Mina is a precious little girl recently rescued from an orphanage in Eastern Europe who is now finally home with her forever family! She had been without a mother or father to love her & care for her each day. No one to rock her, kiss her gently or tell her she's loved. She is blessed with an extra chromosome known as Down syndrome, which for her that meant a life of being viewed as worthless in the country she was born into & a life without hope. Because of this her parents gave her up at the age of 6 months when they found out the diagnosis & from there her life progressivly went down hill. We are the Gower family residing in OKC who recently adopted this little angel. She was extremely malnourished and unable to do just about anything when we first met her. She will be 2 in January & is the size of a 3-6 month old weighing 14lbs. She continues to amaze us at how quickly she is progressing with love and nutrition. She has learned to sit up, roll over, feed herself finger foods, hold her own bottle and loves to interact with toys and other children. Her life has changed so much in such a short period of time and will forever be changed! Thank you Lord for putting a burden on our hearts to rescue this little blessing and making her apart of our family!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Headed to Eastern Europe!!

We are now on the plane waiting for take off from Chicago to Dusseldorf!! On our way!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A day of rushing, packing, and blessings!

Today has been a crazy whirlwind of a day but also full with many blessings. I know I haven't updated in a bit and that is because we have been running around like crazy people and still are at midnight :)

Just a little left to pack and pick up around our home and then I'm off to bed.

My wonderful cousin, Alex has been such a complete blessing for us. I really wanted to get Mina's quilt all finished so we could take it to her and I just couldn't find the time with everything else. She took that burden off of me and completely took care of it and it looks absolutely beautiful!! I am so amazed and thankful!! She stayed up till around 2 in the morning finishing it for me! Thank you cuz it means so much to me! She even wrapped it with a beautiful bow and heart shaped card.

Here's pics to share with you all!

Later this afternoon a wonderful person of God that has an amazing little boy who has down syndrome stopped by and donated money for us to take on our trip. That was a huge blessing and we are so grateful!

Then this evening we went to my Mimi and Papa's and my grandma had made an amazing dinner for us (Chicken fried chicken, green beans, pineapple carrot salad, and macaroni and cheese) YUM! Several of our family members (aunt, uncle, cousins, siblings, parents) came to pray with us to send us off. My grandma gave us each a special coin that she got when she had her radiation treatments for cancer and they are very special to here. She asked us to carry those with each of us as a reminder of God's protection over us and that our family back home is praying for us! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family!!!

Thank you Lord for all these many blessings!! We truly are blessed beyond belief and we are getting ready to go recieve the greatest blessing! Thank you all for your prayers, love and support!

WOW... can't believe we leave in the am! Better go finish packing so I can sleep :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mina & Myla's Room!

A room fit for 2 little princesses!!  :)

Mina's Bed already for her!!!! 

(Once we get home with all our many pics with her, we will put them in the frames and will be adding her name to the wall by Myla's!!!)

Myla's Bed!

And lots of toys!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pics of Mina~ I just received the greatest gift!!!

So I got an extremely sweet letter today from a family who was in the process of adopting Mina but due to some unforseen reasons decided to let her go so she could be adopted by another family quickly.  She said they prayed for a family to come for Mina and God answered their prayers! Honestly if we had been asked days before we even came across RR if we'd be adopting we would say yes we would love to LATER on in our lives... Not now... Well obviously God had another idea.

Anyways I'm rambling~ so off to the joy above all joy and excitement!!! She emailed me several pics of Mina from when Mina was younger. I have never seen these pics nor did I even know they were out there. 
I am so excited to have these! It is so wonderful to see more pics of our baby girl and have keepsake pics of her when she was younger.

So here you go....Enjoy our girl!!!

Blog remaining open :)

Ok so we've changed our mind and decided to opt out on making the blog private and will just leave it open.  So thank you all so much who have sent email addresses and info to follow our journey~ that really means a lot to us!  I had no idea that many people were even reading or cared about our blog and our story so I am really touched by all the requests.

We think it will be much easier on us as well as everyone else who wants to follow our journey if we just leave it open, and that maybe someone will come across our blog and it will be a tool to open a door in the heart of someone else to adopt. 
We have handed out hundreds of cards with a picture of Mina asking people to pray for her and telling them they can follow our blog to see us bring her home and I would hate for someone to come to our blog wanting to read our journey and see our angel and not be able to.

So we may have to be a slight bit vague in some aspects for the time being... but I think for the most part most of you know where we are actually going and the specifics :)

So no worries about being sent out private invites. You can get on and check our blog just like usual!
Thank you to all who follow along, pray for us, and support us in bringing Mina home!!

The countdown is on!  6 days remaining!!!

Still have squares left on Mina's quilt if you want to send me a prayer, scripture, or message to include! Just post a comment or email it to me and I'll add it on!! :) Thanks to all of you who have done so!

Letter to Mina~ 1 week!


Our precious baby girl, angel and gift from our God above!! My heart is jumping with joy that we have only one week left till we board a plane to finally come meet you in your country. You have absolutely no idea how much we love you, how much we think about you, talk about you, pray for you and long to meet you! We are so grateful that the Lord has chosen us to be your mommy and daddy. There is no greater gift in this world then the gift of a child and we are thankful that God chose to bless us with you and that He put a burning desire on our hearts to do something crazy, out of our element but so rewarding. I can’t wait to wrap my arms around you, kiss you, hold you, tell you how perfectly and beautifully made you are, and how much you are loved!

Your bedroom is all ready for you. Your bag is mostly completely packed and your sister is anxiously awaiting meeting you. She talks about you at least 100 times a day- telling mommy where your bed is and your toys, and saying Myla share with Mina. She asks everyday when she gets to get on an airplane to fly to meet her sister and she talks about you flying home with her. What a joyous day that will be!

Mina, feel the peace and comfort of the Lord. Rest in His embrace and know that soon… very soon you will no longer be alone here on earth but you will have a huge family with lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who will always love and adore you!

Mommy wrote this just for you:

Oh precious girl, your life was planned,
God formed you with His two hands.
He knows about you and loves you my dear,
He’s watching over you until we get near.
A blessing, a gift what a joy you’ll be,
Not ours by birth, but our child from the King.

Oh wonderful Creator
You loved us so

And as you’ve told us,
We will surely go.
To care for the orphans,
Embrace them with your love

And accept this gift of life
That you entrust us with.
The debt you paid is far greater than ours,
Thank you Lord for the gift of a child.

We know you were left for reasons unknown,

Although you don’t know us, we already love you so.
We pray for you each day,
And already feel your ours.
We can’t wait to meet you with open arms.
A blessing, a gift what a joy you’ll be,
Not ours by birth, but our child from the King.

We love you little angel!!
Soon very soon….

~ Your mommy & daddy~

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Going Private!

Ok... so I've debated on whether or not to make our blog private and well just figured since most everyone else does it for safety reasons for the adoption I might as well be on the safe side and make our blog private as well. 

Basically what making our blog private does is allows us to tell you exactly where we are going and post the truth about our adoption journey in Mina's country! That way we don't have to worry about saying something that could possibly cause a problem in our adoption journey.

Anyone who wants to follow our journey can email me (sweetraeoflove@gmail.com) or post a comment with your email address and name.  Be sure to include your name & email address in order for me to add you to the list.  I will compile the list and then send out invites next week before we leave.

Be sure to email me or comment before the blog goes private so you won't get locked out.

Off to do some of the many things on my to do list. Only 9 days left till we are boarding a plane to Mina's country!

Also we still have many quilt squares left.  Please send me a scripture, prayer or message that you would like written on a square so we can get Mina's quilt finished before we leave!

Thank you!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mina's Quilt! Please Help! No donations Requested! Just words! :)

All blogger friends, lurkers, facebook buddies, and family please help us get Mina's quilt finished. We are not requesting any donations just your words, scriptures, prayers, love & support!

Ok... so we leave in less than 2 weeks and Mina's quilt is far from being complete.  We have about 68 squares left to fill in before I can even begin to finish it (which will take some time as well.)

Originally we had asked any amount of donation to buy a quilt square to leave a message. But at this point we just want Mina's quilt filled with love so that we can get it put together and take it to her when we go!

Our thoughts in making her a quilt was to be able to take a blanket filled with messages of love, scriptures, and prayers to wrap her in it to be a keepsake and reminder of all the love & support it took to bring her home!

Please post a comment, email me at sweetraeoflove@gmail.com, or Facebook me your message and we will write it in on a square!

Thank you for your help!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Garage Sale Praises!!

This past weekend was such a wonderful blessing. It was extremely hot, tiring, exhausting, oh and did I mention HOT!!! There is nothing like having a garage sale in the middle of July with 105 degree weather. One of the joys of living in Oklahoma!

So for any of the crazy garage salers who fought through the heat with us… just fyi we normally wouldn’t be this crazy and have a garage sale the hottest time of the year but did it simply for the fact of bringing our little girl home and leaving in 2 weeks. Never again do I think I will ever have another garage sale… especially in the heat of the summer!

~Dear Lord, Please never ask us to adopt where we have to hold another sale in July. Any other cooler month will do or please send cooler weather. Thank you in advance :)

We were able to meet so many wonderful people through the sale. We heard story after story of people who have adopted personally, know someone who adopted, or are in the process of adopting. We met a couple who is in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and is waiting on their referral. We just want to lift them up to the Lord and ask that they receive a referral quickly and that the process and travel date would come so quick so that they can go meet their child. There was a mom from here who has adopted three children that came out just to donate~ what a huge blessing she is to our family and I am so grateful for her faith in loving and caring for those children. Another man stopped by just do donate $50. What a huge blessing!

Thank you to all the garage salers who came out, found treasures, and helped support us bringing Mina home!! We are truly grateful! Thank you, thank you to all those who have graciously donated and given to help this sale even be possible!  We made $1,232 total at the sale this weekend!!!

Then there was figuring out what to do with all the leftovers. I tried contacting people asking if they knew of any families in need that could use some of the things we have left over so that they could come look through and take what they needed and couldn’t find anyone. Thought about donating+ a tax deduction but just didn't feel that would be fair to all the wonderful people who blessed us and so we wanted to in turn pass on the blessing to someone else!  So then I contacted the Malone family asking if they knew of anyone adopting that wanted to have a garage sale to help raise funds for their adoption. They knew just the person. She called me and was so excited. She said she had just been praying to the Lord about what they were going to do and where they were going to get stuff from because they hadn’t received much to sale & her phone rang with the news! She said that her and her family would love to come pick it up and even help us box everything back up (something I was dreading doing after this long week.) So it was just perfect!! I am so grateful to all those who donated to us to help us raise funds to bring Mina home and so grateful that the Lord opened the doors for us to be able to pass the remainder to another family for the same purpose! They are coming this evening! What a blessing!

SPECIAL THANKS: There is so many wonderful people we have to thank! Thank you to Kate & Cody our neighbors for always helping with anything needed. Kate spent the week with me setting up for the sale & getting everything organized as well as sit at the sale and help me run it! Cody helped pick up several heavy items for the sale. What a huge blessing you have been to our family! Thank you to my Mimi for all your love & support for your great grandbaby. She watched Myla one day of the sale for us, came and set with us in the heat on another, and cooked us dinner the next day! Thank you!! Charmaine~ my Mimi’s good friend, for all your time, donations for the sale, love, and for sitting out in the heat as well and being our best sales woman :) We are so grateful for you!! Thank you for letting us borrow your cash register, clothes rack, and tables. You are such a wonderful person and I am so thankful you are a part of our lives! Thank you to my wonderful husband Jim for always being supportive, hard working, loving and most of all patient with me when I get impatient in the miserable heat :) I love you so much baby and couldn’t do any of this without you. Jim put up some awesome signs with arrows leading directly to our house. He moved boxes after boxes and heavy furniture/ tables day after day. He forced me to sit inside out of the heat for awhile cause he was worried about me. LOL You are amazing and I love you and am so grateful that you are my helpmate from the Lord!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garage sale~ Day 1!

Praise the Lord for such a wonderful successful day. Despite the dyer heat this afternoon everything went quite well for the sale. Thank u so much to all those who came, donated, purchased items, shared in conversation and truly blessed our family & our precious little Mina!

We made $585 today!! We are so appreciative and once again say thank u! I will adjust our fundraising thermometer at the end of the sale!! Yay!!

A special thanks to our wonderful neighbors who have been such a huge blessing to us and have consistently helped for the past week set up, get prepared and sit with me at the sale!

As well as a special thanks to my grandma's best friend Charmaine!! She has done a tremendous amount of things with us helping set up, run, and coordinate the previous huge event sale, working at this one, and donating a tremendous amount of wonderful items as well as time! Charmaine we are forever thankful for all you've done & continue to do. Thank u!!

We truly couldn't do it without all the help, love and support and we praise God for each of u!! Each of u play an amazing role in us bringing this little girl home. We covet the prayers and pray blessings on all of u!!

Once again we say thank u!!

will post pics tomorrow for everyone!!

Still lots left. Sale continues next two days!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Garage Sale July 15, 16, & 17 8am-4pm

Ok... so I'm extremely exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open but thought I'd write a quick post to update everyone on the sale!

I have spent this whole past week cleaning out the garage, organizing, moving hundreds of boxes and getting things ready, now the sale is here and I am down right tired :)

So my garage is completely full to the brim. There is hardly any squeezing room between tables and things to get the garage door closed but we managed to cram everything in.   We will be getting up around 6:30am to start pulling lots of stuff out of the garage to line the driveway. 

We have just about anything imagineable:  beds, furniture, antiques, books, children's stuff galore, children's books, toys, clothes, shoes, bedding, Adult clothes, shoes, purses, accessories, etc, holiday, houseware, kitchenware, decor, picture frames, paintings, candles, baskets, crafts, books, movies, electronics, tvs, computers, keyboards, etc, etc, etc.....

Please pass the word on to any Oklahomans in the area!! :)   Also please be in prayer for an amazing turnout and that the Lord would continue to provide for us financially!  Thank you all!!!!

WHEN:  July 15, 16, & 17th  (Thurs, Fri, & Sat) ~  8am - 4pm

WHERE:  6312 Westpark Drive  OKC, OK 73142

WHY:  To help us raise funds to bring Mina home!!

Now off to bed to get a few hours of shut eye before it's time to get back to work! Can't wait to have this baby home & all the hard work paid off! :)  Only 2 weeks till we leave!!! Horray!

Monday, July 12, 2010


So we've been working on getting everything ready to go and planning our next big garage sale. Rain permitting we will be having the sale this weekend at our house so please be in prayer for that to be a great turn out!

Some exciting news! I think we are close to having the electronics side of our trip figured out. The only laptop Jim and I own is 10+ years old and it's a little ancient, runs extremely slow plus doesn't have wifi capabilities, so I don't think it would even be useful for us to take it along.

We had talked about buying a laptop for the trip so we would be able to update our blog with pics, videos, etc but as time gets closer just don't really feel we have the money to go spend on buying a computer at this time.

So I started brain storming and thought... I have an iphone so I thought if we can find wifi over there than we could update our blog through my phone. So I searched for blog apps and found a free one where I can upload text, video through you tube and pics. I also figured out that the ipad keyboards can be attached to our iphone & I can type using that making it much easier and quicker than typing out on our phone. So I will be able to type the text in my notes on my phone at our apartment/ wherever we stay than when we go to a wifi hotspot we can connect and post everything.

So I am really excited about it! Plus it saves us the packing and the extra expense. Just hopeful that it works out as well as we think it will :)

Myla eating a krispy kreme donut

So I'm testing out this new app I got on my phone to see if I can upload pics and videos to our blog. So here u go.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Plane Tickets Are Booked! We leave July 31st!

A little less than $5,000 later and our plane tickets are booked!  We fly out July 31st at 12:20 in the afternoon from OKC and arrive in Eastern Europe on August 1st at 2:30pm.  It will be around a 24 hour flight and layover trip with the time change.  Our SDA appointment is August 3rd!

Please begin praying for us and for our daughter Myla.  We have decided to take her with us because we just didn't feel we could leave her for 5-7 weeks and come home with another baby. We thought for her sake it would be better if she got to be there and be apart of things and us go as a family to bring home our precious girl.

Please pray for her during this process. For her to do well in the long flight and adjust quickly to the 8 hour time change, for her to have patience beyond belief, that she would be very well behaved in all the office visits, orphanage visits, and trips we must take to get everything done. As many of you know she is 2 and anyone who has kids knows how 2 year olds sometimes act.  Please just lift us up in your prayers!

We are so excited! Just a few weeks left.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Prayers Needed!

Please Continue to pray for us financially. 

We still need approximately $13,000 to bring Mina home and I've been looking at purchasing plane tickets and they have gone up to $1650/ each so of course that makes our costs and needs financially go up. 

Please pray for us to find an awesome price on plane tickets and for the Lord's provision for us financially.

We will be having another garage sale (which we have tons and tons of stuff, furniture, baby items, etc) July 15-17th.  Click here to see pics from the last sale event to see how much stuff we still have to sale. 

Please mark that on your calander and come check it out if your in the area and pray for a great turnout!

We also have Mina's quilt that we are trying to get filled up so that we can take that to her when we go to get her. Please send a message, prayer or scripture and help us get her quilt squares all filled in so her blanket can be finished and be a symbol of all the love, support, and prayers that got her here! Click Mina's Quilt tab above to see quilt.

Thank you all!!!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

SDA Appointment Date!!!

Yay!! We've finally received our SDA appointment date after lots of anticipation and impatience :)

Drum roll please....... August 3rd!

So it's a whole month a way and further out than we'd hoped but we know Gods timing is PERFECT and we are just excited to finally have an official date to look forward to.

The SDA office closes every 3 months for 2 weeks and that just happens to fall July 1-15th so I'm sure that pushes everything back.

Now we are off shopping for plane tickets.

We get to leave in a month to finally meet our daughter ;)

Praise the Lord! We are so excited and blessed!