I went to bed last night with these images in my mind....
If you're new here, and have no idea what those photos mean, go HERE.
I'll tell you what they mean to me.
I cried for an hour straight last night after seeing those photos for the first time. I've really been battling feeling inadequate lately. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a fog, and I really wonder if my little blog is making an impact, or if it really matters to anyone what we're trying to do.
But yesterday God pried me out of my spiritual curled-up-in-a-ball-fetal-position, and set me on my feet again and showed me....
...it matters to her.
I cannot imagine what Kris and Kecia are feeling right now, because my heart feels like it's about to burst and I'm just staring at her on my computer screen.
I've been waiting for this day for so long, it seems almost impossible that it's really happening.
Mia Kareen got a new name yesterday, and even better than that? She got a new life.
When Andrea asked me to advocate for another child back in December, I have to be honest- I wondered how much impact we really made. We had already raised almost $12,000 for Olga. So when we ran "part two" of our Home for Christmas giveaway and added Kareen in, and we only added $3,000 to Kareen's fund and another $500 for Olga...in comparison I didn't know if the investment we had made had done much.
And then two weeks later, Kecia emailed me and asked if I knew if anyone had claimed Kareen. And again - being honest here - I doubted a little bit if things would really "gel". There had already been several families who came forward for Olga, and each time I got my hopes up, and for personal reasons these families had to bow out. I was a little gun-shy of reading emails like Kecia's, because several other families had written to me expressing interest in Kareen. And really, I have absolutely nothing to do with the whole adoption process, I just blog my heart out and ask people to donate and to contact Reece's Rainbow if they are considering a child. So really the fact that Kecia emailed me was just a little God-nod, if you will...I am so grateful to Him for giving me a chance to be involved in these kids' lives, even though I can't personally rescue them.
So as if last night wasn't enough answer to my pity-party-prayer, I submit to you exhibit B....
(I woke up to this little letter from someone who is very dear to my heart;))
My name is Peter. You raised over $15,000 for me in 10 days. Because of your fundraiser I went from an almost 4 year old orphan that not ONE single family had inquired about, heading my way to an institution with a heart that needed to be fixed to having several Prayer Warriors. My Forever Family was found before those 10 days of your fundraiser was even finished. I have a family. I will be going home. I will have a new heart and a wonderful life...all because you cared.
So don't for a minute, EVER think you arent making a difference. When I get home to Texas and get all better, my mommy says I will meet you...I will hug you with my new heart, the one you made possible.
PS My mommy wrote this for me because I'm only 4 :)
Julie- I love you:)
And for the record, I don't think I'm personally responsible for these children's rescues:) I think God has used Lily's blog in a dynamic way to connect hundreds of like-minded people who have a heart for orphans.
And judging by all the beautiful and heartfelt comments on yesterday's post, I'm not the only one who struggles with feeling insignificant sometimes.
It's easy to look at the little picture, isn't it? It's easy for me to waste my time feeling sorry for myself, and getting caught up in what others aren't doing, or judging things by my feelings instead of the reality of what God really is doing.
And sometimes I think the assaults on my mind really are strategically timed (if you're a Christian, you know what I mean!) to come just before God really wants to do something big.
Because on Monday we're going to be doing another giveaway.
And I know in our little community of Down syndrome bloggers, these giveaways can seem endless. We're all advocating our hearts out, and many times one giveaway is overlapping another, and really everywhere you look there is an opportunity to help and to donate.
So yes, I feel a little crazy saying we're hosting yet another giveaway.
But I do think there is enough interest out there to help this little doll...
...because like Olga and Kareen and Peter and Artem, I just can't get her off my mind. And the family who is matching donations for her dollar for dollar can't either. Together with another anonymous donor (thank you, J!) they are donating this...
...and I can't wait to see what God will do.
Because one day, God willing, I wil be posting photos of Albina meeting her mommy and daddy for the first time.
And also for the record- I've contacted a number of other "non Ds bloggers" to help publicize this giveaway...because I really feel like we need to get more people on board with fundraising than just our circle of friends. So if you know any big bloggers- or even little bloggers!- who might be willing to post about this, please put them in touch with me via email.
And one more word about these giveaways....I really had to make some decisions about who to help, as far as which children to blog about, after I started hosting giveaways. There are SO many families adopting right now, and I would love to help them all.
I prayed hard about this, because I hate saying no to anyone who asks for help- I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that "no." I feel strongly that the children who have NO voice are the ones I need to raise awareness for and host giveaways for- the kids on Reece's Rainbow with no family committed to them.
So if you've contacted me, asking for help, it is never that I don't want to take the time to post about your need...I am just trusting God to help those families adopting to do their own fundraising, while I concentrate on the kids with no families.
If I were in the position to adopt internationally, I would be applying for every grant I could, rallying my community around my adoptive child through local fundraisers, contacting the media to generate interest in our adoption, asking schools to help, doing yard sales, bake sales, ebay sales, etc. I have seen so much success in those efforts for so many adoptive families, so please know that I do realize that giveaways aren't the only avenue for fundraising.
Here are two other great ideas, if you want to help the kids on Reece's Rainbow..
These mamas are doing everything they can to help, and I love that they put so much creativity and love into their efforts. Check them out!
Also, don't forget that you can shop here for your favorite Scentsy products to help RR...
Just shop "Albina's Party" and all commissions will go to her grant. I am personally addicted to Scentsy- 9 children at home and two dogs means I MUST have my Scentsy going at all times if you know what I mean:) My three favorite scents are Sweet Pea and Vanilla, Red Candy Apple, and the new Luna. TO.DIE.FOR.
It's a beautiful day out, and I am going outside to bask in the sun with my kiddos...so no letter to Lily today, just these adorable photos of her with her newest obsession: her baby doll. She hugs that thing around the neck so sweetly every day, I can't help but take 14 billion pictures of her doing it!
These photos were taken using the exact camera featured in our giveaway Monday...only brand new of course:) Although my daughter uses her camera professionally here, even an amateur like me can take photos like these ......
Isn't she ADORABLE?!?!?!?!?!! Aaagh. melts my heart.