Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spread the Love: World Down Syndrome Day | Reece's Rainbow

Happy World Down Syndrome Day, my friends!

Down syndrome is what most people call Trisomy 21, which means that people with Down syndrome have an extra 21st chromosome.

Three of chromosome twenty one. 3-21.

So on March 21, we celebrate all people, young and old, rocking their something extra.

In the United States, we have many resources for kids and adults with Down syndrome. Early intervention programs, countless therapies, Special Olympics, job training programs, I could go on and on.

But in some parts of the world, children who are born with this special something extra don't have these same opportunities.

Most of the time in these countries, the mothers and families have so few options for their child that their best choice is to place them in an orphanage and pray they are adopted.

[I once thought of these parents rejecting their own children with anger, sadness. But now, I have come to realize it is the hardest decision they will ever make. Even if there is rejection and fear, there must be at least a bit of hope mixed in. Certainly some love.]

So because of this fear and the culture and the misunderstanding, thousands of children sit in orphanages around the world waiting for mama. All because they have a little something extra.

I want to introduce you to the sweetest little boy.

This is Joey*. Joey is six years old and lives in an orphanage in the same Wren and Dub's home country.

Joey has Down syndrome.

Joey is not less of a person.

Joey is not a statistic.

Joey is a precious little boy, a son waiting to be found.

Today, on World Down Syndrome Day, please see Joey. See him for the valuable, image-bearer that he is. He is capable of love, capable of great joy.

Could you be Joey's mama? Joey's papa? Joey's brother or sister or neighbor?

Joey is one of thousands of children who wait today.

What can you do for him?

If you have questions about Joey or other children waiting for their families, please let me know. I would love to chat with you.


*Joey's name has been changed for his protection.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Final Three Thousand | Reece's Rainbow

When I began this adoption journey a year ago, I was staring at a whopping $30,000 that I needed to come up with some how. I had faith that it would happen, but I had NO IDEA how.

Through the crazy path of changing countries, then losing Wren and finding Dub, the $30,000 total budget stayed fairly consistent.

But the amount I have needed to figure out has slowly, amazingly gone down.

The day I emailed my agency to ask about Wren, a generous donor gave $12,000 to help fund her adoption. When she died, I was given the option of putting that money toward the adoption of another child with Down syndrome - what a blessing.

When I saw the picture of my Dub for the first time, Reece's Rainbow was in the middle of their annual Angel Tree project - a wonderful fundraising drive for waiting children. My little guy's amazing warrior worked hard to raise $1,000 for his adoption - another huge blessing.

From surprise grad school refunds to an extra paycheck and salary increase, money has been provided in ways I never could have imagined a year ago - again, so many blessings.

I'm now down to about $3,000 to be fully funded.

This is so doable.

I am going to continue updating this post with every step towards that $3,000. I can't wait to see the blessings listed out here one by one. And if you look over to the right, there is a cute little thermometer that will go up, up, up as the money is raised!

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

Love, Elizabeth

P.S. Over the last few weeks, I have had several people ask me about fundraising. Why am I still fundraising? If I gave for Wren's adoption, what happened to that money? Is it all a big scam?

I get your questions. I promise. No hard feelings.

Here's what I want you to know.

If you donated money or bought something I was selling, the money was spent on adoption. Even though this process has been long, the paperwork from Uganda and Wren's adoption have carried over. I did not have to redo things. I (miraculously) did not lose money when Wren died.

It's just that adoption is expensive.

At no point in this process have I been fully funded.

That's where this last $3,000 comes into play. $3,000 to fully funded. (And no more fundraisers.)

And if you think this is a scam, I'm sorry. I wish I didn't have to ask for money. But the truth is, I do. As much as I dislike it, I will do it for my son.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

GOAL: $3,000

March Madness Bracket Fundraiser: $128
Donations: $525.22
5/5/5 for Families Grant: $847.73
3rd Place in Weight Loss Challenge: $47.06
Speaker Giveaway: $120 and counting...

Total: $1,670.01
(as of April 29)


Sunday, March 6, 2016

That Which We Call a Rose | Reece's Rainbow

I love names. I always have.

When I was a kid, I would play Oregon Trail (90s kids, you know!) dreaming of my future family and, most pressingly, what I would name my kids.

And I needed at least twelve kids for all the super names I had.

Once, I even got my hands on my mom's baby name book. Jackpot.

Now that I am awaiting travel to meet my son, I know that naming a my own, real human is imminent. It's a pretty daunting task, if you ask me. Choosing the one thing that a person will have forever.

Some people don't spend hours thinking of the perfect name for their child, and that's great; you do you.

But I do.

Thinking of names. Researching names. Writing them out to see what it looks like in my handwriting. Calling them out, so I can feel how they roll off my tongue.

Again, I'm not claiming this is normal behavior. Just doing me.

So, after much trial and error, he has a name. And it is perfect, if you ask me.

Once I meet him, I will tell you all his name. I want him to be the first to hear it. (Nothing like a good cliffhanger, right?)

I will tell you it starts with W, and I have taken a liking to calling him Dub. Is that not the cutest??

My Dub. This face is how I feel about his name.

Do you have a favorite name? How did you choose what to call your little ones? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Over the weekend, a student at my school was involved in an accident. Wonderful paramedics were able to restart his heart, but it was later discovered that his brain was no longer alive. Today, his brave parents made the decision to take him off of life support.

This afternoon, our principal and counselor gathered the school staff to share the news. Teachers cried together and mourned a precious life cut short.

As the reality of the news set in, I began to cry uncontrollably.

I grieve with the parents whose arms are empty and hearts are broken. I grieve with the brothers and sisters; they must feel like a part of them is missing. I grieve with the friends and teachers who look at an empty chair and remember the tiny boy who should be there.

As I sat there sniffling, holding my breath to avoid drawing attention, I thought, "this must be what a trigger is."

In thinking about this little boy, I could only see my little girl. I closed my eyes to hide tears, and Wren's sweet smile danced in my memory.

All my heartbreak and sadness and emptiness came flooding back.

No parent should lose their child. Hearts are not made to be broken like that.

Trying to find the words to explain is futile. Words don't exist for that pain.

Tonight my thoughts and prayers are with the family of a child who now dances with Jesus, with Wren.

Love deep and love hard. This world is full of broken hearts and broken people.