Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Update on Paul's Adoption

Good news! The House Family's dossier (huge package of documents you need to compile for adoption) has been translated and (finally) registered with the ministry that handles adoption in Paul's country. This means it is now in the system to be reviewed and to assign the family a travel date for their first trip to meet Paul. How exciting!

On his facebook page Paul's adoptive Dad posted:

So, we need (6) round trip tickets and (1) one-way ticket. That is close to $13,000. If you or someone you know has United and/or Continental Airlines Miles and want to sponsor us through a 55,000 mile puchase of a ticket in our name, please let us know. We already have (2) potential donors.... 5 more!

Anyone out there have United or Continental Miles to spare? It couldn't go to a better cause.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Papa's Story: The Worst of Days

Just keeping it real, but wishing it didn't have to be. Below is a link to read about child who died before his prospective adoptive family could complete the journey.

Please say a pray for this family and for all the children waiting for their families to come and bring them home.

A Papa's Story: The Worst of Days: "What an incredible spring morning--the magnificent sunrise over our shimmering pond was exquisite. The chirping birds were happily going abo..."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rituals in adoption

There is a sort of coming of age ritual for many parents in families formed by adoption. It comes at a time when your child has an understanding of adoption that lets him (or her) know that the pool of potential parents was not limited to just the parents who raise him.

It usually manifests itself in the middle of a...discussion (we'll call it) with parents when it occurs to the child that perhaps, if he had different parents, he would not have to brush his teeth, take a bath, go to bed at 8 o'clock, clean his room, do his homework... Perhaps, if he had different parents, he would have an i-pod touch, his own handheld gaming device, be allowed to play Call of Duty, engage in on-line gaming with total strangers, and...

The particulars of the cruelty to which the parents are currently subjecting the child are not really important. The important part is that the child--in an "Ah ha, moment"--realizes that, for him, things could have been different. The ones born into the family, well, they didn't really have any other options, but for him...suddenly, the opportunities seem endless. (And yet, in a cruel twist of fate, instead of ending up in Buckingham Palace, his cousin's house, or some other home with reasonable parents, he ended up in a place where the parents are Luddites obsessed with dental hygiene. Life can be full of disappointment.)

How proud the parent feels when, hearing the child testing this new concept with a few loving words like "I wish you never adopted me", she is able to calmly respond: "We can talk about adoption later. Right now it is time to get ready for bed, and you need to brush your teeth."

I didn't know this day would come so soon, but I didn't laugh out loud (hey, you gotta give the kid points for trying), and it shows he understands something about adoption (which is pretty advanced, I think). So all in all, I am feeling pretty good about it. Rituals are important, and sharing them lets us know that we are not alone.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fly me to the moon - Edited Version

So the first version of this post gave the retail costs of flights listed on the internet, which indicated that it would cost more than $2,500 just for Paul's one way ticket home. The good news is the actual cost should be much less. (Doing a happy dance here) BUT, the cost of three trips to EE is still high, and every family traveling to bring their children home can still use our help. For the new and improved version of this post, read on.

Fly me to the moon, let me play around the stars...everytime I sing that song the lyrics are a little different, but it always feels good. Imagine playing among the stars?

Know what else makes me feel good? The House Family has completed their paperwork and submitted it to Paul's country. This is a time of waiting, and right now they are are just waiting to hear on their travel date! (I get teary just thinking about it.)

Paul's country traditionally requires two trips, but some regions (like the one where Paul lives) are now requiring adoptive families to make three trips.

With the cost of fuel and airfare constantly rising, the cost of travel is huge.

So, who wants the honor of buying Paul his ticket home? It could be YOU! Imagine what a privilege, what a thrill that would be? It would be like dancing among the stars!

Do you have transferable frequent flier miles? Would you be willing to donate them to cover Paul's trip from an institution in Easter Europe to a home and family?

If you can't do it on your own, how about sharing the privilege with family and friends?

If you and 24 friends have $100 each to contribute, that would be $2,500 toward the travel costs?

How about you and 99 friends giving $25 each?

Or 250 friends could get together and contribute $2,500 for just $10 each! Now that could be a challenge for someone with 250 facebook friends.

Imagine Paul flying home to his family. Now imagine that you were able to play a part in flying him home. Fly me to the moon...you'd be singing that song for weeks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Cost of International Adoption

Why does international adoption from Paul's country cost so much? I don't really know, but here is an estimate of adoption costs from that country, which does have some of the highest costs around.

Homestudy $750-$3,000
Documentation Authentication $1,000-$2,000
I-600 Visa Application $500-$600
Postage/Telephone $200-$500
Application Fee $150-$600
Program Fee $16,000-$28,000
Child's Passport/Visa $300-$400
Child's medical exams $200-$500
Gifts $100-$200
Post Placement Reports $400-$1,000
Airfare $2,000-$6000
Other Travel $5,000-$15,000
Driver interpreter $2,100-$4,000
Average Cost $30,000-$40,000

Source: http://theadoptionguide.com/tools/planner/budgets.php

Now why did I share that with you? To help you understand the importance of supporting those who are working so hard to bring children from institutions into families.

Paul's family, Charlie and Melissa House, have raised $19,747 of the $33,000 cost of his adoption. Their goal is to raise $25,000. That is only $5,253 more. Can you believe it? Only $5,253 stands between Paul and home! Let's do something about it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Okay, I admit it. I've been a total blog slacker. Family, work...LIFE, got in the way.

That is so appropriate, because this blog is about LIFE. It is about life in a family for children whose first families and cultures had no place for them.

Today, as it has been on many days, this blog is about the LIFE of one little boy and one particular family.

The boy is that little sleepy-head in the picture, Paul.

The family is Charlie and Melissa House, who have persevered through disappointment and heartache to the point where their paperwork is complete and submitted to the country in Eastern Europe where Paul lives. (You can read their update here).

In this process the projected cost of thier adoption has changed. It has increased from $30,000 to $33,000. (I updated the thermometer on the side of the blog to reflect this change).

Why is it that the cost of adoption never goes down? Why does it cost so much to ransom a child from life in an institution? I don't know the answers to those questions, but I do know that the value of a child's life is beyond cost. Paul's value is priceless.

Charlie and Melissa are now only $2,000 from their original fundraising goal. The increased cost of Paul's adoption makes it more crucial than ever that we help them to meet that goal. We can do it. After all, Paul is priceless.

ipad 2 giveaway

The Senti family is doing an ipad 2 giveaway to help raise money to bring home this little cutie.

Adding a Senti: 4 days left!: "Only 4 days left to have your chance at winning the ipad 2! Just click HERE to make a tax deductable donation and get entered into the giv..."

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Generosity is such a beautiful thing. My little guy--the one who can be absolutely reckless as he rushes through life--has the most generous spirit. He is always giving away his things to his brother, friends and cousins. I love his generous spirit and try to encourage it whenever I can.

Charissa Browning is another person with a generous spirit. She is doing a give away on her blog to help the Burger family bring home this little guy, Brian, from an orphanage in Eastern Europe. AND she is doing it with some great prizes.

Check out the giveaway on Charissa's blog to learn more about Brian and how you can help.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A 7 day blitz for kirill.

Remember Kirill? He is the little boy with Down Syndrome who was deemed socially unadoptable in his own country. Well, his prospective adoptive parents have taken an appeal and some fellow A-Moms are doing a 7 day give away to raise the additional funds they need. There is every reason to hope that the Davis family will be able to adopt Kirill eventually, since the same judge who found Kirill unadoptable allowed another child with Down Syndrome to be adopted last week. Yeah!

Follow the link to learn more:

our perfectly imperfect life: a 7 day blitz for kirill.: "On March 17, 2011, the Davis family sat in a Russian courtroom and listened as the judge rejected their plea to adopt Kirill, an orphan with..."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Eyes Opened: Kirill's Story

Our Eyes Opened: Kirill's Story Sometimes things happen in the world that just break our hearts, and compel us to prayer. Please join in prayer for this situation, this child, this family, and all the other children and families this legal decision will effect.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Give Away Winners

And we have two winners! Yeah!

The winner of the Green with Envy Jewelry Give Away is Colleen at Sunshine from Heaven. Colleen, would you please leave a comment or email me, so I can put you in touch with the Fab Four at To Love the Unloved? They still hold the jewelry and can send it to you.

The winner of the Adoption Wisdom Give Away is Therese, who doesn't have a blog. (In the interest of full disclosure, Therese happens to be related to me, but that is purely a coincidence.)

Thanks to all who participated. Those Give Aways may be over, but there is still plenty of opportunity to help the House Family, and all the other families working so hard to bring children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities from insitutions into families.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Give aways ending March 17

Just a reminder that the two great give aways to raise funds for Paul's adoption end this Thursday, March 17!

See the Give Away buttons on the side of this blog? They will both come down on Friday.

To enter make a tax deductible donation to Reece's Rainbow to benefit "Paul for the House Family". You can donate by clicking on the Paul button on the side of the blog or mailing a check to:
Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885

Then leave a comment on this blog or send me an email, letting me know that you make the donation, and which give away you are entering. $5 per entry, 5 entries for $20.

Even if you cannot make a donation, please spread the word about the give aways by reposting on your blog or facebook. That will also get you entered in one of the give aways, just leave me a comment so I can confirm your reposting.

Your odds of winning are very good, since as of this minute only one person is entered in the Green with Envy Jewelry give away and no one has entered the Adoption Wisdom give away. It's a good cause--just look at the little guy--and your chances have never been better.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Finding Martin...: Putting stuff back together.

Finding Martin...: Putting stuff back together.: "I just wanted to put a quick post out there for all our followers. I am in the process of starting a new blog and when I do I'll post the ne..."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lenten Sacrifices and Giving

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. For Christians Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a time of preparation for Holy Week and Easter, traditionally parked by prayer, fasting and alms giving.

A very old Lenten practice is to fast or give-up something for Lent and to donate the money that you would have spent on the item or activity. As a family, we are going to have two meatless days a week for Lent. Contrary to my big guy's suggestion, we are not going to replace meat with Salmon or crab legs, but with rice and beans, or a vegetable soup. We are going to try to live more simply this Lent and donate the money we save to Reece's Rainbow, to help bring children with disabilities from institutions into families.

When you make your Lenten Sacrifices, as you fill your mite box or rice bowl, please consider donating those funds to an organization that works with orphans.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Shout Out for Kolya

Okay, first a picture to whet your appetite for more information. How stinkin' cute is he?

Remember how I just could not get Martin out of my head? Remember how I needed to do something to find him a family? Well, there is another mom out there who feels the same way about Kolya, and she is offering her engagement ring to try to find a family for him.

Kolya turns 11 in July, so he is exactly one year younger than my big guy! Wow, it will take a confident family to move forward to bring home a child that age, but nonetheless, still a child (just like my big guy), still in need of a family to love and parent him. He is described by his friends, the orphanage workers who so want him to find a home, as "a really good and loyal man."

Go here to read what this mom has to say about Kolya.
Along The Road: While We Wait: "While we sit waiting for the next step, there is a little boy that I must share with you all: 'Kolya' Region 15. Love him? Contact Reese's..."

Then go here to read more about Koyla. There is a newer picture than the one I have here, and he looks a bit thinner to me. Maybe Koyla is just having a growth spurt like so many boys his age do. Or maybe he just really needs to come home, so his mother can spoil him with macaroni and cheese, and his father can take him for a special treat at the DQ.

Do you have room in your heart and in your home for "a really good and loyal man"?

Less than perfect...just like us

"In the end, everything funnels down to a simple fact: Many babies and children need a mommy and daddy, and if they are less than 'perfect,' they are really only like their parents-to-be."
Ray Guarendi, Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It.

For more adoption wisdeom from Dr. Ray contribute to the House Family Adoption fund and enter the Adoption Wisdom Give Away.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Amazing Camera Give Away to Bring Noah Home

Wow, some people think of really amazing give aways to raise money to bring children home, like this one for Noah. Makes me feel like quite the slacker. Go on over and take a look.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Martin's Hope

Such good news!

I always knew that Martin was going to do great things in this world, and at only 5 years of age, he already is at it.

Martin is no longer available for adoption, but he has brought hope to another child, Paul.

Like Martin, Paul was born with a little something extra, a third copy of his 21st chromosome. Like Martin, Paul was abandoned at birth to the tender ministrations of a state-run orphanage. Now, like Martin, Paul has the hope of a family. The House Family is pursuing Paul's adoption.

I have so much respect for this wonderful family, pushing through their loss and moving forward. Choosing a child who has no hope, and giving it to him.

Let's continue to work together to help give an orphan hope, a family to love and care for him, to dry his tears, teach him that every morning can be good, and kiss him to sleep at night. Since Martin is no longer available for adoption his funds have been transferred to Paul, and you can contribute to Paul's adoption fund by clicking on the House Family Sponsorship button with Martin's picture on it on the sidebar of this blog.

I like that there is not a new button yet. It makes me smile to think of Martin working to bring his little brother home.

What is fear keeping you from doing?

"The number of people wanting and willing to adopt would be higher except for one thing--they're scared." Ray Guarendi in Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It

Fear can be a powerful force. Some fear is a good, even necessary thing. It helps us to be safe. Fear prevents me from driving 100 miles per hour through my neighborhood. It keeps me from walking into a dark ally alone at night.

But fear can also be a very negative thing in our lives. Fear can keep us from doing things that we should do. Fear of failure can keep us from even trying. Fear makes it all about us, since it focuses all attention on keeping ourselves safe. Other people, God, all other considerations must give way to that fear induced self-obsession (or perhaps the self-obsession causes the fear?). Usually, fear promotes the status quo, and keeps us from making changes in our lives, even when those changes are for the good.

What is fear keeping you from doing?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Losing Martin...Moving Forward...

Losing Martin...: Moving Forward...: "Well, we have finally had 'the discussion'. The one about what our next move is going to be. We have known all along that we still want to a..."

After some tough times, the House family is ready to move forward again in this crazy world of international adoption. In Melissa's words: "I have not given up on Martin and most likely never will. He will always be in my thoughts. I will always wonder where he is and how he's doing, but I know that there is another little boy out there that needs our family. So we are off to finish this crazy, insane journey and bring home our son, whoever he may be."

If Charlie and Melissa can keep their eyes focused on a child's need for a family, then I think that we can too. Wadda ya say? Let's continue to help support them to bring their son home, "whoever he may be."

The Adoption book and Green with Envy Jewelry give aways were supposed to end on Monday, but I am going to continue them through March 17.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Please pray

Tuesday night I was sitting at the computer, checking my email. It was just after midnight and everyone else was asleep, even the dog. It is during this quiet peaceful time that I sometimes pray, and do all those little jobs that just don't get done during the rest of the day.

Melissa House emailed me then to let me know that they had received word that Martin was no longer available for adoption, his first family had come to take him home. No more information was available. I should have responded to Melissa, I knew her heart was broken, I knew she was awake, the email had just come through, but I shut the lid on my computer and just sat there and cried.

I cried for Melissa and Charlie, stepping out in faith in response to God's call. I cried for their grief at the loss of this child of their hearts. Not knowing whether their child will be safe, cherished, loved, is something that no parent should have to go through. I cried for Martin who may never know the love of this wonderful family, may never live in a country where he can go to his neighborhood school. I cried for me, my own selfish tears.

And yet, and yet, God is good. God is good and what a blessing if Martin's first family's hearts have opened to him. A blessing to them, a blessing to Martin, a blessing to their whole country. Who knows how many lives Martin may touch? Who knows what changes he may bring?

God is good, and I know with all my heart that, ultimately, all will be well. But sometimes, in this life, ultimately is beyond what we can see. And sometimes the pain between now and ultimately can feel like more than we can bear.

Now is a time for prayer. Please pray for Melissa and Charlie, as they live the unbearable grief of this time. Ask the Lord to comfort them and to give them the grace to lean on Him, and remain open to hearing and following His call. Ask the Lord to give them peace in the knowledge that He loves Martin even more than any of us can imagine.

Please pray for Martin's first family, that they will love, protect and cherish Martin, and appreciate this wonderful gift they have been given. That they will be true parents to Martin, acting always in his best interest.

And please pray for our boy Martin. I know I will, every day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Inch by inch...

Inch by inch, row by row...

That was always one of my favorite songs. I was singing it to myself just now as I updated the amount of money available in Martin's Reece's Rainbow adoption grant funds in the fundraising thermometer on the side of the blog.

The amount raised to date is....drum roll please...$13,991. Wow! (can I say that again?) Wow!

Maybe it's just the warm weather yesterday, the melting snow, the seed catalogues arriving in the mail, the promise of spring in the air, but I can't get that song (or the gardening analogy) out of my head.

Martin is like a tender young seedling in a harsh environment. Charlie and Melissa House are the master gardeners who will bring this seedling home and plant it in fertile soil, nourish it and cherish it, until it grows into the beautiful, fruitful plant it was meant to be.

Let's support the gardeners by praying for them and helping the funds in the House Family FSP continue to inch forward to their goal, the money that will allow them to bring Martin home.

Remember, all contributions are tax deductible, no contribution is too small, and contributions of $5 or more or spreading the word on facebook or your own blog (and leaving a comment here to let me know about the contribution or reposting), will get you entered into one of the give aways.

To learn more about the giveaways,
click on the pictures below.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some thoughts on adoption

With her permission, I am cutting and pasting Bethany's post from Our Perfectly Imperfect Life. Enjoy.

Adoption. It's been on my mind lately.

{Addison came home from Russia in November 2008 ... read more about it here}

I'm sort of going out on a limb when I say this, but I have never been a fan of preaching adoption. There are some in this wonderful world of ours who believe that is it everyone's duty to adopt. I get that ... I get that the bible says that is what we should do.

{Sofia came home from Ukraine in June 2010 ... read more about it here}

Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~James 1:27

{Alina came home from Ukraine in April 2010 ... read more about it here}

And I'm really going out on a limb when I say this, but I also do not believe that everyone has what it takes to adopt. Yet, I do believe that everyone has what it takes to help protect an orphan.

{Evangeline came home from Ukraine in August 2009 ... read more about it here}

He blesses those who provide for the orphan. ~Deuteronomy 14:29

{Jacob came home from Ukraine in June 2009 ... read more about it here}

Adopting a child is a very exciting thing ... saving innocence from danger. Adopting a child is also a very rewarding thing ... but it is really hard too. Really hard. Once the excitement of the adoption wears off, you have a child on your hands. A child that you do not know ... and a child that does not know you.

{John David came home from Ukraine in November 2010 ... read more about it here}

My friend Leah said it well, as she waited to bring her son home ...

We don't expect that Axel is going to get off that plane, walk into our home and be a smiley, giggly boy who can hardly wait to get on with life.

When parenting [step children], you do not love them right away, and they do not love you. Sometimes it takes years before you feel honest "love" toward them. You care about them! And you nurture them! But that is very different than a mother/child love bond, or a father/child love bond. It just really depends upon the chemistry between you and the child. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not. I think that people are surprised when they bring a child into their home and that bond is not automatic, or in their eyes takes way too long to develop. Sometimes you love the child long before the child loves you in return. Sometimes it is the other way around.

Part of the reason this bond is different is because an older child comes with other people's habits. You didn't get to develop these habits, and they can be very annoying to you as a parent. It can be very difficult to not blame the child for these habits that they had established since they were small and suddenly you want them to change and do things your way.

{Reese came home from Ukraine in March 2009 ... read more about it here}

Very wise words ... if I do say so myself. Eventually the hurdles fade into the past ... and a time comes that life isn't so much about bonding and attachment ... but simply living life. The rewards are grand and they only get so much sweeter.


These babies? They are waiting to come home. They are waiting to make life grand for their new family ... how can you help?

:: Cox family, adopting Kareen ... donate here ... iPad raffle ends 2.5.11

:: Patti, raising money for three orphans ... Pure Love giveaway ends 2.10.11

:: Senti family, adopting Ember ... donate here ... Gucci watch raffle ends 2.12.11

:: Dickinson family, adopting Masha ... iPad raffle ends 2.25.11

:: Filmore family, adopting Anya ... donate here {court date: 2.22.11}

:: Davis family, adopting Kirill ... donate here {court date: 3.17.11}

:: Higbie family, adopting Lera and ... donate here

:: House family, adopting Martin ... donate here

:: Sader family, adopting Melanie ... donate here

:: Dirkes family, adopting Charlotte ... donate here

:: Maddex family, adopting Danil ... donate here

:: Smith family, adopting Yana ... donate here

Adoptive families ... I know there are so many of you out there. If you would like to be included in this post, please email me at bethanybalsis@mac.com with your info.

PS ... isn't it funny that never once in this post did I mention Down syndrome? That was not intentional ... it just isn't relevant. Well, it is relevant in that the future of babes with Down syndrome in other countries is horrid. That is why we need to get them home.

PPS ... and yeah, all of the beautiful babes in this post have Down syndrome. Oh, you already knew that? Ha.

Update: Adding in other great adoption fundraisers ... outside of the Down syndrome community ...

:: Johnson family, adopting Kasidi ... Canon Rebel T1i raffle ends 2.7.11

:: Lori and family ... adopting Elijah and Isaiah ... gift card raffle ends 2.16.11

:: Hurley family ... adopting AJ and Jenna Elizabeth ... iPad raffle ends 3.5.11

Challenge met!

Okay, guess what? The Monday Challenge worked. (See the post from this morning). As of 9 o'clock this morning there was $6,212 in the House Family FSP when the Monday Morning Challenge went out to raise $153 today, increasing the FSP to $6,365 by the end of the day.

As of 10 o'clock tonight, the FSP was $6,443! We are $78 over the Challenge.

Thank you.

How about a little Monday morning challenge?

Check out the fundraising thermometer on the right side of this blog. Do you see that? As of 9 o'clock this morning, Martin has $9,847 available in his combined adoption grant funds. Still, a long way from the $30,000 that his adoption will cost, but getting there.

On Saturday, Martin's family held a big fundraising party. They are still counting up the proceeds, but I think it would make a wonderful gift for them, if we could make sure that money was added to $10,000, rather than to $9,847, don't you?

So here is my Monday morning challenge, let's try to raise $153 for Martin today. That's only $1 from 153 people, or $5 from 31 people, or $10 from 15 people...you get the picture.

And, if you leave a comment or email that you made a donation, and which give away you would like to be entered into, you will be entered into the Green-with-Envy Jewelry give away or the Adoption, Choosing It, Living It, Loving It book give away.

Come on, lets get the House Family FSP from $6,212 up to $6,365 by the end of the day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cornish Adoption Journey: Today’s tears (iPad giveaway and more!)

Follow this link to read a great post from a wonderful mom with a heart for adoption who really walks the talk, and is doing a great giveaway to raise funds for the airfare, $5,000, to help another family bring their child home.

Cornish Adoption Journey: Today’s tears (iPad giveaway and more!): "I tried really hard to post about Wesley’s birthday without any tears. I might have succeeded. Maybe… Then I tried to hold them..."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Green-with-Envy Jewelry Give Away

So guess who won the green jewelry give away over at To Love the Unloved? Me! How jealous are you?

Well be jealous no more, because this beautiful jewelry set, is now the subject of a give away here to raise money for Martin's adoption grant! Yeah!

The colors are beautiful, and the necklace is just so lovely! Don't get me wrong, the bracelet is great, beautiful, sparkling and alive with those gorgeous greens that make your skin look mah-velous. But the necklace is funky, trendy, unique, just something special.

The Green-with-Envy jewelry give away will run from through the month of February. To enter, just make a tax deductable
contribution to Reece's Rainbow to help bring Martin home, and e-mail me or leave a comment here, letting me know you made the contribution.

$5 per entry, 5 entries for $20.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Love in Adoption

More words of wisdom from Dr. Ray that can be yours in the give away of Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It.

"Love is at the critical center of parenthood. Without it not much else good happens. Properly understood, love is more than critical; it is enough. The key though lies in what we understand love to be." With those words, Dr. Ray begins debunking the myth of love as just a warm fuzzy feeling. "It is that, but it is much more. It is also committment, perseverence, sacrifice and discipline."

"It is not momentary feelings, positive or negative, that are at the defining core of love. It is committment." Noting that while discipline may be love in action, it does not always feel like it, Dr. Ray gives some examples of love. "It is love to supervise closely whom your [children] associate with--for the next twelve years. It is love to scrutinize and monitor all the media seeking your [child's] attention, even if it is far more than most American parents." "[M]aking a youngster stand in the corner or go to bed early because of a tantrum" are also examples of love.

Dr. Ray points out, quite astutely, that if discipline were not motivated by love, it would be too "unpleasant" to "continue for nearly two decades." Discipline is "unpleasant"--that makes me laugh, and rings a little too true for comfort. But Dr. Ray helps you dig down into that reserve of love which is committment and sacrifice, and persevere in it, for the love of your child.

For only a $5 tax deductible donation to the House Family FSP (and an email or comment to me so I know you made that donation) you too can be entered in the give away, and get even more words of wisdom about parenting and adoption. Click here for more details.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mary Kay Fundraiser for Martin

For most of my life I pretty much never wore makeup. I'm kind of a back to nature girl that way. However, I did notice once I hit my very late 30s--say 3010, 3011 or so--that I did not look exactly the same as I remembered myself looking. What to do?

Thanks to Mary Kay, I have gentle natural looking makeup that I can wear to work, church and other dress-up places. I use this stuff myself and enjoy the fact that it doesn't irritate my skin.

Even though when I get up in the morning I see that same girl of 20 years ago, when I actually put on my glasses, I appreciate that a more polished look is required for some of my more formal daily interactions.

Anyway if you use Mary Kay, or if you are in the market for some good makeup or skin care products, do I have a deal for you. My cousin Jeannie just started selling Mary Kay products and has agreed to hold a Mary Kay fundraiser for Martin. The fundraiser will run from Wednesday-Friday of next week, February 2-4.

So, if you wear makeup an want to help bring Martin home, mark your calendar for this win-win.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Adoption Wisdom and a Give Away

Dr. Ray Guarendi is a psychologist and father of 10, all by the miracle of adoption.

He was also kind enough to donate an autographed copy of his latest book Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It as a fundraiser for Martin's adoption.

"Ray Guarendi, psychologist, husband and father of ten adopted children, considers the most commonly asked adoption questions with insight, humor and a heart for the adoptive family. His aim? To dispel unsettling misperceptions about adoption, to encourage others to think about and act on adoption, and to guide adoptive parents to a more relaxed, rewarding family life for all involved."

Hmm wisdom on adoption from one who has BTDT and helping to bring a child home. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Here's what you need to do, just make a donation of $5 or more to the House Family's FSP by clicking on the the button at right or by mailing you check to:
Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885

If paying by check, be sure to write "Martin for the House Family" in the memo line.

For every $5 you donate your name will be entered into the giveaway, or for $20 your name will be entered 5 times. The winner will be chosen at random and I will pay for the postage to get it to you.

After you make your donation, send me an email at hope4martin@yahoo.com letting me know that you contributed, how much you contributed, and how I can contact you, if you are the winner. You are on your honor here, people, so don't email until after your contribution to Martin's FSP has been made. Also, I am planning some other giveaways, so please tell me in your email that you want to be entered into the Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It giveaway. Don't forget to send me the email, since that is what I will use to decide who is in.

Now, to whet your appetites, here is a little adoption wisdom from Dr. Ray.

"Not all may understand your decision to adopt. Sometimes those disagreeing most loudly are close relatives. Most often the adoptee will win them over in time, as they come to know and love her. Even if not, do not let the opinion of others overrule your decision to adopt. The full favor of all may be ideal; it is not critical to the well-being of your child. Your love and that of others will more than compensate for what's lacking elsewhere." Guarendi, R. Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It, p. 86 (2009).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Faith and Works

I just learned today that Martin has been transfered to one of the not so good places. Okay, to a bad place. How can a little boy, barely 5, survive in a mental institution?

I know his mother cried when she heard the news. How could she not? Imagine one of your own kids at that age, placed in that situation. Imagine that you are half a world away and can do nothing to help him. Yeah, it makes me cry too.

I know that God is my all loving Father. I know that He loves Martin even more than I do, even more than Martin's Mommy and Daddy love him. That is hard to imagine, but I know it to be true, and I have come to trust that love for the people in my life, even when I do not understand what it sometimes permits.

I have faith that all will be well...ultimately. But I know that ultimately can be a long way off. Ultimately doesn't always come in this life. There can be a whole lot of sorrow between ultimately and now.

So, what would my loving Father want me to do now? Would He want me to give up, and say, "It is all in His hands." Well, it is all in His hands, but doesn't He want me to do something with the hands He has given me?

I think He does. If you conceive that He calls you to do something with the gifts He has given you, then please pray for Martin, pray for the House Family as they continue to work their way through all of the steps necessary to bring Martin home. Pray too about your hands, your feet, your voice, your gifts, and how you can use them to make Martin's time in this bad place as short as possible.

"Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world."

St. Theresa of Avila

Finding Martin!: Why Does Reality Hurt So Much?

Finding Martin!: Why Does Reality Hurt So Much?: "Well, Monday we asked the hard question....one that we new the answer, but we were never officially told. You see, we read back in the begi..."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Adoption Awareness

There are some wonderful new Adoption Awareness buttons on the Reece's Rainbow button blog. I added one to my sidebar, but will post a few more of them here because they are so beautiful and speak to me so well about adoption and the value of the life of every person. We have value because we are, not because of something we do.

The first one seems especially appropriate as we approach Valentine's day, and the second one, well, I just really liked it and wanted to share it.

If you have a blog, please consider putting one of these beautiful buttons on your sidebar to raise awareness of the need for families. Even if you don't have a blog, visit the RR button blog and take a look at the rest of the buttons. It is well worth the trip.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Martin!

Happy Birthday, Martin!

Today is the big day, five years old!

Remember you are invited to Martin's virtual birthday party, and don't forget to give the gift of family by contributing to help the House Family bring Martin home.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You are invited to a birthday party!

You’re invited to a party!

Martin’s 5th Birthday

January 20, 2011


This Thursday is Martin's birthday. Martin turns 5 years old. I am holding a virtual birthday party for Martin and YOU are invited.

How many birthday parties have you been invited to in your lifetime? Isn't one of the first questions you ask yourself when you get an invitation, "What present shall I bring?"

Well, you know what the best present would be for this party? You know what Martin really needs? Martin needs his family to have the money they need to fully fund his adoption, so they can make those two trips to EE and bring him home.

What present would you bring to Martin's real-world birthday? Would it be a LEGO set at $24.99? Maybe you would bring a gift certificate to the local book store at $20.00, or would it be one of those StarWars light sabers, or maybe a new soccer ball?

Whatever it is, whatever you would spend to bring Martin a present for his real-world birthday party, I am asking you make a tax deductible donation in that amount to the House Family's FSP on RR. You can do that through the Martin button on the sidebar next to this post.

You are invited to Martin's party. It would be rude not to bring a present. ;-)

Happy Birthday, Martin!

Every year on our children's birthdays we make note of their first and lasts of the year. The last year at home, the first year of school; the last "baba", the first pizza; the last time in the high chair, the first time in the big boy chair; the last free summer, the first job.

Every year at every time of life we celebrate these firsts and lasts. But most of all we celebrate our children's births, their official entry into the world. How could the world have gotten by without them? How did we ever do so? Of course we need to celebrate.

Martin's birthday is this week. On January 20 Martin will turn 5 years old. Wow, a whole handful! (For the unitiated, this means you hold up all the fingers on your hand to show how old you are, a whole hand full of fingers.)

What a year of firsts and lasts for Martin. He does not know it yet, but this is the first year that a mommy and daddy will rejoice in the fact that he was born! Consider that astounding fact. For the first time in his life, Martin has parents doing everything they can to bring him our of an institution and into their home. What a first!

And a last, what a blessed last, the last birthday alone, living in an orphanage, without a family. This year, Martin will not even know it is his birthday.
But next year. Cake, hats, presents, Mommy and Daddy, brothers and sister, friends and family. With all those people singing happy birthday dear Martin, and urging him to blow out the candles, with parties at home and in school, Martin will not be able to escape knowing it is his birthday.

We may not be able to speed the coming of that happy day, but we can provide financial support to Martin's family so they can bring him home as quickly as possible, so he has a few more weeks or months to learn what it means to be a cherished son, a valued member of his family and community, a few more weeks to learn what a birthday is, before he turns 6.

This is Martin's last birthday without a family, will you be the first to contribute and help to bring him home?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Buttons across the years.

Here are some of the buttons that have been used to raise awareness and funding for Martin's adoption, since he was first listed on Reece's Rainbow in 2009.

Any of these look familiar?

Well, they have all been removed from this blog.

Because they have all been replaced by a wonderful knew button that links directly to the RR family services page for the House family.

The funds are still tax deductible, and are still dedicated to Martin, but now the focus is on helping Martin's family bring him home.

How great is that? How great is this?

Introducing Martin's newest button.

Grab the button from the side of the blog and post it, tweet it, facebook it

Do whatever it is you do when you want to spread the word.

Martin is coming home to his family in 2011!

Let's all chip in to make this the last blog button that Martin ever needs.

Still $214.55 short of New Year's goal!

Ohh, so close. It looks like we need another $214.55 to reach our New Year's fundraising goal. Come on guys, let's make it happen.

On the plus side, RR has met its goal and raised $1,000 for all of the children on the Christmas Angel Tree. Yeah!