We have a winner…

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!  

Thank you for all of your support: shares, donations, advocating, prayers…no gift is too small!

We can’t show you our precious boy’s picture yet, but we know you “see” the potential in him.

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Tuesday Night Update: Congratulations to the winner of our $500 gift card/ Donation to a Reece’s Rainbow child or family of your choice:

Congratulations to our winner, who heard our story on the Classy Chaos blog, The Diaper Diaries!  Congratulations!  Jill contacted me and will be donating an additional $100 to another Reece’s Rainbow family!

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Tuesday Evening Update: Congratulations to the winner of our $200 Target gift card/ Donation to a Reece’s Rainbow child or family of your choice:

And the winner is: Amy D.!  Congratulations! Amy has graciously given her gift back to our Thadius.  Certainly not necessary, but lovingly given and joyfully received!  Thank you so much, Amy!

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Monday Night Update: Congratulations to the winner of our $150 Spafinder gift card/ Donation to a Reece’s Rainbow child or family of your choice:

And the winner is: Marcia Miars!  Congratulations!  Marcia has generously offered half of her winnings back to the Jobes family that is in-country now, and I talked her in to getting a massage with Lansing’s most skilled prenatal/all around masseuse (if I do say so myself!), Molly Massage at the Greenhouse Birth Center.

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Sunday Night Update: Congratulations to the winner of our $100 gas gift card/ Reece’s Rainbow donation to a child or family of your choice:

And the winner is: Lisa Polakowsi! Congratulations! Lisa has picked the Thomas family of Utah, adopting Gavin, to receive her gift instead!  Gavin is in desperate need of a kidney transplant and supportive care.  Godspeed to the Thomas family!

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Saturday Night update: Congratulations go to the winner of our $50 gift card to Amazon.com / Reece’s Rainbow Donation to a child or family of your choice:

And the winner is Joyce and Sarah E.!  (Our most recent donors, to boot!)  Congratulations!  The E. family has generously requested that their gift be donated to a RR family.  Their gift has been donated to the Westbrook Family of Colorado, that is travelling now to bring home Hailey.  Read about their  generous hearts, and unexpected need (they stopped fundraising early because they thought they were fully funded, and donated the rest to other families).

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Friday Night Update: We would like to offer our congratulations to the winner of the $25 Restaurant gift card/Reece’s Rainbow donation to a child or family of your choice:

And the winner is Linda Benham!  Congratulations!  Linda has asked that Artem for the Davis family from Utah be awarded with her prize.  Thank you Linda!

Stay tuned, share, comment, and donate to be eligible to win the rest of our great giveaway items!  Next winner announced at midnight Sunday, 7/29/2012!  It’s not too late to enter!

A told B and B told C

The first time I heard the sing-songy alphabet rhyme, I was in third grade, during library time.  Our librarian had the voice of Julia Child, and I remember wishing the story would go on and on.  I don’t remember her name, but Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is still read in my house with her same high-pitched, seriousness, and driving cadence.

When we began homeschooling, I found a preschool program that featured a letter a week.  I saw one mom bring the Coconut Tree to life on her homeschool walls, and knew I was sunk.  I value my time and money far too much to visit a party store to pick up a palm tree.

So, I cornered my desktop laminator, a permanent marker, some construction paper and a pair of scissors.  I hate to say I am awesome, but, our homeschool walls now look like this:

When the children are doing their work, it’s amazing what you can get done.

All ready for mischievous letters to make their way up the coconut tree.  The question, however, remains…will there be enough room?

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Just 4 more days until our giveaway ends!  Help us reach our goal, and use our matching grant!  Share with friends and earn extra entries.

Enforcing Peace

It’s been a crazy few weeks.  We are so anxious to complete our paperwork to send to the country.  When we have that ready to go, we will receive a travel date, secure visas, and be ready to head over to meet our boy.  What’s great is that after this initial visit, we’ll receive a referral from the country, and then YOU’LL get to meet this boy, too.   Then 2 months until the court date where we appear in person to plead our case as adoptive parents.  Then 30 days later, we return to bring him home forever.

Now, I need to apologize for something.  The past week or so, I have been going nuts.  So many big things happened, and I just wanted everyone to know about them.

I was given the chance to write a guest blog post on Classy Chaos.

We received a matching grant opportunity.

Cal wrote a blog post.

You have donated all the funds to cover our USCIS/immigration paperwork.

I wanted to make one thing very clear.  In our hearts, we know completely how much we have been blessed by our friends, who are supporting us through prayer, donations, and advocacy.  I’m worried that you might think we are asking for you, the people who are already side by side with us, to give more than what you already have.

I want to reassure you all:

If we never receive another penny, another kind word, another blog share, another Amazon click for the rest of our journey, you have given a measure far beyond what we could ever dream.

Thank you so much for all you have given.

And, I wanted to share with you all that I will be fasting from this blog and social media for the next three days, because I am becoming a serial-clicker: liking a million and one stories of redemption, last-minute fundraisers, and prayers for at-risk orphans.  I am not weary at all.  Just the opposite.  I am getting irritated at the life I have going on right here at home, because this work is so important.

I have always said, that if I were to become First Lady, my platform would be Adoption.  And now, I am in the center of the game, waiting enthusiastically for my turn to play.   And that is just no good at all.  Because I am not important in this whole thing.  I am just a person who God is working through.  And I am so focused on what I need to do right now, I am growing impatient with what God is doing right now.

And right now, I need to stop looking at statistics, shares, likes, and dollars.  I need to let the seeds planted grow.  Honestly, I don’t like it.  But, sometimes I need to enforce peace to make it happen.

 

 

This is for Thadius

It’s me, Cal.  I’m really happy about Thadius coming home.  It is really great that everyone is helping bring him home.  Thadius will feel really happy about people helping him.

This summer I have been doing homeschool, and playing outside a lot, and not wearing socks.  I am turning 7 in eleven more days.  I’ve been counting the days ever since July 9th.

Mom is attached to the computer doing work to bring Thadius home, except at lunchtime and homeschool.  Mom and Dad have been watching TV shows about kids who were adopted, I think.  We kids had to do work to bring Thadius home, too.  We all had to get shots.

Getting shots is like getting your blood drawn.  To me it is.  JR wanted to get a shot so I don’t think it hurts much to him.  We needed to make sure we didn’t have the TB disease or else it would spread to the family and Thadius could have it.  (JR just asks: “Who’s TB?”  Cal: “It’s a disease.”)

I think it was a sacrament.  (Jaime: “Are you thinking of sacrifice?”  Cal: “That’s what I meant,”)  It’s when you give up something for other people.

For the TB test they put a little needle in my arm, but it felt like a big one.  It was over by the count of three.  I felt bad.  Horrible actually.  I can’t remember if I cried. (Jaime’s note: none of the kids did!)

Tough guy didn’t even wince!

Even though I hated it, I’m glad it was a sacrifice for Thadius.  It shows that I care for him.  JR, Lumpy, Hoss, Mom, and Dad also got it.  And so will Thadius.  I think it will hurt a little bit for him, too.

But, it’s worth it.  It’s going to help bring him home.  It’s only his family who can do TB tests to bring him home.  This is for Thadius.

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Jaime’s note: These are all actual words spoken by Cal.  I interview her and type it up as she says it.  If she gives me a two word answer, I ask her to say it as a full sentence.  Seriously, if you don’t have a 6, almost 7 year old yet, you should try to get one.  Try here: http://www.reecesrainbow.com 

Matching grant!

I have been so good, you guys. I have known some great news for the past three days, and didn’t spill the beans. Aren’t you proud of me? Well, except, I was keeping the secret from YOU!

This week we were blessed with the opportunity to have EVERY dollar donated to our tax-deductible FSP or our Chip-In between now and the end of our Adoption Fundraiser $500 giveaway MATCHED, dollar for dollar, up to $1000. The giveaways go through midnight on Tuesday, 7/31/12!

This is a great blessing, and a great responsibility. We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of this gift, but even more overwhelmed by the outpouring of well-wishes, prayers, advocacy, and financial support these past two weeks.

Now it’s time to widen our reach, to ask others to see the potential and worthiness we all see in beautiful Thadius. To ask our core donors if they would share the message with friends, to bring new eyes to our mission, and have a donation make twice the impact. But, we can’t do it without you.

Our initial paperwork will hopefully be ready to send by the second week of August, and we would love to reach half of our fundraising goal by the time we travel.

And we have some great incentives to share the opportunity, including free entries in our giveaway. The prizes are like having a football game packed around the main attraction: the half-time show.

And Thadius’ adoption is a whole half-time show. It’s script Ohio. Sure, he’s dotting the “i”, but without every member of the band, he’s just a baby dude alone on a field.

Don’t get grumpy, Wolverines ;)

We need a strong band to bring this whole production home. And when every dollar means twice as much, it’s a great time to be a band geek. But only for the next 8 days.

Let’s go team!

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Update: Matching Grant goal has been met!  Thank you to everyone who has given so generously!

God’s Allen Wrench

I am always amazed to find out that God has been using me to love other people.  And today, I was assigned to be an Allen wrench in God’s tool box.  The Allen wrench is commonly found in the bottom of your sawdust-filled tool bag, or kicked around your living room floor for a month or two after you finished putting together that end table from Ikea.  

It’s definitely not a tool that inspires awe, and is never summoned for adulation on This Old House.  It has no power except your own hands, and only has two settings-short side and long side.   The Allen wrench is at one moment indispensable, and the next completely disposable.  An Allen wrench rarely sticks around for the next job.  You know your Ikea bookshelf will come with its own Allen wrench.  But still, you hold on to it.  Because when you need that very specific tool, you just can’t find a substitute.

Envision yourself back in the panicky stages of putting together a chair from Walmart in the middle of your living room floor, when suddenly the carpet eats your wrench.  You’re pretty sure you’ll find it (“It has to be here, right?”), but if you didn’t, you have a useless set of legs, seat, and backrest that have no way of connecting otherwise.

Today, I popped over unannounced to the new home of my dear friend, B.  She really needed a clear space in her living room.  We laughed, and loaded, and stacked, and hauled the leftovers of last week’s garage sale gone bust while our kiddos played.  In return, she watched my kids while I ran to the bank.  I stopped at home to unload the back of my car so we could bring the rest of her things over for a newly-planned fundraiser garage sale at my place.  I bumped into our garbage man and gave him the loaf of bread I had wanted to give him since Christmas.

That afternoon, as I was loading my kids up to go get Cal from her scout troop’s day camp, I called up a fellow scout mom, T, to confirm the pick-up time.  She didn’t know the time, but she asked if there was any way I could pick up her twins, as she was stuck 25 minutes outside of town.  I looked at our newly re-filled car (one car seat had already been removed), and said yes.  I legally, safely, but quickly headed home to purge the car again and put two extra boosters in.  In the twenty shortest minutes ever on record, we were back on the road, late, and on our way to get the three girls.

As I was driving, I just felt the perfect little settling into our day.  This blessed, wonderful, full, day of service, being served, and basically living a day bigger than I could ever do on my own.

When I dropped the girls off at their house, I was greeted by the most exhausted looking version of T that I have ever seen.  I asked if she was sick, and she insisted it was just an over-filled week taking its toll.  I offered to take the girls home for dinner with us.  She already had dinner going, so we said goodbye and made plans for Cal to come play during our home study meeting next week.  T said she doesn’t know how God does it, but I always call and offer help at just the time when she’s about to collapse.  I laughed, and said that I know that feeling.  I told her how just now she had helped me figure out how we were going to negotiate another car seat once Thadius comes home, and was just thinking how grateful I was that God used her for me.

Between these perfect moments, and some wonderful people who have stepped forward and offered unexpected financial and emotional support in the past couple of days, I am feeling so protected.  This week has been swamped with doubt, questioning, accusations, and implications that have come our way through legitimate concern and busy-body patronizing.  It’s not worth addressing, except to say that I am perfectly certain that God will stop our pursuit of Thadius through impenetrable roadblocks if He needs to.   We could be doing this adoption only out of obedience instead of a specific call, and it still wouldn’t be wrong.  God is always the same, and there is no iteration of “pursuing adoption” for us that is sinful.

But, a day like today shows me that God is using my life as a little, simple tool to do a specific job.  I was designed to do it, making friends easily, offering help before people can ask, and in return, God is keeping this one little wrench in a handy pocket.  Ready to loan it to anyone who might need it.  But, the metaphor is too simple.  Because the Allen wrench never gets anything in return, except maybe a sense of usefulness.

And we aren’t just tools to God.  We are full people who have incredible skills.  We are empty people who have desires that outweigh our resources.  On a day like today, I am just grateful to live so clearly in this intricate framework of needs, desires, and abilities that connect us.

I think we each have our own gift that is just the right wrench for putting together the pieces of someone else’s life.  And sometimes, we’re lost in the carpet.  But don’t worry, you’ll be found soon.  Somebody isn’t going to stop looking until they find just the right tool.