Monday, April 30, 2012

April GiveAway Winners!


If you are one of the winners, let me know. I will put you in touch with the donor.

Thank you to all who donated!!! I raised $3050 on the ChipIn and lots more on my FSP!!! I truly appreciate each and every donation.

Item 1: Hand Made Cards from Karin Winner is Becky Keller!(237)

Item 2: Hand Made Cards from Kristina Winner is Kelly Farrell!(541)

Item 3: A Hand Knit Blanket from Mom Winner is Francine Castillo! (129)

Item 4: A Hand Knit Blanket from Nana Winner is Jill Santosuosso (342)!

Item 5: A Fleece Blanket from the Goudzwaard Girls Winner is Becky Keller!(819)

Item 6: A Knit Blanket from the Goudzwaard Girls Winner is Kim Moorman! (616)

Item 7: A Fleece Blanket from the Goudzwaard Girls Winner is Kelly Farrell!(507)

Item 8: A Child's Apron from Christina Winner is Bridgette Angelo!(1009)

Item 9: A Child's Apron from Christina Winner is Kelly Farrell! (470)

Item 10: Hand Made Jewelry from Molly
Winner is Amanda Griffin! (761)
The winner can choose one of the necklaces below.

Item 11: Target Gift Card from Amanda Winner is Lisa Basner!
Item 12: A Mural from Becca Winner is Kadie Verstrate!

Item 13: Legos from Nana Winner is Bill Heller! (200)

Item 14: Spa Coupon from Kim Winner is Sharon Duncan! (169)

Item 15: Massage Certificate from Bonnie Winner is Francine Castillo! (86)

Item 16: A Bird Feeder from Jaime and Dionne Winner is Rachelle Francis! (695)

Item 17: A Hand Knit Baby Hat from Aunt Rachelle Winner is Becky Keller! (900)

Items 18 and 19: Home Made Bread from Kate Winners are Rachelle Francis (153) and Francine Castillo (123)!
2 loaves of banana and/or pumpkin bread. The winner can choose the combination. There will be two prizes given - so 4 loaves total for 2 winners.

Item 20: $25 itunes Gift Card from Olga Winner is Kim Moorman (615)!

Item 21: A Coffee Basket from Furnace Hills Coffee Company
Winner is Amanda Griffin! (757)!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Poem: Mother to Child

Mother to Child

Conceived in my heart I earnestly prayed,
But never imagined you'd come so arrayed.
Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,
Not under my heart, but oh, so deep in it sown.
I knew from the start since the moment we met,
When my eyes gazed upon you, destiny was set,
To enter but a short journey as mother and child,
With joy and sorrows, memories to be compiled,
A mosaic of beauty with many colors entwined,
The fabric so strong, with my Savior combined.
I love you sweet child, and in time you will see,
You're much more than chosen, but precious to me,
For God planted this yearning in me long ago,
To bring Him forth fruit, that together we grow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

So, how's the adoption going?

In all honesty, this is starting to be my least favorite question ever. It's kind of like when you are a senior and everyone wants to know what you are going to do after graduation. I really don't know how the adoption is going. I've never done one before. I have nothing to compare this to.

I can tell you this: It's long. It's hard. I'm emotionally exhausted.

(I don't think that's what people really want to hear.)

On the other hand: It's amazing. I feel so supported and blessed. I can see God's hand in it.

I feel like I should have a daily update for everyone but really, most days, I just fill out, copy, and notarize more paperwork. I send it off to someone....somewhere....who doesn't seem to be in nearly as much of a hurry as I am.

Regardless, here's where I am in the process right now:

I have completed all the things I need to do for the home study. I've been waiting for a draft from my social worker. She emailed today to say that she will submit it to the state by Friday! FINALLY!!! It then has to be approved by the one person that reads home studies for the entire state. Please pray that she has a slow week next week and gets to it immediately.

I have completed my paperwork for Homeland Security and Immigration. As soon as the homestudy is approved, that paperwork will be sent to a lockbox. I have no idea why they call it that but it doesn't sound promising, does it? Again, please pray that the right person will get my paperwork and that it will be processed quickly!

While I am waiting for that paperwork to be processed, I will compile the rest of the documents for the dossier to go to Latin America. This is a lot of the same paperwork for the homestudy but now has to all be notarized. (This means another visit with my doctor to get a letter she didn't give me last time. Oh, boy!) Thankfully, we have a notary at work who has been very gracious to me and is great to work with! That saves me lots of time!

When that's all approved, I get a date to travel. I will then have to be in country in 3 weeks or less. Yikes! Can't wait and am scared to death to spend so much time in a country, with a child I've just met, but alone. Definitely going to be a life experience I will not soon forget!

The other question I dread: How much money do you still need?
Honestly, I really have no idea. I know that I am about $1,000 short of my program fee. I know that I will need another big chunk when I submit my dossier and some more to travel. I haven't sat down and figured out what I've spent so far or what I still need. I'm a little afraid the number would cause a numbing fear.

I know that God will provide. I've seen it happy so far for me and I've seen it with tons of other RR families in the last month. I appreciate every gift and everyone who has donated.

As soon as I have the official home study, I can start applying for grants. After that, we'll see what happens. I have seen God work so much in this situation that I have to believe he will provide!

The question I hate to answer in person but have lots of answers for: What can I do to help?

1. Pray. I have seen God working and answering prayers. I know it's because there are so many people praying for my little girl to get home quickly. It's the only answer! Please continue to pray for both of us through this process. Pray for those who are caring for her now and for those people who will process our paper work.

2. Repost my blog on your blog. Post it on your facebook. Tweet about it. Spread the word about Sara and about Reeces Rainbow. Long after Sara is home, there will be more little children around the world needing homes.

3. If you are a coffee drinker, both Just Love Coffee and Furnace Hills Coffee are giving a portion of their sales to Sara. FHC even made Sara's blend---specially created to support Sara's adoption.

4. If you feel led to donate, you can donate on the ChipIn on the right or on my FSP on Reece's Rainbow.

5. It's not too late to donate an item to my Give Away that will continue for the rest of the month of April.

6. A few of the women in my small group are planning to host a Yard Sale in early June and donate the profits to Sara. This is still in the beginning planning stages but I wanted to put the idea out there. If you have items that you would like to donate to be sold, please let me know. I will let you know more info as it is available but wanted to let you know that this is coming up. Start cleaning out those closets and the garage!

Above all, just continue to be the amazing, supportive, encouraing people that you have been to me for the last 2 months!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Letters to My Daugher - April 2012


I can't believe I've been in this crazy process for over 2 months! In some ways, I feel like this has just started. In other ways, I feel like I've been working to get you home forever.

Last week was a big one--I was on spring break and spent most of it in NY with your Nana, Grandpa, and Uncles. It was also Easter and my birthday--see, I told you it was a big week. This made me think tons about how life will be different when you come home. Traveling will be harder but it will be so fun to see you experience so many new things. It also made me think a lot about our little family and what kind of traditions I want to have for birthdays, holidays, vacations. I really, really, really hope we are together for your birthday. I'd love for us to be home by then but I'll be happy if we are together.

I can't wait for you to meet your cousin Grace. Every time I saw her this week, I could see the two of you playing together. I hope that you will be close as you grow up--despite the distance.

I've discovered I don't really know anything about the country you come from. I got a bunch of kids books from the library and I'm learning a little bit slowly. My next step is to go on the internet and look for local resources. I'm pretty sure there are restaurants, festivals, and parades for every country in Chicago.

Nana, Aunt Amy, and I registered this week for all the things you'll need when you come home. I loved picking out things for you. I just wish I could afford them on my own. You will soon learn that your Mommy doesn't like to ask for help. It's hard for me and I don't enjoy it---at all! However, I certainly can't make it through this adoption process on my own so I'm learning to ask for help and let other people do things for me---and buy things for you. I wish you could see and meet all the people that are working so hard for you to come home and are so excited about every step in this process. You are VERY loved!

I've started thinking about what you will call all my friends--who are soon to be your friends. I don't feel like we are old enough to go by Mr. or Ms. Last Name. (Somehow, we aren't as old as our parents were when we were little.) There are a few people outside your actual aunts and uncles that will be Tia or Aunt. Other than that, I guess we'll go with Mr or Miss First Name. I'm not sure why this has consumed so much of my thoughts but it has.

You now have an offer to teach you all about American food and sports. The most important thing you need to know about American sports is that we love the Red Sox--whether they love us or not.

Well, little girl, I got another packet of paper work in the mail today. The sooner I get it done, the sooner you will be home!

Te amo, mija,
Tu Mami

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Give Away Items

OK. I am changing this up a little bit. For the month of April, I will post all the items I have at once. All entries in April will go to one of these items. At the end of the month, I will use all the entries to choose winners for each item. I appreciate all of those who have donated items, reposted the Give Away, and purchased chances. This adoption wouldn't be possible without ALL of you! (Check back during the month as I may be adding more items.)

Item 1: Hand Made Cards from Karin

Karin has donated 10 single birthday cards. Each sells for $3.50.

Birthday card reads, "Wishing you a fan{tache}tic birthday" with a cut out mustache on the front. This single sided flat note card is 5.47" x 4.21", blank on the opposite side, and comes with a teal envelope.

Check our Karin's Etsy link!

Item 2: Hand Made Cards from Kristina

A set of 10 home made birthday cards with envelopes. These were donated by Kristina--a regular supporter of Reece's Rainbow. They were hand made by her sister Jeannie. They retail at $25.

Item 3: A Hand Knit Blanket from Mom

A hand knit blanket in green, yellow, blue and purple. About 6 feet by 3 feet. Very warm.

Item 4: A Hand Knit Blanket from Nana
I am Natalie's Mom, Rebecca Keller & Sara Rebecca's Nana.

This afghan is 36"x48" & is thick, since it is made with 4 strands of yarn.

The Goudzwaards have been great friends for years. They are very excited about Sara coming home. I plan to use their daughters are babysitters and Sara will learn to swim in their pool. They are donating three blankets.

Item 5: A Fleece Blanket from the Goudzwaard Girls
This is a a double fleece blanket. This one is pink and white checked with a pink back. It is the perfect size for a baby.

Item 6: A Knit Blanket from the Goudzwaard Girls
This is a hand knit blanket. It is a very soft yarn and is light blue and pink.

Item 7: A Fleece Blanket from the Goudzwaard Girls
This a double fleece blanket. This orange one has animals and multi-colored polka dots on it with an orange back. It is the perfect size for a baby.

Item 8: A Child's Apron from Christina
Child's Apron. Size Medium/Large.

Item 9: A Child's Apron from Christina
Child's Apron. Size Medium/Large.

Christina has been an advocate and fundraiser for Reece's Rainbow since 2010. Her facebook page sells items to benefit Reece's Rainbow.

From Christina:
My youngest son, Kellan, was born in October 2009 with DS, and somewhere along the line I came across RR. The children stole my heart, and it's true, once your eyes are opened, you cannot pretend not to know. I love these kids and I'll do anything to help them home!!

Item 10: Hand Made Jewelry from Molly

The winner can choose one of the necklaces below.

From Molly:
NoBeadLeftBehind was started about a year ago by my friend Amy and I. Amy is a special needs teacher and I am a Spanish teacher. We started this side business as a place to channel our creativity and as a means to donate to some organizations that we believe in (Love 146, and Water for Africa) We are able to raise awareness and give people another reason to feel good in our jewelry. We think what Natalie is doing is amazing and we are happy to help support her and Sarah. If you wouldn't mind please like us on our facebook page to help spread the word!

Be sure to check out the rest of their jewelry on their blog.

Item 11: Target Gift Card from Amanda
$25 Target Gift Card donated by Amanda - a supporter of Reece's Rainbow.

Item 12: A Mural from Becca

Sara... This is How I Met Your Mother
I had the distinct pleasure of being introduced to Natalie Keller through a mutual friend and co-worker two years ago, in the infancy of my special education experience at Elim Christian School. I then student taught in the room across the hall from Natalie's room. I got to know Natalie better through this experience, as well as attending the same church as Natalie. I have witnessed Natalie going through the process of an international adoption of a daughter with special needs over the past few months. I feel passionate about supporting Natalie and her new family in any way that I can, and as I have very little money to give, I thought that I could donate my time and gifts.

If you would like your child's room or nursery painted, we would love to be a part of your design experience!

We are open to any style or aesthetic, and would love to work to make your home an even more beautiful place to live in.

Item 13: Legos from Nana

This is a 214 piece Fire Truck "City" Lego set for 5-12 yr. olds.

I am Rebecca Keller - Sara Rebecca's Nana & Natalie's Mom. I am so proud of Natalie & can't wait to hug Sara!

Item 14: Spa Coupon from Kim

Kim, a member of my small group, has donated Spa Coupon for Hidden Spa, in Burr Ridge, IL. The Nail Package includes a Spa Manicure, Spa Pedicure, Moisturizing Paraffin Treatment, and No-Chip Polish Sealer. The coupon expires in 3 months.

Item 15: Massage Certificate from Bonnie
Bonnie is the mother of one of my former students. She runs the massage clinic at Moraine Valley. She has donated a gift certificate for a 50 minute massage. The certificate is good for a year.

Item 16: A Bird Feeder from Jaime and Dionne
Dionne has been a co-worker of mine for longer than either of us care to remember. Somewhere along the line, she became a good friend. Her husband Jaime made this bird house.

Item 17: A Hand Knit Baby Hat from Aunt Rachelle

I will be Sara's Great Aunt Rachelle. I can't wait to see Natalie become a mommy. Sara Rebecca is one lucky little girl to come into the Keller family!

Items 18 and 19: Home Made Bread from Kate

2 loaves of banana and/or pumpkin bread. The winner can choose the combination. There will be two prizes given - so 4 loaves total for 2 winners.

Delicious homemade banana or pumpkin bread made from scratch! Sweet, moist and delicious! Loaves can be shipped anywhere in the country. They will be sufficiently wrapped in saran wrap and tin foil to ensure freshness. Bread will be shipped within a week of the drawing.

Kate is a fellow teacher at Elim with Natalie. She has known Natalie since she student taught there 4 years ago. Kate is a mother of two boys who also lives in Midlothian. She can't wait for play dates for Sara and the boys together! Kate and her husband Tim are so excited for Natalie, as adoption is something they see for their future as well. But perhaps most exciting is that Kate finally has a "pink one" soon to be in her life!

Item 20: $25 itunes Gift Card from Olga
Olga is a co-worker. (Don't I work with amazing people?)

Item 21: A Coffee Basket from Furnace Hills Coffee Company

This basket was donated by Furnace Hills Coffee Company. Please go check out their website. They created the coffee company specifically to hire adults with disabilities. They are also selling a special "Sara's blend" of coffee right now to help bring Sara home.

The coffee is a $42 value and the basket is a $25 value. So the entire item is a $67 value. There is everything from milder roasted coffees to darker roasts in the basket.

Here's how it works:
1. You can donate for a chance to win.
$2 = One Chance
$5 = Three Chances
$10 = Seven Chances
$25 = Twenty Chances
$50 = Forty Five Chances

2. You can also earn a chance to win without making a purchase.
Post the link to the current item on your facebook + Leave me a comment telling me you did = One chance
Post the link to the current item on your blog + Leave me the link to the post on your blog = One Chance

3. Donate using the Chip-In box on the right. These donations go directly to me to pay my program fee. If you prefer, you can donate directly on Reece's Rainbow's website using this link. If you do that, leave me a comment with your name and donation amount. (All donations made through Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible.) Make sure you give your first and last name so I can easily identify the winner.

If you have questions, check out the rules and regulations.