Saturday, September 14, 2013

Buddy Walk 2013

Three years ago and months after I had first learned of Reece's Rainbow, and after my heart had been pricked, I volunteered to be the team leader for the Reece's Rainbow booth at the Utah Buddy Walk. At that time I thought that if we couldn't adopt then I could still be an instrument in His hands and support a cause that was now so very near and dear to my heart. In the back of my mind I had hoped that if my family got involved then maybe other hearts would be pricked too. But more than anything I was happy to help get the word out and share the mission of Reece's Rainbow. My whole family did come and support me and it was a lot of fun to be able to share Mia Cox's story as well as others and display all of the kids pictures that I had grown to know and love. Remember, I knew every face on that website so it was my way of helping and sharing their sweet faces. It was a success and we even had a family who  committed to adopt a child after seeing her face at our booth. Unfortunately their process got delayed and then the Russian ban took place but it was evidence that we can make a difference by spreading the word. Last year I volunteered to be the team leader again but the walk was held during a time that we had bigger and better plans. We were in Ukraine adopting our princess with designer genes! I was sad to miss it but was pretty sure I was where I needed to be! So this year I once again volunteered and helped support Reece's Rainbow, this time as an adoptive mom who could give a testimonial of our love for this wonderful organization.

This year I was able to show people Sara's RR picture that I fell in love with on the website then introduce her, in the flesh, as our daughter. She found a family all because of Andrea Roberts, her son Reece, and a desire and vision to help these children find families! I will be forever grateful for Reece's Rainbow and being a team leader for their booth at a Buddy Walk is the least I can do to show my appreciation. It was surreal to be a participant as well as a volunteer this year. It was Sara's first time and it was neat to actually walk the walk with her and with our family by her side. We were team TriSaraTops. There was a sea of green Buddy Walk shirts that filled the path and it was awesome to be surrounded by so many people we have met and grown to love and strangers too. To know that we all share something unique and wonderful was really heart warming and inspiring! Our kids rock that extra 21st chromosome! We are very lucky!

This year at the booth I wanted to do something a little different than years past. I wanted to offer a service of some sort. Then the idea came to me to do face painting. I wanted to paint simply rainbows to represent Reece's Rainbow. We had a group of Young Women from our church who volunteered to paint faces and hands and they were busy all day! (Thank you Mandy and thank you girls!) They had a lot of fun and the recipients of the the rainbows were thrilled. We also displayed a small Christmas Tree with brochures hanging as ornaments and topped it with angel wings to represent the Angel Tree that is coming up. We had a family who has no direct link to Reece's Rainbow other than following blogs come out to help too. They provided the balloons we had on display, the Christmas tree, Skittles (taste the rainbow), and much more. Thank you Holly, Rachel, and Richard, your act of kindness will always be remembered. Thank you Kecia too! It's definitely a team effort and I am grateful that I can do it with my best friends! We met up with a few families who have also adopted using Reece's Rainbow including Kecia's family the Cox's (Mia), the Bonner's (Jaymi), the Fillmore's (Anya and Hazel), and the Richard's family (Jocie). We even met THE Brady Murray from RODS Racing. (He is a huge supporter of Reece's Rainbow and mentioned that their organization just reached the $250K mark in donations for orphans with Down Syndrome. WOW! Click on the link the learn more.) I was really hoping to get a group pic of all of the RR stars but the day just seemed to fly by. And before we knew it, it was time to clean up and take down. A storm was moving in and we had to hurry and get out of dodge. Amazingly it started to down pour just as the last item was placed in the car. I'll make sure to take a pic of all the RR stars at our next RR event.

This time last year we were still waiting for an update on Sara. She was still in the hospital and we still didn't have permission to see her. Mark and I roamed and wandered the streets of Kiev just waiting to see our baby girl again. So to see Sara roaming and wandering around the Buddy Walk was a blessed moment. She is taking so many steps now, 10 being her max! Each day she tries harder and harder to walk so it won't be long at all before she is on the go! This time next year she'll be walking at the Buddy Walk and I am looking forward to it! Down syndrome has blessed our lives. I am happy to be a part of the UDSF (Utah Down syndrome Foundation) as well as the Reece's Rainbow organization, two groups who see these children as children who deserve to be loved, accepted, and treated like a child of God. I am grateful for the connections we have made, the people we have met, our buddies! Until next year, share, donate, and do what you can to make a difference to help support Reece's Rainbow. The *Angel Tree is a great way to start.

*Running from November 1-December 31 each year, the Christmas Angel Tree is our most important fundraiser. In only seven years, more than 1200+ children with Down syndrome and other special needs have found their “forever families”. The vast majority of this funding comes from our Angel Tree project each year!  

When you donate $35 or more, you will receive a beautiful photo ornament of your sponsored child to hang on your tree. Our theme for 2013 is "CHOSEN" because each one of the Reece's Rainbow children who have been adopted was CHOSEN! This is a very special way the "share Christmas" with an orphaned child. 

One of these kids is doing their own thing. Why you may ask, am I  not wearing my green Buddy Walk shirt? Because I wore my "Ask Me How To Adopt" Reece's Rainbow tee of course!

Rachel and our little Angel Tree. 

Her smile says it all! Face painting was a success! 

Popcorn and grass, snack of champions!
Rachel and Holly, our awesome supporters!
Mia Cox
Me and my baby girl!
Team TriSaraTops!
The famous big brother Liam! His smile was too cute to ignore!
The Richard's Family

Jocie formerly know as Adalia on RR.

"Hi there! We have lots in common! Let's be BFF's OK?"

The Fillmore sisters. Anya formerly known as Tatiana on RR and Hazel formerly known as Barbara.

Green, green, green. 

And more green! Lots of supporters!

Sara's first Buddy Walk and she couldn't be more proud!

She has a family thanks to her little buddy Reece! 

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