--An Orphan No More--


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In case you didn't know....

I am kind of a pest. Shocking to some of you I am sure. ((wink)) I like to think of it as persistence and determination.

Well, I am willing to bet "Officer K" at the USCIS thinks I am a plain ol' pest. And maybe she's right. But honestly, when there is ONE thing keeping me from sending my dossier to the SDA and getting my butt over there to get my girl....yep, you'd better believe it.


Our dossier is DONE. Except for that pesky 171H. The 171H is basically permission from the US government for us to adopt a foreign orphan. I think they are just making sure we are not on the FBI Most Wanted list or something. ;o)

So, we sent in our application, known as the I-600A. We got our letter saying it had been received. We got our fingerprint appointments for July 13th. My "persistence and determination" kicked in and said that was WAAAAYYY too far off, so we walked in to our friendly neighborhood USCIS office in St. Louis and asked VERY nicely if we could have our fingerprints done early. They did them!

Well, that was Wednesday of last week. I called the USCIS adoption unit and told them that the fingerprints were done, 3 weeks early. I was told that "Officer K" was handling our case. I left her a VERY nice voicemail saying we had our letters and went ahead and had our fingerprints done, etc. I was basically saying "Hey Officer K.....all we are waiting on is YOU!" No return phone call.

So, I call yesterday and ask to speak with her. Voicemail. I didn't leave a message. I call today. Voicemail. I hang up and call back and tell the nice gentleman who answered the phone that I had been trying to reach Officer K with no luck. I explain to him that we did our prints early and I want her to know that so she doesn't think she has WEEKS to even worry about our file. He said he sits right next to her and she has been on the phone. He checks in the system.....no progress really. Argh. He adds that it doesn't mean anything - she could have looked at our application and the system is just not updated. OK..... I asked him to give her the message that I called and explain our situation. He said he would. I asked him to have her call me......


(and a bit of a pest.........)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Every once in a while...

...you stumble across something so perfect that you have to make it your own. Come to think of it, that's how our story with Everlyn began!

Last night I was at the Christian bookstore to pick up a book (Crazy Love...have you read it?) and I saw this....

So I bought it. It will hang in her room. Speaking of her room, may I present to you...

Bedroom in a Box!
Her bedding and slipcovered headboard have arrived. Now we just need to sell Elliston's nursery furniture and bedding. Craig's List here we come!!! I will be sure to post pics as her room progresses. Our theme is "beautiful on a budget." :o) So far everything has been on sale/clearance and I intend to keep it that way. Daddy insists she have a floral chandelier in her room....still looking for one of those that won't break the bank! Our main goal is bringing this sweet girl HOME...but a Princess has to have a beautiful place to rest her head, right?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For all of those that have asked WHY???

When we first announced our adoption plans, we got a lot of strange looks, a lot of "don't you have enough kids?" type remarks...and of course, we heard a lot of "why would you want to adopt?"

Well, the answer is simple...we just have to. No, we cannot change the world (oh, wouldn't that be nice?) but we CAN change the world for one child. And we have chosen sweet little Miss Everlyn! We want to give her the family she is missing, we want to give her all of the love and attention she needs and deserves. But most importantly, we want to save her. Yes....we can literally save the life of this innocent child. No, no - she is not dying. It's much worse really. Think of it as "death row" for pre-schoolers...

Orphans in other countries are seen as "disposable" - especially children with special needs. If not adopted by their 4th birthday, they are sent to mental institutions. Adult mental institutions. Insane asylums. The conditions there are horrific and NINETY FIVE PERCENT of the children transferred there do not survive their first year. Their little bodies, minds, and souls cannot endure the neglect, the isolation, the loneliness and even the abuse. It is too much for them. And it is too much for me to even think about. I simply cannot wrap my head around it.

So, while young children here are blowing out 4 little candles, eating cake 'til their bellies hurt, and opening presents with a fury......there are little children on the other side of the globe facing certain death. No celebration. No party. Simply an hour-glass run empty. Their time is up - they are now 4. They will now be locked away, forgotten by their own society. "Death row" is no place for a 4 year old (or ANY child for that matter). I don't care WHAT your "need" is....no human being deserves to die alone, physically restrained in a soiled crib, without ever knowing the love of a family.

Here are a few blog posts that illustrate my point. http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2010/06/i-left-my-heart-there.html

So, if you have asked yourself WHY would the Smith family consider adopting a child with special needs who lives on the other side of the globe...I must ask you, WHY NOT???

Adoption is not for everyone. Fact. It is stressful, time-consuming and expensive. But we know that it is going to be SO worth it when we walk out of that orphanage with our sweet girl...and we know she is safe, and loved! So, if you aren't in a position to adopt yourselves, consider doing something to help a family in the process. Offer encouragement, ask about upcoming fundraisers, "spam" everyone you know to donate/pray for a specific child to find their forever family, offer financial support to an adopting family (no amount is too small as every dollar has an impact!), pray for them.....there ARE things you can do! And I can assure you it is ALL very much appreciated.

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." --Mother Teresa

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And the winners are.....

I am announcing the winners of a raffle for a friend....

My friend Seegal is also in the process of adopting a cutie from Eastern Europe. Vaughn's picture is over on the right hand side of my blog. She had a generous friend donate a few gift cards for her to raffle to raise $$ for Vaughn's adoption fund. The names of those who donated were passed along to Mel (another adoptive momma....Timothy's picture is also on the right side of my blog) who assigned numbers. I had someone give me 3 numbers between 1 and 137.

The numbers chosen were:

30 - Vicki - EBay gift card

66 - Beth - American Express gift card

99 - Bobbie - Best Buy gift card


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A BIG BIG thank you!!!

Our fundraiser yesterday was a BIG success! We sold 95 items through Sarah's Treasure Box on Etsy, and Sarah is donating $475 to our FSP page on the Reece's Rainbow website! YAY! It is very exciting to see the amount on our FSP page increase....it means we are closer to bringing Everlyn home!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated - either by shopping, re-posting to FB/blogs, or sending sweet words of encouragement! Even Sarah commented on how awesome my friends are....YES, yes YOU are! :o)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy 4th Anniversary Reece's Rainbow!!!

Here is the brand spankin' new video made in celebration of 4 amazing years and over 275 lives saved thanks to Reece's Rainbow.

Grab some Kleenex and watch....will YOU find your child at the end of Reece's Rainbow??? We did!

Click below:
Reece's Rainbow Anniversary Video

A friendly reminder!

Our first adoption fundraiser is on Monday, June 21st! Sarah of Sarah's Treasure Box on Etsy.com has so generously offered to donate $5 for EVERY ITEM sold from her Etsy shop on that date to our adoption fund!

Here's how it works;

--Place an order on Monday, June 21st in her Etsy shop. Don't shop yet, we ONLY get credit on June 21st.
--Mention the Eric/Ashli Smith Adoption in the comments section when you check out in Paypal. This step is also VERY important. If you don't mention us, we don't get credit.
--Sarah will generously donate $5 for every item sold to our adoption fund via our FSP page on Reece's Rainbow!

It's that easy! And it is never too early to think about holiday gifts, stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, etc. :o)

Also, if you have something in mind and don't see it in her store, Sarah would love to make it for you! Just send her a "convo" message through Etsy and let her know what you would like....and don't forget to mention the Smith Family adoption!!!

Our goal is to raise $500 through this fundraiser. For all of my mathematically challenged friends/family, that's 100 orders needed on June 21st!

So, go browse her shop. And PLEASE, on June 21st, place your order! You get something special, unique and gorgeous ....and we get a closer to something special, unique and gorgeous too - Everlyn!


Scroll down the page for photos!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

We are planning a trip...to Holland

There is a poem...many of you know it well. It is called Welcome to Holland. It was written by the mother of a child with special needs. In case you have never read it, here ya go:


by Emily Perl Kingsley

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Well my friends, we have been to Italy. In fact, we've been there a few times. Italy is great. But we are ready to travel somewhere new....and we have chosen Holland. We have heard Holland is amazing. We have friends who have been to Holland and would go back in a heartbeat. And Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips....oh how I love tulips. And Holland has adorable shoes.....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What-A-Deal Wednesdays!!!

I have decided to start a new weekly feature on our blog...What-A-Deal Wednesdays!!!

Those of you who know me know that I LOVE to shop....but only if it is a really good deal. I get giddy when I find a good bargain.

Well, as I began looking for clothes for Everlyn for the Fall/Winter, I found some AMAZING deals, mostly at Gymboree. (Nope, this is not a paid endorsement...I WISH! Gym-Mark corporate folks, feel free to use the Chip In on the right for all of this free advertising!)

So, today's DEAL is this adorable little pink parka with faux fur trim on the hood and coordinating bunny mittens. Retail price for both is almost $65. OUCH!

What did I pay? Less than $8..for both. :o) Well, actually Grandma bought it for Everlyn, so it was FREE to me, but you get the idea!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Yes friends.....our little Princess has her very own domain name. It is linked to her blog for now, so going to www.everlyngrace.com will bring you here! :o)

A little blog poll.....

As we approach the date of our first fundraiser, we are brainstorming about what other fundraisers we can have.....

Some other Reece's Rainbow families have had good luck selling the rubber bracelet thingies...think Live Strong bracelets. We thought that would be a neat idea. We would have her name embossed on the outside and perhaps the blog address on the inside. It would be a neat keepsake for her down the road too!

So, my little informal poll....would you consider buying one of these for $5 each??? We can order adult and children's sizes - which size would you prefer? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Thank you friends! Your help is very much appreciated!!!

Here is a sample of a bracelet:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A very special day is approaching!

Our first fundraiser!

Sarah, of Sarah's Treasure Box on Etsy, has a special place in her heart for orphans. She has very generously offered to do a fundraiser for us! We have chosen June 21st - gotta love that extra special 21st chromosome!

Here's how it works;

--Place an order on Monday, June 21st in her Etsy shop. Don't shop yet, we ONLY get credit on June 21st.
--Mention the Eric/Ashli Smith Adoption in the comments section when you check out in Paypal. This step is also VERY important. If you don't mention us, we don't get credit.
--Sarah will generously donate $5 for every item sold to our adoption fund via our FSP page on Reece's Rainbow!

Our goal is to raise $500 through this fundraiser. For all of my mathematically challenged friends/family, that's 100 orders needed on June 21st!

So, go browse her shop. And PLEASE, on June 21st, place your order! You get something special, unique and gorgeous ....and we get a closer to something special, unique and gorgeous too - Everlyn!


Here is a sample of her amazing items!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Looky what we have.....


We are one step closer to rescuing our Princess! YAY!

Monday, June 7, 2010

We have made a very important decision!

We have chosen bedding for the Princess! I have looked forward to decorating another little girl's room for a long time. I have LOVED this set for years...and years later, it is on sale! :o) The bedskirt is sold out, so we are buying extra curtain panels and pray we can find someone to make the bedskirt for us. And yes, we are going to do the fabric covered headboard and everything.

Isn't it precious???

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A note about fundraising.....

As our adoption journey continues, we are starting to plan a few adoption fundraisers. I know, I know....some people may think it is odd (or even tacky) to "fundraise" for an adoption. Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion I guess. :o) We look at it quite differently. This isn't about US....this is about HER! We are literally saving her life...and it is a life worth saving for sure!

Here is the sad truth. If she is not adopted by age 4, she will be transferred to a mental institution. Yes, you read that right...an insane asylum. No, she is not insane. But, in her birth country, her life has no value because she was born with "a little something extra." So, if not adopted, she will be given a literal death sentence. Few children transferred to the institution survive their first year. They are bed-ridden (often restrained to their beds) and neglected...physically, emotionally, spiritually forgotten. We can't let that happen to her. It is heartbreaking to even imagine.....

So....we have decided to "be the change we want to see in the world"....and change the world for this one child. We have chosen her.....and she belongs with our family. The adoption path we are on is a swift one...average time from start to finish is 7 months. We are hoping to do it in 5....yes, we are over-achievers! I don't want this precious girl to spend any more time in an orphanage than she has to....if I could rescue her TODAY I would. Believe me!

But we need help...help from our friends, family...even complete strangers who have a passion for orphans. And we have gotten that help. But there is still more to be done! We are in the process of planning a few fundraisers:

--a golf tournament...likely in July
--a yard sale.....make a bit of $$ and de-clutter! It's a win-win!
--a jewelry sale....a momma with a passion for orphans is having a benefit sale in her Etsy shop for our adoption. Anyone who buys from her shop on JUNE 21st (one day only!) and mentions us at checkout, will provide $5 towards our adoption. EVERY. DOLLAR. COUNTS. More details to follow soon!

As we continue on this journey, we are humbly asking for your help. No donation or amount of support is too small. Literally EVERY DOLLAR (and prayer) is helping to save the life of a precious little girl. Donations are tax-deductible when made through our Chip In or our FSP page - click on the "Help us rescue Everlyn" button on the right. $5, $10, $20...it all adds up!

If it takes a village to raise a child.....it takes the love and generosity of friends and family to help bring a child home to that village! :o)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Yep - we are doing a happy dance this morning! Things are falling in place for us to bring our princess home quickly! Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers...they worked! Keep 'em coming as we finish up our dossier paperwork!!!