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 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:
** 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 ( 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!!! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The cat is out of the bag! - Our Reece's Rainbow Baby!

Well friends, so far I have had to be pretty secretive about who our little boy is. And there are a lot of things that I still can't say. BUT, we are at a point in the process where I have a little more freedom to share about the child we will be adopting, and I am so excited to share him with you! First things first. I cannot share with you his birth name, but he has a Reece's Rainbow name for identification purposes and to protect his identity. That name is Donald. So until we reveal what we intend to name him once he comes home, we will refer to him as Donald. We can also share with you that he recently turned 3 years old, but he will more than likely be 4 by the time he comes home to us. He is in Eastern Europe, but we cannot specify where in EE he is yet.

We've shared with you that he has special needs, but had not yet specified what those needs were. Donald has Sotos Syndrome, strabismus (slightly crossed eyes, he may need glasses) and mild scoliosis. Sotos Syndrome (also known as cerebral gigantism) is a fairly rare genetic disorder caused by either a mutation or a deletion in the NSD1 gene on the 5th chromosome. It is characterized by excessive physical growth during the first few years of life. Kids with Sotos syndrome tend to be large at birth and are often taller, heavier, and have larger heads than is normal for their age. Symptoms of Sotos Syndrome, which can vary widely among individuals, include a disproportionately large and long head with a slightly protrusive forehead and pointed chin, large hands and feet, an increased distance between the eyes, and down-slanting eyes. The disorder is often accompanied by mild mental delays; delayed motor, cognitive, and social development; hypotonia (low muscle tone), and speech impairments. Sotos syndrome is not a life-threatening disorder and those with a diagnosis have a normal life expectancy. The initial abnormalities of Sotos syndrome usually resolve as the growth rate becomes normal after the first few years of life. Developmental delays may improve in the school-age years, and adults with Sotos syndrome are likely to be within the normal range for intellect and height. However, coordination problems may persist into adulthood. Sotos syndrome is reported to occur in 1 in 10,000 to 14,000 newborns.

Donald is just beginning to walk with assistance. We are so proud of him for working on this important milestone! He does not speak yet, and that is probably in part because of his special needs, but also partially because of growing up in an orphanage. In an orphanage setting, there are a lot of children and not a lot of caregivers, and therefor there is not a lot of time for chit chatting with the kids and helping them develop language.  He does vocalize though. I'm hoping to learn some basic signs so that when he comes home we can use signs along with speech to help him understand and pick up language.

Now I know what you are all waiting for is a picture! We are happy to introduce you to our soon to be son!

Through the amazing world of Facebook and the Reece's Rainbow community, I have been in contact with 3 families who have adopted from Donald's orphanage. One family just brought home their son and daughter from the very same place Donald waits, just weeks ago! And their son's crib was right next to Donald's. It has been amazing to be able to touch base with these adoptive families who have actually been in his orphanage and actually seen our son! One mother actually spent quite a bit of time with him and held him. The thing we have heard over and over again is that he always had a smile on his face, and that he was a very happy boy. :) One mother even said that if they had been able to add another child to their adoption it would have been him.

That is all the information I have for you at this time about our little love. Please pray for him as he waits? And pray for us that we are able to raise all the funds needed to ransom our precious boy, and that more than anything we would be doing God's will and glorifying Him.

We are able to share more info because we officially have an FSP, or Family Support Page (click to see!) up on Reece's Rainbow. Our FSP has a family bio and a way to give a tax deductible donation to our adoption fund. All money donated to our FSP will go toward travel costs, in country expenses and orphanage fees that come later. We cannot access any of the money in our FSP until we are traveling, which won't be for some time. FSP donations are super important and are great for those who are concerned about donations being tax deductible. That being said, we will have a lot of adoption fees and expenses before we travel, and therefor donations to our Paypal button on the side of our blog, as well as personal donations of cash or check, are so very appreciated. But do be aware that these donations are not tax-deductible. Another thing to consider is that all money donated through both our Paypal button AND our FSP donate button will have 3% of each donation taken out for Paypal fees. If you would like to send a check to Reece's Rainbow on our behalf, 100% will be deposited into our fund. So you can make the most of your donations by sending us a personal check, or sending a check to Reece's Rainbow on our behalf. Here is the address and instructions on sending a Check.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, please consider sharing our Family Support Page or our blog posts on your Facebook wall, twitter or blog! Thank you so much for sharing in our excitement and joy! It is truly touching to us to see how much our boy is already loved, not only by us, but by our friends and family as well. Please know that every word of encouragement, every "like" and "share", and every donation means SO very much to us. May God bless you abundantly.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Before and After - Reece's Rainbow Miracles

So the last blog post featured some before and after pictures that were heartbreaking. The faces of sweet orphaned children before and after transfer. My heart shudders just thinking of those precious ones fate... God be with them. Please pray with me, for all of the waiting children across this world of ours. If you are friends with me on Facebook and have wondered why I am constantly sharing the photos of orphans, blog posts about them, and links to auctions and other fundraisers for families who are in the adoption process, this is why. Because these kids need and deserve families. Because love makes a difference.

Today though, I want to show you a very different kind of before and after photo. Photos of children before being adopted and photos of them after their families have found them and brought them home. See what love can do.

Andre before and after!
Silas before, and only 4 months after coming home!
Sophia Grace. Four years old....ten pounds.
Second photo is six weeks home.
Anita before, and Anita 8 months home.
Aleshia before, and filled with joy, 6 months home. 
Nicki before, and Nicki 8 months home!
Ahnja just broken free from her orphanage, and again just 8 months later! 

The next 2 comparison photos are all of the same little boy. Precious Keith was 5 years old when he was adopted and was wearing 3-6 month size clothing. 
Here is Keith after just ONE month home. ONE month of proper nutrition and love. 
And above you will see how much he grew in just 6 1/2 months home. Incredible!

Go back and take a look at the other before and after photos in my last blog post and then look again at these. This is why adoption is so important. These kids need families. And I believe that families need these kids. Beautiful blessings they are.

And for an update on our Guardian Angel Wall look no further! Here is what we have so far! Cana has been working hard to keep up with donations. Cana asks me everyday if there were any donations for her to work on. You can also see one heart that Loyal colored. Bet you can guess which one. ;) It's looking great so far, but we have a long way to go! Help us fill our entire hallway! :) 
 God bless all of our boys Guardian Angles!

Please also take a look at the page at the top of my blog entitled "Current Fundraisers". We are doing a LOT of great fund raisers already to help bring our little boy home. If you are local (Oregon) and need a photography session, there are TWO great ways for you to help us out AND get high quality photos! We are also running a Thirty-One party, which is a great company that sells beautiful bags, purses, thermal picnic totes and organizing tools. Check it out! In addition we have a Scentsy party going as well. Make your home smell heavenly, and for a good cause! If you are on Facebook, please check out our online adoption auction! SO many wonderful items! You don't have to live near us to participate in the auction or the Scentsy or Thirty-One parties. All 3 of those fundraisers are online! Please consider shopping with us for any birthday you have coming up. Mother's Day is also coming up soon and both Scentsy and Thirty-One would be perfect for Mom! :)