Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Maxwell Adoption T-shirts ready for purchase!!

Many of you have told us you want one of our awesome adoption t-shirts. Well they are now here and ready for purchase!

We will order more if demand requires, but I know the shipment we have now will go quickly so don't wait to place your order.

Every heart needs a home. Every child deserves a chance ADOPT.
The roof of the house says "He sets the lonely in families Psalm 68:6

So this is how it works.

Click on the drop down bar to select your size. All shirts are $20 across the board!

2x-6x & toddler- youth sizes are also available!! Just email me what you would like at and I will get back to you on when we will be placing our next order. Wouldn't they make for an adorable family photo?? I'm thinking YES!!

Once you've chosen your size click ADD TO CART.

You will then be able to continue shopping or check out. If you do not have a paypal account just click Don't have a Paypal account? 

We will get your shirts shipped to you asap :)

If you live out of ND we would really appreciate it if you dropped a couple bucks into our FSP (click on the Reece's Rainbow button with Ivan and Levi's picture) to cover the cost of shipping.

If you live in Bismarck, I will email you right away so we can set up a time for me to drop off your purchase :)


Many of you are asking how our shirt sizes run. I wish I had a better pic for you, but in this pic I'm wearing a small and Ryan's wearing a medium. I would describe them as loose fitting but not baggy, if that makes sense to anyone else but me :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pizza Ranch fundraiser (blown away!!)

In my opinion, last night was what adoption is all about!

It was a community surrounding one family, encouraging, loving, supporting, blessing, and working alongside them to see that they are able to bring their children home.

Ryan and I practically floated home from the Pizza Ranch last night we felt so loved, cared for, blessed, and perfectly protected in the Hands of God.

Before I share the mind blowing results of our efforts, I best start at the beginning.

I could feel the energy building for our event way before it was actually time to head over to Pizza Ranch. So many of you shared about our event and invited your friends. I can't tell you what it means to an aching mama's heart to know that she has friends who are fighting alongside of her to see her children brought to safety.

I knew that God was going to do something big, but I couldn't have imagined the beauty He displayed last night through His people.

So we met up with our amazing team of friends at Pizza Ranch, changed into our adoption tees which came yesterday morning I might add :D Then we got to work putting out all of the tip jars. Huge thanks to everyone who lended me their jars!!

We weren't even there ten minutes when I was taking the plates from a table and I heard something that still has my heart stinging. I noticed a boy, probably around 12 reading our tip jar. He was looking down at our boys' pictures when he blantently said to his parents, "Why would they even want them?" I didn't even process what he had just said until I was walking away, but all of a sudden I felt his words penetrate my heart like a razor sharp knife. I went into the back scraped the plates and put them on the counter, but I couldn't move after that. I knew the tears were coming. He is just a kid. He doesn't understand. You had better get used to this woman, you knew this was going to happen at some point. were all thoughts that ran through my head, but they weren't a strong enough pain reliever for my heart. Someone had just looked at our boys' precious faces, the faces I have come to adore, and expressed through words what I know so many people have thought to themselves or said behind our backs, that they are not worthy of our love and desire.


Just then my friend Keri came back and said something to me. I told her I was about to cry and instantly she stopped what she was doing and came to my rescue. I told her what had happened and then the tears really started to come. There I was bawling my eyes out in the back of Pizza Ranch, probably freaking out their poor dishwasher. Then my other friend, who was just there eating with her family caught a glimpse of us and gave me that look like Are you okay? What happened, Who do I need to beat up? She eventually came into the back too and we just had a good tear fest. Both of them know what it feels like to love a child who the world tells you is not your own. They wrapped their arms around me and healing took place. One of them told me that she was telling her son about our boys on the drive over and he asked her if he could give his own money to us. This is a boy who understands adoption. Adoption brought him his brother and sister. He get's redemption and he wanted to play a role in our Ivan and Levi's. After she told me that I realized that every cruel comment we may receive while walking the path God has called us down is going to be worth it because someday Landon will be that child that understands that every life matters. He will not need to question why people love and I pray someday he will choose to give of himself to love the unloved as well.

Shortly after my little episode in the back, God opened the floodgates and people began flowing in. The next three hours FLEW by. People told me that they had to park way down the street because we had the place packed out! Strangers told me that they heard about our event on the radio and wanted to come show us their support. So many friends and our church family came out to express to us their love for our WHOLE family and their support of us bringing home our little lovies. It felt more like a big family get together than a fundraiser. There was much laughter, fun and encouragement being had at the Pizza Ranch last night! When Keri and I sat down to eat something I told her that God had redeemed all of the pain from the hurtful words.  Truthfully by the end of the night my cup was so full of joy that I wasn't even thinking about how much money we brought in. But when we finally gathered to hear the total of our earnings I was BLOWN AWAY!!

God You are so good it's hysterical!!!

Personally Ryan and I had been praying that we would raise a thousand dollars. We thought that would be a miracle!

We had some people give to us that were not able to come last night, but wanted to support us anyway. With the money they gave and our tips we made......



That is not including the 10% of what the Pizza Ranch made last night!!

Ryan and I were just blown away!!

Everyone was blown away!!

The people who work at the Pizza Ranch were completely BLOWN AWAY!!

God when you show up it is so crazy beautiful people are just left speechless!! Thank you for showing up last night. Thank you for redeeming the pain that ignorance brought my heart through the healing touch of your Body, wrapping Ryan and I in Your love and support. You confirmed again that we are safe with You and although it will be hard, we are not in this alone.

To God be all of the glory and praise!!!

Our amazing team!!

Words truly cannot express our love and gratitude to each of you who made last night so incredibly beautiful!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hope is Rising!

We had a very busy yet wonderful weekend.

Hope is rising in our home.

We have been told that if all continues to go smoothly and we get our home study soon, we will most likely be traveling mid to late JUNE to get our boys.

I have moments where I just pause and I'm blown over by the reality that this is actually happening. We gave God our willingness and God is moving mountains on our behalf.


I am that giddy pregnant mother who is constantly dreaming and staring at the ultra sound pictures except that my babies are not inside my womb and they are not black and white blobs on a shiny piece of paper. I get lost in their distinct features and my heart is broken daily by the realization that I've missed another day of their precious lives.

We need to get them home.

We long for them so badly that their presence almost seems evident in our home.

We did something we were not going to do...

we purchased their beds yesterday.

We were going to wait until we got our USCIS approval (just to be safe), but hope is rising and I just want to act on it (not to mention we found an amazing sale)!!

We continue to fight...

We labeled 70 tip jars with their sweet faces this weekend!

It felt good!

It felt so good to be doing something (besides paperwork) that made me feel like we're one step closer.

In God's perfect timing the new Audio Adrenaline album came out this weekend.

That's right, they're back baby!!!

I saw them on their farewell tour when I was 16 and I'm pretty sure I cried when they played their last song. I sang "Strong" at my home school graduation and the words of that song are still my life prayer... SEND ME!!

So how perfect is it that their new album is centered around what God has shown them while working with orphans in Haiti through their Hands and Feet project?

Ryan and I have been blasting their new album through our apartment for the past two days. We're letting the words penetrate and fill our hearts with hope, courage, and passion.

Thank you Audio Adrenaline.

One of my favorites on the new album is this...

This song puts to words what my heart sings.

Ryan and I may not feel courageous everyday, but we move forward because deep down we're believers.

We believe that our God can level our mountains.

We believe that if our God can raise a dead man to life then He can also bring healing and restoration to two little 5 year old boys that the world has given up on.

We believe that through the power of Christ dwelling in us, we can walk on water.

The other night both Ryan and I were feeling overwhelmed when I had this random thought. I looked over at Ryan and said,

"Babe, we're walking on water. (long pause as I tried to understand what I had just said so I could explain it) What we're doing is impossible, but we're doing it, God's doing it. But when we look around at our circumstances, we start to realize that we're walking on water, we get scared, we worry, and then we begin to sink. Let's not look around baby. Let's fix our eyes on Jesus and believe that with Him ALL things are possible.

So that's what we're doing.

We're fixing our eyes on Jesus and taking one wobbly and scary step at a time in complete faith.
Look at all of the hearts that have stepped out of the boat with us and are believing the impossible!

We are going to get our boys home. Please take our hand, give your heart, and join in this fight against the enemy. Together, we can push back the mountains and stand on the waves.

Will you believe with us?

That's not even all of the hearts, but I figured I shouldn't wait till I have the time to catch up on making them to let you guys see how God is growing hearts for our precious ones. I believe we can fill up the wall completely by the time they come home :)

Tonight is a big night!! 

If you are in the Bismarck area, PLEASE come out to the Pizza Ranch between 5 and 9 (buffet closes at 8) for a great time and some great pizza!! Me, Ryan and some of our friends will be bussing tables. All tips and 10% of the nightly proceeds will go directly to the ransom of our sweet boys!

We'd love to see you there!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grief and God's goodness

I checked my phone at a stoplight on my way home from work and saw a message from my Reece's Rainbow bff asking me if our family is ok because someone had posted in one of our groups that something had happened to a family and to be praying.

When I got home I texted her back and told her we're fine, but I would be praying for the family. She then texted me back and told me the news that Sasha (Jonathan) had passed away.

I recognized the name but couldn't put a face to it.

Landon was eating a snack in his high chair so I sat by him, grabbed my phone and hurried to the Reece's Rainbow group on facebook.

That's where I found this.

I was sobbing by the second line.

I still just feel sick...

I know that I don't know this woman, but we're connected through our aching mama hearts.

I know the feeling she had when she first saw her precious Jonathan's picture.

I know how her thoughts of him got her through the mountain of paperwork.

I know how she probably practiced calling for him just because she wanted to feel how his sweet name rolled off her tongue and hear how it resounded in her ears like a hallejuah chorus.

I know how her face could light up just from daydreaming of his future. It's the kind of smile that can only grace the face of a mother.

I know how her mind would photoshop his beautiful smiling face into their family photos

I know how every night after she tucked her other children into bed, she would undoubtedly think of her sweet jonathan and long for another forehead to kiss, glass of water to fetch, and blankie to pull up.

I know the pain that pierced her heart every time she let her thoughts acknowledge the place her child was living.

I know how she wondered

I know how she sobbed for him

I know how she prayed day and night for God to make a way.

I know how she spent many hours just thinking about the moment she would finally hold him in her arms for the first time.

What I don't know is how she felt when they found out they had been submitted and the excitement that must of filled their home when they realized it would only be 5 weeks before they would travel and all of their dreams of their son/brother would become a reality.

And what I don't know is the crippling devestation that overcame her today when all of her dreams turned into a nightmare with one morning phone call.

I cannot imagine.

I just keep sobbing.

After reading her blog I took Landon from his highchair and held him in front of the window. I leaned my head against the window and prayed that watching the cars go by would be enough of a distraction so he wouldn't witness his mama breaking down.

My heart just hurts so bad.

It's breaking for the Marr family, and it's breaking from the cruel reminder that this life is so fragile.

Truthfully I just want to vomit from the pain I feel right now.

Everyday I am reminded of the relentless love our savior feels for us. I am reminded how painful it is for him to watch His precious children suffer pain. I can sense His devastation over the fact that His children don't understand His love for them.

I know how He desires to run to us and swoop us up in His arms. I know how He wants to tell us that He is not a stranger. He longs for us to understand that He is not just a good thought. He is real and the relentless love, the mountain moving love that He has for us is REAL and that it could heal us if we let Him in.

I feel like our adoption has given me a closer look into God's heart. I actually feel it beating in me for Ivan and Levi. I feel that longing for them to see me and know that I am not a stranger, I am their mama. I want them to know that there is nothing they could ever do to make me love them more because there is nothing they have done to make me love them in the first place.

They are mine.

I love them because they are mine.

And that is exactly why God loves us.

It's not because of anything we have done.

He loves us because we are His.

The deeper we get into this adoption....

The more in love I fall with my Lord.

My God climbed the ultimate mountain and no amount of paperwork and fundraising can compare to the fight that He fought to give us the right to be called His sons and daughters (John 1:12).

I didn't understand salvation before this adoption. I accepted it, but I clearly didn't understand it.

I didn't fully understand that I was an orphan, abandoned with the label "worthless" around my neck when God stepped down out of Heaven and said NO. You will not remain an orphan. You will be my child. I will do whatever it takes to give you my name, because I believe you deserve to be loved (John 14:18).

I believe this is why God calls us to take up the plight of the orphan, fight for them, and adopt them, because God knew that if we let an orphan into our heart then we WILL see His heart for us.

We wont just know of His love, we'll feel it coursing through our veins.

We wont just ponder the sacrifice of Jesus on Easter, we'll remind ourselves of it everyday because it's what gives us the strength to love a child that doesn't know how to love us back.

We wont just preach of His redemption, we'll see it play out on the stage of our homes.

I'm going to share a video with you all. It's one that literally had me in tears for three days. I found it when I was researching mental institutions in Eastern Europe because we were told that Ivan and Levi had already been transferred. We waited 4 weeks to hear back word as to their whereabouts. Those were the 4 longest weeks of my life. Everyday I woke up I wondered if my children would make it through the day or if the affects of their neglect and abuse would finally be too much for their tiny bodies to take.

This video shows what life looks like for children who are "transferred"

Sweet precious Jonathan had been transferred. 

Only God knows the pain he experienced.

He was only 5 weeks away from a loving family.

There is no way to process a tragedy like that, but as I grieve for the family, I thank Jesus that Jonathan is safe now. I smile when I imagine the new glorious body that he is clothed in, one that will never know neglect or hunger ever again.

We have been told that if all goes well we will most likely be traveling to our boys' country in mid to late JUNE!! This is incredible! I have never heard of an adoption going this fast, but when I think of the reality our precious ones are living in I can't help but wonder if it will be fast enough (and here come the tears). I know at anyday thier files could fall into the wrong hands and someone could notice that they should have been transferred by now. I know that if they are transferred their bad situation will become 10x worse. It is truly unimaginable what these precious ones in these institutions face.

It is pure evil.

pure evil.

But our God is mighty to save AMEN?

We believe God will level the mountain that stands between us and our Ivan and Levi. Please prayerfully consider helping us ransom our precious ones. The fact that we may only have a couple months to fund raise is terrifying. We still need about 16 to $17,000.

We have many fundraisers coming up, the next one being on March 18th at Pizza Ranch. Ryan, me, and some of our amazing friends will be bussing tables from 5-9. All of the tips we receive and 10% of the nightly earnings will go towards Ivan and Levi's ransom. Please join us in fighting for our boys (and get some great pizza while you do :)

If you do not live in Bismarck and would still like to make a difference for our boys, you can give a tax deductible gift by clicking on the Reece's Rainbow button with our precious ones pics on it.

Thank you for believing with us that "Every heart needs a home, and every child deserves a chance."

Stay on the look out for an updated picture of the boys' wall. The hearts are spreading!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Never Once!!

This song is our new theme song. It's the perfect reminder to Ryan and I that God has been faithful in the past and He will not forsake us now!!

Let's climb on Haley Buhman!!!

Please pray for my friend and fellow crazy mama... Follow their journey here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I've been meaning to write a blog since Monday, but it just never happened.

I feel like when I don't blog for long periods of time everything just builds up inside of me until I am so desperate to write that when I finally get my fingers to the keys with a blank canvas in front of me, I spew passion all over it. 

I don't even need to think about what to write, the words just come... that is how I feel tonight.

I will warn you that I am about to get vulnerable. It's not something I enjoy, but it's the only way I know how to live. 

This week has been hard.

There have been times where I have thought... what are we doing??

There have been times where I've been so exhausted from life with one little 11 month old that I am terrified of what life will look like with two more extremely needy little boys.

But today I got a nap, worship, fellowship, and a starbucks caramel frappuccino. Suddenly I'm starting to feel my mind pulling up out of the fog that it has been stuck in for days.

I'm thinking and pondering again...

I'm hearing my heart again...

In a way, I feel like the past 5 years of my life have been a fight against God.

I fought God when He told me that He wanted me to marry Ryan. I was terrified of loving someone so deeply. I was terrified of trusting him and being hurt. I was terrified of hurting him. I was terrified of making a mistake and our relationship hurting the One that I love more than anything else... Jesus.

I knew that loving Ryan and giving him my heart would cause me pain someday and the fear of being hurt or failing God almost kept me from the biggest blessing I'll ever know.

Truthfully I would not be with Ryan today if he would of let me break up with him, but he never let me give into the fear that fought to control my life. 

Finally God won the fight and Ryan and I slipped off our shoes, walked up onto the stage, stood under the pergola that Ryan had made with his own hands, and pledged to fight for each other for as long as we live and journey down every path God calls us to hand in hand. 

We took off our shoes that day because we knew that we were embarking on Holy ground. We knew that satan was going to do everything in his power to get in between us and scare us away from the beautiful, dangerous life God had planned for us.

Fast forward a couple months and my fear was again battling against the God I desired with all my heart to follow. My heart said trust God, my fear told me to hide from the God who chose to knit a broken heart into the tiny chest of my unborn child.

The fear was consuming at times. At times, the battle was so intense I couldn't speak, but God WON!

Before Landon was born I came to a place of total surrender. I told God that I don't only trust Him to heal my baby. I told him that I will trust Him even if He chose not to. I told Him, no matter what happens, I will still believe that He is good and trustworthy. No matter what happens, I will still love Him and follow Him wherever He leads.

Landon's journey was not easy. 

His healing was not instantaneous.

It was HARD!

It felt so LONG!

The memories still bring me to tears.

Our feet are still rough from the callouses that the climb left on them.

And now we're here..

Facing another mountain that looks impossible to climb.

Fighting fear for every tiny step of ground.

I know some of you don't think that Ryan and I should be trying to climb this mountain.

What I want you to know is, this wasn't our choice.

Just like when God placed Landon in my womb he has placed Ivan and Levi in our hearts.

Quitting on them, would be nothing less than an abortion. It would mean nothing less than murder to the two precious lives that God has told us to love and protect.

We didn't just think one day, ya know what we are just awesome parents. We should adopt two children that have been severely neglected and who will face extreme challenges. We are just a normal couple, just a normal couple that has good days and not so good days. We're just a young, immature and silly couple that God came to and asked one simple question. "No one's going for them guys. Will you go? You've seen my faithfulness. You've seen my redemption. You've seen my healing power. Will you trust me? I want so badly to hold them and give them the love they don't even know they long for. Will you let me? Can I send you?

All we did is say yes.

That's all, God's done the rest.

He's put a passion and desire in us for these two precious ones that is absolutely unquenchable. 

He continues to give us his eyes and His heart for these boys.

On days when I wonder what our life is going to look like once our boys are home, God always tells me the same thing.

It's not going to be any different, any harder than each day is right now.

As long as we are leaning into God and relying on Him for our strength, we are going to able to love our boys, we are going to be able to care for them.

Is it going to be hard... well of course.

But life is supposed to be hard, it's what makes us remember that we are completely worthless without Jesus.

There is a verse that has been freedom to me.

It's not long, it's not complicated, but it is the secret to overcoming fear.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

There it is. That's all Ryan and I need to know.

We've been made perfect through the perfect love of Jesus Christ. We know that God is a good God and He is not going to ask us to do something just to punish us. Therefore, we have absolutely NOTHING to fear. 

God has given us an amazing, unbelievable love for Ivan and Levi. This love has left me speechless and in tears on many occasions. This love God has given us for them trumps every fear that may rear it's ugly head in opposition of God's will coming to fulfillment in our families life.

I feel like I need to apologize for my very long rant, but I hope that what I said encourages you to cling to the perfect love that Jesus has for you. Please believe me that He longs to send this love flowing through your veins and chisel it into the very marrow of your bones. Your mind will not be able to conceive, what God will do with You if you give into this love and say Yes to whatever crazy dream God has placed in your heart.

Don't let fear stand in the way of the beautiful, dangerous life He wants to give you. It's hard, but I can tell you, it is so so SO very beautiful. 

When the hard days come, and they WILL... take a nap, claim the promises that He has given us, blare the worship music through your house, call a friend and meet her at Starbucks for a caramel frappacinno.

Please know that every one of my passionate posts are never written with the intent to point a finger or heap guilt. 

We are in this fight against fear together. I want to encourage you, you're not alone.

I love you and your support means the world to our family.

Thank you for being my listening ear :)