Monday, April 30, 2012

The great big giveaway for a new life for Harper! UPDATED again!

May 20 PM UPDATE: Since the adoption grant for Vera's family is within a hair's breath of being fully funded (THANK YOU) with Vera's blessing we are adding another family to the mix.  Rebecca and Mark Jenks are adopting two infants with DS, and while their grant is sizable, more money is required to adopt two children.  They are also traveling really really soon--probably within the month.  So if you are late to this giveaway, we encourage you to donate EITHER to the Cooper grant for Harper (at end of post) or the Jenks' grant for Sydney and Lucien (follow the link). Your choice.  You get entries (if you email me or comment at the end of this post) either way!

ONE REQUEST: whether you are contacting me through the comments or email, please give me your full name and your email address!  I have quite a few first name entries, no email.  Also a couple of email addys, no name.  Hope we don't have two "Tyler"s contribute, for example....  Otherwise, carry on, spread the word, and God bless!  

Oh, this is going to be so much fun.  But first, you need to read this!

Many of you know my husband and I are adopting a little boy through Reece’s Rainbow, a Christian ministry that advocates for the international adoption of kids with special needs. We anticipate completing that adoption within the next month or two. In the meantime, we’ve been going through a bureaucratic ropes course (so to speak) to move forward on this. Alex is totally worth it, but I admit, it has been grueling. Kind of like doing five years of taxes with PMS while in line at the DMV.

I met Vera (her website) through the support group for those adopting from our hoped-for son’s home country in Eastern Europe (we can’t name the country online, sorry!). Vera and her husband Joey were trying to adopt another little boy, same age…but towards the end of their paper trail, found out the child was suddenly not be available for international adoption after all. After a few months of trying to find clarity on what was a complicated family court situation in his country, they were advised to give up hope on adopting this particular child they had loved and prayed for. Not knowing what else to do, they grieved, and just tread water for a few weeks.

But that desire to adopt, that sense someone was out there and meant to be in their family, caused them to look again. And they saw 4 ½ yr old pig-tailed Harper (not her real name).

This darling girl needs something to smile about, I say.
...and knew. She’s the one. They made quick inquiries—truly? She’s available when she’s 5? Actually, they were told, she’s available NOW. Because she has HIV and HepC…two diagnoses that are manageable on their own, but together, require very savvy medical care to keep in check.  (If you wonder how safe it is to adopt a child with HIV, check here. Very safe!)  Because of the coinfection, they’ve been told Harper is a sick little girl and needs better medical care asap. Vera and family are almost entirely ready to go paper-wise--the dossier is being sent this week--and they have paid thousands out of pocket for nearly all costs to this point. But they had expected to have a few months to fundraise and gather resources for travel and facilitation fees. To get Harper the medical care she needs as quickly as possible, they need to raise about $15,500 in...two months.

Like most families adopting kids with special needs, the problem is not really how to afford to care for the kids once home: decent medical insurance helps a lot with this, and there are federal rules for what people need to earn to be able to adopt. People who choose this kind of adoption think it to death, trust me! Vera and family are ready to love Harper and provide good care for her. But the costs of international adoption—well, no one I know has that kind of money lying around. We are able to complete our adoption through the incredible generosity of friends and family. Look, God can do this. But He needs His people’s help. Another woman who has just adopted through RR (Jennifer Doloski) and I schemed to run a fundraising giveaway for Harper. Everyone, the situation is serious, but this part of it is going to be fun—as it should be, because we all get to be part of saving a little girl’s life. We’re celebrating, people!
I'm a dead ringer for this woman. Not.

The giveaway concept is simple. Donate money to their family sponsorship fund at the bottom of this post (a fund that Reece’s Rainbow releases for their adoption when they get a travel date), and you get entered in the giveaway pool.  More you donate, more entries! See bottom for details. Share this fundraiser on your blog, you get another entry. Share on facebook or twitter, you get yet another entry. See, you don’t even have to contribute money to help! One of the coolest things has been seeing people respond to my pleas for items so quickly and generously. We’ve got 42 items to give away! (Very willing to take more items, esp. giftcards, if you want to donate them...but let me know asap!)  We’ll run this giveaway until May 25th.

And as “The Ironic Catholic,” I need you tell you all—Vera is THE Ironic Eastern Rite Catholic! (She’s Ukrainian Catholic.) She has made me laugh hysterically throughout this often trying process. For that alone, I’d give her all the money to get Harper home if I had it. But I don’t…so I do this instead; and maybe it is better this way, more people to pray Harper home. Please, consider spreading the word and donating your coffee money or more this month. All donations are tax-deductible; Reece’s Rainbow is a 501c3 organization.

Now let's have some fun here!

When we assemble the pool and entries, we will draw (through for these donated items:

Giftcards! ($230 worth total!)

$50 Kohl's giftcard, donated by Pam, sister-in-law of Jennifer Doloski
$50 Tiffany's "gift coin" good for merchandise at a Tiffany's store, donated by Kimberlie Meyer
$25 Barnes and Noble giftcard, donated by Leann Putz
$25 Amazon giftcard, donated by Elizabeth Sullivan
$25 Scentsy giftcard, donated by Bianca Montelaro-Olivier
$25 Subway giftcard, donated by Mary Windley (thanks, Mom!)
$25 Applebees giftcard, donated by Mary Windley
$5 Potbelly (restaurant) giftcard, donated by Stephanie Frey

(Signed!) Book-o-rama!

Julie Davis' Happy Catholic: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life, signed and with an extra quotation for fun, "a favorite that didn't make it in" says Julie.  I own a copy, reviewed it on this very website; trust me, it's a fun book, mining funky TV shows, movies, songs, pop and classic novels, and cartoons for surprisingly Christian insights.  As others have said, it's inspirational reading for people who hate Chicken Soup for the _$*^%^(_ Soul books.  And people who like that will like this better.  Julie is way Catholic, but non-Catholics will like this too: it's basically "desperately seeking Christianity" in pop culture.  Fun. 

Mark Shea's The Work of Mercy: Being the Heart and Hands of Christ, signed.
New!  To say Mark is a crisp writer and passionate Catholic is to understate things.  I haven't read this, so you'll have to win it, read it, and tell me about it!  The book blurb: At the very heart of the Gospel are the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Just as Jesus was God "hidden" in the flesh, mercy is the incarnational echo of God's presence in our world. His light shines forth through you and me, powerfully illuminating the dark places and guiding us along the path of sanctification.  In The Work of Mercy, we take a good look at these fourteen forms of service to the weak, defenseless, and poor that have been embedded in the Christian tradition from the beginning and learn how each of them must and can be carried out today by God's people.  Spiritual and practical, The Work of Mercy helps a 21st Century reader live the ancient teaching of the One who said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

Style, Sex, and Substance: Ten Catholic Women Consider the Things That Really Matter, bookplate signed by all 10 authors (Including Simcha Fisher, who is donating this copy....)  A typical Amazon review (they are all 5 stars--impressive!): "What a great book for Catholic women. This book really matters - great stories on topics that are important not only to Catholic women, but women everywhere. I think this is a book we should all recommend to friends. Loved it!"

Why Is There A Menorah on the Altar? Jewish Roots of Christian Worship by Meredith Gould, signed.  Meredith is another one of those "unique writing voices", and this book is both fun and important.  I wish I could write this well, frankly! From one Amazon review: What about Christianity is Jewish besides Jesus? Meredith Gould tells you with wit and depth. The book is excellent -- erudite and charming and breezy (in a good way) all at the same time. And she has constructed a book for today's short attention spans with boxes, lists, etc., without sacrificing fact, history or theology.

Marcel LeJeune's Set Free To Love: Lives Changed By The Theology of the Body, signed.  Marcel is a campus minister at the megaministry at Texas A&M (Aggie Catholic, y'all) and popular apologetics speaker.  A glowing Amazon review: "This book is truly captivating--you won't be able to put it down. If you haven't experienced the Theology of the Body or you don't see its importance, you must read this book. The stories are life-changing and will cause your heart to yearn for something deeper in your relationships. Perfect book for all people of all ages, married, single, or religious."

Jonathan Potter's House of Words, signed.  This is a wonderful book of of the poems was recently read on Garrison Keillor's "A Writer's Almanac."  A reviewer: "House of Words is an intelligent, heartfelt inquiry into the simple and sublime, into the mysteries of faith and love and whether poems can ease 'the ache of years.'"

Brandon Vogt's The Church and the New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet, signed by Brandon.  A fun collection of what's happening now in the virtual Church, with questions about there this goes in "The New Evangelization."  Five endorsements by cardinals and archbishops!  I think that's a record.  Even Thomas Aquinas didn't get that kind of love while alive....

Mary DeTurris Poust's Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship, signed.  One of the book's many glowing reviews is from Fr. James Martin SJ: "This enchanting new book is also an important new book, inviting readers to reflect on an often neglected part of the spiritual life: friendship. Using examples from the scriptures, from the lives of the saints, and from her own life, Mary DeTurris Poust shows us how love is connected to friendship, how charity is connected to companionship, and how loving relationships with one another lead to friendship with God. Helpful, wise, provocative, sensible and always inspirational, this is a book for all Christian disciples, whom Jesus called 'friends.'"

Amy Welborn's Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope, signed.  A lot of us remember when Amy (Catholic writer and blogger extraordinaire) posted that her husband Michael Dubruiel had hours before died of a sudden heart attack.  This book is the story of the next few months, and not surprisingly, it's wrenching and beautiful.  From the illustrious Fr. Robert Barron: Amy Welborn's latest book is a must-read spiritual treasure. It reveals not only the heart-wrenching dynamics of grief but also the odd and wonderful way grace illumines even the thickest darkness. Funny, engagingly written, spiritually profound, Wish You Were Here is a gem."  

The Ironic Catholic's Dear Communion of Saints: amusingly apt advice for foolish Christians, signed.  Reviews.  Sorry if you win this one (blush).  Um, moving on....

The Tall Tales of the Tenacious Tomboy by Regina Bradley, signed. "What do you get when you cross a tomboy and the Ozark wilderness?"  Regina is adopting from RR herself and wrote these stories for her daughters.  I would strongly suggest reading it just for the alliteration of the title....  

(OK, non-Catholic friends and contrbutors.  I know that was a whole lot of catholic going on--what can I say, I know Catholic authors--but I really think every Christian would like these books.  Each book has a connection to the "bigger world" out there. So don't be afraid!)

Fun things!

Five (5!) Interpreting Christian Art apps.  Called "art/y/fact.Xn," and reviewed here by Sarah Reinhard. (Just Apple versions...sorry, Android version not available for the giveaway; app creator Eileen says blame Googul for that!)  This app is just fun.  Helps you go to the museum (or church or book or internet) and interpret Christian art through questions and mini essays, when a goal of deepening meditation through art.  People have a real blast with this app, and shhh, its educational too....  Donated by Eileen Daily, theologian, art lover, and now app creator.

Pinback button set: Vote St Catherine of Siena '12, Vote Augustine '12, and I Support The Communion of Saints Ticket "political buttons".  (Look, even if you are supporting a specific candidate, you may find these appealing..."Faithful Citizenship approved"...moving on....)

Yummy goodies!

Roshen Chocolates: for the record, these chocolates are made in Harper (and Alex's) home country.  People coming from there absolutely mourn the loss of this chocolate like it was their very best friend.  It is apparently that phenomenal.  Think the best quality swiss chocolate, then a bit better.  This batch is donated by Sara Wall...she is trying to get this box pictured and an assortment of Roshen chocolate bars.  Don't blame me for your subsequent addiction.

Beautiful things!

Lia Sophia "Fairytale" necklace and earring set (value $90), donated by Jennifer Doloski.

$15 credit toward Wiehl of Faith Jewelry, item(s) shipped free.  Winner chooses from selections, which can be seen here. The above blue bead necklace is just an example; Kathy does lots of different and beautiful beadwork, reasonably priced.  (p.s. She's selling them to fund her own RR adoption too!)  Donated by Kathy Wiehl.

Three handcrafted Italian millefiori glass bead bracelets, win as a set.  Donated by Carla Dobrovitz, and made by her talented daughters!

A FRAMED print: Kissing the Face of God, donated by Laura Lewis
8x10 print

The other 8x10 print

Two 8x10 photographic prints, suitable for framing, by Life Through the Looking Glass Photography, donated by Regina Bradley

A baby layette and baby girl outfit, new with tags, 6-9 months old, donated by Elizabeth Sullivan

 Lace stitch neckwarmer, handcrafted of Merino wool, donated by Christy McClain Ferguson

Lace stitch scarf, handcrafted of Merino wool, donated by Christy McClain Ferguson

(I love the colors on both of those!)

Thirty-one organizing utility tote in "Circle Spirals" pattern, donated by Lauren Butler Hodges

Handcrafted brown and burnt orange curly scarf, donated by Beth Duffy.  Beth says the glass head is not included and she knows it's kind of scary...focus on the cute scarf!

Four sets of Bath and Body Works lotions, scents, and soaps, donated by Amanda Menix Sadler.  Each scent group counts as one item to be given away, and bottles are full-sized:

  • Japanese Cherry Blossom: shower gel, lotion, body spray.
  • Black Raspberry Vanilla: lotion, shower gel, body cream.
  • Warm Vanilla Sugar: body cream, lotion, shower gel.
  • Dark Kiss: body cream, lotion, body spray.

Holy things!

A free handcrafted rosary of your choice from Roses for Mary, my sister in law Becky's Etsy shop.  The picture above is an example (yes, she's a relative, but trust me, these are absolutely lovely; look at her store feedback!). If you win you get to choose one from stock on hand, except the listed wedding rosary (sorry!). And guys, they aren't ALL rosey.  You could get one too.  Or give a rosey one to a woman in your life.

A variety of Holy Cards from Harper's home country, donated by Jennifer Doloski.

All these items will be mailed to the US addresses for free (offered "credits" may include shipping costs though).  If you are donating from another country, we ask that you would help the person donating cover international ship costs.  We'll give you the person's address and you all can work it out.


Whew!  Ready to help us celebrate?

THE DRILL, once more:
1. Donate.  All donations are tax deductible.  You can send a check to Reece's Rainbow if you prefer that to paypal.
2. Share on facebook/twitter if you wish
3. Share on your blog if you wish
4. Tell me how much you donated and if you shared.  Jennifer and I promise to keep this information in complete confidence.  You can tell me in the comments box, please, with email address for contact.  (I have comment moderation on so I won't post comment on donated money, I'll just receive it, okay?) OR you can email me ironiccatholic at yahoo dot com ; please put "giveaway" in the subject heading!

Entries key:
One entry for a blog post mention on the giveaway, linking to this post.
One entry for a Facebook or Twitter share on the giveaway, linking to this post.
Donate $1-10 = 1 entry
$11-20 = 2 entries
$21-30 = 3 entries
$31-40 = 4 entries
$41-50 = 5 entries
$51-75 = 8 entries
$76-99 = 12 entries
$100-150 = 18 entries
$151-199 = 25 entries
$200+ = 30 entries and a big virtual hug

You can donate right here!>>> 

Or if you prefer, you can donate on the Reece's Rainbow site here (which gives you instruction on sending checks if you prefer that).

The Jenks' family grant is found here, if you prefer to donate for them instead!

We're all done May 25th!  Drawing for items will be soon afterward.

God bless you, everyone.  Please don't forget the prayers for Harper.  And you need to tell me what you donated and if you cyber-shared if you want to be gain entries for the giveaway, because the money is going directly to the family's Reece's Rainbow account, not me!  I don't see it, I just see the rising total...I hope....

Peace and all good,
Susan aka IC


Theodore Seeber said...

This is a neat idea- but have you thought about approaching your local Knights of Columbus Council with this problem?

Anonymous said...

How do we tell you?

The Ironic Catholic said...

You know, that's a good suggestion for Vera. I don't know if Ukrainian Catholics are that connected with the Knights, and I will pass that along. She is wokring on trying to fundraise locally, but has been having challenges with that. Thanks for the suggestion!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this opportunity. My wife and I are adopting a little boy with HIV from Haiti. i know the travails of foreign adoption. Good luck!

The Ironic Catholic said...

Anonymous--you can tell me by emailing me at ironiccatholic at yahoo dot com, or just leave a note in the comments box. I am not publishing those comments, just taking the info. Be sure to tell me what you donated (if anything), where you shared (if you did), full name an demail address. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Will share on FB. Gave $30.

Naomi Young