Monday, August 27, 2012


I got a call today from my adoption agency. I was really hoping that I would find out that the orphanage director had approved my dossier. While I didn't get that news (it's coming soon), I did find out that I got a very generous grant from Show Hope. The grant just "happens" to be the exact amount that I needed to be "fully-funded." Coincidence? I think not.

So, what does that mean now?

In all honesty, I've been too excited to really think through the repercussions completely. I do know this--I can sleep tonight without doing math in my head trying to figure out how much I still need, where it's going to come from, how many scarves I can knit before the auction get the idea.

This grant takes all the pressure off. I have enough to pay the final agency fees. I think I have enough for a bare-bones travel experience. Anything raised from this point is just icing on the cake. Let me explain....

No one really seems to know how much it's going to cost me to travel to Sara's country. A big part of this is that no one knows how long I will have to stay. Some agencies say 4-6 weeks. Some say 5-7. Some say up to 9. (Do you get why I'm confused?) Because of this, each agency lists a different cost of travel. Mine says $4,000 to $11,000. That's a HUGE difference!

Right now, I have just over $5,000 in my FSP with Reece's Rainbow. This is what I plan to use for travel. I hope it's enough for lodging and plane tickets. (Depending on how much higher the price of gas goes....) I still plan to hold the auction in September. Any money raised from that will create a little "cushion" for unexpected expenses in country, or delays that we encounter in country, or a fun day on the town, or anything that might come up. Basically, it will keep me from doing math in my head when I should be sleeping in country--can we eat out tonight--can we stay another three days if the paperwork doesn't come tomorrow---can I afford to buy an extra sweatshirt for each of us since it's colder than I thought it would be---can we have a snack at the airport? You get the idea.

I don't want to get greedy. I don't want to take advantage of the generosity of so many amazing people who have worked and donated to get Sara home. I'm not looking for a luxurious or indulgent trip. In short, I don't want to over-fund raise. At the same time, I want to be prepared for this trip. I want my time in her country to be about bonding with my daughter and not about cutting corners and saving money.

So, will continue to have a Chip In on the blog. I will continue to take skirt and scarf orders. I will hold one more auction. But, I won't stress. I won't worry. I will rest in God's hand and know that he has and will provide all that Sara and I need.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Help A Fellow Reece's Rainbow Family

Update: I was able to stop by the hospital today with your generous donations. I'm only in this area for a few more days so I'm taking the Chip In down. If I hear of someone else doing something for them, I will post the link here. Thank you all!

If you are a part of the RR family, you have already heard about this amazing family.  If you are in Western NY, you may have seen this news story.  

This family is from FL. They are in NY for their daugther's eye surgery. While they were here, there was a tragic accident. Two of their other children fell into the Erie Canal while strapped into their stroller. They now have 3 children in the hospital! One of them is still battling for her life. They are miles from their family, friends, and church.

If you've ever had a family member in the hospital, you know that the expenses add up very quickly. If you would like to help this family, you can donate through the Chip In on the Right that says Clanton Family. I will be in Rochester tomorrow and will present them with the money that has been donated.

Let's remind this family that they are not alone! Even if you can't donate, please pray!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Almost There....Financially...

I've been waiting for about a week for an email from the adoption agency. I thought that I was getting really close to being "fully funded." (These are magic words in the Reece's Rainbow community.) Today, I finally got the email that confirmed what I thought--I am getting close! There is no real set-in-stone number because no one really knows for sure how long I'll be in country and how much flights will cost, etc. But, I am pleased to announce that I am only about $5,000 short! (This is a conservative estimate but I'm pretty good at traveling cheaply.)

While that might sound like a huge number to you, it's not to me at this point. I started out owing about $30,000. I have paid about a third of that from my savings and summer school pay. The other half has come from my very generous supporters! I am more grateful to all of you than I will ever be able to express.

*I currently have several fundraisers going on. I'm hoping that these will be successful. I'm also hoping to hold one more auction in September.

*I have applied for about 20 different grants. I am working right now to set up an interview for one of them. If I hear from one or two grants, I will be all set.

So, with some successful fundraisers and some grants, I could be ready to go get my little girl as soon as I get a date! What a weight of my shoulders! God is good!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Scarf Style

Find Scarves for Sara on Facebook!

I have found another way to make the scarves. They use the Sashay yarn and a corresponding color of "regular" yarn. It falls in waves instead of circles like the other scarves. It is lighter than the original scarves.

I am charging $15 a scarf. This includes shipping. (If you are someone that I can hand deliver the scarf to, I will lower the price to $15.)

Here's how it's going to work:

*Leave me a comment and let me know what color you want and your email address.

*I will make a list of those who have ordered and the order in which you placed your order.

*When your scarf is ready, I will send you an invoice.

*When you have paid the invoice, I will ship your scarf.

*I will make as many as I can before I leave to get Sara. Placing an order does not necessarily guarantee that I will have time to make your scarf before I go. (That's why I don't want you to pay until your scarf is done.)

Color choices can be found on the Scarves for Sara post.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Letters to My Daughter - Happy Birthday, Mija!


Tomorrow is your 4th birthday.  For a while, I thought I would be there celebrating with you.  A little while ago, I found out that wouldn't be possible.  I know that tomorrow will be hard--probably harder for me than it will be for you.  After all, your life is what you've known.  You've always celebrated your birthdays in an orphanage.  You have no idea what an over-the-top American birthday party is all about.  Don't worry!  You will know next year!  (Don't get used to it, though.  I'm not a huge fan of huge birthday parties.)  

On your birthday, I'll be flying to NY to visit your Nana, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncles and cousins. I can't wait to make that trip with you! (I really hope you like to fly!)

You're going to love your cousins Grace and Kinsley. (I'm sure Grace will teach you a lot!) I can't wait to see the three of you playing together.

Your Nana and Grandpa have cows, pigs, and chickens. I hope you love the animals and aren't afraid of them. (You can be afraid of the chickens a little. I am!) Maybe Grandpa will buy you some little boots so you can do chores with us. If not, I'm sure Nana will gladly let you stay in the house with her.

Your Uncle Rob isn't too sure about you right now. However, if you're willing to sit and watch his favorite movies over and over, I'm sure he'll love you. I don't know if he'll let you come on our regular movie outing. You might have to stay home with Nana.

Your Uncle Bryon is kind of a punk but I have a sneaking suspicion he will have a soft spot in his heart for you.

You are going to love our trips to NY. There is so much to do there in the summer. We'll take you to the fair to see all the animals. When you're a little older, we'll check out the Charcoal Corral and the Drive In. And, you have to take a trip to Niagara Falls!

So, Mija, on your birthday, I will spend the day dreaming of all the fun times we have ahead of us. I will pray that you are celebrated and loved. I will rejoice that this will be your last birthday without a family.

Te amo, Mija!
Tu Mami

Friday, August 10, 2012

We Have Submission

After some drama at the Secretary of State's Office and Office Max, the dossier has been submitted. (A lot of my notarizations were done wrong. And, the boy at Office Max had no idea how to send a FedEx.) The dossier should be arriving in Sara's country on Monday--her birthday!

I have no idea how long it will take the country and orphanage to approve it. I am hoping and praying that everything is complete and that they don't ask for more paperwork. The approval could be a quick process or it could drag on for weeks or months. It just depends on a faceless, nameless person in Sara's country who may or may not be in a hurry. Sounds kind of harsh but that's what it feels like from where I'm standing and waiting.

Of course, I am praying that things will move quickly. They have the potential to. However, if I have learned anything in this process, it's that I have no control over anything! So, I will wait for news. And, of course, I will share with all of you whatever I find out. If it's good news, you'll probably hear the cheering where ever you are!

I am waiting for an email from the agency with the details of what I still owe. I think I am a lot closer to being fully funded than I thought I was. (Thank you to all of you for your amazing generosity!) I will be changing the Chip-In on the right side of the blog to reflect the new total that I get from the agency. There are several fund raisers that end in the next few weeks. Check them out here. I'm hoping that if these fund raisers go well, I can do one more auction in September, hear from a grant or two, and be fully funded. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Until then, here's another message from the "friend" who has a "friend" that is in Sara's country:
I asked if they noticed anything else about Sara and she said that her husband noticed that she was carrying a childrens book. Her hair was cut in page, a bit longer one. As from what they could tell she was normal lenght and size.
Again they said they thought she was adorable!
They really hope to be able to take a picture and if it's possible they will try to record a video of her. I really cross my fingers now that they will be able to!

Hmmmm....she likes to eat cookies and carries a book around with her....Is there any doubt that she's my child?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Sara Sighting

Adoption has some really weird idiosyncrasies. You fall in love with a picture and a blurb. A lot of times, that's all you get. I have 2 pictures, taken on the same day and two-page packet of information--both of which are almost 2 years old. That's about all I know about this little girl that I love so much. You grasp onto any chance you have of finding out more.

I have spent more time than I care to admit googling the name of her orphanage and her birth name. I watched an on-line documentary about her orphanage knowing that it was made before she even lived there. Anything to find a new picture or piece of information. (I can't be alone in this!)

If you are really, really lucky, someone from your adoption group is traveling to your child's orphanage soon. They will bring back pictures and updates. Or, maybe someone was just there and has a picture of your child. You rejoice in any little glimpse you get into your child's life. After all, they have captured your heart and you spend tons of time wondering what they are doing and hoping they are being loved and cared for.

I haven't been so lucky. No one from my adoption group has adopted from Sara's country in years. There are 2 other families currently in the process but neither of them are traveling soon and their daughters are not with my daughter. So, I head back to google with the hopes that someone will have visited the orphanage and posted a picture of my little girl.

About 6 weeks ago, I found a blog of a family who is adopting from Sara's orphanage. (In her country, you apply to adopt from a specific orphanage, not from the country.) I didn't get a response from that family but I did get a message from another family that had seen my comment. They are from Sweden and are also adopting from the same orphanage. (I'm not sure why I thought international adoption was an American thing but I did. Apparently, it's not!) I've exchanged some facebook messages with the mom. She asked around in her adoption group if anyone had met Sara or had a picture of her. I got my hopes up but her inquires came back empty. No one had seen her or met her. She said that if she heard of someone traveling soon, she would have them be on the lookout for Sara.

I got this message from her this morning:


I got a mail from the family who are in **** at the moment. They were at **** yesterday for a quick interview. They did not bring a camera then because this was not the tour of the orphanage, that will be in a couple of weeks. But they DID see your girl! She was wearing a pink dress and they said she was soo pretty! She was also eating a cookie or some bread and looked very happy and satisfied.
They will try to take a picture of her next time if they see her.
It's not much, but at least it's something of what your girl looked like and did just yesterday!

Have a great day!

While this may not sound like much to you, it is HUGE to me! I know that my little girl is happy and fed. She is dressed well and cared for! She exists! (This may sound silly but I've heard some horror stories of international adoption scams.) I may have a new picture soon! I know a little bit of what her day looked like yesterday. Just the thought of a "friend" of a "friend" seeing my little girl yesterday brings tears to my eyes. That message gives me a boost to keep fighting. To keep filling out paper work. To keep raising money. To keep hoping and believing that my little girl will be home soon!

(I'm also relieved to know that she wears pink. You should see her closet!)