Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Got'im!

When I asked people to pray for Tony, that God would prepare his heart, that he would be ready...


I confess I wasn't sure it would happen.


I just knew, after almost 15 years in that place, without a family, without love or home, family, security, or anything that was his, without any of the comforts we're accustomed to that give us strength to go out and face the world each day...


That he may be afraid. That he might be hesitant leaving his familiar and entering the unknown.


But praise be to God, I was wrong. He was ready.


This boy of mine jumped into my arms and held on for dear life. He was uninterested in saying too many goodbyes, quite literally pulling me by the hand to the front door. Let's get out of here, mom!


It's been six long months since I've seen this kid, and I promise you he remembered. He absolutely knew his mama was coming back for him.


Isn't this photo awesome? I should caption it, "Thank you God! You never forgot about me!"


He loved loved loved his new clothes. He tugged at his shirt throughout the day, kind of waving it around as if to say, "Look at my new shirt!" He was so proud. And guess what?! His new shoes fit just right.


We walked down the stairs...


Said one last goodbye to the new director of the orphanage...


And quite literally did not look back.




He was such a big boy, sitting in his booster car seat.


He was nervous when we started driving. His body went a little stiff and he was shaking, but he got the hang of it pretty quickly.


Especially once the snacks came out. He ate some squeezy fruits off of mommy's finger.


And then relaxed all the way to the hotel. For most of the ride he was holding my hand on one side and Michaela's on the other.


When we finally arrived at the hotel, he had another snack and then we settled in for some quiet time.


Oh does this boy love to cuddle!


He showed mommy and Michaela how he can stack rings! Well a few anyway, and then he decided he'd rather throw the rings and cuddle some more.



I also asked y'all to pray that Tony would be able to get out of the hotel and enjoy the city without fear. Well we got out a bit on that first day and he enjoyed taking it all in. Here's his first trip to the grocery store!


He's had many other firsts since then that I can't wait to share. But here's one more I can't resist.


He met his sister for the first time!


They both loved visiting with one another! Sam kept giggling, and Tony wanted closer and closer to the screen, even laying his head on the table to be closer yet.


Here we are all together for the first time!


Thank you all so very much for your love and prayers. God is answering every one of them and then some. All is most certainly well here in Bulgaria.

And for any of you back home, if you see my Sammer girl today, wish her a Happy Gotcha Day! Its been two incredible, life-changing years with her. My best years yet. She made me a mommy for the first time, and I couldn't love that title any more. Can't wait to squish her in just a few more days. Love you so much, Samantha Love!

Here's my princess yesterday on her first day of first grade!!
Lots of love to all of you.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Getting Closer

Tony, it's finally time!


Mommy's on her way to get you.


I love these pictures of you walking toward me. I look at them and picture you making your way down that hall one last time.


One. Last. Time.


On Monday morning when you step out of that elevator, I'll be there waiting.


I'll bring a handsome new outfit for you to wear. And new shoes! I hope they fit.


And even though you're my big boy, I'll scoop you up and carry you down those big front steps. We'll wave goodbye for good. We won't look back.


Oh I cannot wait to share this big, big world with you. I hope you're ready! I've been praying that you might be able to enjoy your first week of freedom, exploring your home country for the very first time.


There are parks to be played in, and there's sunshine to soak up. Maybe we'll find a toy store. Or try eating in a restaurant. Maybe, if you're up to it, we'll do some site seeing. I can't wait to see what you think of it all.


Tony, you don't know it quite yet, but your mommy loves you like crazy. I think you are the cutest, smartest, bravest, sweetest little man.


And your sister? Well, she doesn't know it yet, but I think she's really gonna love you, too. You guys are going to be great friends. (Don't worry if it takes a little while for her to warm up to you. She's a mommy's girl, but she'll figure this whole sister thing out...eventually.)


See you soon, my little buddy. Forever starts in just two more sleeps.

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Fundraising update!

For all of your who responded so generously to our last minute plea for help with funding, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. We have almost reached our goal! So far, we've raised $2,307 of the $3,000 needed to fund our trip. If you'd still love to help bring Tony home, I have a sweet little offer to share with you. An online friend has offered up this hand-stitched quilt as a giveaway for one lucky donor. So, for the next two days, until I pick up Tony, anyone who makes a donation of $5 or more toward Tony's ransom will be entered to win. Just comment below when you donate. 

This fleece rag quilt measures approximately 84x50 inches
and would be a perfectly adorable addition to any kid's bedroom. Love it!

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Prayer requests!

My friend, Michaela, and I would sure covet your prayers this week.


Our church is all wearing these bracelets while we're gone as a reminder to pray. They'll be praying over a list of requests we prepared. We'll lay those same requests before you. Thank you so much for journeying with us.
  • For protection from the enemy before, during and after our trip. For us, our families and everyone we love.
  • For our travels, that angels would surround and protect us as we fly, that we will make all of our connecting flights and arrive on time, as we will pick up Tony first thing the next morning. 
  • For the safety and care of our children while we are away. Pray especially for Samantha as she will have her first week of 1st grade while I am away and for Levi who has never been away from his mom for this long.
  • For our hearts as we enter the orphanage, see waiting children, and have to leave them behind. For the children who wait, that God would be near and that He would come to their rescue.
  • For Tony's adjustment as he leaves the only home he's known for 14 years and experiences love for the first time. For his healing emotionally, physically, spiritually.
  • That Tony will be willing and able to eat, drink and sleep during our week in the hotel. That his body will be able to handle the change in environment and that he will not need medical intervention before we get home. 
  • That Tony will be able to leave the hotel during our week and get our and enjoy some fresh air and new experiences.
  • For Tony during our travel home, please pray for God's peace to quiet his heart and allow him to rest.
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The next time you hear from me I'll be on the other side of the world. Here we go!

Lots of love to all of you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tony is...

That tiny, sweet boy of mine. Oh, how I LOVE him!

He is silly.


He is hilarious, and he knows it.


He is attentive.

He is weird, like his mom. Ha!


He is all boy! My little man.


He gives the best hugs!


He gets me. And I get him.


He will be a terrific big brother.


Because he knows how to love.


He can definitely hold up his end of the conversation.


Oops. Looks like he's a little ticklish!


He can't get enough kisses from his mommy. It's not possible!


He has the sweetest little voice you can imagine.


He's a complete monkey baby, just like his little sister.


He's our missing piece.


And soon, so very very very soon, he will be home!!!

My friend, Michaela, and I will be boarding a plane to Bulgaria in less than two weeks. In less than two weeks I'll be breaking my little guy out and bringing him home!

But before I can do that, before we can go...we could use your help once again.

A couple months ago I had thought we were just about fully funded. I stopped fundraising, as I knew gifts would continue to trickle in and I didn't want to ask for more than we needed.

But, since that time, with the counsel of a few wise friends, I made the decision to bring a friend along with me on this trip. Tony's been in a bad place for a long time, and this could potentially be a difficult week for both of us. We may need the extra hands, and the company of a friend who loves us can only help.

Additionally, plane tickets are through the roof expensive right now. I used my credit card today to book our flights, and for the three of us the cost was $5,209.67.

On top of those larger expenses, there was also a miscommunication somewhere along the way, and the TB test that we were told Tony would not need (because of his age), he does need. Another $260.

We received a couple of generous gifts from friends this weekend, for which we are so, so thankful. Unexpected gifts, and blessings of encouragement. Thank you (you know who you are)!

We're not too far off, really, but could use your help just the same. My hope and prayer is that the Lord would provide another $3,000 to help cover the cost of our travel expenses. Will you prayerfully consider helping to bring Tony home? Or helping to spread the word about our need? We appreciate it more than you know.

On the righthand side of this blog there are two working donation buttons where you can give electronically. If you donate through Reece's Rainbow, your donation will be tax deductible. A small percentage of your gift is taken by Paypal if you give in either of these ways. If you would love to send a check instead, let me know in the comment section and I'll get our address to you.

I can't wait for you all to meet this brave, spunky, precious, one of a kind little guy.

Lots of love to all of you.