Adoption Fundraiser $1000 Giveaway!

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  THANK YOU FOR HELPING US RAISE OVER $3000, AND SECURE AN ADDITIONAL $1000 MATCHING GRANT!  ONLY $11,000 LEFT TO MEET OUR GOAL!  STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE FUNDRAISERS!  

7/28/12: We have received our  matching grant!  Thank you all so much, on behalf of one loved, blessed, and truly precious little baby boy…who doesn’t know any of this is happening for him.  Thank you, Lord, for bringing us all here together.

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Thank you to the many people who have read our story, shared it, and donated to make one little boy with Down syndrome an orphan no more.

We are holding a giveaway. Of some really great the things.

And here’s how it works:

1) Easy-peasy free chance: Share this page and giveaway using social media, and win one chance for every “share” (FB, share the link to this giveaway on your wall and “like” Big Little Days Blog so you can tag us (add in @Big Little Days Blog in the message of your post somewhere), Twitter tag @BigLittleDays #giveaway in your post) or, leave us a comment here with the link for all other social media shares. Win up to three chances each day!

2) Donate any dollar amount to win two chances for every $10 donation.

3) Leave a donation in multiples of $18, a traditional Jewish blessing amount (a sweet gift from one of our encouraging readers), and win 3 additional chances for each $18 donated.

Donate to our Chip-In (not tax-deductible) account to help us cover immediate expenses or to our Reece’s Rainbow Account (tax-deductible) for in-country expenses.

Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page to let us know if you do any of the above things.  REALLY.  I cannot guarantee I have counted your entry without a comment here or on our Facebook page.

When our funds reach $250 Our funds reached $250 on 6/28/2012! We will definitely be giving out this prize on Friday, 7/27/12 at midnight, EST:

$25 Restaurant Gift card (Choose from Panera, Applebees, Outback, Olive Garden, and many others) or $25 donation to a RR kiddo of your choice

Congratulations to our $25 prize-winner Linda Benham!


When our funds reach $500, Goal reached 7/1/2012! We are definitely giving away this prize at midnight EST on Saturday 7/28/12:

$50 Gift card to Amazon.com or $50 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $50 prize-winners Joyce and Sarah E.!

When our funds reach $1000, Goal reached 7/7/2012! We are definitely giving away this prize at midnight EST on Sunday, 7/29/12:

$100 Gas Card (Choose Speedway, Shell, or Marathon) or $100 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $100 prize-winner Lisa Polakowski!

When our funds reach $1500, Goal reached 7/14/2012! We are definitely giving away this prize at midnight, EST on Monday 7/30/12:

$150 Gift Card from Spafinder.com or $150 donation to a RR kiddo.

Congratulations to our $150 prize-winner, Marcia M.!

And when our funds reach $2000, Goal reach 7/27/2012!  We will definitely be giving away this prize at 9 PM EST on Tuesday, 7/31/12:

$200 Target Gift Card or $200 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $200 prize-winner, Amy D.!

And when we reach our goal of $3000,  Goal reached!  This prize will be awarded on Tuesday night, 7/31/12 at midnight EST:

A $500 Amazon Gift card, or $500 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $500 prize-winner, The Diaper Diaries Blog!

All of our prizes are subject to change, but only to be replaced with an item of equal or greater value. If you would like to sponsor one of the prizes, please contact me!

So, that’s it. Winners will be announced on our Facebook page and on this blog.

Share away, and click this counter to donate to our Chip-in:

Click the picture to “Chip-in!”

Or to our FSP fund On the Reece’s Rainbow site (tax-deductible)

Remember to post your email address on the secure donation servers when prompted so I can contact you if you win. Everyone should also leave a comment below, especially if you are winning a chance from sharing, that includes an email address on the form (only I can see it). Winners will be selected by random number drawing. All prizes not claimed by 8/31/2012 will be forfeited/offered in a future giveaway. Giveaway participants must be 18 years of age or older. Unfortunately (due to messed up regulations), only folks in the USA can win. Anyone who donates from out of the US will each receive a personal thank-you and my undying love and mutual disappointment at the international laws preventing international giveaway awesomeness.

That’s it. Now let’s move those mountains!

Poured Out and Precious

I love a good bargain. I mean, unless it’s a gift for someone else, I weep to pay retail for things I know I can find at a garage sale. When we were growing up, I truly thought that we were poor because my Dad was ridiculously frugal. Like not ordering his own meal at restaurants because he would just finish what we didn’t eat. Like garbage-picking bikes and sports equipment and once, a couple of ancient draft horses.

You have to understand, my Dad was from a different generation. He was born at home during the Great Depression (and yes, I am 31, and no, I am not being generous with my math. The early 1930’s, people). He was the son of Polish immigrants, who called it wasteful when he saved his money to go to college, leaving a promising high school, voc-ed type apprenticeship in masonry.

As a veterinarian and later, financially-secure human physician, you just don’t get over that kind of cheap.

It has been passed on to me.

And so I must tell you the story that ticked me off to no end in church:

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

-Matthew 26:6-13

Because I think if we are going to LIVE frugally, we should GIVE generously to 1) Do the work Jesus called us to do and 2) improve the lives of people who suffer and can’t care for themselves.

For 31 and a half years, I have been siding with the disciples on this one. I want to help the most people and make the biggest impact because WE ARE DOING GOD’S WORK ON EARTH, and, it justifies the spending of money for things I don’t benefit from: One trip to get my nails done is 31 days of medical care and schooling for our sponsor child. See the hook? Bang for your Buck, they call it. And that is not wrong.

But sometimes, it is.

Hear me out. Sometimes, we are not called to fix the problem entirely. When Jesus said “The poor you will always have with you,” I think He was trying to encourage us and temper our expectations at the same time. We aren’t serving the poor to eradicate the problem of poverty. Though a popular soundbite among politicians, this goal is out of our reach, according to Christ. So why should we even try? Ok, the motivating part: there will never be an end to the need for what YOU can do in the name of your faith. Also, even if your action doesn’t help hundreds, it is not sinful to focus your efforts when you are called to honor God with your decision.

So what has changed?

A little boy.

He lives in Eastern Europe.

Alone.

Waiting.

And we are going to see if we can be his parents.

Before you go jumping to conclusions about how horrible foreign countries are for allowing children to sit in orphanages, requiring tens of thousands of dollars to release them, consider this: There are very few countries who will allow their children to be adopted internationally because they know how people will talk about their way of doing things. You can thank a few Dateline specials about Romanian orphanages for shutting down adoptions there.

This Eastern European country has offered us, as American citizens, an incredible gift.

The chance to bring one of their parent-less children home.

And we have seen his face.

And so we begin.

Yes, $35,000 could save 4 orphans here in the United States, or could provide mosquito nets to 3,500 children, or pay for a year of college for 3 underprivileged teens, or meals for a month for 1000 people.

But that doesn’t reduce the cost of bringing this little boy home.

No one is going to get him out without this money.

And that is hard, because I love a bargain. And plane tickets for just one of the three trips will run us $2500 a person. And the first installment of the agency fees is more than we saved all of last year.

And we honestly just can’t afford it.

Then just like that, in a moment of divine grace, I am able to see what the woman with the alabaster jar saw. This money could make a bigger impact if we chose a different way to spend even half of it. But, we are pouring out the whole jar for this one call. To tell God, we have heard You, and we trust You, and we will answer.

When it could do so much more. When it doesn’t make sense. We are anointing this impossibly tiny child of God. Perfectly made with Down Syndrome.

Could you believe that Jesus told the disciples to remember this woman just so 2000 years later it could whisper truth in our hearts today?

So we are humbly asking you to join us on this mission. If you are moved to donate, you will be giving your own treasure for the same goal. To give what is precious for something that will have such a tiny impact. And even if you can’t, if you read these words and say “Those BLD’s are not crazy; I totally see where they’re coming from,” will you leave a kind word below to help us face the discouragement we will surely face along the way?

We are offering our precious savings, or future earnings, and most of all, a good bargain. For this child. Who soon, God willing, won’t be eligible for your charity, because he will be ours.

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Due to this country’s adoption process, we have not been “matched” with him yet, and so we cannot list his picture publicly. We do know the region of Eastern Europe he is in, and are hopeful that “Thadius” will be the child we bring home. We will be able to share his photo as soon as we have been matched by the Ministry of Education after our Dossier is submitted and we make our first trip. However, anyone who donates to our Chip-in will be eligible for this awesome giveaway

Please know that if he is adopted before this, we will be matched with another child in his region. Which means we’re acting in faith, and trust that God will choose the perfect child for us.

If you would prefer a tax-deductible option (we don’t judge–we’re keeping all those receipts, too!) which will help us while we are in-country, see our Family Sponsorship Page on Reece’s Rainbow.

To Call You Mine

Looking for that adoption blog we were going to set up?  We’ve moved it!  To right here!

Thanks for reading!

The next post has some GREAT info about our little one!

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Welcome friends, family, and new readers!

So, here’s the first thing first, that big announcement you were promised…

We are adopting a baby.

With Down syndrome.

From overseas.

And that’s all we can tell you just yet.  As you may know, this is a big change in plans for us.  But we saw this precious little one’s face.  And we knew.

Because this baby is waiting right now.  For a family.  To feel wanted.  To never be alone again.

And no one else may be coming.

So we can’t continue pursuing a domestic adoption when God has opened our eyes, and is making the path straight to do this crazy thing.

And my little one, I hope someday soon you will know.  Your dad and I are committed to do what it takes to hold you against our hearts, and to call you mine.

The Rise and Fall of St. Louis

Yesterday we attempted to visit the number one zoo in the country in St. Louis. So did everyone else in Missouri.

When the odometer clicked from 52,896.3 to 52,898.2 and we still were looking for parking, we called it a bust.

Instead, we dug out the handy ASTM list of reciprocal museums and happened upon a gem. Less than a mile away, free parking (for reciprocal members), free admission, and wide open play spaces awaited us at The St. Louis Science Center.

As we entered, the kids made a beeline for the dinosaur dig pit. Even Hoss got in on the fun, grabbing a glorified tongue depressor and stabbing at a fossil-packed gravel pit with zeal.

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The teenage docent and his pre-teen sidekick were excellent: wearing dino hunter safari vests and getting into the rubberized dirt with the kids. They welcomed the kids and let them have at it.

I was scanning back and forth between my kids, mentally reminding myself to let them play without prompting them. Next to me a dad was telling his son “be gentle,” when there were no other kids around.

Thinking I was being reassuring and making small talk, I said laughingly, “There’s no such thing, Dad!”. He didn’t look at me, but said curtly, “Yes there is.” Thinking he had misunderstood my encouraging him to let his 3 year old son stab at some gravel to his heart’s content, I explained, “Well, at least not when sticks and rocks get together!” with a smile. He shot back with “Oh, he can.”

I felt so bad for this dad and his son. Was this dad so angry at his son’s nature that he felt required to regulate all of his play? Had the boy misbehaved beforehand, wearing dad’s patience thin? Or are little boys just not socially acceptable for group or indoor play unless they play in restrained, peaceful, non-destructive ways?

If that’s the case, I call shenanigans.

Boys, girls, it doesn’t matter. When all of our play zones come with rules (usually given by parents who fear judgement) that privilege restrictive play we are stifling our children.

Here are my rules for my kids’ play: don’t hit and don’t play chase/capture games unless the other person says it’s ok.

Climb on the outside, walk up the slide, throw the rocks. Watch out for little kids, and scale your play down if they are around.

If you’re only putting yourself at risk, I trust you.

That’s it.

We walked to our appointed time in the kids’ discovery room, where a grandma was narrating every movement of her little one’s animal play. I tried to be fair. Was she autistic? Was this therapeutic or just patronizing?

And I walked around with my kids and let them play.

And this is what JR did:

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20120615-143356.jpgThrough the window a mom had watched the ninja kick destruction of the St. Louis arch. She gave me a thumbs up and pointed to JR’s warrior stance.

I read her loud and clear.

Giveaway still going! http://biglittledays.com/2012/06/10/kona-inspired-rods-racing-giveaway/

Full Circle

I was maybe 7 when my sisters and I saw a round bale for the first time. Someone had dropped one off in front of the farm house phone pole that would ring over the whole farm. (I honestly thought growing up that everyone must have a phone ringer on top of a pole outside their house.)

We stood looking skeptically at the giant, tightly packed grass, wrapped in a deceptively sturdy, flimsy netting. We worried we would lose our loft full of square bales that comprised the best entertainment on the whole farm. We would climb the stacked hay to the rafters 20 feet up, and jump into a 6 foot deep pile of broken bales.

But, Dad must have seen something he liked, and that summer he started stacking 1 ton round bales in the field behind the pond.

And just like that, the ever-rewarding game of bale jumping was born. Any time Dad would take an extra half hour running errands, or talking endlessly with a friend, my sisters and I would climb to the top of the round bales stacked together for as far as the eye could see.

Tag has a decidedly more dangerous flare when played 6 feet up on a perpetually curved surface. Spiders the likes of which were only ever seen in National Geographic, hidden gaps that stopped you short, rolling bales, and the looming threat of snakes raised the stakes to an adrenaline-fueled adventure course.

A game my kids will never play.

We sold the cows in ’96 and stopped farming just before my dad died in 2003.

Today we visited the Lincoln Log Cabin homestead. We were outnumbered by interpreters 3 to 1, which oddly leaves me feeling like I am intruding on their real work with silly questions.

Instead we moseyed through the farm and found ourselves walking next to a field of decidedly anachronistic round bales, dropped sporadically through the three acres. And decidedly unjumpable.

So we walked into the prickly, raked stems of the first cutting and stood next to the six-foot tall playground of my childhood that we were probably not supposed to touch.

But we did.

And my kids tried to roll it.

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And they tried to climb it.

And we let them.

An out of context plaything from their parent’s childhood.

A sweet glimpse of who we once were.

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Giveaway still going! http://biglittledays.com/2012/06/10/kona-inspired-rods-racing-giveaway/

Kona Inspired: RODS Racing Giveaway

Well, while you’re waiting for me to spill the beans, I have a little job for you, and a little incentive as well.

Go to this video, and watch it, click “vote” in the lower left hand corner, then repeat LOTS of times.

(It’s a Facebook link, but don’t worry, you don’t need to have a Facebook account to view it, or give them access to any of your personal info!)

Click me and go to the video!

I have to tell you, I think people who run IronMan races are nutty in the head.  And that’s the kind of nutty this world needs.

I attempted to do a t-shirt giveaway on my Facebook page, but I set “goals” that were blasted through by the time I woke the next morning.

So, now, I’m doing a little giveaway without limits.

I am giving away 2 RODS racing t-shirts (proceeds benefit RODS racing orphan of the year).  It’s the easiest giveaway ever:

1) Click the image above to view and vote.  I’ll give you one chance for every ten views you log (honors system here, folks, and sneakily,you don’t need to watch the whole video every time). No limit.  Just list the last view number you were in your comment below, on my Facebook Page, or heck, even email me at biglittedays at gmail dot com.

2) Share this blog on your Facebook page for one chance, and tag @Big Little Days Blog.

3) Share this blog on your Twitter feed for one chance (shortlink: http://wp.me/p1yMao-b4 ), and tag @biglittledays and @ironmantri.

If my blog is chosen, we will win $500 to put towards our adoption!  Join RODS racing Facebook group page if you would like to give me some competition and post this on your own blog.  If his video wins, Reece’s Rainbow will receive national coverage during the IronMan competition in Kona this year, where (the slightly nutty) Brady Murray will be racing.  Media coverage like that could cost $100,000!

So share, advocate, and most of all view.  And maybe you’ll come out a winner, too!

Giveaway ends Friday, June 22 at 10PM EST.