I found this one at All Posters!
I LOVE everything that has Babushka dolls on them. I really have become obsessed. I would love to do the girls room with a Babushka theme. Look how adorable!! Oh how I wish I could sew better!
We sold the last of our Yard Hearts today!! It is a scary thing to make 55 yard hearts and hope that they all get sold and you do not end up with a yard full off 55 hearts. A big thank you to all those who helped bring our girls home and showed your support by putting a heart in your yard. I cannot believe how quickly they all went. What a blessing!
One of the families is also adopting a girl with DS from the same region as us and is in the same place in the paperwork as us. I really hope that we get to travel together. It would so wonderful to have that support!
I love hanging out with other people who truly "get us". They do not question your motives, your sanity or your ability to adopt a child with special needs. They just celebrate with you. I really needed that. So many people just do not realize the HUGE MASSIVE blessing our children are in our lives precisely because of who they are not despite it.
Pictured above is another sweet girl in the same region as our girls. She needs a family ASAP!! She currently has a $7800 grant available to help with her adoption.
Feel free to post suggestions!
That being said, international adoption is famous for things going wrong so we are cautiously optimistic.
Please, please watch! It made me bawl and miss my girls so terribly. I wish so much I could get on a plane today!!
If you look to the right hand side of this blog, you will see that there are two different places you can donate. The reason for that is the following:
The first donation button (the one that says Reeces Rainbow and has the girl's pictures) takes you to the Reeces Rainbow website. You can donate money to our girls through Reeces Rainbow (a nonprofit) and that will allow you to get the tax write-off. Reeces Rainbow will in turn give us the money when we travel. If for any reason, we were not able to complete the adoption, the money would stay in the girl's account. The great thing is that you get a tax write off which rocks! The bad thing is, I am not given any information about who donated what so I cannot thank you. It basically become an anonymous donation for us. So if you have given using this method, THANK YOU! Unfortunately, I won't be able to send you a personal thank you because we don't know who the donations come from.
The second donation button (the one further down that is yellow) goes directly to our paypal account. You do not get a tax write off as we are not a non-profit ;). The nice thing is that this money we get immediately to help pay for the adoption fees that are due prior to our first trip. We also know who sent the money and can thank you.
Either way, we are soooooooooooooooooo thankful for all those who have shown their love and support. You can see our thermometer going up almost every day! I get so excited when I get to inch that mercury up!!
That being said, I have seen A LOT of hesitant husbands over the years. We affectionately call it Reluctant Husband Syndrome or RHS. You find it in most biological families and adoptive families when it comes to adding more children to the family. It actually makes a lot of sense to me. We all have different stewardships, even within a marriage. I believe that God has given women the stewardship to grow and nurture her family. I believe that He has called the husbands to provide for and protect their families. Both are called to help one another in these divine responsibilities. Yet, they are in many ways in conflict with one another. When it is time to add to the family, the mother feels it first. Why? Because that is her stewardship. This sends the husband into panic because it will mean more to provide for, more to protect, more responsibility, and in an effort to fulfill his stewardship, he says no. He is just doing his job and she is just doing hers. But, once you bring the Lord into the equation, there is no longer conflict. Both parties KNOW the right answer.
So if you feel like the Lord is calling you to adopt and your spouse is suffering from RHS ;), bring the Lord into the conversation. Go together to the place where you most easily feel the Spirit and pray together. You will find all confusion melt away as the worries of the world will no longer matter. God answers prayers and I know He will answer yours. The key is being willing to accept it ;).
Note: The picture above is not my husband. I just thought it was too perfect.
Look how close we are getting to having the money we need to bring home the girls!! We have dropped below the $10K mark for what we need! Miracles, miracles, miracles!
When we startedlooking at adopting two little girls from EE we were looking at over $75K in costs! The Lord said we had two little girls with Down Syndrome in Siberia and we were terrified of how we would ever come up with that kind of money when we basically had nothing left from medical bills, Jonathan's adoption, our remodel and the wheelchair elevator. We were not planning this adoption. It took us by total surprise, so we were scared of overcoming that huge financial hurdle. But we had faith that like all of our other adoptions, the Lord would provide the way. We said yes, not knowing how but knowing with God all things are possible.
Then the miracles started pooring in! Here is how they happened:
We signed up with WACAP (our adoption agency) and they said that they would do one of the girls' adoption for FREE. Right off the bat, $30,000 disappeared. They then gave us a $10,000 grant for the other girl's adoption.
Through the amazing collective efforts of lots of people fundraising and donating to Alisa and Maria's adoption funds on Reeces Rainbow, we were given a grant of $20,000.
Kevin was given a bonus of $5,000.
The federal government accidently sent us two SSI checks for Jonathan after his adoption was finalized. We tried to send them back but they said, no it is ok, our fault! Resulting in $1,000.
The state of utah reimbursed us $2,000 for Jonathan's attorney fees.
Through additional scrimping, searching and fundraising, we now only need $9,780!! All of this has happened in less then one month. You cannot tell me that God does not have His hand in this adoption when we went from over $75,000 needed to $9,780 needed in LESS THEN ONE MONTH!
I KNOW we can do it. But I also KNOW that this will not be possible alone. God uses His faithful to bring about His work through inspiration and good works. I am so grateful to all those who have already been our angels on earth. I recognize the miracle happening before my eyes. Do you? Please be a part of the miracle. You do not have to adopt to save an orphan, you can help support others in their adoption journey. It is too much to handle by oneself. But with God and angels on earth all things are possible.
showing your support and love for the girls!
I have visions of my neighborhood filled with hearts for the girls. Free delivery if you are local. All the money goes towards bringing Alisa and Maria home! If you are interested in purchasing one and are a local family, please paypal the money to firstname.lastname@example.org (with note in the comment section letting me know you are buying hearts). If you are not local, please email me so I can figure out shipping.
All of our intial paperwork is now done!! Our agency is going to have it authenticated and translated then it gets shipped off! Then we wait . . . .
Want to know what people with Down Syndrome are like? The truth is they are more alike than different. Check out this awesome video!
Today I recieved a most wonderful gift. A college student at Auburn University has been putting her spare change into a piggy bank for Alisa. She sent the piggy bank and all the change she had been saving (along with some adorable gifts for the girls). Can you believe that?! I was never so poor and self-focused as when I was in college. But this sweet student has been faithfully saving to help bring our little girl home. I was truly moved! And the total? $96.41
We were so amazed as a family at her caring sacrifice and how quickly change can add up, that we decided to search our home for spare change as well. We all gave everything we could find. Our total? $194.21
All together? $290.62
We now have the piggy bank (affectionately named Petal) in our entry way. Our plan is to empty our change every day into Petal to help save for the remaining adoption expense.
It has made me start to think how much spare change everyone has sitting around that they have not even counted, do not even consider when balancing their finances, would not even notice if it disappeared. Do you have any? If you do, please consider bringing it by to help fill up Petal. Or if you live far away, could you count it up and then donated by clicking one of the donation buttons to the right? A small pile of change may not seem like a lot, but when everyone's is added together, it could create a big change in the lives of two sweet girls.
Any change you could spare, would be greatly appreciated!!
My favorite part about this blog are the comments! You guys build me up. Thank you so much! I would encourage everyone to read the comments below the posts. There are so many people who have been praying for my girls long before we ever "met" them.
My pleasure! I love talking about my cute children!
This is Z! He is 11. He was adopted from Cambodia at the age of 4 months old. He has traumatic brain injury. He has some learning issues and is developmentally delayed. He is also fantastic with little ones, especially babies! He is one of the best caregivers I have ever seen. He is also very creative and a fantastic artist. He is constantly creating works of art using different medias.
This is M! She is also 11 (she is Zachary's twin) and adopted from Cambodia at 4 months old. M has childhood psoradic arthritis but she does not let her slow her down. She is an amazing athlete and a great friend to all. She receives great grades and is well known throughout the school for her good attitude. She is also the most unselfish, honest and spiritual person I know. She works hard at everything she does and is a huge help around the house.
This is A! She is 8 and is my "homemade" daughter. She has macrocephally which results in her having very poor balance and coordination but a brilliant intellect. She is a genius. She has skipped a grade and is still the top of her class. She is in the gifted program at school. She is a beautiful musician and can play music by ear. She is also very outgoing and never afraid to try anything new. I wish I could steal some of her amazing confidence.
This is E! We adopted him from Haiti at 3 years old and he is now 9 years old. He had been horrifically abuse and neglected. He had also lived in 3 orphanages before we brought him home. The result was that he has some severe developmental delays and attachment issues. Today though he is fully bonded to his family and has caught right up. He does awesome in school despite having ADHD and is a great help to those around him. He is fun and silly. He is also an incredible athlete and is amazing at any sport he tries. We are excited to see if he picks the NFL or the NBA someday ;).
This is N! She is 7 and is E's biological sister. She was adopted from Haiti at 20 months. She was near death when we brought her home. She was physically the size of a 6 month old, but developmentally a newborn due to severe neglect, starvation and abuse. N also has some brain injuries that result in ADHD but she is brilliant at school. N has skipped a grade, is still doing A+ work and we are applying for her to enter the gifted program next year. N is our talented performer. She loves to dance, sing and act. She has been in several performances and her dramatic antics keep us all entertained.
This is C! She is 7 and was originally adopted from Haiti by another family but upon learning that she had severe cerebral palsy, they decided they were not fit to be her parents. We adopted C domestically at the age of 2 years old. In addition to CP, C is also deaf. Despite her body not working right, her mind is very bright. She recently skipped a grade as well in a normal academic class and loves to learn. She is my sweetheart. She is always happy, patient and loving to all. She brings the spirit of love and joy with her every where she goes. She uses ASL to communicate so we have learned a 2nd language! C is an impressive horseback rider and has even been in shows and special needs rodeos.
This is T! He is 5 and was adopted from Ethiopia at 2 years old. He was originally diagnosed as being deaf but then we discovered his ears were just full of scar tissue from chronic untreated ear infections. Once his ears were drilled out, he could hear! T continues to have speech delays due to not hearing his first 3 years of life, but that does not mean he does not have a lot to say! T is our very vocal and opinionated child. He has learned to be heard! He is doing wonderfully in Kindergarten and loves to play with his friends and siblings. He is very affectionate and has a great passion for life.
This is J! He is 4 years old and was adopted a year ago from Las Vegas. He was horrifically abused, neglected and starved in his first home. When we brought him home, he was 3 but was only wearing 12-18 month size clothing and looked like a concentration camp victim. He was developmentally only 4 months old. But with food and lots of love, he has thrived. He is now 18 moths old developmentally, wearing 3T clothes and is making huge strides every day. J was a micropremie and has hydrocephalus and a shunt. He also has minor CP. Despite these challenges he is the happiest child we have ever met. He has only cried a handful of times and loves all of his family with many kisses and hugs. He is the delight of everyone in our home. He just started talking and it is the most adorable thing on earth.
We also have 6 sweet angel babies waiting for us on the other side that are a part of our family. I suffered 4 miscarriages, C's twin sister died at only 2 weeks old while still in Haiti and we fostered a baby from Liberia while she received medical treatment here in the US that did not survive her surgery. They are sealed to our family and we look forward to being reunited one day!
Good question! I have been trying to pin down a timeline by talking to other families who have adopted from this region. As far as I can tell, it looks like it will be 6-12 months from now until we can bring them home. I know, not very specific!! International adoption is known for its major bumps in the road as well so you just never know.
I know there are a lot of you out there with questions. So feel free to ask! I will try and answer them as best as I can. Just comment below with your question.
So here is one that we get frequently that I will start out with.
How do you plan on supporting all of your children in the future? For example, weddings, missions, college, adult dependent children, etc.
My first and best response is that we have faith that the Lord will provide. If you would have told me 11 years ago that we would have been able to afford and raise 8 children, I would have called you crazy (let alone 10). But we truly believe the words of Nephi when he says:
"I will do and do the things the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." 1 Nephi 3:7
We have seen this very clearly in our lives. If you do what the Lord asks, He will always provide a way. The trick is to have the faith to do it before you have the answers on how he is going to provide. We have always had what we needed and more! We live in a nice home, in a wonderful neighborhood. We have always been able to provide for our children both temporally and spiritually. We go to church and home devotionals every week. We have clothing and food. Our children are involved in piano, cello, sports, tumbling, horseback riding, scouts, etc. We have good health insurance for our children so they can recieve the many surgeries and therapies they have required. We take family trips and I really don't think we miss out on anything that smaller families have. We have never wanted for anything that were needs and very little that were wants.
So why would I worry about the future, when the Lord has never failed us? Why would I doubt Him? He will not abandon us in the future.
All that being said, I believe that we too must do our part in order for the Lord to bless us.
Kevin has never had a day of unemployment. He has been willing to do the most menial of jobs in between his "real" employment. He is an honest and hard worker. His employers love him. He has integrity and is responsible. Because of this, and the Lord's blessings, we have always enjoyed a stable and good income.
We are honest in our dealings. We do not take out debt unless it is absolutely necessary. We do not take out loans for purchases (except houses), including for cars. We save a lot of money by not paying interest. When we do take out loans, like a mortgage, we have always paid it on time. We have a beautiful credit score in the 800's because we meet our obligations. This also allows us to save a ton of money because we get good interest rates, we do not pay late fees and we save carefully for the things that are important, while avoiding the things we cannot afford that aren't.
We save and plan for the future. For our kid's college we have purchased a rental cottage. It will be payed off by the time the kids go to college. The current rent more then covers the expense. When we bought it, it was a disaster, but we worked hard as a family and now it is adorable. We can use the rent after it is paid off to help pay for college. We are also hoping for scholarships on some of our kids. We have 3 children who have skipped grades, and all are very hard workers in school. We make education a very high priority. We also believe in our children working during college. I learned A LOT more and took it a lot more seriously when I was responsible for the bill.
Then it is the plan to use this cottage for one or more of our less independent children to live in when they get older. It is just down the street from us. Our disabled children as adults will recieve SSI, medicaid, food stamps and rent subsidy to help them make ends meet if necessary. We also will strongly encourage employment no matter what the disability. We also have a large home that we could make a basement apartment for a less independent child to live in. As our children become more independent, the expense of caring for them will equalize or lessen.
When we die, we have a huge life insurance policy so that less independent children can be provided for. They will also have the added benefit of a close very large family to help look after them.
Things are really changing for the disabled though. The opportunities are growing for employment and independent living. We met a man who has such severe CP that he must drive his power wheelchair and communicate by blowing through a straw. Despite this, he lives completely independent, has a great job, is married with kids and is very happy. Our daughter Clarissa, might have severe CP but she is brilliant and I know one day she will live on her own. Many people with disabilities, mental, cognitive or physical, live full, successful lives. Techonology is improving rapidly that will only make this more of a reality.
As far as missions and weddings go, our children are already saving. We feel it is important to give children allowance from a very young age so they learn to manage money responsibly. Our children put 50% of what they make into a savings account at the bank (and they give 10% in tithing). Our hope is that as they get older, this will become a habit that will carry them through their teens years as they get "real" jobs. We expect that our children will be able to pay for their own missions. It is amazing how much they have already saved!! If the girls decide to get married and not go, this will become their wedding fund. If not, we will have 2+ years to save for their weddings while they serve their missions. We believe their missions will be more meaningful for them because they have saved their whole lives to go. What a sense of accomplishment they will have!
But even the best laid plans can go astray when tragedy strikes. This is where the Lord makes up the difference. When we do all that we can do, if it is not enough, the Lord will provide a way to accomplish the things He wants for your life, and honestly, the other things do not matter.
I hope that this gives some peace to worried loved ones and hope and inspiration to others. Do not fear the future. The Lord does not work in fear. Fear does not come from Him. Fear is a tool of the devil to keep you from living up to your full potentional and having extraordinary lives. So if you are feeling fear, know the source and discard it. Have faith that if you are following God's will for your life, the rest will simply fall into place. The things that don't, were designed for your benefit, to learn and grow and become more refined. So either way, you benefit!
The greater the good you are trying to achieve, the greater the opposition. The key is to have an unyielding persistance in the face of those who are critical. Do what you know is right, do not take opposition as an insult but as a compliment that if Satan is working so hard against you, you must be doing something he really hates! People do not want you to be extrodinary. It makes them uncomfortable with their own normal lives. But we must never apologize for what makes us special. Reaching for normal is not what we were sent on this earth to do. Where would the world be without the people who would not yeild to the prejudice and fear of the people around them? Thank you Martin Luther King Jr! I am leaning on your inspiration while fighting my own opposition.
We are literally fighting for the lives of our girls. Below is a link to those children whose mommies and daddies did not get to them in time and they did not survive. Please help us spread the word about our fundraisers, please consider donating, please pray for their protection. We cannot do this alone.
I have already had one daughter die because she did not get to us in time. I do not ever want to go through that again.
I have already had one daughter die because she did not get to us in time. I do not ever want to go through that again.
We are doing another fundraiser! We are selling cute heart yard signs to decorate for Valentines! This way everyone can
show their love and support for the girlsby displaying the heart in your front yard. I have visions of my neighborhood covered in hearts for the girls. If you are local, we will deliver it to you free of charge. If you are not, please email me so I can figure out shipping costs. The hearts will be similar to the ones above but they will be red.
Cost is $25 for one heart or $40 for two hearts.
Thank you so much for your love and support!
Please email me at email@example.com to reserve yours!
At age 4, children with special needs residing in orphanages in EE are typically transferred to institutions. The stats I recieved from the national Down Syndrome support group in our girls' country is that 78% with significant special needs die within a year of this transfer due to the care being so poor. Alisa is 5, she should have been transferred by now. We are doing our very best to get the paperwork done at rapid pace. Unfortunately, a lot of it is out of our hands. Please pray with us that God will move paperwork mountains for us and protect little Alisa until we can get to her. Please pray that the needed funds will find their way to us. Please help spread the word about the other children on the brink of institutionalization or the sweet ones already transferred.
Do you wonder what these insitituions in EE are like? Check out this investigative report (do not watch with small children in the room).
Are you artistic? Do you like to quilt, take pictures or write poetry? Do you know someone who does? Do you know someone who knows someone who does? Please check out and spread the word about our current fundraiser. We are getting closer but we still need a lot of help to bring the girls home!