Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do you tweet or twitter or chirp?

Or whatever it's called. Well, I don't.  Until today. But I joined Twitter today for a good reason!  Patricia Heaton, the actress from Everybody Loves Raymond, has said that she will donate $1 for every follower of Reece's Rainbow up to $10,000!!  So, if you're on Twitter, or even if you're not, will you please follow @reecesrainbow and help spread the word!  As of this writing, RR has over 1,200 followers. Let's get those numbers up!  Not only for the financial benefit, but to spread the word so these children can get maximum exposure and find families!

This is what Patricia has said about Reece's Rainbow:

"I know there can be big pitfalls to social media, but I will be forever grateful to the tweeter who alerted me to the work of Reece's Rainbow.  I clicked on a link to see the faces of those little neglected angels who have passed on, and immediately started weeping.  It was so heartbreaking.  Sometimes we feel helpless in the face of such horror, but because of the example of Andrea Roberts, we see that, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, there is something we can do.
Between work and family, I don't have a lot of time.  But I do have financial means and a public profile.  God charges us to use our circumstances, whatever they may be, to share His love with the world.  I had just hit the 10,000 mark for Twitter followers, and the idea hit me - give $10,000 dollars - one dollar for every "Tweaton" who follows Reece's Rainbow.  Accomplish supporting this great organization along with spreading awareness. So far, in a few hours, RR has about 500 new followers, and I hope many more to come.  
I am involved in supporting various charitable organizations, but I have recently been asking God to show me where he wants me to be.  I think Reece's Rainbow is an answer to that prayer.  These kids have had very few people to be their voice, but Andrea Roberts has changed all that. I am so grateful to be a part of her work."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy 8th birthday, Benny!

8 years ago today, our second son was born. Benjamin Daniel Fick, who was a wild kung-fu gymnast in-utero, was the calmest, sweetest bundle of joy after he was born!  Seriously, he was a super-easy baby (slept at least 12-14 hours a night by 4 months old, went days without crying, and was happiest sucking on is feet).  He has brought us so much joy!  He has a great sense of humor, loves all things nature and Lego, and is quite the little artist.  Enjoy this video of him with his birthday present (I snagged this from Joel's blog):

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One year later

It's been about year since we first committed to adopting Darya.  One year!  During the adoption process, it felt as if time was going so slowly and it would take forever to finally meet our sweet girl.  But here we are, home with her for almost 6 months!  I am keeping our adoption timeline in my sidebar of my blog so I won't ever forget.  All that paper chasing, making sure notary stamps were just so, waiting ever so impatiently for our completed home study report, waiting for our USCIS finger print appointments and that much desired "Golden Ticket"; it was worth every single ounce of stress and exhaustion. When I look into Darya's big brown eyes and she gives me one of her heart melting smiles, I cannot imagine life without her.  When she snuggles up to me for some lovin', puckers her lips for a smooch, or signs "more music" for me to sing yet another song, my heart just overflows!  

  • 6 months ago she gagged on baby fruit puffs and only ate baby food. Today she ate an apple and graham cracker.
  • 6 months ago she was crawling. Today she is walking everywhere, and is a great climber, too (stairs, chairs, and sofa)
  • 6 months ago she only understood Russian and babbled some sounds. Today she can sign over 20 words and can say a handful of words.  Her understanding of English is growing so fast!
  • 6 months ago she slept in a crib. Eerily she'd go to sleep without a fuss and wake up without a sound (I suppose if that's what you're used to).  Now she sleeps in a toddler bed and she's doing great!  When she wakes up, she just plays with her toys until one of her brothers gets her in the morning (they all love taking turns).
  • 6 months ago, she didn't know how to be held (it was awkward for her).  Now Mommy's hip is one of her favorite places.
  • 6 months ago, she didn't know how to play with toys.  Now she will play with toys for hours!

Well, you get the picture! She is just blossoming before our eyes and it is such a joy to watch and be a part of it.  We thank the Lord for bringing Darya into our lives. We love you, peanut butter pancake!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kirill's Rainbow

Recently, a little orphan boy with Down syndrome was denied a family. The Davis family is well qualified to provide him a loving home and meet all his needs.  They wanted Kirill and he wanted them. Easy enough, right? Not according to the judge.  She thought that he was better off in an institution.  Makes absolutely no sense!  I suppose she couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that this couple WANTED a son with Down syndrome. The Davis family is of course appealing this decision.  Please pray that they will be able to adopt Kirill and that it would open the door for many other special children to be adopted. Pray that it will open the officials' eyes and hearts to the blessing that many unwanted children can be.  You can read more about it here: 

Meet Josephine

Sweet Miss Josephine is a newly listed little girl on Reece's Rainbow. This little princess has stolen my heart!  Oh, good gravy, isn't she a doll?  She is already 5 years old and her life is going to be turned upside down very soon.  Breaks my heart!!  I hope and pray that either a family will be able to adopt her before she is transferred, or that the institution she will be sent to is a decent one (and then, of course, a family can still adopt her).  
I love her long blonde hair in those pigtails.  Here is her profile description: 
"Girl, Born December 2005
Josephine is a beautiful, high functioning, mobile, active, affectionate, intelligent little girl.  
From her caregivers:   talks a lot but not very understandable; understands direct speaking to her; has independent living skills, active, communicative, may retell a short story, knows names of animals.
More photos available, married couples only. "
Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to her adoption grant!!  I noticed today that her grant has $22.50 in it. That's a wonderful start, but her adoption will be one thousand times that.  Let's see if we can get it higher!  You can make a donation to her grant by clicking on this Chip-in below or on the side bar:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Under construction

As my husband informed me yesterday, my blog isn't very aesthetically pleasing :-)  One night I was playing around with the format and just never got back to it.  Plus I'm not that tech savvy.  I don't speak HTML ;-)  So, hopefully I'll get it decent looking soon!  Just thought I'd say that!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

Today is March 21.  3-21.  For those of you not familiar with Down syndrome, DS occurs when there is a 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome, instead of two.  Hence, that's why today is World Down Syndrome Day! Our special daughter has changed our lives and opened our eyes. We love Darya so much!  If only people could get past the preconceived ideas of having a child with Down syndrome and see the pure joy and love they bring, we would see more beautiful almond eyes in this world (did you know that over 90% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted?).

Here are some myths and facts about Down syndrome that I found online:

MYTH: Down Syndrome is a rare disorder.

FACT: Down syndrome is not rare. About 1 in every 700 babies is born with Down syndrome and over 6000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the US each year. Currently, it is estimated that there are over 350,000 individuals with Down syndrome in the United States.

MYTH: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.

FACT: Over 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35, and the average age of a mother of an infant with Down syndrome is 28 years.

MYTH: Down syndrome is not treatable.

FACT: While there is no cure for Down syndrome, there are many treatments available for the problems associated with Down syndrome.

MYTH: People with Down syndrome have severe mental retardation.

FACT: Most people with Down syndrome have only mild to moderate mental retardation. Individuals with Down syndrome have IQ scores of 30 to 60, but much variation exists. More important than IQ scores is the fact that all individuals with Down syndrome are capable of learning.

MYTH: Children with Down syndrome must be placed in separate special education programs.

FACT: Most children with Down syndrome in the United States are “mainstreamed” into regular schools. They attend regular classes for some subjects and attend special classes for other subjects. Each school system is required to provide the best learning environment possible for all special needs children.

MYTH: People with Down Syndrome will live at home forever.

FACT: A large percentage of adults with Down syndrome live semi-independently in assisted living facilities and group homes. Adults with Down syndrome often hold jobs and have romantic relationships.

MYTH: People with Down syndrome are always happy.

FACT: People with Down syndrome experience a full range of emotions such as sadness, anger and happiness, just like everyone else.

MYTH: Individuals with Down syndrome die young.

FACT: The average life expectancy of an individual with Down syndrome is now 50 years of age.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Please Help Dasha find her siblings!

An orphan ministry blog I read recently posted about a young woman who has lost contact with her siblings who were adopted by an American family a few years back. She so desperately wants to find them and reconnect!  Her parents are dead and her brothers and sisters are gone.  She is a young woman, aged out of the Ukrainian orphanage system, living on her own.  What joy it would bring her to hear of her siblings again!  I know it's a long shot, but if we can get this word spread maybe, just maybe, Dasha can reunite with them!  Wouldn't that be amazing?  You can read the blog post here: http://bibleorphanministry.blogspot.com/2011/03/please-help-to-find-family.html#comment-form

I am hoping to get a photo of Dasha, and will post it soon if I get it.  They were adopted from the Zhitomir region. 

Here is their plea for Dasha:

"To those who live in America.Please, can someone help Dasha to find her family?
She is weeping, it hurts her, she does not know where is her sisters and brothers."

"Their surname is Avvakumova Yana (about 22), Katya (about 11-12)and Sasha (about 22-23) (sisters), Avvakumov Vitaliy or Vitalick(brother) (about 16-17) .

Maybe it will help.Do not know. 

Mother was Avvakumova Galya(Galina) Viktorovna. She died.

Grandmother is Nikitina Yanina Pavlovna. She is 79 years old and lives in city Zhitomir."

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Family Liaison

I'm very excited to now be serving Reece's Rainbow as their "New Family Liaison".  Reece's Rainbow has grown exponentially in the past 5 years since it was founded by Andrea Roberts.  I wanted to give back a little to what RR has done for us (helping us bring our treasured daughter home), so I asked Andrea if I could volunteer my time in any way.  (She works 70+ hours a week, so if I could help just a little I'd be glad to.)  She came up with this idea, which I love!  I am very excited to be helping her with inquiries - sort of like a virtual receptionist :-)  So, should any of you readers inquire about a child please don't hesitate to email me at marianne@reecesrainbow.org!  (I am still in the learning process, so bear with me!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Families in Need

Reece's Rainbow works hard to raise funds for the adoption grants for special needs orphans. There are many wonderful families willing and hoping to adopt a child with Down syndrome (or other special needs), but the main obstacle between them and the orphans is that thing called money.  Many families are just good ole middle class folks without hefty bank accounts who have stepped out in faith to adopt a child (or two or three or four).  Sometimes these children have grant money from the generous giving of strangers, but it usually isn't enough to cover all the costs associated with adoption.  Along with all the hours of paper-chasing and stress of the entire adoption process (talk about an emotional roller coaster!), most families have to do an enormous amount of fundraising.  It is hard and very humbling asking for money. But without families willing to step out and humble themselves in asking for financial help, these children have very little hope.  Not everyone can adopt, but we can all help.  We can pray, give, and spread the word. Here are a few families who are so close yet still need to close that financial gap in order to be fully funded.  Can you help at all? A little does go a long way!  $1, $5, $50 or more all adds up and so encouraging to the families!

First let me introduce you to the Ray family.  Shelly and I went to high school together (Turlock High class of '95!) and she is so sweet!  Within a few weeks they will be sending their dossier to Micah's country, and should be traveling shortly after that.  They still need to raise funds for the travel expenses.  Would you please consider helping them?  Just look at Micah's face! Little does he know that he has a wonderful family coming for him!  You can make tax deductible donations to their family sponsorship page by clicking on this button:

Grab This!

The Golden family has committed to bringing two very special little boys home (one in Micah's orphanage). But because they are in different orphanages, their adoption expenses are going to be unusually high. They can use all the help they can get at this point and are having a $5 challenge.  Can you donate just $5 to them?

Grab This!

Last, but not least, is the Higbie family adopting Lera.  Poor sweet Lera has lost adoptive families before so it is critical that she not wait any longer. Here is their family blog: http://www.savinglera.blogspot.com/

Thank you for taking your time to read this!  Please pray for these families and all the other ones who still need financial help.  Please spread the word!   Thanks!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Video of Joel and Darya

This is a cute video of Joel tossing Darya up in the air.  I love her contagious laugh!