My First 4th of July!

Ruthie will be celebrating her very first 4th of July this year! I am super excited to be a part of this “1st” for her as we have missed so many.

The boys had “My First” shirts and outfits for many holidays as baby’s. I love them! But here is the thing, “first’s” are supposed to be celebrated while a child is still a baby. Try finding a My First…shirt at any store. If you are lucky you might find one in a size 24 months, but nothing bigger than that. And I understand, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

But for the children who come into a family after their 1st birthday there is a chance they have missed some “First’s” and the new parents have definitely missed them. Those children who are adopted from foreign countries have not celebrated America’s Independence Day. AHA! A “First” to celebrate together!

Now, on to the problem of finding a shirt large enough for your toddler, child, tween, teen. I have the solution! With the help of Fund the Nations we have a “My First 4th of July” t-shirt. Bonus, the proceeds will help an adopting family who are waiting for travel dates to meet their son in Eastern Europe!

This shirt is available in youth sizes XS-XL or adult sizes S-XL. Each shirt is $25 which includes shipping! (adult XXL and XXXL are available for $27)

Please contact me to place your order and for payment. All proceeds will go to the Tomasik family.

Deadline to order is Tuesday, June 7.

Toddler sizes were not available. Since even an XS will be large on Ruthie I plan to make hers into a shirt dress. šŸ™‚

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DATES!!!!!

We have our dates! We have our airline tickets! We have our apartment! We have a paper chain countdown! We have a carseat! We have beds! We are not packed…

We leave January 6! I am over the moon excited to finally meet our sweet girl! I can not wait to hug her, touch her, look into her beautiful blue eyes, hear her sweet voice in person, snuggle her in my carrier, play with her, read to her, sing to her, show her HER Mommy’s love….so many things to look forward to!

Little Moose is SO excited, I think every person he has come in contact with has heard how many days until we leave to get his sister. I mean everyone! His Awana leaders, Sunday School teachers, random people at church, Walmart employees, the cashier who gave him ice cream at the mall, all the employees at Build A Bear when we made Ruthie’s Christmas gift, I think he’s even told our cat! This little boy can not contain his joy and everyone catches it!

This weekend we will buy the paint for Ruthie’s bedroom and get started with that project! It’s going to be SO cute and girly!

I get to celebrate this weekend with some friends! I love all things baby shower related, and am so blessed by dear friends who want to shower Ruthie with love too!

We are very close to being fully funded! Our FSP needs to be at about $16,000 to be FF. We have a few fundraisers still open, they are listedĀ here. We are hoping to finish this out before Christmas. And remember, all donations to ourĀ Reece’s Rainbow FSPĀ are tax deductible!

 

Been Awhile

I have not been good at keeping this updated lately! šŸ˜¦ So this post will be updates.

We received our “official” match with Ruthie last month!!! Our paperwork came October 8, we also signed our “consent to proceed” that morning and sent it back. On October 13 we had all the necessary paperwork together to file our I800 with USCIS. They have received our giant packet of papers/forms and are currently processes it. This should take 2-3 weeks, obviously we are praying and hoping we’re on the quick end of that timeline. This process is so detailed and confusing! I would be lost and probably in a puddle of tears if it weren’t for our awesome agency and Cathy!

So, we are in the “waiting” game again. The good news is that we will be filing paperwork soon to get Ruthie’s Visa started and have a judge assigned!! I love being in the home stretch!!

We have several fundraisers going.

We were chosen this month for a grants through Reece’s Rainbow called 5/5/5 for Families. I will do another posting on what exactly that is, but you can check it out hereĀ 5/5/5Ā and by giving $5 help raise this months grant total to help 5 families!

We are doing a “Can Drive” through November 7. We are asking everyone to save cans for us, we will then collect them all and turn them in on November 7. Cans can be dropped off at our house anytime, we have a bin labeled CANS outside. If you are not local you can still help. Just collect cans on your own, turn them in to your recycling center, and send us a check or deposit into our FSP, there is a link on the side column. You can also share our flyer.Ā CanDrive

I am making monogram ornaments! They are made of wood and are 3in tall. Each ornament can be personalized with your choice of paper overlay, name, and date. I have several paper options available. We can discuss if you want something different. They are $10 each shipped or $8 local. More info can be found hereĀ Monogram Ornaments

There are several hand painted eggs still available. Once all eggs are purchased or we receive travel dates we will draw for the winner of the carved egg from Ruthie’s country. Info about eggs can be found hereĀ Hand Painted Eggs

Pizza Ranch has us on the calendar for Monday, November 16 for a fundraiser. We are waiting for approval from the owner since we are not a business. Please pray with us that they do allow us to hold the fundraiser and that God would bless us through it.

Zack has a few things he is working on too. Keep an eye out for those and remember any donations made to our FSP through Reece’s Rainbow are tax deductable!

Pedal Ruthie Home SUCCESS!

Our Pedal Ruthie Home Trike/Bike-a-Thon was a HUGE success!!! I can not thank everyone who helped enough.

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So, to start, a few shout outs to our friends and family who helped with planning, donating, and the day of;

all our parents and my grandma,

our dear friends,

and the businesses who sponsored our fundraiser;

Caraotta Chiropractic Orthopedics

Midwest Mailworks, Inc

Jayz Electric

Randy Fleming Heating and Air Conditioning

Baskin Robbins of Rockford

If you are in the area PLEASE show these businesses some love!

Back to the fundraiser. The kids had a BLAST!! They looked adorable wearing their Pedal Ruthie Home shirts and riding their bikes. We had a tunnel made from pool noodles, “carwash” to go though, and bubble machines. I think some of the kids rode the whole two hours!

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Little Moose rode his bike (or any other tricycle that a child walked away from) the whole morning. We were surprised because he had been saying for weeks that he would only ride four laps and than would be too tired. We were so proud of him! After we cleaned up and were getting in the van his enthusiasm quickly turned to crushed. I asked him why he was so sad. His answer, because it was over and Ruthie never came. šŸ˜¦ poor guy misunderstood and thought that if he rode enough his sister would come. It is SO hard for a little one to understand time and waiting. We have been trying to be clear that she will not be ready to come home until after his birthday. But still, he wants her now just as much as Mommy and Daddy do.

The boys AWESOME babysitter and a friend of hers did face painting for the kiddo’s. They did a great job and the kids loved that the face painters would try anything they requested.

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We also had balloons for the kids. Each balloon had a picture attached of a child on Reece’s Rainbow that is still waiting for their forever family. It was a joy to be able to share these precious kids of all ages, from various countries, and with a variety of special needs. Our hope and prayer is that maybe one of these children will find a family through their balloon. And more awareness has been raised!

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Our Silent Auction went great! Several business including Lino’s Restaurant, Woodman’s, and Royal Hobby Shop donated some awesome items. There are a few things left that will be available soon in an online auction. Be watching for that. šŸ™‚

We have several T-shirts available in children’s size XS-L. Please let me know if you would like one (or two or three) They are $10 each locally or $15 to ship, if you want more than one the shipping will be combined.

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And finally, if you would like to raise money and do your own virtual Walk-a-Thon or Bike-a-Thon for Ruthie we would love to help you get started! I can send you a pledge sheet which you would use to ask for donations from friends, family, co-workers. Set a date, time, location of your choice and go for a walk or bike ride, collect your donor pledges, and send them to us or our Family Sponsorship Account with Reece’s Rainbow. Super simple and GREATLY appreciated!

Thank you again to everyone who was involved in any way to make this a great success!

Hurry Up…And Wait…

I have heard this saying from other parents in the adoption process. I even thought I would enjoy this phase. After all, it means a break from thinking about paperwork, tracking down documents, stressing out about getting something wrong on a form, just a nice calm break. Oh was I wrong!

Yesterday we finished out Hague required training. I must admit we learned A LOT! And our plans of how we envisioned doing things when Ruthie comes home have changed. For one, we had planned to put her into preschool shortly after coming home so she would not be missing out on the therapies that she needs. We have learned that is not in her best interest or ours as a family. We need to keep her close to Mommy and Daddy for awhile so she can form an attachment with us. Therapy can wait.

We also filled out a “rough draft” of the I800-A that we have to submit to USCIS in order to be approved as international adoptive parents. We can’t actually submit the form until our home study is complete and approved by a one women position in Springfield. (PLEASE pray that this happens quickly!) Illinois is one of only three states that requires this step and if you ask me, it seems pretty pointless.

So, here we are, at wait. Wait for our home study to be finished, wait for our WI, IL, and Fed clearances to come in, wait for the approval from Springfield, wait to be able to submit the I800-A. Wait.

I don’t like waiting. I tend to be impatient and I always want to know what is happening and what I can do. Ask Jason, I want every detail of everything. I drive him crazy when we watch a movie together. I want to know what is going to happen with each character and the outcome from the beginning.

But this, I have no control over this. A women posted Joshua 1:9 on Reece’s Rainbow’s facebook page last week. I wrote it on my kitchen marker board to give me a constant reminder. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

During this time of waiting we will keep trusting God has gone before us to make a way, we will continue to pray for our little girl (God has been doing amazing things with her development), we will push forward with fundraising so we have the finances when it comes time to send our Dossier ($14,000), we will be encouraged!

And we will wait.

Current Fundraisers

We have a few fundraisers going right now. I am so excited for each one.

Our little girl has a Prayer Warrior from Reece’s Rainbow who has now become our Family Warrior. Judy has designed a shirt that works for anyone. It says “Bent, but NOT broken!” on the back. This saying has personal meaning to Judy making it even more special to us. The shirt is available in a variety of sizes and styles including women’s, youth, long sleeve, and sweatshirt.

https://www.bonfirefunds.com/help-the-ballard-family

My cousin, Courtney, has also started a shirt fundraiser. This one has a country outline with their flag colors on the front. The back says “God has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and faith but it’s all worth the wait.” Oh so very true and a reminder we constantly need!

https://www.bonfirefunds.com/help-the-bellard-family

Little Moose and I still have eggs available too! This was super successful in the beginning, Thank you to everyone who jumped on board when it started! Here is the info on the eggs.

Over the years we have purchased decorated eggs from artisans in the markets while in Lith. Zack and I have painted our own version of their painted egg. During ā€œtrial and errorā€ I learned that using real eggs was going to be a bad idea, we broke several. So we have chosen wooden eggs with a flat bottom so they can sit up and be displayed.

Each hand painted egg has a number 1-50. To purchase an egg, let me know what number egg you would like, that is also the cost of the egg.

Example; egg #2 is a $2 donation, egg #42 is a $42 donation.

Zack is very excited for his sister and wants to help, eggs 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, and 50 were decorated by him.

For every egg purchased your name will go into a drawing for a carved egg from the capital of our daughters country.

The available eggs are 17, 19, 23, 26, 27, 28, 31, 33, 34, 36-44, 47-50

Original Women + Reece’s Rainbow = Changed Lives

Ok, I have been anxious to write this post since Friday!

Our church, Rockford First, just had it’s annual women’s conference last weekend. Side note, it was AMAZING! I think the last number I heard was over 2,600 women from around the country attended this year! The speakers were awesome. Have you ever heard of Bob Goff? I highly suggest looking him up.

To get to the point of my post today. Original Women started a thing called ‘In it for good’ last year. We were encouraged to take these cute little jars home and work on filling them with $200 before this years conference. The money would then go directly to the organizations Original partners with; Mercy Ministries, She Rescue Homes, and Zoe International. Over the years we have heard from speakers representing those organizations. The changed lives and hope restored to hurting and broken women and children is amazing. It is a privilege to be able to be a part of these organizations.

Friday during conference I was in the Family Room because Little Mouse was with me. There were a bunch of other women with little babies watching the live stream of the conference. Jen Deweerdt started talking about Down Syndrome and all the kids with special needs who were waiting for adoptive families and a new ministry that Original Women was partnering with. I knew she’s taking about Reece’s Rainbow, a friend had just mentioned it. And here I am in this little room with a bunch of moms I don’t know and tears pouring down my face. But I didn’t care, I was only thinking of my sweet baby girl.

So here’s the thing. Three months ago I had no idea Reece’s Rainbow even existed. Now, not only are we preparing to bring our daughter home, but over 2,600 other women are aware of these sweet children and that there IS something they can do.

Can you imagine! Over 2,600 women were introduced to RR in one day! How many lives can be changed if even a small percentage of those women do something?

Maybe some will be led to adopt…Less orphans, more children with loving parents and hope.

Maybe some will give…Financial help for families in process.

Maybe some will be Prayer or Family Warriors…Encouragement for families adopting.

Maybe some will be Guardian Angels…Awareness for children…leading to their family finding them!

Maybe some will tell a friend…Anything is possible!

I can not wait for next years conference! I can not wait to hear about the changed lives through Original and Reece’s Rainbow. I can not wait to be able to say, “this is my daughter, thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support”. I can not wait to share RR with other women.

We have an FSP (Family Sponsorship Program) set up on RR that people can contribute to our expenses to bring Ruthie home. I have added a link to my blog.

I am hoping that at next years conference there will be a booth set up for Reece’s Rainbow. And you can bet that I will be there sharing our story and encouraging other women toĀ Be Brave and step Past the WishingĀ like we did.