Thursday, May 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday....

We're officially in waiting mode here, so I thought I'd have a little bit of regular fun on the blog until we get more news rolling in....Jen hosts a weekly Friday theme that a bunch of us participate in, so I thought, "Self, why not do this on our adoption blog, too?"  

So here we go!


First things first.  Lookie, lookie what went out in today's mail:

Yeppers.  Our I-800A package went out in today's mail.   Next up will be a fingerprinting appointment.  Our dossier is on its way to the agency that's in Peter's country, where it will sit until we hear back on this application, and then we'll be on to more waiting....This is an exciting step, though, and a pricey one.  Thank you to all who have helped support us financially so far - your help made me able to write the check out to Homeland Security without worry.  We are so grateful!


Everyone should click on THIS LINK and go vote for this video.   Let's help Brady Murray race for orphans with Down Syndrome!!


My thinking for the Quick Takes posts on this blog will be to kind of point out children or families that could use our support.   Here's one family who is desperately in need of support:

Keegan just turned one year old this past January, and unfortunately his orphanage is CLOSING this coming July!!  If he's not home with his forever family by then, he's facing a transfer to an adult mental institution.   Read their story, spread the word, and if possible donate.   God willing, we can keep Keegan out of that adult institution!!


I'm a sucker for the waiting children whose countries won't allow pictures publicly posted (like our Peter).    I feel that these children have a huge disadvantage that they have to overcome, just because an adoptive family cannot see their beautiful face.     Kai is one of these children.    Kai has significant medical issues, but none that are completely debilitating.   Even without seeing his picture, I know he's a beautiful child made in the image and likeness of God, our Creator.  Could he be YOUR child?   He has a significant grant already - $5600.   He's listed as being in the same country as our Peter, which means the approximate cost to bring him home is only around $15k.  Folks, he's already at a 30% funded status - that's unbelievable!   Fundraising would not be a problem when it comes to bringing this little guy home. 

Share Kai's story.  Maybe you know his forever family....maybe it's you?


Look at J.J.!  He's beautiful - and only has $13 in his grant.  We can bring that amount up, maybe even get him onto the "Moving Mountains" page at Reece's Rainbow.  His family is out there, I know his is - and he can receive amazing medical care here in the US.  Could your family be the one that he "shines" in? 


Oh my gosh, is Lene not the most adorable little girl you've ever seen?  Could she be your little princess?   Do you know someone who could be her mommy or daddy?   Lene currently has NO funds in her grant (she is very newly listed for adoption).   Let's spread the word and find this little girl her forever family!!


A little bit closer to home, and a face that you guys have seen before:  Malcolm.     A good friend of mine, Kara, is running an auction to help bring Malcolm home.  You can find it on Facebook, through this link:   Bidding Malcolm Home

There are already a TON of great items that are on the auction block, and they'll only be available for a short period of time:  9 am on June 2nd through 8 pm on June 3rd.  Make sure you go check out the items and get in on the fun for the bidding period.  All you have to do is "like" the page on Facebook, and you'll get all of the notices and announcements (like when new items are added) on your own newsfeed.  Go and check it out!  :-)

And, that's all for the first edition of 7 Quick Takes on Upon this Rock!  :-)  Have a great weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mr Postman, look and see...

It appears that I will be singing that song for the rest of this week, at least.  :-)

Not even twenty minutes after I hit "publish" on yesterday's post,  I received an email from our home study agency stating that they had received that certification/approval letter from the state that we'd all been waiting for.  Praise the Lord!  

They say we'll have it in our hands by Thursday, which means our USCIS paperwork can go out this Friday.   From what I gather, the turnaround for getting to the next step (getting fingerprint appointment cards and whatnot) is running pretty quickly now, so I'm hoping, with any luck, we'll have that part done in the next two weeks or so.  Yay! 

Once our actual adoption agency gets their original copy of our home study info (sent out at the same time as ours, so hopefully by Thursday/Friday, as well!), they will send all of our dossier information to Peter's country, where it will wait at their in-country agency until we get approval to move to the next step (putting it in front of the government in Peter's country).  Whew!  All these little stopping-and-starting points are hard to keep straight!  By God's grace, hopefully our little boy will be home within the year!! 

Alright, I have to run - piano lessons and peach picking await us - but I wanted to update all of you so you can uncross all those fingers and toes!  :-) 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Music Monday!

We're still in waiting mode.....anxiously awaiting that certified letter from the state.  This week begins week 4 of the wait, and we were given an answer of "it should take 3-4 weeks" when we first requested it, so I'm really hopeful it will come this week.   Prayers that it does would be SO appreciated!

While we're waiting, we're going to have a little fun at Upon This Rock....Mondays are becoming Music Monday!  

Peter's big brothers picked today's song.  This is one of the family favourites - hope you enjoy!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Samantha has found a home!

And I'm so happy to let Shiloh know! :-)

Thank you so much to everyone who shared our blog in some way, or donated to our fund to bring Peter home.  This truly was the "doll that kept on giving," as Kara nicknamed her, and I'm so excited that she's now going home!

So, congrats, Shiloh, and thank you to everyone who helped get the word out about Peter!  We appreciate it!  

(Shiloh, be watching your mail for a big box!!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A future for Presley?

Renee, a fellow blogger, has issued a challenge that I've decided to take her up on.  Over the next few weeks, she's trying to drum up some attention and funds for children off of the Reece's Rainbow website who don't yet have homes or families.  Her challenge?  Each day will be a day to celebrate one orphan, and to do that....we'll all be looking into the future and blogging about how we see this orphan's life at this time next year (assuming they are found  by a family).   It's a fun challenge, and one that will hopefully get some of these kiddos the advocacy that they deserve!

Today's child is Presley.   Meet this adorable little boy:

Here's how I see Presley's life, a year from now....


It's spring. 

The winter chill has left the air.  Birds are chirping, and the sun is shining.  An adorable 5 year old boy meanders through the spring flowers, stopping to inspect each and every one.

"Look, Mama!"  he exclaims excitedly to a woman who is breathlessly trying to keep up with him.  "Ants!!"

The little boy plops himself down onto the walkway, bringing his nose within inches of the ants.    He studies them with all the seriousness of a chemist in a laboratory, oblivious to the spring mud that he'd managed to sit in.

"Oh, Presley, you silly boy," the woman says, as she sits down next to him.  "What did you find this time?"

"Ants, Mama!" he said, obviously frustrated that she missed his explanation the first time around.  "Lots of ants!"

The woman carefully moved Presley's hat back into place -it had been leaning precariously to one side.  She studied his features carefully, smiling contentedly.   It was hard to believe that merely a year ago, they'd been bringing him home from his orphanage halfway around the world.  This little boy, the one digging through the mud in search of ants, had been so tiny and weak.   It had been a long year, one of adjustments and medical treatments for his cancer, but they were making it through.  At this moment, all Presley's mother could see was the happy and headstrong little boy in front of her.  The benefits of a year of high-quality medical care were obvious to anyone watching the scene.  

Presley's mother leaned forward, resting her hand upon his little back.    The warmth of the sun, the sound of his giggles, and the smell of the flowers all brought a single thought into her mind:

"This boy has made me the luckiest woman alive!"

Could you be Presley's mom?    Could this be your spring 2013?   Learn more about Presley here

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hey, lookie here!

We're famous today.  :-)

Well, in the Phoenix area, that is.  Remember that interview that Mike and I gave awhile back?  The article is up and running online!  You can find the original here. 

Or you can just read it below....  ;-)  Enjoy!


Charles and Eli Smith are trying to adopt Malcom, a child from Eastern Europe, but need to raise thousands first. To help, visit (J.D. Long-Garcia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Heidi Czerkes has given birth to three sons, but with each pregnancy, complications arose. When she and her husband Mike, an obstetrician-gynecologist, wanted to expand their family, they thought of adoption.

“Ever since I was little I felt called to adopt,” Heidi said. “After this last pregnancy, we started talking about it more, just praying about it to see if this was where we were being called in our family.”

At the time the couple first discussed adoption, they were living in Maine while Mike completed his residency. Their eldest son was attending a Catholic school that included a large number of interracial and adoptive families.

The Czerkes started asking school families about the adoption process. That led them to Reece’s Rainbow, an international adoption ministry geared toward children with Down Syndrome and other conditions.

“We always felt we had the ability to care for a child with special needs,” Heidi said. When they checked out the Reece’s Rainbow website and saw the photo gallery of children waiting to be adopted, they discovered Peter, a 2-year-old boy with Down Syndrome who has been living in a hospital in Hong Kong since he was 6 months old.

He’s currently in remission from AML, the form of leukemia that Downs kids are susceptible to, but he will require treatment for the next couple of years. The Czerkes say they want to make Peter part of their family.

“He needs a home and he needs a family,” Heidi said. Her husband agreed.

“These children are gifts from God,” Mike said.  “I think that they have special gifts that we’ll never understand. I look at all these children as God’s children and our children as well that we need to protect and bring home and make sure they have loving families.”

The Czerkes, who belong to St. Timothy Parish in Mesa, said they appreciate the birth mother’s choice.

“Part of our adoption journey has also been to thank these mothers for choosing life and to really validate that and to bring this child home,” Mike said.

Along the way, they’ve come to be friends with Eli and Charles Smith, who are trying to adopt a boy with special needs from Eastern Europe.

Malcom, who turns 5 this month, has cerebral palsy and was also featured on Reece’s Rainbow.

Knowing how expensive international adoptions can be — bringing Malcom home will require about $48,000, mostly in travel costs — the Smiths weren’t sure they’d be able to do more than contribute to help someone else adopt.

Then Charles saw a video of Malcom. “I saw it and I was sunk,” Charles said. “I fell in love and I thought, ‘I’ve got to bring him home.’” His wife Eli required no convincing.

“He needs us,” she said of Malcom. “He needs a safe place to become the man God intended he be and that he is destined to be.”

Time is of the essence in Malcom’s case. The practice in Eastern Europe, Eli said, is that after age 5, children are considered unadoptable and are placed in an institution with adults up to age 35. Although a volunteer in Russia has assured them that authorities have been notified that the boy’s “parents are coming,” the St. Thomas the Apostle parishioner still worries.

“It makes me cry just to sit here and think about it. I can’t imagine how you would throw somebody away at 5 years old,” Eli said.

The Smiths, who have managed to raise about $15,000 so far toward the cost of adoption, are completing their paperwork and other requirements and hope to have Malcom in their arms by next fall.

Social media — Facebook, blogs and Twitter — have played a big role in helping them raise money. They’re raffling off an iPad and a friend recently hosted an open house and auction.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why not...

We've told you about why we're adopting.

But we've never told you how we got there.   Grab some coffee, sit back, and spend some time with me now.   So many of you out there have supported us in countless ways (notes, emails, phone calls, hugs, donations, advocacy, etc), it seems only fair to give you the Reader's Digest version of how we've gotten to this point today.

I will throw a couple of disclaimers in right now, however.  In no way am I attempting to speak for every adoptive family out there.  I speak for our family and our experience, alone.  My second disclaimer is tied to that:  we are not a perfect family, and I won't ever try to convince someone that we are.  What we are trying to do is to live as authentic Catholics and follow God's will in our lives.  You may or may not share our religious views, and I completely understand that.  However, they are integral to our family identity, and I cannot remove them from our story.

A couple of months ago, I blogged about the awkward questions that I've been asked when people found out that we were adopting.   At that time, I didn't feel ready to share our entire journey to the point of adopting with everyone.   Recently, more questions have been asked, comments have been made (some directly, some indirectly), and I realize that there's a lot of misunderstanding out there.  That is my fault.  I need to fill in some blanks for our friends, family, and acquaintances.   This is probably going to be a multi-post discussion, but it is a discussion that I feel should probably start before emotion levels get high and feelings are hurt.

You see, this whole "adoption thing" isn't new for us - it's just new to you.  Adoption was a journey that we've discussed since Day One of our relationship - even before we were married.   Both Mike and I felt that adoption was part of God's plan for our lives, and that one day, some day, we would be adopting children.   To be honest, at that time, I thought we would be fostering children, not adopting.  

When our third pregnancy led to medical scares and health issues that needed resolutions before it would be safe for us to get pregnant again, the idea of adoption was brought back to the forefront of our conversations.  We knew that our family was not complete - we were able, financially and emotionally, to care for more children - but we also knew that becoming pregnant (at that time) carried some very serious inherent risks.    The plan had always been to foster and adopt at some point, but considering we started our family while pretty young, we'd always thought that adoptive children would come after our biological children were grown.   After all, we'd be in our mid-40s when our current children would be on their own, and so we'd always imagined that the time to foster or adopt would be quite a bit in the future.

We began to realize that maybe our plans weren't God's plans.  After talking to multiple friends who were adoptive and/or foster parents, and being led to the Reece's Rainbow website over and over again, it became clear that God was leading us down the path of a special needs adoption.  

Both Mike and I had previously known that one day we'd be caring for children with special needs.  All our past work/volunteer experiences had pointed to that direction, and even before starting this journey, we'd discussed what medical needs we felt able to provide for.   With his medical training, and my previous volunteer/employment work, we felt that we were able to care for a child with special needs. 

Over the next few years, we researched as much as we could about adoption.  We talked to anyone who would listen.  We prayed.  We asked questions of multiple agencies, lawyers, and adoptive families.  We read book after book about adoption or about caring for a child with special needs.  Adopting or fostering, at the time, was not a logistical possibility, as we knew we would be moving across state lines (due to Mike's training and subsequent job placement).  Every state has a different adoption procedure to follow, with different requirements, both legal and financial.   It did not make logical sense to start the process in one state, only to be unable to continue it before our move. 

So we waited.  And we read some more.  We crunched numbers.  We contacted agencies, trying to figure out the right timing.  We worked on resolving my health issues, so that we could bring a child home to a healthy family. 

And then we moved to our new home.

This is where it gets really serious.   We found ourselves welcomed into an amazing community, where I could finally become an advocate for people and causes that I am (and have been) extremely passionate about.  One of these causes is the pro-life movement.   As a Catholic, I believe that every human has an inherent dignity purely because they are created in the image and likeness of God.  As someone who values and relies on modern science, I knew that a unique human life began at the moment of conception.  Even the "imperfect" humans that are often aborted have this inherent dignity, and we were finally in a situation where I had the ability to become an active advocate for them.  

Part of this advocacy included lots and lots of research.  It was during this research that I learned that over 90% of all children diagnosed with Down Syndrome while in the womb were aborted.  When Mike and I discussed this fact, we knew that we were being led to care for these children.  Add in the fact that Mike had a relative with Down Syndrome (and subsequent family support), and we had multiple friends with children with Down Syndrome (and therefore, a source of support and help), and it became crystal-clear that this was the direction we were being called to move.

I think the number one question that we are asked, or the number one criticism we receive from others, is in regard to why we are pursuing an international adoption, not domestic.  Well, we've hit the part of our journey that can speak to that question (or critique, depending on who's thinking it).   This was not a decision that we made lightly, which seems to be the assumption that people make about our choice to adopt internationally.

Once we realized that we were going to adopt a child with Down Syndrome, we started making more specific phone calls.  We contacted the state, we contacted Catholic Charities, we contacted private agencies.  They all told us the same thing:  in our county, in our state, all of the adoption agencies work together as a sort of "consortium" for child advocacy and adoption.   Some do not work with certain special needs, but most did handle Down Syndrome adoptions, and they still all work together, advocating for the same children.  In most cases, the only way to adopt a child - no matter the age - would be to foster children first.   With young children of our own in our house, and knowing (realistically), the struggles that an older children within the foster care system could bring into our house, we discerned that fostering/adopting a younger child was what our family needed at this time.

We moved forward with the idea of fostering.   We attended meetings, we had conversations with social workers at the different agencies working with children in our state.   Over and over again, it was stressed to us that we would need to be open to (and supportive of) the main goal of foster care, which is re-unification with the child's biological family.   It took a lot of prayer and discussion, but Mike and I realized that, at this point in time, we could not truly be committed to that goal.   Emotionally, we were not in the place where we could care for a child and work towards reunification with his/her biological parents.   Once we realized this, we knew that it would not be fair to our future foster children to move forward down this path, at this time.  (We're leaving this option open for the future, as our hearts can evolve and change over time). 

We discussed our concerns with the agencies, and friends we'd made along the journey, and were informed that the best option for us was to move towards a private adoption, instead of an adoption through the state.  So we started researching this avenue.

It turns out that this is a lot easier said than done.  You see, there are over a million women alone in the United States who are seeking a child to adopt.  However, in recent years, less than 1% of all children born were placed for adoption in the United States.  Using those statistics, in 2003 there were only 14, 000 children placed for adoption.   In our national foster care system in 2009, there were approximately 114,000 children available for adoption across the country, a small percentage of which were available in our state.   Our state's system, however, made it very hard to move solely towards adoption of those children (like I discussed above), unless that child was much older.  The facts were glaringly clear:  there were many more adoptive parents out there than available/waiting children.

It was pretty clear that the only ways that we could adopt a child with Down Syndrome domestically would be to put ourselves on a registry as potential adoptive parents (which would require things to help "sell" our family to a birth mother), or to know someone personally that would name us specifically as the adoptive parent of her child.

One night, once again, a friend sent me a link to Reece's Rainbow.  This friend, knowing what we were trying to discern, sent us this link.   We learned that there are over 1.5 million children in Eastern Europe ALONE who were waiting for a forever family.   3.5 million in Asia.   Seven hundred thousand in Russia alone.  The numbers were mind-boggling.   These were children who were already abandoned, living in an orphanage, being fed and diapered on a time-table, not on demand.   Many of them had medical needs that we could very easily provide for here in the United States.

And then I read about places like Pleven.  And I saw news reports like this one.   I read about children who were purposefully fed the bare minimum of a sludge-like milk product so that they would not die...but would not grow.   I saw 9 year olds who weighed less than all of my children did at 1 year old.  I saw children as young as five in adult mental institutions, merely because their society did not want them.  We saw children on registries, with photo listings and cute little write-ups trying to convince a potential adoptive parent to bring them home.   Instead of trying to convince a birth mother we were the perfect family for her child, we saw children begging, begging,  for a family to come home to.

And then Mike and I saw a little boy who needed a home.   His face shouted out from the computer screen, calling our names.   Our hearts stopped beating.   We saw a little boy who had already survived one round of leukemia, and had been made a ward of the state, and did not have a home.  He had a hospital bed to call his own, and that had been his home for the past two years.  We saw a little boy who needed a Mommy and a Daddy, and we knew that we were his Mommy and Daddy.

I'll be completely honest here.  We'd never really considered adopting from an Asian country.  We'd always thought that we were going to adopt domestically, and the idea of an international adoption hadn't really crossed our mind until that moment.   But once we saw Peter, we knew....he was a child with an inherent dignity and worth and God wanted us to love him for being him

The second-most question or critique we receive is about the cost of our adoption.  "How dare we fundraise and ask people to give us money to bring home a child from another country when there are so many here that need homes?"  is usually what it is phrased as.   I've already discussed how there aren't nearly as many children available for adoption in our home state as is assumed, and that we were unable to foster children at this point.   That left a private domestic adoption, and we were shocked to find out that it would actually cost twice as much, on average,  to adopt a domestic child as it would to bring our Peter home, especially if it was not a "we-already-know-the-birth-mother" kind of adoption.  Adoption is expensive, no matter whether domestic or international, it appeared.

So why fundraise?   Well, because it is expensive, and once Peter comes home,we will have even more medical bills and treatments that will be necessary for him to live a healthy life.  And Peter, with his inherent dignity and worth, deserves to be loved and cared for by his family:  us.   Our hearts long for a little boy that we've never met, but yet we've known all our lives.   Our child is half a world away from us, and we are doing everything in our power to bring him home as quickly as possible.

But that takes money.  Lots of money, apparently, and we are swallowing our pride and humbling ourselves in order to ask for that financial support.   A little boy is not being tucked in by his Mommy and Daddy at night right now.  He doesn't have his own bedroom, or his brothers to play with.   He isn't eating his dinner at a family table in the evenings.   He's not going on family vacations with parents who love him.  Instead, he is sitting in a hospital bed, waiting patiently, while his Mommy and Daddy do everything in their power - including asking for financial support from family and friends, new and old - to bring him to the bedroom they've prepared for him, to his big brothers who have already used their allowance to buy him books and toys in that bedroom, to bring him home

And we've been amazed to discover that these friends and family members - and their friends and family members - are rallying behind our cause.   So many people out there hear the call of the orphan, and are stepping forward.  For some, this takes the shape of adopting a child into their own families (both internationally and domestically).  For others, this call is answered in providing financial support or advocacy.  Neither is better than the other, but both are integral in bringing children home to families. 

So, I suppose that's it.  The "long" version of our story.  How we got to this point.  Why we are pursuing an international adoption.   Why we are asking for money.  I hope that clears up some of the questions and misconceptions or incorrect assumptions about our journey to Peter.  I'm sure that some of you may still not agree with our decisions,  but that's okay.  International adoption may never be a part of your story....but it has become a part of ours.  Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said, "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."  We can all work to end this poverty of love, and there are many ways to do that.   Not one journey will look exactly like another.   

This is our journey.  This is our call to love.  This is our journey to Peter, who is and always was the rock upon which our family has been built. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Today, I'm happy to share a beautiful post from a dear friend of mine, Kara.  A lot of us have been touched beyond our wildest imaginings this past winter/spring/Lent by the folks over at Reece's Rainbow, and Kara puts it into words so incredibly eloquently.  I won't attempt to do it better - she's said it perfectly! 

Thanks, Kara, for letting me share your thoughts.  

P.S.  Don't forget about our Samantha Giveaway!  More details are here.  



I've been a pro-life activist my entire adult life. I may not be a very good one, but I do what I can. My heart has broken time and time again for the children killed through abortion. My heart has broken for the mothers who chose or were coerced or forced to commit such an awful act.

But a whole new kind of heartbreak happened when I discovered Reece's Rainbow.

I knew there were orphans, sure. But millions?

I knew there were orphanages. But places like Pleven (or worse)? In 2012? STILL?

The truth is, it's the same evil. It's the same disposable baby attitude the United States has, except we abort our undesirables. We abort over 90% of Down syndrome babies. They abandon theirs.

We are no better. We embrace the disposable baby worldview. Children are a burden instead of a blessing. We demand the right to have recreational sex and not be responsible for the results. We fill our bodies with artificial hormones that increase our risk of cancer to avoid these undesired babies. We ruin our marriages, our women, our men, our lives, our society.

Satan is laughing. He broke down the family and thus has broken down society as a whole.

Christians believe that goodness wins in the end, but not before many trials.

Millions upon millions of children have been killed for the sake of convenience.

Millions upon millions of children have been abandoned and many are abused, starved, and left to die, because of societies that deem them unworthy. These babies are alive and suffering. All because of our sins.

Where does the responsibility lie?

How do we start to fix a problem that is so widespread?

I don't know the answer. But I do know we have God on our side. And I fear that far too many people these days are more comfortable turning a blind eye than having to face a painful truth and fight it head on. I've seen it in the pro-life movement for years, and I'm seeing the same thing when it comes to orphans now.

So, I ask again. Where does the responsibility lie?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Auction Wrap-Up and GIVEAWAY!!

Thank you all for your generous support with our auction!  We brought in almost $1500 with the bids and donations, and honestly, that truly exceeded our expectations.  When we'd started the month, we'd hoped for at least $1000, and you guys, once again, blew us away with your generosity.  Thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts!

Be sure to keep your eye on the Sponsor-A-Mile graphic and the thermometer on the side of this blog.  As all of the bids come in the mail, I will keep updating both of those.    You guys are awesome!

Speaking of awesome, I have an amazing giveaway to start!   The person who won the American Girl doll (Samantha) from our auction has donated it right back to us to giveaway!    Now, all of you with little girls - or all you grandparents of little girls, or godparents, or aunts, or uncles, or whatever!! - can have the chance to get this discontinued American Girl doll by helping us spread the word!

This awesome Samantha doll could be YOURS!!

Here are the details that the donor has requested:

Up for grabs, as a thank-you from us, is a discontinued American Girls doll, Samantha Parkington.  You can no longer buy one of these new, but have to find them on Ebay or Craigslist, where they are currently selling for upwards of $300.

She is in awesome condition - the only "flaw" is a missing hairbow.  Everything else is perfectly maintained.

The giveaway will close in a little over two weeks:  May 19th.  On May 19th, we will collect the names of all who are eligible for the thank you gift, and contact them, via this blog.  (similar to the iPad giveaway). 

To become eligible, here's what you must do (you only have to do ONE of the following, but make sure that we know about it, so we can be sure to include you):  

1. Make a donation of any size into our private PayPal account (donate button on the right side of the blog).  This donation is not tax-deductible. 

2.  Make a donation of any size into our Reece's Rainbow account (donate button on the right side of the blog).  This donation IS tax-deductible.  

3.  Spread the word!  Share the link to this blog - on your own blog, on your Facebook, on Twitter, via email, however you connect with other people online.   Just make sure to leave a comment below and let me know that you've done so.   If I don't know the link has been shared...I can't include you in the giveaway.  

After this giveaway, we'll be taking a bit of a break from fundraising,  as hopefully, that will be when we're working on getting our dossier and USCIS paperwork out.  With any luck, we'll be concentrating on that, and I'll have plenty to blog about during that process!  :-)

Lastly, we made the commitment, way back when we started this journey, that we would turn around and give back to other families who needed extra support.  With every fundraising event we've held, we've taken a portion of our own money and passed it on to another family struggling to pay for an adoption.  Thanks to Leila, at Orphan Report,  we've learned about the Jobes family, who is working towards adopting Josiah on Reece's Rainbow.   They currently have a matching donor who will be matching up to $2500 on any donations through May 6th.  What a perfect opportunity to have the support that we've been shown multiplied and spread towards another family working to bring an orphan home.   Follow their link, and if you have just a few dollars to spare - let's see their funds grow! 

Have a great day, everyone, and let's find our Samantha doll a great home!!