Mia's Homecoming Video

At last I see the light

One Less Orphan: Mia's gotcha day

Monday, February 28, 2011

Kisses in the wind

KISSES IN THE WIND (The Waiting Child's Lullabye)


I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sweet children

Our cute friends, brought over this jar of money that their kids had been saving for Kareen. Each time we receive these heartfelt donations I am touched. Especially when it comes from kids and they are willing to literally give all they have to help another child have a home. Halle, Kyra's best friend, is the oldest daughter and she was even recruiting friends at school and they were bringing her money too. They collected over $40 in change! It just doesn't cease to amaze me the good that is coming through this journey. People are good and compassionate and it is so incredible to be witnessing so much of it around us! We have SO many people working hard to help bring this sweet girl home....

Some are donating money

Some are donating goods and services to auction

Some are spreading the word and advocating

Some have donated frequent flier miles and delta credit for our flights

Some are making blankets for the orphanage

Many are praying and cheering us on and we are OH SO GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF IT!!!


A VERY CUTE side story:

Julie, Halle's mom is expecting a baby girl in a few weeks and Julie told me that yesterday as she was doing Halle's hair, Halle said "mom I hope our baby is born with down syndrome" Julie proceeded to tell her that it would be fun but probably not likely and Halle said "but I just love Bree and think her and Kareen are so cute, I want a baby in our family with down syndrome." Her mom said "we will still love her even if she doesn't have down syndrome". I LOVED this because usually, it is the other way around "we will still love her if she DOES have down syndrome". I am grateful that people around us can see what a joy a child with down syndrome can be and that they are not scared of it. Bree adores Halle as if she were a sister so Halle, you can always claim Bree and Kareen as your sisters!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Introducing...


Anya Irene Fillmore......

My new friend Heather, witnessed miracles today as they were granted custody of this sweet little angel on the other side of the world!

My favorite line from her post about this experience was this:

"Anyone who says that miracles don't happen these days should try falling in love with an orphan. "

In the short amount of time we have been on this journey, we can testify of the same thing. Miracles are happening and continue to happen and I am thankful I am blessed to be a part of them! I am thankful that I have fallen in love with an orphan!

To see the full post from Heather go HERE. I cried the whole time I read it and everytime I think about it I cry because I am so happy for them, their family, and this sweet little girl. I also cry because I CAN NOT wait to here those words.....We hereby declare....that will make Kareen forever ours!!!


UPDATE on our progress:
We have all of our dossier paperwork complete and ready to apostille. We are now waiting on the USCIS approval, which is basically the U.S. approval to adopt internationally. We recieved our receipt form from USCIS in the mail today saying they are processing our request for adoption. The next step will be for them to send us a fingerprint appointment to have our FBI fingerprints taken. Then once that is done they will finalize the request and send us our approval form ....otherwise known as the "golden ticket" because it is the last piece of the dossier and when you receive that "golden ticket" you can finally submit the dossier to Kareen's country. Once the dossier is submitted it will be translated and then upon approval we will recieve an appointment/travel date. So right now we are just waiting and man is it hard to wait! But each little step is a step closer to our girl so it will all be worth it in the end!



Sunday, February 20, 2011

4 years ago....



4 years ago I never would have imagined I would have a child with down syndrome, and today we are choosing down syndrome as we choose to bring Kareen into our family.

4 years ago I would have prayed that Bree would not have down syndrome, today I pray for another little girl with down syndrome to be my own.

4 years ago I thought my "perfect" was gone when I was introduced into the down syndrome club, today we are looking forward to the opportunity to bring another angel into our family and show her what life can be like with someone to love you.


My friend Heather was given this poem, written for her, when her daughter was born with down syndrome and I love thinking about the day Bree was born as I read it and looking forward to having another piece of heaven on earth when Kareen joins our family.....


So small she lay there in your arms
With heaven still in her eyes.
You truly are the blessed ones
For she is a special prize.
Your Father took His extra care
and gave a piece of His heart.
In creating your little girl,
He created a work of art.
He sent this child to you,
not by luck or chance.
God knew you were the perfect ones
worthy to have her first glance.
You see your little girl,
brings with her a special light.
That will touch all those around her
And raise them to a new height.
She has something special
that she brought with her to earth.
For there were heavenly angels
that stayed with her through her birth.
She has been given a gift
that she will share with us all.
She carries with her the Savior
in her spirit strong and tall.
All those that are blessed to know her
will come away the better.
Feeling the Savior's spirit
Just because they met her.
An eternal gift to treasure
Her piece of priceless worth.
We truly are the blessed ones,
For she is heaven on earth.
(Written by Tiffany Wilko)



Bree came into our lives 4 years ago, and our eyes were opened to the joy and beauty of down syndrome
And these two incredible sisters have shown us that we CAN share this love with another angel who needs it.

(Bree, Kareen, and my niece Lyla)

4 years ago we hadn't had the blessing of someone with down syndrome in our lives, today we will soon have 3 of these blessings and we are oh so grateful!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Somewhere Out There

As a child I always loved this song, so much in fact, that my babysitter Bonnie, would make me sing it for all of her friends. She often likes to still ask me to sing it, although I don't give her the same enthusiastic response as I did when I was 5! Sorry Bonnie!

So when I found this little girl singing this song, I was overcome with emotion as I listened to these words, not to mention that she happens to be barely 4, just like Kareen!

Sweet little girl, we are out here and we are trying so hard to get to you! We are thinking of you, loving you, praying for you, and we know that "love will see us through"




Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me
And loving me tonight

Somewhere out there
Someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another
In that big somewhere out there

And even though I know
How very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing
On the same bright star

And when the night wind
Starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping
Underneath the same big sky
Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me
And loving me tonight

Somewhere out there
Someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another
In that big somewhere out there

And even though I know
How very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing
On the same bright star

And when the night wind
Starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping
Underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there
If love can see us through
Then we'll be together
Somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true


(if you want to skip the first of the clip, forward it to about the 1 min mark to see her start her song)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Child of Light

My new friend Heather is on a plane right now traveling around the world on her way to see her little Anya for the second time. This family is adopting a 5 year old little girl through Reece's Rainbow and the country she is in, requires you to make at least 2 trips, maybe 3 before they get to bring their little girl home. The first time they met Anya was over 3 months ago and now they are FINALLY getting to go back to squeeze her again. I found Heather's blog when Kris and I were weighing this decision of whether to pursue this adoption and when we saw this video of them meeting Anya, we were both sobbing. Heather's blog was such a help to us as we embarked on this journey and we can't wait for them to bring her home---lucky for us we will probably get to meet her in person one day since they live in our state!!!

You HAVE to go HERE and watch this precious video!!!! I know that it isn't always like this when you meet your child for the first time....this is like the perfect scenario!!! Not to mention that Anya is in a very good orphanage/preschool type place where she seems to have been well taken care of. I watch this video OFTEN, and usually cry as I picture the day when we will get to meet our sweet Kareen!

ENJOY this beautiful video!!!

Thanks Heather for letting me share this and good luck on your journey!!!!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Fundraisers going on from AMAZING people




I just can't get over all the generous people and the kind hearts that are around us right now. We have people donating items to auctions, we have people arranging auctions, we have people giving their full profits from Scentsy parties, we have people donating through these, we have people spreading the word about all of these.....all to save a worthy little angel! We could not be more grateful to be witnessing the love and generosity of so many! We are in awe daily over the many threads that are being weaved to bring our girl home. All these friends and family and new friends have put together these fundraisers without being asked and they have been a HUGE blessing to us in doing so! There are currently 2 GREAT fundraisers going on until the end of February.

The first is the "Scentsy teams up to Bring Kareen home." So if you need to order Scentsy, now is the perfect time, plus if you order today, Valentines Day, Meghann is sending you a bonus gift, because she is just that fabulous! So go check this fundraiser out HERE. (THANK YOU to Kathy, Meghann, and all those who have donated their party profits to Kareen....we are SO humbled by your kindness)

The other fundraiser that started today is a really fun blog auction that a couple of my FABULOUS cousins have put together! They have lots of fun things and the auction goes through February. Go HERE to check it out! (THANK YOU to all who have donated or helped with this auction!)


THE AMAZING NEWS IS THAT WE HAD AN ANONYMOUS DONOR COME FORWARD WILLING TO MATCH EVERY DOLLAR THAT IS RAISED THROUGH OUR FUNDRAISING, UP TO $5,000!!!!!!!!!

I KNOW........ WE CAN NOT BELIEVE IT!!! WE ARE SOO GRATEFUL!!!

ONCE AGAIN WE JUST KEEP SAYIN, "BABY GIRL, WE ARE COMING FOR YOU SOON BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE AMAZING!"


****Thanks to Christy for the darling buttons and blog banners...feel free to put them on your own blogs if you want. And thanks to Erika at Fairy Blogmothers for the cute blog design******

Friday, February 11, 2011

Are you my Mommy?

Are you the mother who will gasp in shock when she sees my picture for the first time? The one who will know that I am hers even though she has never held me or touched me?

Are you the one who will work around the clock to fill out endless piles of paper so you can adopt me?
The one who will plow through the house finding things to sell and who will sit up late into the night making crafts and baked goods so that I can come home?
The one who will beg for donations from every man, woman and child she meets so that she can raise the money to cover my adoption expenses?
Are you the one who will rush crazily around the house washing windows and vacuuming floors so that when the social worker arrives, the house will pass inspection?

The one who will cry and weep at night thinking about me over here?

The one who will mourn that I am not at her table and that I am not safe in bed at night in her house?

The one who won't be overwhelmed at my medical issues but will trust that God will help her care for me?

The one who can no longer look at other children without thinking about me and who is forever talking about me to everyone who will listen?

The one who wonders how big I am as she wanders through the stores, picking out outfits for my closet and imagining me inside those clothes?

The one who spends much of her time on her knees before the Lord praying over every single piece of paper that is needed for my adoption, that they will pass all the endless inspections required?



The one who is having her faith stretched beyond all human understanding that God will provide everything she needs to bring me home?

The one who carries my picture around in her wallet?

The one who loves me even when I am not at my best?

The one who counts down the months, weeks, days and minutes until she can come get me?

The one who yells like she has gone mad when she receives the Golden Ticket that means my paperwork gets to cross the ocean to my country?


The one who waits with no patience for the date when she can come get me?

The one who cries out for protection for the ones she is leaving behind as she boards a plane to my country?

Please?
Are you my mother?

Are you the Mommy who longs to walk into my world, my room, my life and hold me close to your heart?

Are you my mother? Are you the Mommy I long for every single day of my life?



I so very much want a mother.

I am lost without you.



Please are you my mother?




YES, Kareen I am

and I am coming to get you!

When I started this process, I never knew how hard it would be to wait for you to be mine. I never knew I could miss someone I had never met before, and yet I do. I never knew how much I would worry about you. I never knew how much your sisters would love you and pray for you to be safe.I never knew how many people would come together on your behalf.
I never knew how much we could already love you!



******prayers would be appreciated....we learned last night of a family in this same process as us, losing their child to another couple from another country. I have just been heartbroken for this family. Long story short, the rules have changed and the government in Kareen's country does not "hold" your child for you until your whole dossier is submitted. So we are PRAYING it will go fast now that it is in our governments hands, and then her governments hands. I keep trying to remind myself to have faith,instead of fear********

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Before and After

My cute friend Bethany put this post together with these AMAZING pictures of kids who have been rescued through adoption. Most, if not all, were through Reece's Rainbow. I have been lucky enough to be able to follow the top three and their families, and their experiences have helped me so much through this process! It really is incredible to see the difference before these children felt love, and after when they know they are loved!








I CAN NOT WAIT to see the before and afters of Kareen and these other cuties in the bottom collage, when they are all home with their families. All of these kids are in the process of coming home too!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ordinary Miracles

For the past couple weeks, Kris and I have been completely overwhelmed with emotion by the kindness and generosity of others. When we started out this journey, coming up with the money was one of our biggest concerns, especially because we hated the thought of having to turn to others for help. We were almost dreading it and now it has turned into something very special to us, and has forever changed us.

Our new found friend, Heather, who is also adopting a little girl through Reece's Rainbow, said EXACTLY what we have been feeling:
"Your dollars have become sacred to us. The first thing we feel when a donation comes in is a little guilt because we know it caused that family to have to give something up during tough times. We think of each person or family and know it wasn't easy to give what they did.
Then the Spirit reasurres and reminds us that this is much bigger than dollars and certainly much bigger than us. And the guilt is replaced with gratitude.
Gratitude for abundance. Gratitude for friends, family and even people we have never met, who are loving Kareen along with us.
As gratitude finishes settling in, joy comes along for the ride. We're that much closer! "

We are that much closer to being able to shower her with kisses, to read her bed time stories, to tickle her back and sing her a lullaby as she falls asleep, to take her to the park, to teach her about princesses, Minnie mouse, and Dora, to wrap our arms around her and tell her she IS Loved and she IS worthy of love!
The day I saw Kareen's picture on Patti's blog, was the day I knew she was meant to be ours. I sat there with tears rolling down my face as I sat looking into Kareen's big beautiful eyes, and the song playing on the playlist was "Ordinary Miracle"by Sarah McLachlan. This road to Kareen has already been filled with MANY Ordinary Miracles. The chorus says:

"It's just another ordinary miracle today".......

an ordinary miracle that through the internet, a story about a girl with down syndrome in an orphanage around the world, can bring friends, family and strangers together in an act of pure love

an ordinary miracle that a woman would advocate, pray, and raise funds for our girl, even before we knew she was ours.

an ordinary miracle that a 10 year old girl and a 13 year old boy would rally their family together and collect money for Kareen, and then hand deliver it to us, with sweet signatures from each child

an ordinary miracle that a family who has been without a job for 2 1/2 years would give what they had

an ordinary miracle that as one young man brought us his moms donation, he pulled out his wallet and added his own $20

an ordinary miracle that two dear friends would pray for inspiration on what amount to donate and they would both come up with the same VERY generous amount

an ordinary miracle that a woman would give the only $2 she had

an ordinary miracle that a high school wrestling team would give half of their profits from their concession stand

an ordinary miracle that dear friends and family and complete strangers would be willing to give; whether it was $10, $100, or $1,000 it is all sacred to us

an ordinary miracle that close friends and family, and strangers would so passionately share our story with their own friends and family, asking for help

an ordinary miracle that a sweet woman would share this story with her donation: "I'm jealous of your ambition. My husband and I always wanted a DS baby. I worked with them a lot in High School and have an aunt who has it. They are the sweetest angels, indeed. We always thought we would have one because of our desire to have one. But I guess it wasn't in our cards, bummer. So instead we'll help you help Kareen. "

These are just a small portion of the MANY ordinary miracles we have witnessed and EACH one has moved us and left us wanting to be better people as we have witnessed the goodness around us!

As we finished up the iPad giveaway, we were already so overwhelmed of this outpouring of love, and it just keeps coming. Last night another friend of mine, Kathy, emailed me. Kathy has so generously put together a fundraiser called "Scentsy is teaming up to bring Kareen home". Kathy's friend, is a consultant for Scentsy and has so graciously volunteered to donate 100% of her profit for the month of February to Kareen. Kathy's comment to me today through email, when she learned that some of the consultants under her friend also want to join in and donate their profits this month, was this "I wanna fly to Europe and tell Kareen, "baby girl we are bringin you home!!!""
Kathy, these were my thoughts exactly!!!! I pray every day that Kareen will hold on, and that she will feel of the love of all these people who are helping to give her a home, a family, and a life.

For more info about this fundraiser and to place an order, go HERE

Watching all this fundraising unfold, is another testament to us that Heavenly Father is guiding our path to Kareen. He has touched SO many peoples hearts to be a part of this miracle with us. We know he loves Kareen and we know he is mindful of her and what it will take to make this a reality. We took a giant leap of faith when we committed to bring Kareen home, and the Lord has blessed us every step of the way so far, reassuring us that this is what we are supposed to be doing.

"We are all a part of the ordinary miracle today!"

And the WINNER is........


LISA HULLINGER!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS
LISA!!!!!!!!






THANKS AGAIN TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED AND/OR SPREAD THE WORD!!!! If you haven't watched the Thank you video below, PLEASE do!!!!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

THANK YOU.....is an understatement for how we feel!!!!

THERE ARE NO WORDS!!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!

Watch the short video to see the total raised through this giveaway......

AMAZING!!!!!!



******Winner of the iPad will be announced Monday********

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's not too late.....

You have one more day to enter the giveaway for the NEW iPad! The giveaway will close TOMORROW night at midnight! So, please continue to pass along the info.....it is AMAZING to see where it is circulating!

This video was made back in December when a friend of Patti's was helping her advocate and raise money for Kareen. It was made before we committed to Kareen, and before we had even seen Kareen's picture. I never saw the video until now.....it breaks my heart to watch it because it could be my Bree, or my Kareen, simply because they were born with an extra chromosome! Thank you to Virginia and Patti (and all of their followers) for caring about our angel, even before we knew she was ours!



Thank you to all those who have helped so far, YOU are helping save Kareen from a life like this!


******SEE BELOW FOR GIVEAWAY DETAILS**********