Tuesday, April 12, 2011

$19,809.01 raised.

1960 raffle tickets.
$19,809.01 raised.

thank you.
thank you.
thank you.

and now.
for our prize winners.


Canon EOS Rebel XS Digital SLR camera
$500 gift certificate to B&H Photo
a lifetime membership to ClickinMoms.
Sheri Holthe


Nancy Stinnett


Custom blog makeover (by yours truly)

Rebekah Pett
UltraHD Flip video camera

Amy Conner


Organic Bloom Frame
Maria Yakkey
autographed by Conny Wenk

Leslie Echols
(3) handmade hats

#1 Carla Skelton
#2 Glenda Howze
#3 Marlene Prange


$50 gift certificate to Uppercase Living 

Jason Sheehy

Hand crafted jewelry (various)
Anna Albano
Shylo Ulcak
Robert Micek
Rachel Thornberry
Carla Skelton
Kara Dickman
David Graves
Kimberly Giesting
Allen Parrish
Leah Neff
Shane Culver
Holly Caufield
Stephanie Dalby
Robert McPherson


Signing Time full collection
autographed and donated by Rachel Coleman

Jocelyn Gilbert


winners... congratulations!

and once again.

thank you!

thank you!

thank you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

moments from this week to cherish.

Watching this community of giving, good hearted people come together and rise the Davis family above $16,000 for their appeal of Kirill's adoption. This has seriously been nothing short of amazing.

And I have to say, this comment took the cake...

That penny is from my 5 year old daughter. After seeing the video and hearing that I was going to make a donation, she ran to get her piggy bank and said, "I want to give too, Mama. I only have a penny, but he can have it." So we added a penny to our donation. :) Oh the simple faith of children!

Um... what a great lesson for all of us! *sniff*

There is less than 48 hours left for us to rise the Eicher family above $6,000... we can do this, you guys! Every $10 donation gets you the chance to win one of these awesome prizes... nice! Please take a moment to blog, facebook, tweet... be part of something huge!

Spending the day with my kids and grandmother, enjoying life in the slow lane. The weather was beautiful... quite possibly the nicest day yet this spring. Having the best lunch ever... those were Gram's words. 


Sitting in DC traffic along the cherry blossom route... looking for the rare parking spot to open. Grabbing the one spot we found... and taking a few snaps.



Gigi... love her. We spend a lot of time together and have so much fun. She and I... we are one in the same. She.cracks.me.up.




Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. ~Stephen Covey

Payton adores her big brother... as in, she is pretty much obsessed with him. She wants to do what he does, wear what he wears, eat what he eats, play what he plays. And bless his heart, he more than embraces her and her obsession.


Oh... forgot one... she wants to sleep where he sleeps. The other night, I went in to check on them after bedtime. I was helping Payton adjust her bipap mask and once I got her settled, she goes, "Maymay. iPah." Haha... yeah, she totally ratted him out. He had the iPad under the covers hiding from me... he was so mad at her! Love it.

The two of them have since been separated... Mason on his top bunk and Payton on the bottom. They both are such restless sleepers, that neither of them were getting a good night sleep. Seems to be going well so far...

And speaking of Mason and his sisters... I tweeted this earlier this week...  

Fave part of day so far: Mason taking the time to say goodbye and kiss each of his sisters before running off to school. #itsthelittlethings

I just loved that moment... as insignificant as it may seem. I think because rather than a "Bye!" and a quick kiss for me, he also gave each of his sisters his undivided attention in saying goodbye to them, waiting for their response and them giving each of them a kiss. All while the car pool lane waited.

I dunno... it just really hit me. How did I get so lucky?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coming full circle.

I'm just calling it Kirill's Army... you guys have raised over $15,000 in four days! Seriously amazing. Seriously a God thing. 

An update of sorts: the Davis family appeal has been filed with the Supreme Court and they expect to have a court date soon. Please check their blog for updates.

And seriously praying that Kirill finds himself in these arms again soon.

Earlier today I was contacted by Rachel Coleman from Signing Time... most anyone that has a child with Down syndrome knows her. We lurve us some Signing Time. Rachel caught wind of Kirill's story and immediately asked how she could help... and if donating an autographed Signing Time full collection would be helpful. Um, yes please!

You guys, this collection is valued at over $1,000... check out the 7 day blitz to see it added to our awesome prizes. And thank you to Rachel... your heart is gold and we thank you for what you do for our kids, each and every day.


A note from Tesney, Kirill's momma...

Almost two years ago, at the beginning of our adoption journey, I received an email from a stranger named Lisa. She had learned of our adoption plans and was hopeful that she and her husband would adopt a child with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe as well. As we emailed back and forth, she told me that they had been considering a little boy named Kirill from Russia. I was THRILLED for them. Kirill caught my eye back when we were pouring over pictures and trying to decide on what child we would adopt. We did not consider him seriously because he was a little older than what we thought we wanted at the time, since he was older than our biological son, Clayton. Lisa and I emailed and we even talked about the birth order thing because if they adopted Kirill, he would be older than their daughter. We chose Sarge and we were so excited to bring him home.

When Lisa told me they had officially committed to Kirill, I was so happy for them (and even a little jealous). ;) Kirill was just so cute! We continued to email and make our plans to travel to meet the child to whom we had committed, bouncing questions about travel off of each other. Lisa truly seemed like a kindred spirit to me and it felt like we had known each other for our whole lives. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I got a really sad email from Lisa. She told me that they were not going to be able to adopt Kirill because her husband had lost his job. Her pain was palpable. I knew from her words that the decision was a heartbreaking one for her family. I knew that she was so disappointed and I just hurt so much for her.

As Christmas approached, our family decided to forego the typical gift-giving fiasco and donate our Christmas gift money to a child or maybe two children from Reece's Rainbow. Kirill was one of the children we picked, along with another one of our favorites, Victoria. We got two Christmas ornaments from Reece's Rainbow, one with each of their names on them. Kirill just kept tugging at my heart and I even told Greg that if he was still available after we got Sarge home, I wanted us to seriously pray about adopting Kirill too. Since I look at the children on Reece's Rainbow often, Greg just kind of laughed and told me that we should probably worry about getting Sarge home before we started committing to other kids. But for some reason, a reason that we now understand, Kirill was always in the back of my mind.

On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, we got a call that would change our adoption path. We lost our referral for Sarge due to one of his biological family members objecting to the adoption. After a lot of tears and a lot of prayers, we felt so much peace. It was definitely the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Greg and I decided that regardless of what had taken place with Sarge, we would press on with our plans to adopt. It never really was a question with either of us, but we just needed to reassure each other that we were o.k. to regroup and move forward with considering other children. Kirill was already in the back of my mind, so we decided to just go ahead and inquire about him.

Our adoption agency was so positive about us moving forward with Kirill. Several factors seemed to be confirming that he was the direction in which God was leading our family. He will turn four years old in May. In most Eastern European orphanages, once a child with special needs turns four, they are put into an adult mental institution. Often, they cannot be adopted once they are transferred. Kirill is only about six weeks from his 4th birthday, so time was running out for him. He also is in a region that doesn't allow families with more than four children in the home to adopt, so that knocks a lot of families out of adopting from this particular region. We definitely met that requirement. We also loved the idea of him and Clayton being so close in age; we felt like it would be positive for both of them. Plus, let's just face it...Kirill is FLIPPIN' ADORABLE!

Greg and I spent some time talking and praying about Kirill. When we finished, we both felt that we just couldn't say no to him. Our paperwork was relatively done and we met all of his region's requirements. So, we called our adoption agency and committed to adopt Kirill!

I emailed Lisa and told her the news. She was so happy and we were so happy that she would always be able to keep in touch with Kirill! It's just amazing the way that God has woven our stories together. Not only does she share our love for Kirill, but she can also relate to the loss that we feel for Sarge because she felt that loss with Kirill. We have kept in close contact over all these months and she’s been one of Kirill’s biggest supporters! I knew the Eichers would adopt as soon as they could. Little did I know I would get to be a part of their adoption story just like they are a part of Kirill’s story.

The Eichers have committed to another child; a little boy they call Archie from Bulgaria. They are $6,000 short of their total adoption costs. They are in country right now meeting Archie. I would LOVE to surprise them with the money they need to complete the adoption. When I realized that we were going to reach the $15,000 we needed before this fundraiser was even halfway finished, I immediately thought of the Eicher family. They are so woven into our lives and we consider them to be Kirill’s family as well. We feel like using excess funds from Kirill’s fundraiser to help fund Archie’s adoption would just bring Kirill’s story full circle. It’s beautiful the way that God does these things. 

So THANK YOU for helping us reach our $15,000 goal to continue our appeal and Kirill’s adoption. Now let’s continue Kirill’s legacy and help another child with Down syndrome become an orphan no more. 


That said... we are moving into the 4 day blitz for Archie. And when we see 100% on that widget, we will keep going. Because it isn't a question of if we will get there... it is how fast can you do it?!

Prizes are the same, rules are the same. This is one continuous fundraiser.

And for those of you who really, really wanted to help Kirill and the Davis family, but haven't had a chance to do so... I will leave their chipin up. Even though it is past 100%... it still will accept donations. I could change the goal, but how cool is it to see that our goal was met?! Also, all donations made will continue to count for the drawing.

Please share.

*Housekeeping: Some people have said they cannot see the chipin widget. Please clear your browser's cache and you should have no problems. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I have to get something off my chest...

You guys seriously rock. I am blown away. I am humbled at the generosity that you have for Kirill. You guys... we have raised over $8,000 in 48 hours!

*jumps up and down, screaming and hollering, with tears welling up in eyes*

If you need any reminder of what you are doing... take a second to watch this video of the first moment Tesney, Greg and Kirill met. This is not a child that deserves to be left without a family. Look at him. He is Payton. He is Nika. He deserves to be tucked in each night by his momma, poppa and big brother, Clayton. He deserves that, and so much more, just like every other person walking this earth.


And if you haven't already... take a moment to watch Darius Rucker on stage singing with a group of young adults that have disabilities. They are Payton. They are Nika. They are Kirill.

Please share.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

a 7 day blitz for kirill. and now the 4 day blitz for archie.

Update 4/8/11: You guys have met our goal for Kirill in just four days ... eek! The 7 day blitz for Kirill is transitioning into the 4 day blitz for Archie ... click here to read more on the who/why/when/where. Rock it, you guys!

On March 17, 2011, the Davis family sat in a Russian courtroom and listened as the judge rejected their plea to adopt Kirill, an orphan with Down syndrome. "The judge said, “Your application to adopt is rejected.” The basis given was that Kirill was “not socially adaptable” due to his “medical condition” and he was better off in an institution than in a home with a family. As the judge read her ruling, she stated several times that we were a good family, that we met all the criteria to adopt a child, but that she would not approve our adoption because Kirill has Down syndrome. She told us that we could adopt another child, because legally our application had no problems according to Russian adoption law. She said she would approve our adoption for a “typical” child, but not this child. Why? The only reason? Because he has Down syndrome."

Being an adoptive mother to a Russian orphan with Down syndrome, I could expand on the million-and-one reasons Tesney and Greg's rejected application to adopt has deeply affected me. But that is not what is important.  

What is important is that they are appealing the judge's ruling to the Supreme Court of Moscow and they need our help.

The Davis family has been through so much already... and now they have been slammed with astronomical unforeseen financial hurdles in bringing Kirill home. In order to just begin the process of filing their appeal, they had to pay $2,500. They have been told that they should plan to attend the Supreme Court hearing, which is a trip to Russia they never planned to have to make... add $3,000 - $4,000. If the Supreme Court overturns the ruling, they will have to return home and wait for a date to travel to Kirill's region to reappear before the original judge in their case... add $4,000 - $5,000. Assuming everything goes as planned, they will remain in country for the 10 day waiting period and finalization of their adoption... add $3,000 - $3,500.

So how can you help? A few of us adoptive mommy bloggers have put our heads together to create a 7 day blitz for Kirill.


Our first prize...

Canon EOS Rebel XS Digital SLR camera
donated by Lisa, Charissa, McKenna, Renee and yours truly


$500 gift certificate to B&H Photo



Read all about the camera here.

And... a lifetime membership to ClickinMoms. An online haven of all things photography... tips and tutorials on everything from how to use your camera to editing your images to starting a photography business.

clickin moms
clickin moms2


Our second prize...


approximate gallery value: $3,400+
  • recently juried into the FMH Crestwood Gallery for the Celebration exhibition
  • completed in 2010
  • oil on canvas
  • measures 3 feet by 4 feet
Oil paintings by regional artist, Lisa Tarkett Reed, celebrate and explore the relationships and patterns in nature. Reed’s paintings are inspired by her growing collection of natural objects. Flowers, crystals, rocks, leaves, shells and bones, collected by Reed over decades, provide points of departure in her work. As Reed layers line, shape and color, she discovers and plays with the geometry, relationships, and patterns inherent in organic forms.

In October 2011, Reed will have a solo exhibition at The Artists’ Gallery in Frederick, MD. Currently, Reed has a solo exhibition at Les Idees Gallery, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Reed has had solo exhibitions at the Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Gallery Lascaux, Gallery 937 and View from Zenith Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as at Shenandoah University, Leesburg, Virginia, Figure Five Gallery, San Francisco, California and the Walker Fine Arts Center Gallery at Patrick Henry Community College, Roanoke, Virginia. Reed has shown her work in group exhibitions at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mary Condon Hodgson Gallery at Frederick Community College, Frederick, Maryland, The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, Frederick, Maryland, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, New York, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, Pennsylvania.

Reed has taught drawing and painting for over fifteen years in regional art centers in Maryland, Pittsburgh and Virginia and at private schools in Brooklyn and Virginia.

Reed earned a BFA in painting from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and studied painting in Rome, Italy as part of the Temple University Abroad Program. Reed earned an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

In 2009, Reed founded Sister MamaCita, a Mothers’ Cooperative in the Arts and sister group to the Philadelphia based MamaCita, a Mothers’ Cooperative in the Arts founded by Melissa Tevere in 2005.


Our third prize...

Custom blog makeover (by yours truly).

You will get...
  • custom header
  • custom background
  • custom signature and sidebar headers
  • installation of pages
  • installation of facebook/twitter/rss feed widgets
  • and more!

Our fourth prize...

UltraHD Flip video camera.
donated by Joanne Charland, momma to Vinnie (a T21 friend)

Read all about the video camera here.


Our fifth prize...

Organic Bloom Frame

  • measures 16" x 20"
  • choose from a variety of styles and color combinations


Our sixth prize...
autographed by Conny Wenk

"Schmetterlingszauber is a book about the wonderful friendship of three beautiful little girls. Although they are colorful and unique like little butterflies, they have many more things in common that they don't.

They love spending lots of time together, whether they hang out at home or on the playground having fun galore. Sometimes they even have picnics on a beautiful meadow. They love dressing up like little princesses, polishing their nails, having little "imitation" tattoos, singing and dancing, telling bedtime stories to each other and of course, jumping on the bed.

They can be really wild ... but to me they are just three little butterflies."


Our seventh prize...

(3) handmade hats.
donated by Heather Randlett, momma to Bridget (a T21 friend)

1. Newborn/Baby Beanie-Style Hat... This crocheted baby beanie is crafted with a soft cotton/bamboo blend yarn, adorned with a shabby chic crocheted flower. Perfect for cute newborn baby pictures.

Women's Beanie-Style Hat... This crocheted beanie-style hat is crafted with a super soft alpaca/acrylic blend yarn, with 3 beautiful colors - celery green, mocha, and cream.

Women's Ski-Style Hat... This knitted snug-fitting ski-style hat is crafted with a soft acrylic/wool blend yarn in a rich cranberry color.

**All are hand wash only, lay flat to dry.


Our eighth prize...

$50 gift certificate to Uppercase Living
donated by Kristen, momma to Ethan (a T21 friend)


Our ninth prize...

Hand crafted jewelry.
  • Woman's 7 inch bracelet, crafted with sterling silver and Swarovski crystal beads. Adorned with a Baltimore Ravens head charm (may be removed for non-Ravens fans) and sterling silver toggle clasp. Donated by Melissa.

  • Down syndrome awareness and other hand crafted jewelry... (5) bracelets, (5) earrings, (3) necklaces. Donated by Lorie.
*All jewelry in this post will be split up among several winners.


Our tenth prize...

Signing Time full collection
autographed and donated by Rachel Coleman

valued over $1,000

Includes 34 DVDs, 6 Board Books, 8 Flash Card Sets, and 12 Music CDs!

The best-loved Signing Time products are now available in a big bundle of savings! Used by countless educators, pediatricians, home-schoolers, speech therapists, public schools, daycare centers, libraries and families across the globe, the Signing Time Full Collection gives you everything you need to bring the magic and fun of sign language to the children in your life.

This collection includes every Signing Time DVD, CD, Flash Card and Board Book currently available: 
* 4 Baby Signing Time DVDs created especially for infants and toddlers under 3 years old. Features delightful animation and songs that teach all the basic signs you need.
* 26 Signing Time DVDs with special features, music, and songs. 30 - 45 minutes each. Includes all 13 Series One and all 13 Series Two DVDs.
* 1 Story Time DVD. Listen, watch, read, and sign along with Rachel to six fun stories.
* Sing & Sign DVD: Rachel sings and teaches signs for favorite songs from Signing Time Volumes 1-6.
* 10 Signing Time Music CDs featuring all the original songs from the Signing Time and Baby Signing Time series.
* 6 Signing Time Board Books for reading time, quick reference, or additional practice.
* 4 sets of Signing Time Flash Cards for families on the go! Also includes an instruction card with flash card game ideas.
* 4 sets of Baby Signing Time Flash Cards that reinforce all the ASL signs taught in Baby Signing Time DVD Volumes 1-4.
* 2 Practice Time DVDs that teach and practice the alphabet and numbers 1-20 through randomized practice quizzes to test your skills.
* Good Night Baby Lullaby CD - beautiful lullabies sung by Rachel Coleman (co-creator and star of Signing Time) with gentle piano accompaniment by her father, Golden Globe Nominee and Composer Lex de Azevedo.
* Shine CD - A collection of favorites from the Signing Time Series - just for grown-ups.

Over 600 specific signs are taught in the full collection of Signing Time videos, books, and flash cards. With songs and other bonus features, you'll be introduced to over 1000 signs overall. This is the largest available library of entertaining sign language products of its kind. You and your child can start learning today!



1) Every $10 donation using the ChipIn below or in my sidebar will earn you an entry into the drawing for one of the prizes.
2) All prizes (except the painting) can be shipped overseas, thanks to Crystal who would like to cover the shipping fees if the need arises. Thanks, Crystal!
3) Donations will be accepted through Monday, April 11th.
4) Winners will be announced Tuesday, April 12th.

Please blog it. Please facebook it. Please tweet it. Please share.

We have a lot of love to give and $15,000 is nothing when compared to the army standing behind the Davis family. Update: let's take it $6,000 higher for Archie!

*If things do not go as planned for the Davis family, any leftover funds will be properly allocated in support of international adoption of children with Down syndrome.