Saturday, October 6, 2018

Christmas Campaign for Jais

Reece's Rainbow's Christmas Campaign is back.  Andre is now home and AJ's family is waiting for approval from his country.  So, I'm back with another little boy for you all!

So, meet Jais.  There isn't very much information given about him.  He's 5 or 6 and in Latin America.  His listing says he has Down syndrome and is generally happy.  He's clearly adorable!

Check back often for fund raisers as we get into November and December.  The goal is $1,000 and I'll need lots of help and support to get there!

Just a note---I start fund raising in October but only donations made during November and December will count toward the $1,000 goal.  I'll start fund raising now and holding on to the money until November 1st.  If you would like to make a straight up donation, please wait until November 1st!

Current Fund Raisers:
*Map Ornaments.  Customizable.  $3 each plus shipping. 

*Scarves and Skirts for Sara.  Hand knit items.  50% of each purchase from now until January 1st will go to Jais' grant.

*Plexus.  All of my new commission earned from September through December will go to Jais' grant.  I love my Plexus products and the benefits I get from them.  Feel free to ask questions!

*Homemade Sugar Scrubs and Bath Salts.  50% of each purchase goes to Jais' grant.  Custom scents and flavors available.

*Ornament Sale.  Make a donation to Jais' account of $35 or more and Reece's Rainbow will send you a Christmas ornament with his picture on it.  November 1 - December 31.

*Color Street.  All commissions from this link will go to Jais during October, November, and December.  If you're new to Color Street, join my facebook group to learn more.

Upcoming Fund Raisers:
*Blissful Holiday Shopping Event with Color Street - Sunday, November 11th, 12-4PM, Bliss Recreational Hall, Bliss, NY

*Amherst MS/HS PTSA Fall Craft Fair with Color Street  - Saturday, November 17th, 10AM-3PM, Amherst High School 4301 Main St.  Amherst, NY

*Christmas Craft and Vendor Show with Color Street- Sunday, November 25th, 12:30-4:30, Ransomville United Methodist Church, Ransomville, NY

*I have some more ideas in the works but I'll always take any help anyone wants to offer!

Past Fund Raisers:
*Online Auction - October 26-November 2nd

If you are looking to purchase any gifts this Christmas season, I encourage you to join the Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign Virtual Vendor/Craft Fair.  You will find all of your usual sellers (Tupperware, Avon, LuLaRoe, etc) while also finding crafters with one of a kind gifts and many who will take special orders just for you!  Let's help more kids find families instead of supporting corporations and big box stores!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign is Coming!

For the last several years, I've participated in Reece's Rainbow's Christmas Campaign.  The goal of the campaign is to raise $1,000 for a chosen child's grant and to do everything you can to get their face out there and hopefully find them a family.

In 2013 and 2014, I advocated and fund raised for Kimberley.  Sadly, her country has closed to US adoptions.

In 2015, I decided not to participate because we had just moved and I was beyond stressed with my new job.  I was really missed it and wished I had made the effort.

In 2016, I picked Andre.  He was just a little chunk of a baby waiting for a family in Colombia.
Now he's home, thriving, going to school, getting the medical care he desperately needed and being loved every day.

In 2017, I picked Lianne but then found out she was being adopted to Italy so I changed to AJ.  He now has a family who loves him dearly and are working to bring him home as soon as possible.

So, now I'm gearing up for 2018.  I was informed today that any child 5 and under can be a part of the campaign.  So, I'm rethinking my choice and planning and plotting my fundraisers.  I'll let you know who I picked as soon as it's official.  (Although the choices for kids 5 and under in Latin America are pretty limited.)  

But, I also want you to consider participating.  I know $1,000 sounds like a lot but it's doable.  And, if you don't get there, that's ok too!!  The most important thing is getting kids faces out there!  You never know who might see them and decide they should be part of their family.  I certainly never thought my childhood friend would end up adopting Andre and that her teaching friend would adopt AJ.  You just never know!  

*If you think you might adopt someday, this is a great way to get your feet wet with fund raising and find out what works and doesn't.

*If you think it might be fun but aren't sure if you can do it, there is a facebook group that provides support for everyone participating.  There is also a group just to promote fund raisers.  And, I'll gladly help you with ideas and marketing.  You don't have to be super crafty or creative.  You just have to find a niche item that will sell.  Pinterest has a million ideas.

*You can always grab a friend or two or a group to help.  Last year, I did a dress down day at work with a raffle and made more than half of the goal that way.  People want to help kids.  People want to support you and your efforts.  You just have to ask!  

*If you don't want to choose your own child but you want to help me share fund raisers or host fund raisers (maybe you have a great idea or your own business), just let me know!!  I'll always take some extra help.

Check out all the kids on Reece's Rainbow that are five and under and see if one of them tugs at your heart strings.  Sign Ups will be at the end of the month.  

Boys 0-2 with Down Syndrome Here

Boys 3-5 with Down Syndrome Here

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My Why

If you've been around me on social media for any length of time, you know that I post.  A lot.  I know that.  I always have some new fund raising idea or side hustle.  Some of you may wonder why you still follow me at all. 

I post about Plexus.

Sometimes I even post about what other people are selling or doing.

Basically, it probably looks like I'm always trying to raise money one way or another.  

But hang with me! 

I also post teaching memes.  (Because I can't post actual stories about teaching.)

And about my annual trip to Mexico and our other travels.

A little bit about farm life.  

And I mix it all up with Sara stories and pictures and videos.

But I post everything I do for a reason.  And the reason all leads back to this girl.

This girl is my why.  

I post about Plexus because being healthy makes me a better mom to her.

And Color Street because I'm committed to raising money for adopting families and waiting children while getting our little family into a position where we can live debt free and I can plan for her financial future.

And my knitting business because I love knitting and helping others where I can with the money I make.

And waiting kids because every child deserves a family just as much as she does.

And adopting families because so many people helped me get this little girl home.  I will always be indebted to them for helping me create my little family.  I strive to provide that kind of encouragement to other families.  

Sometimes I even post about what other people are selling or doing because I want to encourage others who have a heart to help those less fortunate.

Basically, it probably looks like I'm always trying to raise money one way or another.  Because I am.  If I can find a product that you need/want/will buy anyway, why not let you know that you can your purchase can help others and not just a big company?

But hang with me! 

I also post teaching memes.  (Because I can't post actual stories about teaching.)  I wish I could share more of my actual teaching stories.  Teaching is such a big part of who I am and what I do.  My love for my students is what made me decide to adopt a child with Down syndrome.  

And about my annual trip to Mexico and our other travels because I firmly believe that live was not meant to be lived in one place.  There is so much out there to see and experience.

A little bit about farm life because who doesn't want to know about baby goats?

And I mix it all up with Sara stories and pictures and videos because she is my why.  I strive to keep it real.  Not every day is a picnic.  Some are just hard.  But in between those rough moments are the hilarious, sassy, funny moments with my girl that make this life all worth it.  

But I post everything I do for a reason.  And the reason all leads back to this girl.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


It seems like I always get files of kids right at the worst times.  Jenny was one of those kids.  I got her file last year just as I was preparing to job hunt (again) and change jobs.  I was also headed into my last year of grad school.  Not great timing to start an adoption.

But it IS TIME for someone to go get Jenny!  She's beautiful.  (I have a picture to the right and several more on my phone.)  She's doing so well.  She had her heart defect repaired and is in good health.  She's learning and growing.  Imagine how well she'd be doing with the love of a family!!

She's 7 now which means she's "old" by adoption standards but still young enough to thrive with a family and structure and therapies---all things she desperately needs!

I'm on a mission to raise her grant to $2,000 and get her seen!  I got a generous birthday gift so I'm starting the race to $2,000 now.  More importantly, I want to get her story out there and get her home!

Jenny is a sweet 6-years-old girl with Down syndrome living in a children’s home. Jenny has been described as an affectionate and calm young girl who enjoys playing games and loves animals and other young children. It has been said that nothing brings a bigger smile to Jenny’s face than being able to play with her musical instruments and having others play along with her!
It is reported that Jenny receives therapies to support her speech and development. As a young child, Jenny underwent corrective surgery for a congenital heart condition and currently takes medication for hyperthyroidism and hypertension.
Jenny is in need of a family that can provide consistency, support, and a lifetime of love.
The agency has photos of Jenny for inquiring families. She is darling!

Here is what Rainbow Kids has to say about her:
Jenny, born with Down syndrome, is affectionate and engaging with people she knows well!  She has benefitted tremendously from living in a loving foster family, and is close with her foster mother. Jenny is very happy when playing with other kids or toys and musical instruments, and can entertain herself for long periods. She enjoys going on outings, whether it’s to attend church, play at the park or stroll around the town fair. Jenny loves celebrating holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas!  While she’s limited in her mobility, expressive speech and cognitive development, her sweet, easy-going personality makes her a delight to have around. Jenny needs a family who understands her special needs—and is ready to love her for the charming little girl she is!

Here are the country requirements listed on Reece's Rainbow:
  • Colombia is now open to heterosexual and same-sex couples. Singles may still apply as well.
  • Multiple unrelated children may be adopted together
  • No family size restrictions
  • Both parents must travel to the country initially — but only one needs to stay for the duration of the trip which is approx 2-3 weeks
  • Estimated total cost $21,000-27,000 and this does not include 3rd party fees

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Keep On Keeping On

Well, Reece's Rainbow's Christmas Campaign has come and gone.  I was able to raise almost $1,700 for AJ with the help of some amazing friends and supporters.  I am so excited for this little boy's future.  I am choosing to believe that there is an amazing family out there for him and that he won't grow up in an orphanage.  He'll be home getting therapies and love and nutrition.  I have to believe that to keep on keeping on for these kids and families.

So, my next goal is to get AJ's grant to $2,500.  When he gets there, he will be put on a "sizable grant" list through Reece's Rainbow.  Hopefully that will mean more visibility for him and a family sooner, rather than later.  There is a thermometer on the right of the blog to keep you all updated on the progress to the goal.

To that end, the following fund raisers will be ongoing.

*Scarves and Skirts for Sara.  50% of each purchase from now until January 1st will go to AJ's grant.

*Plexus.  New Commissions earned each month will go to AJ's grant.  Feel free to ask questions!

*Homemade Lip Balm, Sugar Scrub, and Bath Salts.  50% of each purchase goes to AJ's grant.  Custom scents and flavors available.

*C&E Baby Blankets.  $10 of each blanket purchased will go to AJ's grant.  Just mention AJ when you place your order.

*Teacher Tired Shirts and Hoodies. Through February 16th.  

*World Down Syndrome Day Shirts.  Through March 7th.  Long sleeve tees, tshirts, ladies tees, hoodies, and mugs available.

Past Fund Raisers:
*LuLaRoe Pop-Up.  Online.  November 6-10.  Any sales made this week benefit AJ.  And LLR matches the donation of the consultants!  We raised $271!

*Ornament Sale.  Make a donation to AJ's account of $35 or more and get a Christmas ornament with his picture on it.  November 1 - December 31.

*Dress Down Day at Batavia High School - December 8th

If you are vendor of any kind and would like to host a fund raiser for AJ's grant, please let me know!  I'll always take and appreciate help.  

AJ is not even a year old!!  Imagine---he could celebrate his second birthday with is family.  He could have therapies and early intervention years before Sara did.  And LOVE!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Our Story

I've been asked to write a bit of our story for a Facebook page/blog.  So, here's the quick and dirty version of finding and adopting Sara.  And an update on how she's doing now since it's been way too long since I've done one of those.  

In 2008, I moved to Mexico to work with kids with special needs.  9 months later, I was suddenly back in Illinois with no idea where my life was headed.  I had a job I loved and some amazing friends.  My life was good but I was looking for more.  I wanted to be a mom.  I started looking into adoption.  Specifically, I was looking into local options for adopting a child with Down syndrome.  As a special education teacher, I always loved my students with Down syndrome and was just drawn to them.  I felt like I was chasing my own tail and quickly became discouraged.  I didn't think that a birth family would ever choose a single mom.  At some point during that time, a friend showed me the Reece's Rainbow website but I dismissed the idea of international adoption without looking into it at all.  

In December 2011, I was spending Christmas break in New York with my family.  My mom called me into the kitchen to watch a news story.  This news story changed my life.  

I returned to Illinois in January and started researching Reece's Rainbow.  I wrote a very vague blog post on January 1st hinting at the future.  I read about the process and the funding options.  I read about single adoption and Down syndrome.  I read profiles of kids and thought about the best options for me.  I sent a Facebook message to all of my favorite single and adoptive moms and closest friends asking them if I was completely crazy.  They told me that I wasn't so I started moving forward.  

I decided that the best fit for me would be a girl, at least 3, with Down syndrome but minimal medical problems in a Latin American country since I speak Spanish.  I thought I had found her but was told that the girl I was interested in had a family coming.  The contact at Reece's Rainbow sent me a picture and a short description of a little girl that hadn't even been posted yet.  

I saw that picture and jumped in with both feet and didn't look back.  My profile went live on Reece's Rainbow in February and I spent the next year working, fund raising, paper chasing, and preparing.  It was a whirlwind.  Half the time I thought this was the best thing I could be doing with my life.  The other half of the time I was in a complete panic.

I flew to Colombia on January 12, 2013 and met Sara on January 14th.  

She was tiny and timid and perfect.  (And she bit me.  A lot.)  She was almost 4 1/2 and in a size 2T.  She knew about 5 words in Spanish but was able to use a lot of gestures and noises to make her needs and wants understood.  She refused to repeat words and seemed to have no interest in speaking any more than she did.

She had a rash on her face and a perpetually green, snotty nose.  The bags under her eyes were huge.  Her hair was thin and wispy and an odd red color.  She was scared of everything.  The dog in the hotel and the fountain at the mall were especially disturbing.  She cowered easily and was scared of anyone who made sudden movements.  

She was goofy and stubborn and fun.  She learned sign language incredibly quickly and started growing immediately.  She grew out of her 2T clothes in the 7 1/2 weeks we were in Colombia.  She was independent, potty trained, and able to dress and feed herself.  She didn't need a mommy but she let me hang around anyway.  

We arrived in the United States on March 7, 2013.  She became America's newest citizen and we really started our lives together.  

In our five years together, she has gone from a tiny, timid toddler to a confident, spunky, hilarious big girl.  She has traveled to more than half of the states, Mexico, and Canada.  She loves to fly and is a great road tripper.  

She loves school and is getting Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech therapy and educational services.  She talks.  All the time.  Constantly.  She repeats everything.  She has a great sense of humor and she loves adventure and new experiences.  

She is adored by her grandparents and all of my friends.  We go to a church that loves and accepts her.  

She takes dance classes with other girls her age.  She plays all kinds of sports with other kids with special needs.  

She's been a flower girl three times. 

We've survived two cataract surgeries and a tonsil removal.  

 She loves her mommy more than anything and I cannot imagine life without her!  

I'd say, she's doing pretty well.