Tuesday, September 17, 2013

14 Days For 14 Years (A Birthday Celebration For My Boy)

On the last day of this month, my little-big boy will be turning 14 years old!! FOURTEEN!!!

In my previous posts about Tony, I've focused heavily on his suffering. His years (and years and years) of waiting for love.

But, in these days leading up to his birthday, I want to celebrate his life. Because, you see, despite 14 years of extreme neglect, my little guy remains, somehow, a ray of pure sunshine. And I'm not the only one who thinks so! (I am biased toward him, of course, but as it turns out, he is unanimously awesome.)

In honor of Big T's big day, I'm going to take the opportunity to let folks brag on him (and share otherwise interesting tidbits about him). Here's what the people are saying (smile):
"I met Tony when I was in Pleven last Spring. He is adorable!" 
From the wonderful, incredible people at our agency, "Every time I mention Tony, Dave (our International Director) lights up. He met, played with, and loved on Tony last February. He is just THRILLED that he has a forever family working to go get him!" 
"He is VERY short, like a 4 year old, and is now stocky due to all the carbs he’s been getting!  He can walk (with a little help) now, with a wide gait, and wanders slowly around and gives strong hugs.  He loves to hold hands and ”dance” back and forth to music.  As soon as he hears music, he wants to stand up and dance!  ...  He’s not in his own world, not resistant to hugs at all, and likes to sit on a lap and play face to face." 
"He's a smiley little love!" 
"He's very smiley and very stubborn...I knelt down and he was quick to climb into my lap and pet my face, good eye contact." 
"Every now and then his sweet-tempered teacher would sing his favorite song to him (about a bear), which resulted in immediate excitement on his behalf and then he would hold her hands and swing his body sideways, dancing." 
"He liked it when I crouched so as to be at his level and he maintained good eye contact then. He just looked straight into my eyes with curiosity and interest." 
"For a child who has spent the last 13 years of his life in an orphanage, he has an unexpectedly positive outlook. He smiles every time the caregivers would sing a children’s song to him and is quick to grab their hands and start dancing. He is just fascinated with music and dancing." 
"He is sensitive to the tone of voice people talk to him with. When I started jesting at him he responded with a smile and then he was laughing aloud. He smiles when praised with “Bravo”."

I can't wait to get that boy home. I've got a hunch he and Sam will be two peas in a pod. We do LOTS of singing and dancing and laughing in this house, so he's sure to fit right in!

Thank you kindly to everyone who has donated so generously to help get Tony here where he belongs! If you'd still like the opportunity to donate, I've got great news for you! In honor of Tony's upcoming birthday, I am so happy to present to you...

The 14 Days For 14 Years Giveaway!!!

Here's how it works:

  1. For the next 14 days, every donation of $14 to our paypal account or RR grant (over ---> on the side of the blog), earns you a chance to win one of more than 20 terrific prizes! Simple, right? Feel free to enter as many times as you'd like!
  2. After you donate, leave a comment or send an email (grayc77@gmail.com) with your FULL NAME and how many entries you've purchased. If you'd like, you can also tell me what prize you're hoping to win.
  3. The giveaway will end on September 30th, Tony's 14th Birthday, at 11:59pm on the dot, at which point I'll draw names to see who won!
  4. If you feel so led, share this giveaway like crazy and bless one very deserving 14 year old on his last birthday without a family.


Now, without further ado...here's our super awesome prizes:

Y'all hungry? What's sounds good? One winner will have their choice of a $50 gift card to Chili's, Olive Garden, or Applebees.  (Thank you, Danielle!)

This one's for local families...wait for it...you can win a FREE BOUNCE HOUSE RENTAL!!! Y'all get ready to be the most popular house on your block :) Shout out to my very good and very awesome friends for your support and generosity. (Thank you Schmeeckles!)

You'd be lucky indeed to win a poster or T-shirt from my talented friend over at Basment Ink. If you ever need custom, super-good-looking shirts printed, I know a guy. (Thank you, Ben!)

Two lucky winners may pick any item from this section of the Baruch's Lullaby store, courtesy of an incredible fellow adoptive mama who I had the privelege of meeting in Bulgaria. Check out a few adorable samples below. And while you're at it, you should read her blog. (Thanks Shannon!)

Oh man, if Sam wasn't growing SO fast I'd want to snatch up these adorable pjs from GAP. Girls size 5T. (Thanks, Elisabeth!)

$10 Starbucks or Target gift card from a generous, fellow-adoptive mama and friend. We got to meet this lovely lady in Bulgaria. Check out her current giveaway to bring home two more beautiful Bulgarian kiddos.  (Thank you, Lauren!)

Who's thinking about Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Ok, how about now? Starbucks giftcard AND commuter cup! (Thank you, Renee!)

I adore cute little kids clothes, don't you? This size 2T little number from GAP would be perfect for Fall! (Thank you, Elisabeth!)

My friend Elisabeth has the cutest taste! I would love to shop in her closet :) And actually, you sort of can... Ladies silk blend blouse, size large (Thanks, Elisabeth!)

GORGEOUS gold heart necklace, valued at 59.99. Tell me this isn't adorable... (Thank you, Kalia!)

Someday I'll have to tell y'all the incredible story of how God led me to the beautiful friend who donated this lovely silver necklace, valued at $100! It'll make you cry for sure :) (Thank you, Kalia!)

$20 to Red Lobster. Who needs a date night?
Beautiful, framed, embroidered rose. This would look gorgeous in any room. I love it! (Thank you, Natalie!)

It Works brand Ultimate Body Applicator from my friend, and fellow Pleven mama :) She's so close to being fully funded for her current adoption of three kiddos who need out of that place badly. Check out her current giveaway. (Thanks, Amanda!)

Absolutely adorable Bumblebee Plugin Scentsy Warmer with blueberry cheesecake and sugar cookie scent packs. Love this! (Thanks, Katie!)

Y'all don't start a fight or anything, but I know you're all gonna want this gorgeous maple jewelry hanger... (Thank you, Katie!)

Two lucky donors will receive one of these handcrafted, non-slip hanging towels. How cute would these be in a little girl's bathroom? (Thanks, Katie!)

Handcrafted, outdoor-themed plastic bag holder. This thing looks seriously handy. (Thank you, Katie!)

Lots of love to all of you.


  1. Heather Keno
    I purchased two- Happy Birthday Tony!

  2. 1 entry. Happy Birthday. Would love the embroidered rose. :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. One entry for the 2T autumn shirt of a gift card. Blessings!

  5. Your boy's chin just gets me every time. He is adorable.

  6. One entry. Love the Marks family! God bless Tommy and your family.
    Debbie Marks

  7. One entry. God bless, Nicole Niemiec

  8. We support you and are praying for you, Grace! God's blessings! --Margaret and Brent