April 10, 2010


Now that we have officially committed to Darya, we have started a new blog called, "A Home for Darya". We hope that you will follow along with us on our adoption journey to bring this special girl home. So, please hop on over here:


April 8, 2010

Our Gift

Aw, the last post was too easy - you guys are good! ;-)

I was going to wait for our Family Sponsorship Profile to be up on Reece's Rainbow to announce it, but I can't wait any longer!

We will be adopting our baby girl! I am proud to introduce you to Darya. She will be 2 on June 9 and has the sweetest chocolate brown eyes. Darya is similar to the Greek word for "gift" - which she is! She is currently living in an orphanage in an Eastern European country where she likely sits in a swing, bouncy seat, or crib most of the day. We're going to work like mad to get her home as quickly as possible so she can be where she belongs - with her family!

I'll post more details later, but for now it is suffice to say that "excited" is an understatement of how we feel. We are humbled and so thankful by how this came about, and the Lord's hand is so apparent. Okay, enough talk, I'll share more later, here she is!:

April 7, 2010

What's missing from this picture?

There is lots of blue in this photo, but I think a certain color is missing. Can you guess?

March 15, 2010

Ways to save

Someone else in the adoption blog world had the idea to post about ways people are cutting corners to save toward adoption.  So I thought I'd steal that idea and share some of my frugal tactics, and hope that some of you will share your ideas, too.

Thanks to my good friend, Jamy, I can now join the ranks of other coupon queens (I haven't reached the pro leagues, though, but with homeschooling three boys and going back to school, I am happy with my average savings).  On average I save at least 50% off my grocery bill by combining sales with coupons, and stockpile when the price is right. I have enough Shout, Downy, and All to last me through a couple of baseball seasons!  And Joel has enough free Mach something razors to last a couple of years.

Joel cuts the boys' hair.  I stretch my hair appointments to ever 5 or 6 months (thankfully my hair grows slowly).

I shop thrift stores.  I just bought a cashmere sweater for $4!  Sometimes I call it "thrift store therapy" and treat it like treasure hunting.  One time I bought two pair of designer jeans on there and made $100 selling them on eBay.  I donated it to a couple of cutie-pies on Reece's Rainbow.

I like to find bargains on Craigslist.  I've gotten some great deals on things for our house.

We don't have cable.  Our tv is limited to dvds and the occasional Gamecube play by the boys (and Dad).

My husband, a jack of all trades, has done the bulk of the updating of our 1970s home.  He is amazing!  The cost of labor for all the repairs and remodels would have been impossible for us if he wasn't willing/able to do it himself.

I'm sure there are other ways that I cut corners, but these are a few.  I'd love to hear other ideas!

March 2, 2010

Pauline's "March Mystery" fundraiser

In honor of World Down Syndrome Day (see post below), I will be fundraising for Pauline in Russia and ask if family and friends could generously donate $21 for her grant (tax deductible!).   Isn't she beautiful?  She is an orphan who lives in Russia.  She turns 4 this year, which means her clock is ticking quickly. She will be sent to a mental institution to live out the rest of her life if she doesn't find a family soon.

She currently has NOTHING in her adoption grant, and the cost to adopt from her region is approximately $25k when all is said and done. As you can see, the need is great so she can find her family before it's too late. Let's make her grant grow!!

I will make this a "March Mystery" fundraiser and draw a name from the donors and send a surprise present handpicked by me (aka: I don't know what yet, but hopefully it will be something you like!)  If you could generously donate $21 (in honor of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome) - or any amount, less or more, would be greatly appreciated and I will put your name in the drawing. Once again, your donations are tax-deductible. Please use the Chip-in below that links to Paypal.  Many thanks on behalf of Pauline!


Pauline W.
There are brothers or sisters
Date of Birth: September 2006
Gender: Female
Eyes: Black
Hair: Black
Character: "Uzbek" appearance. Beautiful, kind, affectionate.
Not certain this child has Down syndrome.

Contact  Andrea for more information

World Down Syndrome Day


World Down Syndrome Day

March 21, 2010
Every year, on March 21 (to honor the 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome presented in Down syndrome), the world comes together to raise awareness and advocate for people living with Down syndrome.  Because Reece's Rainbow has an international focus, we are doing our part to further the recognition of this very special day! 
The primary focus of our ministry is to promote the international adoption and rescue of children with Down syndrome (and other special needs).  But our ultimate goal is to be a catalyst for social change abroad.  With every successful adoption, and now through our "Connecting the Rainbow" program, we hope to bring education and advocacy to those countries where people with disabilities are still left in orphanages and mental institutions.  
With your help, one day there will no longer be a need for Reece's Rainbow!

March 1, 2010

A penny saved...

I probably should have posted this sooner, just to let you all know where we are in the adoption process for ourselves.

Last November is when we were fully committed to the idea of adopting a special needs child from abroad.  But there is a huge gap between the desire and reality - money.  Yes, that darned thing that causes so much trouble ;-)  But little by little the Lord has graciously been providing money and paving the way.

Between selling some things on Craigslist and doing a little bit of babysitting, I have been able to put aside about $700!  About $150 of that was used to order certified copies of Joel's birth certificates and his passport.  Then, we have received unexpected gifts from generous people ($450 total!!!) ...one of my best friends since middle school.....the aunt and family friends of my good friend and her mother (whom I've never even had the pleasure of meeting!)....the parents of a young family from church......  These are people we don't have a lot of interaction with in our daily lives or at all but have out of their generosity and soft hearts decided to help us, which is really helping to save the life of a child!  We are so thankful!

A couple of weeks ago the boys and I decided to count the money we have set aside so far.  After counting all the bills and change we were short of $1,000 by about 50 cents. The boys and I went on a "treasure hunt" through the house and found more than that!  So, as of now we have $1000 and some change.  That's a lot in about 3 month's time!  The boys out of their own generous hearts will sometimes donate coins they find.  They have such tender hearts for the orphans and pray for them daily.

My breakdown of the projected costs that I have on an Excel spreadsheet is this (assuming that there are no glitches, I think it could be closer to the $17k range rather than over $20k+, but we would still need to be prepared for the unexpected):

Promise Trust fee (or agency fee) ** $1,000.00
"Love offering" to Voice of Hope Fund* $250.00
Sign up for Family Sponsorship Program (so people can give tax-deductible donations) $25.00
Birth and Marriage certificates (3 each) $100.00
Apostille records (for dossier) (CA charges $20 per signature) $100.00
INS application & fingerprints $830.00
Home study $1,000.00
Physicals for Joel and Marianne $60.00
Shipping cost for dossier $30.00
Travel for 2 trips (rough estimate for tickets, hotel, food, transportation, etc) $6,000.00
Facilitator fees in Ukraine $8,500.00
Visa & medical fees for child  $550.00
Promise Trust fee reimbursed -$1,000.00

TOTAL $16,445.00

* Goes to help Reece's Rainbow remain operational
** Promise fee will be given back to parents once they receive a date for travel, if for some reason parents can't follow through with adoption, this would remain as a grant for that child.

So, that is where we stand.  I have no idea how soon we will be able to commit to a child, but we are continuing to trust the Lord to pave the way.  We feel we have other commitments to attend to in the meantime (aka debt and my going back to school) in addition to setting aside for adoption, but are making progress.  I think we would prefer a larger amount of money set aside before we commit to a child, because once you commit the process can be pretty fast moving (as fast as 4 months, but more like 6-10 months I think).  So in that short amount of time after committing to a child, we would have to fundraise like mad to get the rest.  And the fundraising is honestly what I'm afraid of.  I hate asking people for money, but I know that it is the Lord's hands.  It's not about my fundraising abilities (just see how much people have given us so far without fundraising!).  This whole thing is teaching me patience and trust in God.

Well, I think I've rambled on and on enough.  I'll end with this cute picture of Nate putting a penny in the jar which he found the other day (which prompted the title of this post).  A penny saved is a penny earned....

February 17, 2010

People Magazine

This week People magazine will have Andrea Roberts (founder of Reece's Rainbow) featured in the "Heroes Among Us" section. This is BIG news for Reece's Rainbow and will get the word out to a lot more people about these orphans desperately needing homes.  Hopefully it will bring more donations and ultimately homes for the children.  The issue should be available as early as Wednesday, but definitely by Friday.  Be sure to pick up a copy or two!

February 10, 2010

New picture of Mariya taken this month

Here is an updated picture of Mariya.  Oh my, look how she's grown!  What a cutie-pie!   In a week and a half she will be 2.  Please consider giving her a small contribution in her chip-in as a "birthday" gift to her!

February 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Mariya!

Mariya is a little girl who caught my eye on this RR page (scroll down to orphanage 9).  Her "Little Slugger" shirt stood out since we are a baseball family (the boys are chomping at the bit for this season to start!)

Mariya's 2nd birthday is on February 21.  It will come and go like any other day in the orphanage.  Her second birthday also signifies the halfway point of when she will be sent to a mental institution for life (when she's 4 she will be taken from the only "home" she has ever known to a horrible place).  So I figured that we can give her the best birthday gift - money in her grant so she can find a family sooner!  Maybe next year she can celebrate her 3rd birthday with cupcakes, balloons, and a family!  Please consider donating to Mariya's grant - no amount is too small and it is all greatly appreciated. (It is also a tax-deductible donation!).  She currently has $95 in her grant, so let's at the very least bring that into the triple digits! Thank you!!!

Mariya  (9)
Girl, Born February 21, 2008

From her medical records:  congenital cataract of left eye. Common AV canal.   Mariya is growing well!  She has blonde hair and blue eyes. 
Regrettably, this orphanage is one of the poorer ones, with very little outside aid and very little hope.    All of the children are tiny and undernourished.  These children are immediately transferred at 4, and have little chance of survival where they are sent.  All of our waiting children need families, but these have a critical need.  Please consider one of these children soon!! 

February 1, 2010

And the winner of the Snuggie is......

Jewelee Hotchkiss!!!  We put all the entries into a baseball cap and Sam drew Jewelee's name.  Jewelee and I have been friends since our awkward tween years twenty years ago.  She is still a dear friend in our awkward 30-something years ;-)   The Snuggie is ordered and on its way :-) 

THANK YOU EVERYONE for your prayers and support for Sofia!!  I know that her new family will be blessed and are very much appreciative of the kindness of people like you!!  I am so thankful and amazed that she was able to get a family commit to her so quickly.  They still have a lot of hurdles to overcome in getting her home, but your support helped them to overcome that crucial first one.

You can continue to follow Sofia's journey here: http://savingsofia.blogspot.com/

January 30, 2010

Orphanage 9

My heart has a special place for the precious children who await homes in Orphanage 9.  It just breaks my heart that it says this in the description for each child in that orphanage:

Regrettably, this orphanage is one of the poorer ones, with very little outside aid and very little hope.    All of the children are tiny and undernourished.  These children are immediately transferred at 4, and have little chance of survival where they are sent.  All of our waiting children need families, but these have a critical need.  Please consider one of these children soon!!

January 29, 2010


Earlier this week while looking on Reece's Rainbow, I noticed that Sofia's (Sophia) picture had been moved to the "My Family Found Me" page!  I am now proud to introduce you to her new family!  The Sanchez family lives in Sacramento with their three handsome boys.  (Californians with three boys, sound like someone you know?;-) )  Please continue to pray for them and support them as they take this giant leap of faith!  They need prayers, support - both encouragement and financial.  Check out their blog to read their story.


Thank you to all of you who helped make it possible for Sofia to find her family through your prayers and generous financial gifts!!  Every single dollar truly does make a difference!!

January 27, 2010

Check out this fundraiser!

Shortly after I found out about Reece's Rainbow, I signed up to pray for a specific orphan.  We received a photo of a baby girl named "Kyrah" and put her picture on the fridge.  We prayed for her for months almost every morning at breakfast.  Not too long ago, her family found her!  Not only are they bringing her home (soon to be named Jessa Rae), they are bringing a sister home for her, too! 

As you know, adoption is very expensive and most families work hard to fundraise.  The Whites are no exception.  Please take the time to check out their blog to read more about their family and their amazing love for these little girls who have no idea who they even are yet, and their determination to bring them home to a family and save them from life and death in a mental institution (phew! that's a long sentence).  Also, please check out the amazing fundraiser they are having.  For every $10 donation, you get a ticket for a chance to win:

First :New Stove-Fridge-Microwave set,
Second: John Deere Lawn Tractor
Third: Washer & Dryer
Fourth: $500 Fuel Oil Card
Fifth: Set of 4 New Tires
Sixth: Dishwasher
7th, 8th, 9th, 10th random $50 gift cards

January 21, 2010

Not yet...

As much as I want all of these children to find homes and hope to adopt one ourselves, it's just not our turn YET.   I just want to clarify that in case anyone thought we were in the process right now (first step is committing to a child then getting a homestudy done - we haven't done either yet).  We are still planning to and are committed to doing it.  We are setting aside some funds that will go exclusively to that end as the Lord graciously provides it.  I really WISH we could right now, but can't yet.  I don't know when, but hopefully sooner than later (however long that means I don't know).  We will definitely let everyone know as soon as we do! 

In the meantime I want to continue advocating by raising awareness and even some money for these children so they can find homes!  I will probably do some more cheesy fundraisers in the future for other children so watch out!  And for those of you who donated to the Snuggie raffle - I'll contact you by February 1st!  I'll literally write your names on paper and draw them out of a hat (likely an Anaheim Angels hat) :-)

January 16, 2010

Dennis is desperately seeking a home!

UPDATE: HE NOW HAS $7500 IN HIS GRANT!!  So if you or anyone you know is UCSIS approved please consider saving sweet little Dennis!!!  

Sweet little Dennis desperately needs a family ASAP!  His 4th birthday is weeks away when he will be immediately transferred to an institution where his chance for survival is slim to none.  He will die without a family!  I just look back at my boys' 4th birthdays when it was a time for celebration. Birthdays are supposed to be a happy day for little boys, care free and fun.  Filled with cake, balloons, and friends.  But not for Dennis.  This poor boy has no idea the horror that awaits him on his 4th birthday.  If for any reason you know of someone who may be able to save him, pass this on!

Here is Reece's Rainbow's plea for him:

BOY, Born March 18, 2006

Dennis has lost his family at the 11th hour, and is in crisis need of a paper-ready, USCIS approved family to save him from an institution he can't be adopted out of.   
Dennis is a darling little boy with blonde hair and big blue eyes.   He is not very active, and he struggles with pulmonary artery stenosis and rickets.    He needs to get HOME, so he can have adequate medical care, sunshine, nutrition....so he really has a chance to achieve his true potential.   He is an orphanage favorite, but he won't survive a transfer to the institution.    Please consider rescuing this munchkin!!
Regrettably, this orphanage is one of the poorer ones, with very little outside aid and very little hope.    All of the children are tiny and undernourished.  These children are immediately transferred at 4, and have little chance of survival where they are sent.  All of our waiting children need families, but these have a critical need.  Please consider one of these children soon!! 

HE HAS A $5000 GRANT!!!

January 9, 2010

A New Years Fundraiser for Sophia - win a Snuggie! :-)

Okay, so maybe this isn't the most brilliant of fundraiser ideas, as you all know my natural hair color (at least when I was a kid!), but I have an idea that if all of my Facebook friends (and anyone else who stumbles on this) donated just $12 to Sophia's adoption grant for her New Year fundraiser - that's only like donating $1 a month for 2010 - that she could get $3000 in her grant!  That is not even the cost of giving up one trip to Starbucks a month for 2010 - maybe one item at the Dollar Tree a month for you bargain enthusiasts.  But if everyone donated just $12 (which, by the way is a tax deductible donation) that could mean the difference between a loving forever family or life in an institution!  Please consider donating to her grant! 

Oh, and with this cold weather here in Florida (freezing temperatures, I might add) it got me thinking that someone out there just might enjoy a brand new SNUGGIE!  For all of you who didn't get one for Christmas - now is your chance!  Or if you did get one, doesn't everyone need a spare?  I will randomly draw a name (your name goes in once per $12 donation) and announce the winner at the end of the month.  Then you tell me your color choice and I'll track one down on ebay if I have to.  You want Zebra striped? You got it!  Hot pink?  No problem!

Oh, and when you click on the ChipIn link that takes you to Paypal (to the right or below), the payment goes directly to Reece's Rainbow (the 501c3 non-profit) and 100% of the donations get put in Sophia's grant.  I have no way of knowing who donates, so you will either have to leave me a message here or on FB or by whatever other means of communication suits you. 

So, even if you don't win the much coveted Snuggie, just be proud that you helped save a life and get to claim that $12 as a tax-deductible donation! It's a win-win situation!

Thanks everyone and Happy 2010!


January 6, 2010

Cruelty and neglect in Russian orphanages

This is an excerpt from an article entitled, "Abandoned to the state: cruelty and Neglect in Russian orphanages" by Kathleen Hunt, Human Rights Watch (Organization) published in 1998.  Although it's been over a decade, I don't think conditions have improved or changed much in the past decade:

Update:  In case you don't read the responses, an adoptive mom replied saying that things have improved since this post. That is great news! 

"Once officially labelled as retarded, Russian orphans face another grave and consequential violation of their rights around the age of four, when they are deemed "ineducable," and warehoused for life in psychoneurological internaty.  In addition to receiving little to no education in such internaty, these orphans may be restrained in cloth sacks, tethered by a limb to furniture, denied stimulation, and sometimes left to lie half-naked in their own filth. Bedridden children aged five to seventeen are confined to understaffed lying-down rooms as in the baby houses, and in some cases are neglected to the point of death. Those who grow to adulthood are then interned in another "total institution," where they are permanently denied opportunities to know and enjoy their civil and political rights."

Adoption is Redemption

Two days before Christmas, an amazing man died.  I didn't know Derek Loux, but he will be missed by many.  He was a strong advocate for adoption.  He and his wife also adopted THREE special needs boys at the same time (they were from Reece's Rainbow).  While they were in country working on the adoption, he posted a convicting and enlightening post about adoption and redemption.  Below is his post (if I am violating any copyright laws please let me know!):

Friday, December 12, 2008

Renee' and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd
Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting
three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have Down
Syndrome. Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy. Dimitri has serious
mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is
the size of a 1 year old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death
on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him.
Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less
attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited
resources. The harsh reality of the "survival of the fittest" principle is a
life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy
Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son
Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can't get enough!
He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of
our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri,
there's not much immediate gratification. In fact, it's unknown when and if
there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the
carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, "Why try? What's the point? What will
this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more
potential? This looks like a lost cause.

Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village
where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and
answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri's house. The day had been
long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my
six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts
entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark
on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to
whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.

I was thinking, "Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is
exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable … and it doesn't feel very rewarding right
now." What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of
rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What
if Dimitri doesn't improve at all? What if we get "nothing" out of this? … Ahhh,
there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the
tree of the knowledge of "good and evil". The love the Greeks called "erao"
love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can
get out of it. This is unlike "agapeo" love, the God kind of love that treats
someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It's when I
love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them
meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love
into my weak heart, and He's using little Dimitri to do it.

On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, "This is Redemption.
Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to
be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from
your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for
Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick,
damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it
all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself
and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and
outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it
killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can't even really appreciate or
comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what
is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy,
I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just
want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of
being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly "Papa" feels towards us.

Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy
the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to "pay Him back". You'll never get
close you goofy little kid."

My heart hurts

Not literally.  Well, sometimes if feels though it might burst at any moment.  Maybe I obsessively think about the children posted on Reece's Rainbow, but my heart aches thinking about those children.  I pray for them all the time.  Just because they were born with a disability that they could not help, they are treated as outcasts.  If one of my boys had been born with a disability I would love him unconditionally. They are still beautiful children.  Just children who just want to be loved as they are!  I know we can't save all of them, but there is a quote that goes around in the adoption world that goes something like this (I don't know the author):

“Adopting one child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change.”

January 3, 2010

Yay! Alyona has a home!

I just found out that Alyona (the cute little munchkin from a few posts ago) has a family committed to adopting her! I get so excited each time I find out that another child from Reece's Rainbow has a family committed to bringing them home.  In 2009 around 100 children found their forever families through RR.  Yay!

January 2, 2010

My sweet boys

This morning as I was busy putting the Christmas decorations away, my 3 boys were off in their bedroom playing. As I listened in, I overheard them playing "orphanage" with their stuffed animals. It was so sweet! They were each using play money to pay for the adoption fees. My 4 year old kept saying he was "buying" a baby, but his brothers promptly corrected him that they are "adopting" - no black market babies in this house! They then feed their babies some food because they were hungry :-) They have grown such genuine compassion in their little hearts for orphans! They are aware how blessed and loved they are and want to all kids to experience that.  I hope and pray they will continue to grow into loving and compassionate men.  Here's a picture I quickly captured on my phone: