Thursday, April 10, 2014

April Matching Grant Challenge!

My dad and I have been to Eastern Europe to meet Levi. I have so much to say about that and no time at the moment to say it. He is precious and beautiful and sweet and eager to learn. He needs the love of our family for him to really blossom and flourish. He will need therapies and testing and lots and lots of love, and we just cannot wait to provide him with all of these things! I am in love! And missing him tremendously!
When we got home I got sick, pulled muscles in my neck and shoulders, had lots of second stage dossier paperwork to get done and notarized and apostilled and sent off, new forms for our government to approve, new fingerprints to be taken, new doctor appointments to be made.... Whew! During all of this a beautiful soul decided all on their own to provide us with a matching grant challenge for the first 12 days of April! On the first of April if $10 were donated, the donor would match it. On the second day, $20, on the 3rd day, $30 and so on! We have matched many of these days! But now we are getting down to the nitty gritty, we only have til the end of the 12th to meet the challenge and have all the grant matched! To make it easier here at the end, we've combined the finishing amount needed so we have a solid goal number to shoot for in our FSP (Family Support Page). So. Right now our grant is at $9312.10. In order to match the remaining full amount, we need our FSP to read $9674! That means we have $362 left to raise before we get the grant from our donor! Can we do it? Before the end of the 12th? Remember God multiplies your pennies! Every donation matters! Do you have $10 to spare? Or $1? We appreciate every penny! I'll leave you with a couple pictures of Levi from our first trip. Please consider sharing, donating and praying! Your prayers mean something! And we covet them. Especially pray for Levi as he waits for us. I hurt to think of him waiting for us to come play with him again, and yet we don't come... 

Donate here: http://reecesrainbow.org/57886/sponsorclaus 





 Matching Grant Met!!! You guys ROCK! THANK YOU! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Leaving on a jet plane...


It is so surreal. We have finally reached the point of travel! It has been a long time coming. In just 5 days, my dad and I will be jumping on a plane and flying to Eastern Europe to meet my boy! FIVE DAYS! What?! We've waited so long for this point that it almost felt like we were chasing the proverbial carrot, always just shy of getting a nibble. But alas, God was merciful and this first leg of the race is coming to a close. March 21st, we fly out, we spend nearly a full day in flight (or several flights, rather) and land in Levi's Eastern European countries capital on the 22nd. We stay the night in the capital and then the next morning we get a ride from our translator/guide to Levi's city. Our first visit with him is on the 24th. We spend 5 days in his city, visiting the orphanage twice a day. This has not been confirmed yet, but I think we may only get one visit on the 5th day, to allow enough time to travel back to the capital that night.
Just imagining that first visit and that last visit... sends me in a tail spin. I cannot wait to meet my son! So many questions and unknowns. So much joy and excitement! Love is practically bursting out of me! And then on the flip side, there will inevitably be a last visit. And my heart hurts just typing that out. It will be oh so hard to leave him. But, the phrase "last visit" also holds hope. Because the next time I see him, it will not be a visit. It will be forever. And forever suits my heart just fine.
So much has lead up to this point. And I have not done a good job of blogging along the way. I have used Facebook as a platform for sharing most often, but I'm trying to get better at tending to this little blog of mine. So bare with me. I've got 4 kids at home needing me all day long, and another child across the ocean who needs me just as much and I cannot be there for him yet, which is crazy making for a mama's heart.
We do a lot of praying for Levi throughout the day, because aside from adoption requirements and fundraising, prayer is the only thing we can offer Levi right now while he waits. I pray for him with Judah when I lay him down for nap. We pray for him at the dinner table each night. We pray for him with the kids before they go to bed. Cana especially likes praying for her brother. I pray for him before I fall asleep at night. And we pray for him at church or in our churches community group whenever we get a chance. Today I asked my 3 year old what we should tell Levi when I see him. In his sweet, impish way, he said, "tell him 'bout Nayna, Wowo, Judah, Yisha, mama, dada. Ok?" For those who don't speak Judah, he just listed his siblings and parents. :) I thought that was so sweet and simple and exactly the right answer.
5 days. There is a lot I need to accomplish in these last moments. It's a hectic time. My mind is constantly on overdrive, mentally going over to do lists for myself. Pray for me as I prepare to leave behind my family in search of another precious family member. Pray for my family as they live their day to day lives without me for a little over a week. Pray for safe travels for both my dad and I. Please pray for good visits with Levi.
I'm so thankful that my Dad is able to go with me on this trip. For a moment there I was afraid that I was going to have to travel alone. But Dad was able to make it work. He wants to meet his grandson after all! This will be an adventure of a lifetime for him and me. Some may wonder why my husband is not going with me, but for our family it just worked out better this way. My husband can only take off so much time from work, so he is saving his days so that we can go together on Gotcha trip. (Gotcha, or pick-up trip, is generally 4-6 months after first trip.) Josh will stay home and man the fort, with the help of his Mom and my Mom. And our church has been so wonderful in coming alongside us, and they will be bringing Josh and the kids a few meals while I'm away.
I leave the kids in good hands, but that doesn't make it easy. I know they will be fine though, and we have Skype to communicate with each other. It will be hardest for me to leave my baby, Kaisa. She is only 14 months old and has only recently stayed one night at a time away from me. We originally planned on taking her with us on the first trip, we got her a passport and everything, but then we found out that children are not allowed inside the orphanage. Which meant I was going to have to leave her behind and wean her earlier than planned. Which has been sad for me, and frustrating for her.
It's very late, and this blog is getting to be kind of jumbled. So I will leave you with a little fundraiser info. Currently we have a $500 matching grant from a beautiful group of people who are passionate about seeing orphans be placed in families. What a blessing! We are so close to matching it too. When our FSP reaches $8040, our match has been met and an additional $500 will be added!
Family Support Page

Also, a generous friend of mine has put together a HUGE scrap book fundraiser! There are dozens of scrap booking material lots (all new!) for a fair price, with FREE shipping, and all money spent on fabulous scrap treasures go toward our adoption, and another sweet families adoption. See more details here:
Scrap Book Treasures

PLEASE, please browse the scrap booking sale and share it with friends. My dear friend Rachel put an awful lot of work into getting everything organized, photographed and set up online for sale. Let's try to make all her hard work worth the effort!

Just a sample of the many items available! Please Shop!




Friday, November 29, 2013

Piece of the Puzzle-Kindle Fire giveaway {Ended!}

ALL referral photos of Levi have been unlocked! ALL puzzle pieces have been sponsored! We have winners! Scroll down to see who won! 
Thank you ALL!

It has been a long time since I have blogged. Life has been crazy, busy and blessed! A lot has happened in past months, but basically we are still plugging away with our adoption process, doing all we can to bring our boy home, and trusting in God's perfect timing and provision. He is SO good to us, and has proven time and time again, that we surely can trust Him, and that He does give good gifts to His children. And today, on this Thanksgiving morning (I began writing this on Thanksgiving, but my computer gave me lots of trouble with posting it until now), I am overjoyed and thankful to announce that we have a $1000 dollar matching grant! Happy Thanksgiving to us! :)


We are also doing a piece of the puzzle fundraiser. (And we are discontinuing our Guardian Angel Wall because it wasn't motivating donations anymore, it was discouraging to Cana when I didn't have more angels for her to color for the wall, and the angels keep falling down. lol) The puzzle is a beautiful "Events of the Bible" puzzle, and even though Levi's story isn't in the Bible, we believe his story is definitely a part of God's plan! He is not done redeeming His children!

How it works, is we have a 1000 piece puzzle, and each puzzle piece can be sponsored for $5. Your $5 donation gets you one piece of the puzzle with your name written on it. That piece will be put in a glass bowl, and when we have all 1000 pieces sponsored, I will draw several pieces from the bowl and those will be the winners of a few fun prizes. When the fundraiser is over we will have a huge beautiful puzzle with the names of many who care for Levi, and wanted to help get him home. We will frame it for him and show him all the people who loved him before he was even here!

You can see our Reece's Rainbow FSP (Family Support Page) here: Claus Family Support Page 
Donations to our FSP are tax deductible. You can donate online, or send in a check to Reece's Rainbow as long as you remember to specify that your donation goes to the Claus family.
Now, when people donate toward our FSP, we do not get notification of who the donation came from. So in order to fill our bowl with puzzle pieces I need everyone to email a copy of your donation receipt to joshandchelsea@gmail.com so I can write your name on the puzzle piece and add you to our giveaway! (or send me a private message on Facebook if we are Facebook friends!)

*Get one free entry per person by sharing this blog post on your Facebook timeline or blog. (make sure you let me know you shared!)
*Once you have sponsored a puzzle piece you can get an extra entry by sharing on Facebook or your blog, just make sure to let me know you have shared!(make sure you tell me that you shared)

So here are our prizes. I may add a few more as time goes on, but so far we have:

Set of 2 puzzles
Winner is Ashley Tucker!





Brand new Cranium game and brain shaped silicone mold!
Winner is Elaina Lawrence!


New Collectors Edition View Master set!
Winner is Rachel Davis!

$50 donation to a family in progress to adopt. Winners Choice. 
Winner is Tracy Hewitt!


16GB Kindle Fire 7" tablet!
Winner is Lonnie and Cindy Olson!

To make this even MORE fun, I have some pictures of Levi that I have not shared with anyone, and I will share a new picture of him for every 60 puzzle pieces sponsored (Which equals $300 donated) until this fundraiser is complete! You all really want to see these pictures, I promise!

Can you be a piece of Levi's puzzle and help bring him home? 
                                                  *



16 out of 16 photos unlocked! 
*These photos were staged in the "play" room while adoptive families were there picking up their children. Please pray for our little guy.*





  

This is the youngest photo I have of him. How I wish I had some baby photos of him.

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Name, New Life!

We were lovingly offered a $500 matching grant a few weeks ago and just now met it! Thank you God for blessing us with caring and generous people in our lives! I promised that once we met our match I would reveal the name we are giving "Donald". Donald is not his real name. It is a pseudonym given to him by the folks at Reece's Rainbow both to protect his identity and for identification purposes. And we cannot publicly share his birth name. But we have decided to give him a new name to go along with his new life! There is a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to keep or change your adopted child's given name. All arguments are valid and worth considering. I'm not here to argue why, just here to joyfully tell you that we have decided to give him a new name and share it with you. I like to think of it as being similar to how sometimes in the bible God gives someone a new name along with a big life change. A few examples are Saul becoming Paul, Abram became Abraham, and Sarai became Sarah. God had a new mission for their lives, a new purpose, and new direction. And it was so significant that it deserved being marked by a name change. And in those instances where a persons name was changed, the name was given by God, and we feel that God gave us our son's name as well. I will tell you a story...

When I became pregnant with our youngest daughter, it was a surprise to us. We had never been able to get pregnant without going on medication before. And we had to stay on this medication during the first trimester in order to help guard against miscarriage. So when we found out that we were expecting, we scrambled to get on the medication to protect the life of our baby. We had had two miscarriages in the past and did not want to go through that pain again. But things were not going smoothly and I was having my hcg and progesterone levels monitored to make sure everything increased as expected. But as I had feared, my progesterone level had started to drop, which should not happen, and usually means your body is getting ready to menstruate again. Not what you want to do while pregnant! So I was put on progesterone supplementation and told to come back for another blood draw in a day to see if it was working. I was a nervous wreck. After the next blood draw I was calling in for the results (because who asks an anxious pregnant woman to wait for them to call her?!) and I was on hold, so afraid that they were going to give me bad news. And while I was waiting, I had a thought pop into my head. "Levi. Find out what it means." It surprised me. Then the lady's voice came on the line and told me that my levels were increasing beautifully and that all looked good. HUGE sigh of relief! I immediately went to see what the name Levi means. The definition I saw was, "attached". In that moment I felt complete peace. My baby was attached. I no longer worried about miscarriage. I asked Josh how he would feel about naming our baby Levi if it was a boy and he replied, "well if it's God ordained, we can't really say no to that!" We pretty much assumed that the baby would be a boy after this. So we were a little confused when at our 20 week ultrasound we found out we were having a girl!

Months went by and our daughter was born and and was starting to grow and develop. And then God showed us "Donald". And we knew God was calling us to him. I remember saying to Josh, "Doesn't he look like a Levi?!" God is so good. Many months before we even knew he existed, God gave us a name for our future son. He gave us a two part message that day. Our baby would not be lost to miscarriage. And He had a beautiful little boy for us halfway across the world, whom we should name Levi. An orphan boy, lost in this world, but meant to be attached to our family with much love.

And we decided together that his middle name should be a family name. And what's better than to be named after your father? Levi doesn't know it yet, but he has a wonderful daddy who loves him very much. I cannot wait to see him blossom once he is home with his daddy, mama and siblings.

 And so our boys name will be, Levi Joshua. And the name Joshua means "the Lord saves". Can you think of a better name for an orphan turned beloved son? I can't! :)

*Our giveaway is still going until 11:59pm Monday. Less than 24 hours to go, so please donate and vote while you can! Giveaway post is here: http://insearchofpearls.blogspot.com/2013/05/operation-orphan-no-more-giveaway.html
** Giveaway is now over!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Operation Orphan No More Giveaway!!! - Benefitting Reece's Rainbow families!

UPDATE! We have a $500 matching grant right now! So every donation to our giveaway will help us 2 fold as well as helping the other families in our giveaway! So please donate and then tell me which adopting family you are voting for so I can add your votes! 

We now have $500 of $500 met! Thank you! 

I am SO excited about this giveaway! If you have been following us at all, you have seen that we are adopting a precious little boy with special needs from Eastern Europe. And I just KNOW you want to see his sweet face again! :)
 We are doing everything we can to raise the funds necessary to bring our son home. That's where this giveaway comes in! But there are so many other awesome families in the Reece's Rainbow community who are also in the trenches of adoption fund raising, and we really wanted to come alongside some of them while also working to bring our son home. Being a part of the Reece's Rainbow family means we support each other! Fund raising is hard. But we wanted to put the fun back in FUNdraiser!!! So this is how this is going to work. We are going to be giving away three different cash prizes, to 3 lucky Reece's Rainbow families in process! We have 11 lovely families nominated to be a part of our giveaway, and it's going to be your job to help the family of your choice stay in the running for First, Second or Third prize. (there will also be a small consolation prize for each family who has been nominated but does not win one of our prizes.) Your votes will make ALL the difference to these families. But the other great thing is, we have a lot of wonderful prizes for you voters as well! And for every vote you cast for the family that tugs most at your heart, you will also be entered into the giveaway to win some amazing gifts for yourself!

So how do you vote?

Vote by sending a contribution to our Donate button on our right sidebar (You cannot see our donate button while on your cell phone and will have to hop onto a computer to see and donate) or by donating to our FSP (Family Support Page) on Reece's Rainbow. Donating through our FSP is tax deductible, but if you donate through our FSP you have to send me a Facebook private message or an email (onemamasjourney@gmail.com) with a copy of your receipt for your donation, as well as the name of the family you want your votes to go toward. If you donate through our Donate Button, we will get an email automatically, so you don't have to worry about letting me know, but you still have to make sure to add a note for who the votes should go toward. The other bonus to donating through our Donate Button here on our blog is that you will earn DOUBLE votes! So this is how the donation to vote ratio will go:

$5 to our FSP = 1 vote
$5 to Donate Button = 2 votes
$10 to our FSP = 3 votes
$10 to our Donate Button = 6 votes
$15 to our FSP = 5 votes
$15 to our Donate Button = 10 votes
$20 to our FSP = 7 votes
$20 to our Donate Button = 14 votes
$25 to our FSP = 9 votes
$25 to our Donate Button = 18 votes
$30 to our FSP = 11 votes
$30 to our Donate Button = 22 votes
$50 to our FSP = 20 votes
$50 to our Donate Button = 40 votes
$75 to our FSP = 30 votes
$75 to our Donate Button = 60 votes
$100 to our FSP = 50 votes
$100 to our Donate Button = 100 votes!

 You can earn ONE free vote per day by sharing THIS blog post on your Facebook page and then letting me know by tagging me in your status, or leaving a comment here, that you shared. I'm also giving 10 bonus votes to anyone who buys Scentsy through our Scentsy party HERE! Just let me know that you did and I will confirm with my consultant. :)

Remember to let me know who your votes should go toward! This giveaway will go for 4 weeks, and I will stop accepting votes at 11:59pm (PST) on Monday June 3rd.

Now for the PRIZES!!!


$10 Bath and Body Works Gift Card! 
(Generously donated by Lauren DeStefano!)
Winner is Theresa Revilak! 

$50 Lane Bryant Gift Card
(This gift card can also be used at Catherine's and Fashion Bug)
Winner is Becki Little!

$50 Ulta Gift Card
Winner is Kelly Lee! 
 
$50 Home Depot Card
(Generously donated by Melissa Breen!)
Winner is Rachel Davis!
$50 Gift Card to Coco Rose Couture Etsy Shop
(Coco Rose Couture was featured in Parenting Magazine, The Knot, and Toddlers and Tiaras!)
Winner is Cindy Olson!
The Movie "October Baby" Brand New!
(Generously donated by Christy Ferguson!)
Winner is Christina Wolf!

A gorgeous Rainbow Rose Necklace
(Generously donated by Under Cover of Lightness Etsy Shop)
Winner is Katy Colbry!

A Custom Birds Nest Pendant- You choose the color and number of Eggs in your nest!
(Generously donated by Tammy McAninch!)
Winner is Angela (Our Lively Crew)!

Beautiful set of rainbow bracelets in cat's eye (left) and glass beads (right), a $30 value! On memory wire, one size fits all!
(Generously donated bu Christy Scott Ashby!)
Winner is Jessica Cooper!

Lovely set of bracelets, a $30 value, howlite and jade (left), and sodalite (right). On memory wire, one size fits all!
(Generously donated by Christy Scott Ashby!)
Winner is Katy Colbry!

Created canvas set can be made in any color scheme and with a different scripture verse or quote of winner's choice. More than one picture can be used for the two accompanying canvases they would just be done collage style. Includes stands or attached hardware for hanging. Alternately these can be done as 8X10 prints for framing (frames not included).
(Generously donated by Brooke Adkins-Kirk at Caps For Causes!)
Winner is Katie Evans!

 Flower bow set in winner's choice of color (red, pink, purple, teal, black and white and green available) and images. Choose from hundreds of images. Can be attached to partially lined alligator clips or barrette (Also can include a matching detachable headband).
(Generously donated by Brooke Adkins-Kirk at Caps For Causes!)
Winner is Rachel Davis!

Custom made cupcake picks in winner's choice of theme, includes 24 picks with or without embellishments depending on availability.
(Generously donated by Brooke Adkins-Kirk at Caps For Causes!)
Winner is Crystal Pettit!

 *****


1st place prize is $300 to the Reece's Rainbow Family with the most votes!
Winner is Jaclyn Mitchell!

2nd place family gets $150 to their FSP!
Winner is Angela (Our Lively Crew)!

3rd place family gets $50 to their FSP!
Winner is Grace Knuth!

Please go HERE to meet the families that you get to vote for and check in on their status! Don't let "your" family fall behind! And don't forget about all these amazing prizes! Have fun!


Giveaway has ended. 1st place prize money went to Jaclyn Mitchell, 2nd place went to Jon and Angela, and 3rd place went to the Knuth family. 







Operation Orphan No More Giveaway - Meet the Reece's Rainbow Families!

Giveaway has ended. 1st place prize money went to Jaclyn Mitchell, 2nd place went to Jon and Angela, and 3rd place went to the Knuth family. 
I will draw for all other prizes tomorrow! Stay tuned! 


Here are our Nominees for this huge giveaway! Meet the families! 
(Remember, voting through our Donate Button DOUBLES your voting power! See THIS POST for all the rules and prizes! I will update the votes as often as I can, but will make sure to update again each evening for sure!)

Jaclyn and Kevin Mitchell, adopting Adam and Matthias! To see their family profile please go here.
To VOTE for them please Donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Mitchell family!

209 votes
prize awarded!
*
The Unroe family, adopting Thad, Carson and Presley! To see their family profile look here.
To VOTE for the Unroe  family please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Unroe Family! 

50 votes
consolation prize awarded! 
*

The Horton family, adopting Gary! To see their family profile look here.
To VOTE for the Horton family please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Hortons!

54 votes
 consolation prize awarded! 
*

Melissa and Bill Breen, adopting Kamdyn! To see their family profile go here.
To VOTE for the Breen family please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Breens!

29 votes
consolation prize awarded!
*

Lorraine and Zach Colwell, adopting Sarai! To see their family profile look here.
To VOTE for the Colwells, please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Colwell Family! 

25 votes
consolation prize awarded! 
*

The Johnsons, adopting Bria and Safiya! To see their family profile, look here.
To VOTE for the Johnson Family please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Johnsons!

21 votes
 consolation prize awarded!
*

The Hemmes family, adopting John! To see their family profile go here. 
To VOTE for the Hemmes family please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Hemmes! 

9 votes
 consolation prize awarded!
*

The Wojcik family, adopting Danny and Riley! To see their family profile go here.
To VOTE for the Wojciks please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Wojciks Family! 

18 votes
 consolation prize awarded!

The Knuth family, adopting Tommy! To see their family profile, look here.
To VOTE for the Knuth Family please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Knuth family! 

60 votes
Prize awarded!
*

Jon and Angela adopting Jack and Jensen! To see their family profile look here.
To VOTE for Jon and Angela please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for them!

187 votes
prize awarded! 
*

The Brown family, adopting Gemma! To see their family profile go here. 
To VOTE for the Browns please donate to OUR Donate Button (on the right) or our FSP and let me know you are voting for the Brown Family

11 votes
consolation prize awarded!
*

Make sure to check back everyday to see how "your" family is doing! Don't let them slip in the ranks! And remember to get  your free vote every day by sharing on Facebook and letting me know you did! Let's help some families get their little ones home!!!