Monday, October 28, 2013

Lego Prize Winners

It took a bit longer than I had hoped to get all thirty-five of our giveaway spots filled but we finally did it tonight and I am so excited for the people who won these fabulous Legos.  I really wish all of you could have won because honestly you each deserve to win for the support you offer us in Daniel's adoption.

Our first prize winner is Elaina L. I still need to find out which of the three awesome sets she chooses.

Our second prize winner is Laura W. She will receive a Lego Advent Calendar.

Our third prize winner is Theresa D.R. She will receive the Lego Fall Set.

And our fourth prize winner is Heather P. She won the mini-figure sets.

Congratulations to all of our winners! Thank you again for your generous support.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Tears

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! I opened my email to receive a wonderful gift for this mama's eyes. Daniel's birthday was earlier in the month. I so wanted him to get his gift and cake for that day but found out his birthday falls in a major Chinese holiday and all the orphanage workers would be on vacation that week. The service we used assured us the workers would give him his party once they were back. Today I received pictures of him at his celebration. I cried happy tears seeing his precious face as he learns he has been chosen. This is his first birthday party. Only the children with families in process of adopting them would get a birthday party. I have no idea how many times he attended another child's birthday party wondering  if he would get his turn.  Enjoy!

Look at that gorgeous cake!

The nanny is reading him our letter, telling him we want to be his family.

Making a wish!

Blowing out the candles!
Sharing with his friends. 

I can tell he is in a wonderful orphanage and receives good care but nothing can take the place of having a family. Daniel, we are working our tails off to get you home as quickly as possible. Happy birthday, sweet boy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Milestone Completed

There are certain milestones in an international adoption that once reached are met with joy, elation and relief. International adoptions are a multiple step process. The first part is preparing a home study. It really is more like a family study. A social worker interviews you and your children about your upbringing, values, strengths and weaknesses. Questions are quite invasive and often you find yourself apologizing and trying to explain motives and behaviors from actions that happened twenty five years ago. If you are a young person reading our blog, think long and hard about your actions that may in fact had long term consequences. The innocent pranks you thought would be so fun now, may make your life difficult even thirty years later. Believe me, I know. It isn't a deal breaker; it just makes the process longer and harder.

Every member of the family also has a physical examination. I guess they want to make sure that the children I already care for are healthy and well taken care of by us. Some countries disqualify  you for certain diagnosis, medications, or conditions.

All adults are fingerprinted and investigated by every state you ever resided in. I am  grateful that we didn't move around much. I feel bad for those families that moved around every other year and now need state clearances from a dozen different states.

In addition, they want passport copies, birth certificates, our marriage certificate, tax returns, statements of Lou's employment, statement that I am a homemaker, statements of our financial position, letters of reference from non related people who know how we parent our children, and letters from doctors explaining that although are bodies are a bit tattered and showing our age, we can indeed hold up to the stressors of another child.

The whole process requires you as a family to gather documents, drive to appointments, and ultimately depend on other people to do their part...other people who do not share the same urgency we do to complete this home study.

Once everything they demand of you is handed over and the written document is completed, your home study is forwarded to your placing agency, who hopefully loves what they see, requires no editing and signs off that it is good to go. If all goes as planned this entire process normally takes two to four months.

Well folks, I am so very happy to announce that after working on this for three months our home study is DONE! As I type, it is en route via the US Postal Service and should be in my hands today or tomorrow.

The celebration will be short lived as the next step is dealing with immigration. I am already lifting prayers up for our paperwork to be handled timely. This step took ten months for Phoebe's adoption so I am nervous about landing in this phase of our adoption. It typically takes two to three months to complete this process so I am hopeful we will be typical this go around. 

I have yet to receive any pictures or updates from Daniel's birthday but am still hoping we get something. I would love to see his reaction to being chosen. When and if I get any, I will post.

Our fundraising efforts continue...We still need thirty more entries for our fabulous Lego Giveaway.  Every $20 donated to our Reece's Rainbow account will be entered into a drawing for fabulous Lego prizes. Please leave a comment or email me at with your name and email address so I can notify you if you win. Click Here to Donate.

 First prize is a choice of Lego City Town Square, Lego Winter Village Cottage, or Duplo Town Set.

Second Prize is the Lego City Advent Calendar

Third Prize is the 2013 Fall Scene

Fourth Prize is two sets of Lego Mini Figures

We also have a fundraiser through Trades for Hope. This wonderful company empowers women in developing countries to build sustainable businesses through artisan crafted products. The items are lovely, unique and I hope you take a moment to browse and shop. This event helps these women and their families as well as our sweet Daniel.
Victory Necklace for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for offering support to our Daniel. Please continue to pray for our process to go smoothly and for Daniel's preparation to be in a family.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love Legos?

I do love Legos. These indestructible blocks have infinite possibilities only limited by our imaginations. Over the last twenty five years, I have gathered umpteen blocks, accessories, mini figures and building plates to satisfy my children's insatiable desire to build. Until a year ago, I was kind peeved with Lego for making all of their sets a bit boyish themed...Star Wars, Batman, Ninja Turtles, Cars, Monsters and the like. You get the picture. My girls never cared. They built with the "boy" stuff anyway. Every year I would moan about the fact that girls like to build and why didn't Lego release any girlie themes. Well I must have whined so long and loud they heard me and made a new product targeting girls Lego blocks, pets, horses, fashion, music. Yay, this momma was so happy. My girls do love them. It has opened a whole another genre of creative play that didn't exist with those primary blocks.  Now we have pink in the mix with those primary blocks, and the flowers and butterflies intermingle with the treasure chest, swords and ammo.

Lego is one of those products that crosses gender as well as age lines. I know grown men who have Lego sets they would never dream of parting with in their lifetimes. I envision they will be willed to their grandchildren at some point. The crazy thing is, they will most likely be in perfect working order. These toys don't break or wear out! The water doesn't damage them. We have had many a pirate ship in the bathroom sink. I do warn that puppies could mangle them pretty badly and may render them unusable, but the toddler I care for full time has found a large Duplo Lego brick that is awesome for teething on and he has yet to leave any teeth marks. They are that awesome.

Would you like to get your hands on some of your own? Add to your collection? Give to someone you love? How would you like to possibly win your very own cool set of Lego while helping us raise the ransom for our Daniel?  Today is your lucky day! For each $20 you donate to our account on Reece's Rainbow, you will get an entry for a Lego giveaway. This is limited to the first 35 people to donate, so your chances are pretty good of winning something. Let me introduce you to the prizes...

1st Prize:
Choice Of One Winter Village Cottage, Lego Town Square, or Duplo Town Set
Winter Village Cottage

Lego Town Square

Duplo Town Set

2nd Prize:

Lego Advent Calendar

3rd Prize:

Lego Fall Scene 2013

4th Prize

Two sets of Mini Figures

Who's ready for some Legos? Who's ready to help this boy come home to our family?

 All donations are tax-deductible 

Once you donate to the account, please leave a comment with your full name and email so I can notify you if you win. I will not publish any of those comments.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What's Up?

What's going on? I wish I had more to report back to you. Our home study is nearly complete. All the necessary paperwork is in, the social worker has finished her final edits. Our China agency will review it and hopefully it won't require too many changes. The social worker and agency will work together to ensure it is written to match China's criteria. I am optimistic it can be done this week but also realistic enough to know, things aren't always that simple so I won't hold my breath. We are eager to get our hands on this home study as it is necessary for our next step dealing with Homeland Security and Immigration.

Some of you may have wondered if the government shutdown affects our process. The short answer is no, it shouldn't. In order to file our I800a paperwork for immigration, we pay a hefty service fee. Because this is a payment for services, our government will gladly take our money and keep this process moving forward. There may be some delays with securing our visas or consulate appointments when we travel, but these are scenarios we don't have to worry ourselves with yet.

Daniel had a birthday, last week. He is now seven years old. Seven years without a family. I wonder if he still has hope for a family or if by now, he has given up that a family would want a seven year old boy with hydrocephalus. I arranged to have birthday cake and gifts sent to him at the orphanage. We also were able to send him a letter and photo album to introduce our family and tell him we want to be his family! I would love to be a fly on the wall and see his expression when learns he has been chosen! Shortly after ordering his birthday package, I found out it was a major Chinese holiday that week and he would not receive his package till later this week. I am sad for him that another birthday came and went with no gifts or party but this week will hopefully make up for it. Hopefully the orphanage staff will take some pictures to pass on to us. I am eager to see his precious smile.

Some of you may wonder how our fund raising efforts are coming along. Honestly I wish I had a better report for you. We had an Usborne book fundraiser, adoption t-shirt sale, and our Reece's Rainbow account has been up for over one month and has raised roughly $200 of the $30,000 needed to bring Daniel home. It really is a drop in the bucket and yet I have seen first hand how God puts all these drops together miraculously and we get a full bucket. I am trusting He will provide. He has always been faithful and I have no doubt that He will again.

So what is next? I have a couple more fund raising ideas. We will be selling some gorgeous jewelry and crafts in the next month and just in time for Christmas gifts. Lou is doing an iPad Mini raffle at his workplace that continues through the whole month of October. I will update you with our latest news as soon as it comes in.

Please continue to pray for this process to continue smoothly, for our Daniel's health and preparation to be in a family, and for our fund raising efforts.