a matching grant opportunity that we are looking to meet, that $3700 can then turn into a whopping $7400 towards our adoption!!!
So we will keep praying, and thanking everyone who is reaching out to enable us to meet that goal.
Don't forget, every donation you make to either our RR FSP or our You Caring site, both linked above in the right hand margin, gets you entered into a drawing for some fabulous prizes if you just go to my friend Julia's blog and leave a comment about your donation! 
 The link again is HERE
AND for each donation of $30 to our You Caring site, you get your choice of
 Pumpkin Nutella Fudge or Walnut Pecan Bars
delivered to your doorstep just in time for the arrival of FALL!!! 
Just email me at with your order confirmation, which one you want and your address.  Easy peasey!!
So a HUGE thank you to everyone!!!  We are hopeful that we will reach the goal for our matching grant soon!!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We are getting SO close!!!!
We sent off the remainder of our dossier paperwork to the Secretary of State's office yesterday!  We are praying that it comes back this week so that it can take its long awaited trip across the ocean with another adoptive family who is traveling this weekend!
 We are hoping to be submitted NEXT WEEK! 
This is real folks.  Really real.  We are almost to the point where it is just a waiting game..... waiting and wondering when we will
Our boy is waiting for us.  But I think being at the trade school is taking its toll on him.
We have spoken with friends over there and it just is not a good situation.
He needs prayers, lots of them.
And most of all he needs US.  There.  Now.

Please help us be ready to travel when the call comes!

REMEMBER....... we have that AH-Mazing MATCHING GRANT opportunity going on right now over at our friend Julia's blog.

Go take a look!!  :)

For just a $10 donation to whatever family or families you like, you will get entered into a drawing for a ton of

It is a win-win situation!  Help get an orphan home to their family, and maybe get a little somethin'-somethin' for yourself!

ALSO....... don't forget about Rowe-Made Desserts!!!  Take a look at my previous post for all the details.  Scrumptious pumpkin nutella fudge and walnut pecan bars await you!  Perfect for Fall, and delivered to your door for only $25 plus shipping!!!
Such a sweet deal.

So please, consider a donation to our Reece's Rainbow FSP (at the top right hand corner of this blog) and then go to Julia's blog to let her know and get entered into the amazing drawing. OR make a $30 donation to our You Caring site ($25 plus $5 s&h), send me an email at and have some tasty sweets sent to your door just in time for the cooler weather of Autumn.

Thank you for prayerfully considering our son and our family, and all the other families trying to bring their precious children home.
We are all truly grateful!!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rowe-Made Desserts is Open for Business!

Ahhhh......the scent of Fall!  Crisp Autumn leaves drifting from the trees, cool evening breezes, campfires and s'mores, pumpkin spice and everything nice!

Can you smell it???    Well me neither, it is still around 90 here during the day!!  :)
But that doesn't mean that I am not craving Fall and all the comfort and homey feelings the season brings.  I am ready!

Well, if it is anything like here in your neck of the woods and Fall hasn't quite arrived yet, allow me to help and send you some scrumptious tastes of Autumn to put you in the mood...............

Walnut Pecan Bars

Just about the oooiest, gooiest, yummiest bite of Fall that you will ever taste!!

Chunks of walnuts and pecans layered over a creamy, buttery caramel sitting on top of a flaky buttery shortbread crust.  
Can you say YUM!?

This is seriously one of my favorite desserts ever.  It satisfies ALL of my cravings in one bite.  I love desserts with substance and texture and this one fits the bill!  The crunchy nuts, the sweet caramelly filling and the cookie like crust......
Well it is just PERFECTION!

Now, if nuts are not your thing, or you are just craving something a tad bit sweeter, a little smoother, let me introduce you to....

Pumpkin Nutella Fudge

Aaaah, fudge!  Take one bite of these golden little nuggets and you will see why each is a piece of heaven!
Not too pumpkin-y and laced with that glorious Nutella that we all love so much!
This fudge has all the flavors of Fall in one tiny bite-- it is creamy with undertones of vanilla and it will make you crave the crunch of those leaves underfoot and the holidays to come when you get a taste of that pumpkin spice blend sprinkled throughout.

So what say you?!  Are you ready for a little bite of something sweet and homemade?  AND ready to help a sweet teenage boy get home to his family at the same time???

Well here is what you have to do!

Place your order.....

One pound of fudge is $25 and $5 s&h
Ten Walnut Pecan Bars are $25 and $5 s&h

 Please make your payment to our You Caring site listed on the sidebar of this blog.  This way I can keep track of the payment for the orders more easily.


Send me an email to with details of your order and proof of your payment.
Make sure to include which item you want and how many orders of each AND the address for me to ship it to.

ALL orders for each week will ship the following Monday.
The first batch of orders will ship out on Monday September 23rd.

So come on!!  Place those orders!

Order a few for yourself, for the next-door neighbor, for the friend who needs a pick-me-up, for your kids' teachers.....
Everyone needs a little taste of Fall, and the fact that it is helping one more child find a home
makes it all a little sweeter.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Symphony of LOVE

You know those times when you are so surprised, so overjoyed, that you just can't speak?  Those moments in life that truly take your breath away, humble you and just bring you to your knees?  Well this folks, is one of those moments.
We have been offered a $3700 matching grant!!!!
Yep!  You read that right!  $3700 is being donated by an anonymous angel to help us get Ianto home-  out of the trade school, off of the streets, and into the arms of his new Mom and Dad.  US!
Wow.  I mean really.  WOW.  Such generosity isn't found much anymore. 
And I will say it again, we are truly, deeply, humbled.
To think that someone would be so generous.  Someone who does not even know us.
But it is the love of the orphan that spurs people to move.  To donate.  To help.
But there is MORE folks!!  Can you believe?!?
Our amazing friend Julia has written a post all about it on her blog.  There is something amazing going on, a sweet interlude, a melody being sung, and all of you can play a part.  In her latest blog post entitled September Symphony she explains it all.  You have to go check it out!  It is spectacular!  Truly.
Julia is not only helping us fundraise, but she is helping THREE other families with precious children waiting across the ocean to get to their children as well.  All four of our families have matching grants!!  AND as if that were not enough, four precious orphans with no families yet have been offered $1000 matching grants as well!
I mean really......   How great is OUR GOD!?
SO you ask, what should you do??
It is simple really, go visit JULIA'S BLOG.  For a mere $5 donation to one of the families who are featured and another $5 donation to one of the individual children, you will be entered to win one of the largest collections of amazing prizes I have ever seen!!  An Ipad, an Ipad Mini, a $500 Visa gift card, a Cannon camera..... the list goes on and on! 
Five dollars might not seem like much, but to an adoptive family it is everything.  I can tell you that from prior experience!  And the beauty of it is, it all adds up!  Your $5 gets us one step closer, then another, then another, and before you know it..... all these kids waiting patiently for their Mamas and Papas are HOME!  Right where they belong.
We are so honored that Julia chose our family to be included in this amazing fundraising event.  Every little bit brings us closer to being fully funded. So let's
 get our boy home!
Won't you please help us meet this match?
Do you know how Ah-Mazing that would be to know we are fully funded?!  That the biggest, hugest obstacle of all has been moved out of our way?
All these hearts, full of the goodness of God, coming together in one beautiful melody, helping one another, helping these precious children to get home to their families.  It is beautiful music indeed.
Won't you please choose to be a part of the Symphony? 
And the simply AMAZING thing about it is........... are you ready??
Once our FSP hits $4924.00 the matching grant will be met and will be FULLY FUNDED!  
Yes!  You read that right.  Fully funded.
And, if you would like to read yet another beautiful post that Julia has written about our family and our inclusion in this giveaway go here.
Her loving kindness towards us is truly extraordinary.  We are blessed.
I tell you, when God asks you to step out and adopt, it is big and it is scary.  And the scariest part is always how and where will we get the funds?  But God and His people have provided each and every time, and we see now that this time is no exception.
We are so grateful. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Family For Vanya?

This is Vanya. He is a 15 year old boy being hosted here for the summer through Project 143, and he would like a family!

If you are anything like me there is no way that you could even fathom having been alone at the age of 15. No parents to guide you, no one who truly loves you and cares about what happens to you. I can't even imagine what I would have felt like during those very difficult teen years had I been all alone in this world.

Well, Vanya is alone and he has been for a long time. You see, Vanya is a what they call a true orphan meaning he was not just given up at the orphanage by parents who couldn't care for him.... He has no parents. They both passed away when he was very young. From a woman who lost her own mother at 19, that was hard enough, but to be a small child, even more heartbreaking.

We have had the pleasure of hosting Vanya for the past few weeks and will host him until the end of August when he returns home. He is a very quiet boy who has taken some time to warm up to us.  I truly feel he is being cautious, reserved, too afraid of getting his hopes up then his heart broken.

When he first came to us he was unsure about adoption.  In fact, he was almost against it for sure.  He loves his country, which is understandable! He feels like the only life he has ever known has been pretty ok. So he was reluctant to consider something new.

We had a good conversation with him after he was here for a few days. We talked frankly about his life and his options, and what his life would look like in the future following both scenarios- adoption into a family or aging out into a trade school. I prayed that God would give me the right words to say to this impressionable young boy during the short time he was here and that he would know we truly care about him and his future, even though we just met.

You see, since Vanya is 15 he will be aging out soon. Very soon.  This precious boy turns 16 this November which means he has very little time to find a committed family and for them to get going on their paperwork. He needs to be officially committed to with USCIS before that birthday.

That is no easy task, but we serve a mighty God and we know that through Him all things are possible!  We know that His eye is on this boy and we pray He is guiding us in our influence on Him so that he might grow to know more about our Lord and trust Him with the plans for his life.

So a little more about Vanya.......

He is smart! He knows way more English than he cares to let on. ;)
He is respectful... Holds the door, clears his plate after each meal.
He is quiet... He takes his time getting to know you.  He is a bit of an introvert until he is comfortable, but he has done great in our family with our ten kids!
He is quite the athlete!  Plays soccer very well, is on the soccer team at his school, as well as track and field and wrestling.  He loves the trampoline, swimming, riding bikes and doing flips!
He is a master of UNO. :)
He loves music of all kinds
He loves cake, chocolate and ice cream.... And fish!

I ask that you search your heart and see if you have room in it for an amazing teenager like Vanya.  He deserves a chance, a home, a family.  Please feel free to contact me for more information either by posting a comment on this blog, or at  Thank you!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

More Updates.....

Life is zooming right along, like usual.  School days are fast approaching and precious time is left of those lazy days of summer. 

We have seen ball games, gone to the pool, eaten popsicles, ice cream cones and slushies galore!  We have gone to movies and visited friends and gone camping. So much has been done yet it still seems like it has gone by in the blink of an eye, like it always does.

Our kids were also fortunate enough to be able to attend camp again this summer.  They consider it the best week of the entire year!! They had an AWESOME time at FC Carolina Camp, as they always do, making new friends, playing games and learning more of God's Word. 

Their theme this year was Saved To Serve.  How appropriate.  Exactly what we always strive to teach our children... serve others before thinking of yourself.  I am thankful they got to spend that week immersed in this valuable lesson.

Here are just a few pics of the amazing time they had!

The theme for the week


Three legged race

Duck Dynasty themed banquet! 

Good friends full of happy smiles  :)

Fun and games

Gideon is a great rock climber!

And in the meantime we have been getting some updates on our other soon-to-be son across the ocean!  It is a blessing to hear a little bit about what he has been up to this summer and to be able to check in on him and see he is ok.  One of our friends is at his orphanage adopting three- yes three!- teenage sons and has been kind enough to deliver a little goodie bag to him from us and take many pictures too.  Here are a few!

He was quite happy to get the bag of treats , letter and pictures we sent him!

Getting hugs that I can't wait to give!!

Hanging out on the soccer field playing a little ball

We are still moving right along with all of our adoption paperwork.  It is almost done!  Praying that things continue to go smoothly and stay full speed ahead!
In the meantime, we are grateful for these updates.  We can see that his foot is feeling much better, and we are reaffirmed in knowing that he is happy we are coming for him.
Soon sweet boy, very soon!
However, we are quick to remember that he is still being transferred from his orphanage to a trade school at the end of this month, so please keep the prayers coming for his safety and his emotional well being until we get there for him.
And if you feel lead to help us along on our journey we would be so very grateful!!!  There are now TWO links on the top right of this blog where you can donate straight to our adoption fund. One is through our FSP on Reece's Rainbow, and another is on the You Caring site.  Either way the funds will go towards bringing our boy home, and you will have our most sincere thanks!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lighting A Candle..... In Memory

Today many people in the adoption community are lighting a candle for one sweet boy, a boy whose life was cut short all too quickly.  He was called "Hanson" and he was a Lost Boy..... A boy whose short life was lived out lying in a crib, trapped in an institution. He spent his days in a laying room. No one to love him or care for him, other than feeding him two or three bottles a day and giving him about that many diaper changes too.

Such a sad existence.  Such a sad way to live a life.  And even sadder, there are many more just like him in orphanages all over the world. They die every day without anyone ever knowing about them. They suffer like Hanson did, enduring life rather than living it, and just waiting to die.

God has called this sweet child home, and today we remember him.  There will be a memorial service held today at 3pm in Canada for him as well, organized by a gentleman with special needs who love and prayed for Hanson all those miles away. He said he knew that if he had lived in Hanson's country he might have suffered a similar fate. So this is his tribute to him. So very touching.

And today we are lighting candles to remember Hanson and the other orphans of this world who have died without the love of a family. There are so many.  People talk about the possibility of children dying in orphanages, well it really does happen. Often.

You can read more about Hanson, the service being held in his memory and the Lost Boys HERE

Please light a candle today, and say a prayer for these sweet children who deserve to be remembered.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Picture!

Here is the latest picture of our boy!!
Taken just a couple days ago at his orphanage by a family there visiting with their soon-to-be daughter
So grateful for the blessing of a photo, 
sent from across the world.

You might notice that it looks like he has a cast on his leg.  Well, he broke his foot somehow and is now having to hobble around on crutches.
Oh to have him home during a time like this, to get him good medical care and take care of him!
We can't wait to get there, but we are so thankful for little updates like these.
They mean so much.

Please continue to pray for him, that he might stay well until we get there.
Thank you!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

He Has Graduated

Normally a child's graduation is a happy time.  Pre-school graduation, Kindergarten graduation, High School graduation.  All reasons to celebrate, a time to be proud of all they have accomplished.
But graduation from an orphanage??
Not so much.
Rather than a time of celebration, for most orphans this is a moment in time they have dreaded all their lives.  Rather than a rejoicing, looking forward to their future,
they are scared.
For many, they wonder where they are to go now?  What will they do to survive?  Where will they live, how will they make money??
For a few lucky ones, they will be enrolled in a trade school, but those opportunities are few and far between.  Many end up on the streets.
Well, last month was graduation time for our sweet Ianto.
Even though he just turned 15 this spring, he has completed 10th grade at the orphanage school and is now done.
He will be required to leave the school at the end of August.
The thought of sending a 15 year old out to live on his own or take care of himself is mind blowing to me.
Ianto and his orphanage director
Luckily for him, he will be one of the ones entered into a trade school.  We have no idea for what though.  Each child is assigned a course of study, whether they like it or not.  That is what they will be trained in.  At least it is something.
But just look at these pictures?  Do these kids look happy?  Cheerful?  Elated that their schooling is complete and that they are on to the next adventure??
See him in the back??  :)
Now granted some of that is cultural, they don't ham it up for the camera a lot like we do, but they usually at least crack a smile.  I know, I have been there, met these children and taken quite a few pictures of these kids.  They usually LOVE photos!
I just can't help but feel the dread inside each one of them when I look at these pictures.  Instead of it being a time to celebrate, it is a time of worry for many of them.
They realize that most of them have lost their chance at ever having a family.
We want to relieve this hopelessness from at least one child.
Our future son, Ianto.
Hanging out on the playground equiptment

Getting food for their graduation celebration

 We are trying desperately to make sure that we get to our sweet son as soon as possible so that he does not have to spend too much time out on his own in the trade school.  Trade school is different than the orphanage.  Very different.
We know he wants to be adopted.
We have met this boy many times and grew to like us very much.  And we like him  ;)
Like isn't even the word.
He deserves a chance at a better life and we want to give that to him.
He deserves a family, just as all of them do.
He deserves to be loved and cared for and protected.
He shouldn't have to do it all on his own at such a young age.
He shouldn't have to worry or be fearful.
A few weeks ago Ianto was told by a friend of ours that he has a family. 
To say he was overjoyed might be an understatement.
He went around to all his teachers and friends and told them goodbye,
that he was leaving  :)
Well hold on buddy, not so fast!
But you see, he was happy!!  He has something to look forward to!
A way out.
Now he can have some peace, because before he was SO worried.
He knew what was going to happen to him and
he was scared.
He wants out.  NOW.
So you see, this is the reason we need to get to him quickly.
He is waiting.  He is being sent away at the end of August.  So soon.
And we can't wait to bring him HOME!!
Thank you to those who support our efforts, it means a lot to us.
If you are on Facebook, we have a fundraiser going on right now to help us raise money to bring him home.  We are selling homemade paracord survivor bracelets. 
Style A
Style B

 You can place an order by emailing me at
They are $15 for one, $25 for two plus $2.50 s&h
You need to let me know...
-Style A or B
-Color:  Gray, Gray and Black, Rainbow Multi, or Blue and Yellow like the Ukrainian flag.
-Size: Men's or Women's
Include your name and address for me to ship it to and a copy of your Paypal receipt to show you made a contribution to our FSP.  That donation can be done HERE.
Thank you!!
And I just have to say, for those who truly don't understand why we are doing this, I am sorry.
I know sometimes there are criticisms of adoption, especially adoptions being done by larger families.
But to my way of thinking, larger family is better than no family at all.
Better than a life on the streets.
And we have so much love to give.
Thank you for all your continued support and prayers!  Please pray for Ianto during these next few months.  He is the one who needs your prayers the most.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hear Ye... Hear Ye!!

Over the past few years, Tim and I have had our lives turned upside down and our hearts completely ransacked-- in a good way-- because of orphans.  These children who are alone, without a family, without a home, without good medical care, without love.  They have changed us.  They have forced us to step out of our comfort zone, make bold moves we would have never dreamt of before, learn to do things we never thought imaginable, WANT to do things we never thought we would.  They have also drawn us into a closer relationship with God, a truly faith-based relationship built upon doing HIS will instead of always catering to our own.  This has been an incredible blessing to us and to our family.
To put it mildly, our eyes have been opened, and our hearts have been broken because of the orphan, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
That all being said, let me introduce you to a very special young man.  He is listed as "Ianto" on Reece's Rainbow, and he is going to be  Our Son!

Our road to Ianto has been an interesting one, one full of twists and turns.  It has been formed over time with amazing details, as only God can do.
You see, I originally met this young man during our first trip to EE for the adoption of Charlotte and Atticus.  Tim, Schuyler and I went to visit the older children's orphanage as some of you might recall me writing about, the same orphanage where our kids Bronwyn and Leo would eventually be adopted from, and now where we will return for this adoption as well.
I remember vividly the first time I laid eyes on him.  A tall, skinny boy with a mullet  ;)  who thought he was so cool.  But he was polite and respectful, sat with us and a bunch of other children, happily eating the goodies we had doled out- fruit, candies, cookies.  Treats these kids seldom received.  Yet he wasn't greedy, he took only his share and no more, he passed treats back to the other kids.  We could tell he was a really kind boy.

 Schuyler and I had the privilege of hanging out with him more when she and I returned again with our friend Natalya to the orphanage for a weekend visit.  Natalya and her church friends were there to hang out with the children as they did every Saturday... playing games, teaching Bible lessons and giving many much-needed hugs.
This Saturday Natalya was also coming with a little extra something for the kids- some new socks.  I cried as she passed out one pair to each child and saw the gratitude in their faces, over receiving one. pair. of. socks. 
And again, there was Ianto.  He hung out with the group on those Saturdays we went to visit, eager for a little attention and affection just like all the other children there. Here he is in the torn blue shirt.....

When Tim and I traveled back to EE that following fall for the adoption of Bronwyn and Leo, we again got to spend lots of time at the orphanage.  Much more time than on the previous trip as our kids were actually at this particular orphanage this time.  We visited every afternoon playing games and soccer with the kids, doing crafts and just hanging out.  There was always a crowd of boys and girls there with us but one thing remained constant while I was there..... Ianto. 
He was quick with a smile and a hug.  You could tell he just craved the affection.  He told me many times how he wanted a family, how he wanted to go to America like so many kids from that school already had.
But for now he was happy to spend his afternoons with us, playing the iPad and wrestling with Tim  ;)

We talked about Ianto a lot while we were there... about what a good kid he seemed to be and how if we had been approved for three at the time I would have begged to take him home with us as well.  And Tim often remarked about Ianto's uncanny resemblance to his childhood friend Jamie.  Even showed me a picture of him when we got home so I could see the similarities.  :)

So as time went on and we were back home now getting the newest members of our family acclimated to our home life, we saw several months later that Ianto was listed with RR.  One of our good friends who had been in EE with us during the previous adoption had returned to the orphanage with a mission team and had compiled lots of information about him so that he could be listed.  First and foremost on that info sheet was about how much he wanted a FAMILY.
Shortly after, one stepped forward for him. I was happy that he would now have a Mom and Dad of his own, but inside a part of me still wished it had been us.  Shortly later, due to some different circumstances, the family that had committed to him had to back away.  When we found this out Tim and I knew it was time to talk.  We both knew this amazing boy, we both loved his quirky and fun personality. And we felt fairly certain that he had taken a liking to us as well. 
Would we?  Could we go back again??
We approached our kids about the possibility of having another brother, especially the two who had lived there at the orphanage with him for many years.  Bronwyn in fact has known him since she was very little and the two of them were in a different orphanage together.  Both Bronwyn and Leo attested to the fact that he was a good kid.  He hated the orphanage and never felt like he fit in.  He didn't like being around the rough kids, or the ones who smoked and drank.  They knew he wanted outta there.... bad.
So again, as they have now four times before, our children gave us their approval and with that we committed to bringing home a new SON!!
Now what would be an adoption without its complications??  Especially an international one!
Well I am happy to say that we hit the ground running, and luckily have not encountered any roadblocks so far.  Praise God!  And, half of our dossier is already in his country being translated!  Yeah!
However, we recently found out some news which causes us great concern.
You see, children in this country age out at the age of 16.  That means they are sent away from their orphanages having "graduated" and the lucky ones get enrolled into some sort of trade school.
Well unfortunately for Ianto, even though he just had his 15th birthday in June, he was somehow ahead a grade and therefore graduated this past spring.
We had NO idea that this was going to happen.
So now, the director has informed us that unless we can get there by the end of August, Ianto will be sent to a trade school.
There is no way that we can get there that fast.  The various papers for our dossier have all been sent off to the respective "powers that be" and now all we can do is wait for their completion. To top it off, we have been told that some things like USCIS and FBI clearances are running a little slower right now.  So, as best we can, we have no choice but to be patient.
BUT, once those papers do arrive they are being sent off immediately to EE for submission.  We don't want our precious boy to have to wait any longer then necessary for his family.  As it is, by the time we get there, he will already be out on his own... living who knows where, having to take care of himself, being responsible for himself completely at the ripe old age of 15. 
With that said, we need your help.
I can't even stress this enough.
We have been blessed over and over again when we adopted in the past.
We have seen God's people spring into action, helping those of us who are trying to give a father to the fatherless.
And this time our need is just as great.
Actually, more so.
We are starting from scratch.
Having completed three international adoptions in the last 2 1/2 years we know we will need financial help to bring Ianto home where he belongs.
This is our sweet boy's last chance.  Literally.
Over the next couple months we will be fundraising as we did with our previous adoptions.  We are brainstorming right now on some different ideas and will make sure to let everyone know what we come up with!!
In the meantime, if you feel lead to make a donation, our FSP is up and running on the Reece's Rainbow website.  As soon as I get a linky button, it will be posted in the top right corner of this blog.  For now you can go HERE and it will take you directly to our FSP.
Please remember, no amount is too small!!  It all adds up and gets us where we need to go- to our son.  We are grateful for any amount that you feel lead to give.
As always, we covet your prayers as we begin yet another amazing journey in our lives.  It is a journey born out of love for these children and a commitment to do all we can for them, and as always it is God lead.
We know that He is in control of this, as with everything.
We thank everyone in advance for their love and support.  We know you will be behind us just as before and we are so grateful.
It is never easy to step out and do that which is considered unpopular, or even "crazy" by some.  But knowing that this is what God would have us to do makes it all worth it.  HE is the one we strive to please.  He is the one who gives us the strength to do what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do.
Thank you again to everyone, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday to our sweet boy Atticus!!

Today he turns 3!!


He has weathered a huge storm this year....
But he never let it steal his JOY

Throughout all our hospital visits....

And doctor appointments......

Being poked and prodded, spinal taps and bloodwork.....

Throughout it all he has done great!  He is such a trooper.

He has reached so many milestones this year!  Feeding himself, crawling, signing, verbalizing, pulling up
and walking around the furniture...
So many things he was never able to do before, never given the opportunity to do.

He is growing into such an amazing little boy!  Full of laughs and happiness!

Our little "Froggy", we love you SOOOO much!!
We are so thankful that God saw fit to make us your parents,
to give US the gift of having you as our son.

We continue to learn from you each day.  
So many lessons to be learned from an innocent child
about love, trust, and joy.

On this, your third birthday, we thank God that you are safe, healthy and 

We are thankful for the doctors who have been treating you over the past year, 
the therapists who have helped you grow and blossom and learn,
the friends who have prayed for you
and the family members who continue to love you.
You are such a GIFT.

Happy third birthday little man.  
We can't wait to see all you accomplish 
this next year! 

We love you!!!