Sunday, March 16, 2008

XO Laptop Contest: You choose who wins

Thirteen people entered. Here are the top five, in no particular order. Please read and vote for who should get this laptop. There's a poll at the end. Voting closes on Thursday, March 20th, at 11PM, CDT. I'll post the winner and the blog poll graphic on Friday, March 21st.

Voting is closed. There were four email votes from people receiving error messages. Three were for #5. One voted for #1.

See what I crossed out? See how I deleted the poll? This became a "who can tell the most people about the contest" poll instead of a who deserves it the most. So, beginning now, at 7:25pm CDT, you must comment under a name for the number. Don't make this a popularity contest. Make this about which essay touched you the most. I am trying to do something good with this XO laptop while teaching my own privileged children a lesson. I don't want the lesson to be about popularity only. Please vote again. You have 24 hours. Comments will not be shown. I'll post the winner on Wednesday. My apologies to you all.

One more thing . . .

It is acceptable, wonderful, lovely that some of you asked friends to vote for a certain person. What went horribly wrong was that a spam message (as the moderators of MySpace and Facebook declared it) got disseminated broadly--not just to those who were related, friends, part of a support group for some of the entrants involved.


Oh, Crikey! Such lovely words of why you chose one over the other. I'm showing the comments (with the one exception of the person who asked me not to. I wasn't referring to you, by the way, in regards to popularity. Honest.).


1. Who do I think deserves this computer? That’s easy. My daughter Emma.

She’s thoughtful, she’s sweet, and in her own words, she deserves the computer because she’s “smart and knows how to use it”.

Emma’s my little rock. She’s part of the reason I stayed sane after having her 3 younger brothers in under 2 years. When our family life was thrown into chaos when I spent 10 weeks in the hospital, she kept her sweet smile and plugged along. When my hands were chapped and bleeding from changing diaper after diaper, she brought me lotion and helped change diapers. When I need help cooking, cleaning or running errands, she’s always willing. She’s just a good little kid.

As far as birth order goes, she’s the second child, second girl of five. This means she gets seconds of everything. Yet she never complains, always takes what she can get with a smile. And never begrudges her siblings anything.

She also struggles with infections. She gets infections very easily and as a result has undergone test after test after test only to find that there isn’t an answer. Just a hope that she’ll grow out of whatever causes them. To combat the infections, she takes a low dose of antibiotics every single day. Not the yummy tasting kind, though, the kind she takes almost makes her throw up every single day. The bacteria she gets is resistant to many antibiotics, so the one she takes is it. And even with it, she still gets infections, which breaks my heart, because the symptoms of her infections are sad for both of us.

Emma started kindergarten this year, and I haven’t spent as much time working with her as I should. Since she is never demanding, I find myself getting to her last. She always gets booted off the computer by me and her sister, so to have her own laptop to learn and play would be a joy. A pure joy. And that’s what I want for my special girl. Something all her own that makes her happy.

When school is over she is already planning on cutting off more than 10 inches of her beautiful, unique, silky hair to donate to a child that needs a wig. And that tells you the type of girl she is. She’s a giver, she’s deserving, but most of all, she’s truly loved.

2. We have a neighbor who is 8 years old and has been diagnosed with Hodgekins and Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma. She comes from a very poor family and is very intelligent. I just think she would be a awesome canidate for your give away. She has to be homeschooled because her immune system is so low.

Her name is Autumn Doke. SHe is a adorable little girl. She breaks my heart. She has been given a year To a year and a half.

3.
I am nominating a family with 4 kids, 2 large dogs, and 1 modest income. They gave up the competition and debt of modern suburban living for a lifestyle which many would call inadequate but which has enriched their lives beyond compare. Their kids are age-appropriate for the laptop. They don't have room for a hard-wired machine. Most importantly they would gladly give back to others in response to your generosity.
I nominate them because they took on the challenge of stepping away from society's expectations in order to achieve what their hearts most desired.
They gave up the new, modern house in the high tax district close to family for the tiny 1-bath bungalow in a low tax area.
They gave up a solid second income so that they could provide the level of parenting that their children deserved.
They gave up a mountain of debt in favor of living more simply.
They gave up shame and guilt in favor of pride and faith.
They gave up indulgence for a savings account.
I nominate them because of what they "kept" despite all the funding cut-backs.
They read together as a family. They use the library. Reading is fundamental in their home.
They maintain discipline. By living in close quarters, they reinforced the value of sharing, caring for possessions, picking up after oneself, etc.
They kept after-school activities. They value a well rounded child.
They still have date nights once a month. They value their time as a couple.
They each have their own weekends away. They understand that breathing room is equally important.

4. Hi, We are William and Rita A and have 6 adorable children. Four of them are adopted from other countries and 3 of them have that little extra something special called Down Syndrome. We are blessed beyond measure to have all of them in our family. William is in the military and we are blessed with good insurance but it sure would be great to have a nice laptop for the girls so they can use it for all their learning games and playtime.

We would truly love to have this opportunity to give our girls something they can use to better their education and this could be a good start to something great!!

5.
My daughter is 9 years old and a 3rd grader. She LOVES computers. She used to have a desktop, but it is 5 years old now and full of viruses we cant shake no matter how many times we reload windows. When she was very small, we started using something called "Concept Development Therapy". It utilized a touch screen to teach her concepts like colors, numbers, letters, words. It was as though a light came on in her brain and she got it. My daughter happens to have Down syndrome. Computers have become a way for her to interact with the world, her voice when her words were not intelligible enough to be understood, via speech translation programs. It was her window on the world, a way to show her the things she loved even though we live in Maine, in the sticks, and rarely see much more than snow and loons and wild bears. We could see a circus and talk about the animals, visit Kenya, even tour Disneyworld, all from the desktop.
She learned to read at just shy of 4. Educational software taught her math, science, reading, and opened her mind to a bigger world. Today, she reads at a 2nd grade level, and is doing very well in math. Her speech is much-improved, but she still uses the Vista voice program (on my computer) to write book reports, etc.Her compter is Windows 95, with not enough memory or performance to take an upgrade. She cannot take her desktop with her to school, obviously. And so all the amazing tools available via computer are not available at school, where she needs them most. The school tried to help, but the old laptop they have there is even older and in worse shape than hers here at home.
That "little" laptop you have there could be the key to unlocking her world at school as much as it is at home. The wireless...wow. THAT would be incredible. We are not a poor family. We are not a rich family. But we are a family who cannot afford a laptop for a child right now, even though it would be well-loved and treasured. I can promise you, if my daughter were to receive this as a gift, it would not only be appreciated, it would be immensely valuable to her education. We have software from EduMark, Scholastic, even Clicker 5 and Clicker paint. They sit here unused. We appreciate the chance to try to win your laptop, and are sure that whoever wins it will be blessed with it. Thank you for the opportunity.



Choosing the top five proved to be more difficult than I thought. Please vote for the entry you feel explains the need the best. Who should get this laptop?

Voting closes on Thursday, March 20th, at 11PM, CDT. I'll post the winner and the blog poll graphic on Friday, March 21st.

113 comments:

crunchycarpets said...

Wow..I would give them all a computer if I could!

Sarabeth said...

Isn't that the truth, Crunchy Carpets? I only have one, though! ACK!

BusyDad said...

All of them deserve a laptop and more. There is no doubt about that. However, I voted for #2. My dad died of Lymphoma and it was saddening that the disease took him away from us "so early" (he was 64). I cannot even imagine what Autumn's family is going through. And I even more can't imagine the courage that she is mustering up to fight this disease. Everyone else has the gift of time. Autumn may not. She deserves this.

jmb said...

Sarabeth, if they were all like this I don't know how you got it down to five. I did vote but I could have voted for any one of them just as easily.

Fancy seeing Crunchy here. Is she in your weekend group? She runs the Wet Coast Women group of bloggers that I belong to and is from Vancouver.

Lyndsey Andrews said...

HEY!

I am Lyndsey Andrews, the oldest daughter to Rita & William Andrews, number four contestant!

Everyone has a wonderful story to share. I know my family desrves this! (Not saying the others don't) My parents are nothing short of AMAZING! Everyday is a struggle, but a struggle that my parents knew would be worth it. But, everyday our four little one's bring us smiles, laughter, and joy like we didn't think was imagineable :)
Giovanna (5) love, love, loves to play on the Wiggles website! That is her favorite and loves when we play with her! She learns so much from playing online, like her colors and letters!
A new computer would be a great blessing to our family!!

Thanks for voting for us!!

Lyndsey Andrews :)

OHmommy said...

Wow... you have one heck of a job picking the winner. All seems so well deserving!

jmb said...

Back checking the voting. Those numbers are amazing. You have many silent visitors.

Sarabeth said...

Please notice that you can use the Open ID to login if you are not a Google/Blogger user.

Chrissyg0918 said...

Those stories are all very touching, and it is extremely hard to choose just one, but I think I would have to vote for #4.

alejansmom said...

I am glad to see that you changed the rules and have made this contest less of a popularity contest and more of a vote by statement to show who deserves to win the computer. It is very easy to tilt the outcome when one belongs to many listservs by simply asking members to vote for your own child/children. The lesson to be learned here is also one for the adults. Thanks for the teaching Sarabeth - we are never to old to learn.

KKB said...

Ciarra is an amazing, beautiful child inside and out. She has been a friend to my son since they were babies. She is putting a new face on Down Syndrome. People are seeing it in a much different way than only a few years ago. She has actually changed the opinions of pediatricians. She is yet another example that if we teach these children and give them the chance to learn....they too will learn and excell. She will bloom even more if she had this laptop to use all this learning software she has not been able to use yet. I can't imagine having to make this decision...Good luck with that but my vote is for CIARRA!!

Sarabeth said...

One more thing . . .

It is acceptable, wonderful, lovely that some of you asked friends to vote for a certain person. What went horribly wrong was that a spam message (as the moderators of MySpace and Facebook declared it) got disseminated broadly--not just to those who were related, friends, part of a support group for some of the entrants involved.

Zilacy said...

I found this blogger via an adoption agency forum, where 40 families have not gotten their children, the agency is folding, and the money they paid has disappeared. I was surprised at this post because I thought it was so selfish during a very hairy time for many without children. Anyway, because of this I would not choose her. Instead, I would pick the very UNSELFISH neighbor, #2, who seems to be an angel to the little girl that is suffering. That is true, unselfish love. I hope your children and you pick this lady as she seems to have the attitude you're trying to portrait to your children. Thinking of others less fortunate than yourself. This lady lives right next to a family and says they're not too wealthy, yet she doesn't speak of her own poverty as she can only see the child. Thank-you for doing something so wonderful for those less fortunate than yourself, but PLEASE give it to someone deserving. Zil

OTR Admin said...

Though all are very deserving, I vote for #5. What a wonderful contest!

mom'shelper said...

Wow, A friend sent me this. I have a son with DS in highschool. His laptop that the school provides for him with IDEA $ and he brings home every night, has opened up his world. His emails blow me away. I really didn't know if he would ever be able to spell well enough. Well, motivation and spell checker are everything!

God Bless you for your gift.

My vote goes for #5

Betty Ann said...

I vote for # 5. The laptop will open up a world for her. All of the presentations were very reasonable requests. I'm sure it won't be an easy decision. Best of luck.

Jeanne said...

Yes, I was sent here, but I chose for myself - #2.

Michelle said...

I vote for #2. My daughter is #5. No kid should ever have cancer. This is supposed to be about what TOUCHES me. Kids dying, that touches me. I dont know this kid, and my own kid sure would like that laptop. But you know what? Cancer trumps schoolwork. So, she gets my vote.

Meredith said...

I'd like to place my vote for Ciarra (#5)! She is a beautiful and SMART little girl who also has a little something extra- Down syndrome. Her mom is a wonderful online advocate for the Ds community as well as the international adoption of children w/ Ds. She has personally helped me with my own three children w/ Ds (2 adopted int'l) and their family, although not affluent, has helped out others more than their own finances should allow. Ciarra and her family deserve it!
Meredith

MommyLoveX4 said...

Though all entries tug at heart-strings, I'm voting for #5, as I truly understand what the laptop would really do for this champion of a little girl. When I was a new mommy & learned my daughter had DS, I searched the web to find other families & children with the same diagnosis. One of my searches brought up the little girl spoken of in this essay & her family's story. I saw great optimism instantly & knew we'd be fine, even with so many unknowns. This family is amazing & full of the promise our children deserve. And, I'm honored to know them.

traceylynndel said...

I'm voting for Rita and Willian Andrews.

lisalisa70 said...

I vote for Ciara - contestant #5. She is a beautiful girl, and her mother's heart is just as wonderful and true.

Dawn said...

Even though I would love to buy each contestant a computer, I vote #5.

When I was pregnant with my Daughter, my heart knew that she would be born with Down syndrome. The morning she was born brought the conformation.

I had no doubt what the future would hold. After two bouts of cancer, and becoming a mom at the age of 43, I recognized Gods loving hands at work. I knew he would guide us with out fail. And we would follow with out fail.

And though my Husband and I had talked about the possibilities of our Daughter having Down syndrome he still had a few fears of the unknown. That is until a few hours after Miranda was born and he surfed the web and came across the face and feed of a little girl, contestant #5.

He called me on the phone, his voice shaking to hold back the sobs, "it's going to be fine! It's all going to be alright! An angle in a red hat just showed me what our future is going to be!"

My Husband and I became fast friends with contestant #5 and her Mom.

From first we knew she was on her way, we were in love with Gods Gracious Miracle, our Daughter Miranda.

And, by the Grace of God, and with the loving friendship, humble example, and gentle guidance of contestant #5 and her family, we learned not to except the junk and limitations imposed by others. For
Nothing is impossible for our children unless we make it so.

Mrs. Dawn DeFrance

William Michael said...

hi, my name is Michael, I am one of the family members In the Andrews Clan. I love My family so much for taking on this task of helping these kids with special needs. Im so happy to be apart of it. When they first adopted Giovanna from Guatemala it was hard for me and my twin to adapt to the difference of a child with downs syndrome. They are truly amazing kids and would benefit so much from this computer. Please Consider my family!!



Thanks so much..
-Michael Andrews

Andras said...

I would like to vote for #5, Ciarra.
I never met her or her mom, but I saw her many times on YouTube.
I think it is a lot of effort and hard work to teach a special child
that's why I vote for them.
I wish my son would be like Ciarra when he will grow up.

Tilly Cat & Pip-Squeak said...

I would like to vote for #5, Ciarra. I don't have a child with DS, and all of the families sound very deserving. But at a time when 90% or more of diagnosed pregnancies with DS are terminated, Ciarra is not only hope to all the parents with children diagnosed with DS, but a great advocate to the general public and the medical community. I have been greatly touched by watching Ciarra's videos and reading about her -I have even found that her pediatrician has written about the potential she revealed people with DS to have. I want Ciarra to win, because even though all the families are deserving, I believe that giving the computer to Ciarra will benefit not only her family, but the wider community -by enabling her to maximise her already significant potential, she can be one of the very uplifting examples of living with a disability that this world really needs.

wvamom said...

I vote for William and Rita. I have "seen" the way they interact with their daughters--I am in awe of a couple who not only is willing to "start over" when their kids are grown, with a whole new set, but to parent kids with special needs (I have a son with ds as well, so I know something of what is involved). They have handled having so many new additions with tremendous grace. They would certainly be worthy recipients of a computer. Carolyn

jen32258 said...

I also vote for Ciarra, #5! I can honestly think of none more deserving - and what a wonderful tool this could be for her!!! You are so wonderful to be doing this, by the way!!!

babyofsix said...

Man, this is hard. There are 3 people out of the 5 that I'd really like to vote for. I think I'll have to think about it and come back and vote a little later.

Naomi said...

This is a great contest and some very deserving families.

I'm voting for #5, Ciarra. I haven't met her personally but reading about her progress with school, friends and sport has made me believe that my son will be ok and that it's ok for me to have dreams for him.

savannah0811 said...

I would like to vote for #5 Ciarra. I have met her and she has been an inspiration to alot of families. I to have a son with DS and I have watched her grow and how proud mom is of her. I think the laptop will help her so much in school.

grasshopper said...

My vote is for #2. Autumn may not have much time left, so the time she has should be made as wonderful and enriching for her as possible.

SillySweetPeanut said...

I am voting for family #4. It is one thing to take in children through adoption, it is another thing to take in special needs children. I commend this family.

auburngirl said...

I am voting for William and Rita Andrews. They are a special family God has chosen to raise adopted children with very special needs. The children would benefit greatly in their education with this computer. Their dad is also in the military and a computer would provide the opportunity for the children to communicate with their dad more when he gets deployed.

Julie said...

I am voting for #4. They have 6 children and chose to adopt 4 of them knowing that some had Downs. That is a family that deserves a computer and think how many one computer will help. Rita and William deserve it.

Donna Pfneisel said...

I wish all five could win the computer, but I have to vote for #4, Rita is my neice, and I know what a wonderful person and mother she truly is. We live in another state, so we don't get to see them too often, but
Rita is really good with sending pictures and keeping us updated with all the girls accomplishments. If you could see first hand what their day is like, and how much of a task it is just to go to the grocery store I know you would also vote for #4. These four beautiful girls have come such a long way and are truly a blessing in our family.

Paula said...

WOW! I am not sure how you are going to pick just one winner! My heart goes out to each and every family, in the hopes, all of their dreams will become reality. Each and every one of these families has their own story and helping one of them is truly amazing. I wish you the best of luck in trying to decipher which one will be the lucky one! I am going to choose number 4, because they have so many children who could benefit from such a wondrous gift!

Ronda said...

I am casting my vote for the Andrews family - #4. As a nurse, I am aware of how difficult (yet also rewarding) having a child with Down Syndrome can be. As a mother, I admit to praying for nothing less than a 'perfectly healthy' child each time I was waiting for my three daughters - two adopted and one biological. It is truly amazing and awe-inspiring to me that a single family would CHOOSE to adopt not one, but THREE, little girls with Down Syndrome - in addition to the other little girl who does NOT have DS, but is nearly the same age as the other three!! This family has a HUGE heart for children, for adoption and for adopting children that so many other families don't want! They deserve this computer!!!

krazeekatt said...

My vote is for #4. We are friends of William & Rita and we love their family and their precious little girls. If you could see how smart Giovanna, Isabella, Lilyanna, and Gabriella are, you would vote for them too. This computer would be a huge blessing to their family and would help the girls continue learning new things.

backporch630 said...

#4 The Andrews family have opened their home to children that others would consider "non adoptable". Instead of spending their lives in HORRIBLE institutions totally forgotten by society - the Andrews blessed them with a REAL FAMILY to love them always - I know of no others with bigger hearts then these folks. Bless them with the computer.

AlexWhite said...

I VOTE FOR THE ANDREWS!!!

Por el nombre de Cristo said...

The Andrews are a great family, they've never refused to open their house to children in need. They get my vote!

alejansmom said...

My vote is for #2. My own daughter had been diagnosed with a blood disease at age 2 many many years ago. No child should ever have to go through this type of testing. My heart and prayers go out to this family.

Kim Davis said...

I would like my vote to go to Ciarra (#5) -- She is a TRUE inspiration for all of us!! I think this laptop would help her in school and help everyone know that Down syndrome is not such a bad thing to have.

Leticia said...

Lindsey, I vote for your parents, Rita and William, they sound like two of the most generous people I know, and it's time someone gave to them!
My daughter is six, and has Down syndrome like Giovanna, and absolutely loves the Starfall website, where she has learned her letters. If you win the computer, be sure to go there and see how much she learns!

spahrfamily said...

I vote for Rita and William as well. My husband and I are also doing an international adoption of a child with Down syndrome. It has been the most stressful experience of my life and for them to do this several times speaks volumes. It's not just the adoption itself either, it's the lifetime committee they have made to these wonderful children. They are a beautiful family.

Cynthia Marie said...

Having talked with Ciarra on the computer webcam and seen what she can do on her computer at home, I have to cast my vote for her. I believe it will allow her to blossom even more at school and show others what our kids are capable of. She is a wonderful example of what good technology can do to help our kids. She is simply amazing!

psyop286 said...

Adoption is something that is very near and dear to my family. Through my husband's family, I was welcomed and blessed by the world of adoption. When a family takes on adoption, especially with special needs, I feel it is so admirable to be so giving. Although I feel that all the families are incredibly deserving, I am voting for the Andrews Family, #4. They wanted to bless the lives of these 4 children, regardless of the struggles and by which, have received infinite blessings themselves. This entire family and the girls with special needs would really benefit from such a great gift.

wornoutwoman said...

2...number 2!

Nadia said...

I want to vote for #4,the Andrews Family!! My family is also touched by adoption, and we do foster care of children with special needs!! adoptive families are AMAZING!

daveyxperry said...

I love this family dearly!!! they are the world to me and i would do anything for ciarra to have this laptop. My vote is for number 5!!!!!

Mylinda said...

I vote for #4! What an amazing family!

Jod{i} said...

Holy Moly...now I see why you put it out there, tough choice! Great Idea though!!!!

Liz Self said...

I vote for #4. I am a military kid, an adult who can have conceive and (hopefully) birth children but would love to adopt, and the niece of a 35+-year-old aunt with Down Syndrome who was only supposed to lived until 2 or 3. This family just connects with me, and knowing how often military families move or are separated from their families, I can see how this would help keep them together.

Christina said...

I vote for #2. Cancer is very near and dear to my heart and I pray that whatever time she has left she can spend it enjoying her laptop. God bless and good luck to all.

C. R. Morris said...

I have to vote for #5. I've known this little girl for some time now though I've never had the privilege of meeting her. I've proclaimed myself her biggest fan and honestly believe that all of her accomplishments that she has achieved thus far would be multiplied numerous times if she had this computer in her possession. Even at her young age, she is a leader in her community and uses her abilities to open eyes that were previously closed. I fully believe that Ciarra was put on this earth to make a lot of changes in the way the people of this world view those with disabilities. Help her to do great things! I also must mention that she has GREAT eyebrows!

jennifergrafgroneberg said...

Wow, I wish all the families could get laptops. They are all wonderful and inspiring and deserving.

But my vote is for #5, Ciarra. It's not because of the entry, though that is beautiful on its own, it's because of something you might not know about Ciarra. She (and her mother) are a huge inspiration to all of us parents of kids with Down syndrome. Her accomplishments are her own, to be sure, but they are paving the way for the rest of us with younger children, too. She's helping us hope for our kids, helping us see that their potential is really determined by them, not by the limits that others place on them. Her successes mean so much, not just for her, but for all of us. So I want her to have every opportunity, and every chance, because she's doing so much not just for herself, but for every child with DS whose parents have been told no, or "they can't do that." They CAN, Ciarra is proving it one day at a time.

Michelle said...

lol thanks Renee

PS I just KNEW you'de get the eyebrows comment in there. Thanks to everyone whose been voting, you guys are so sweet. My poor family is having a hard time posting, none have google, aol, etc IDs. But like I said this morning, we won even if we lose..just by the comments here. even the EYEBROW ones. LOL

samski said...

I would like to vote for Ciarra. I use her as a catapult for my own daughter (6) with Ds.

Amalia said...

I'm voting for # 4, the andrews. i met the family in colombia while they were adopting their 2 newest and became fast friends with lyndsay. they're story just touched me and just seeing how much they loved these children and the time and effort they put in to taking care of gabby and lilly was just inspiring.

miss you all, and good luck!

Shadya Karawi Name said...

mi vote goes for Rita and William Andrews (#4). I used to work at the orphanage at Colombia where two of their daughters used to live. I think they are extraordinary people who are giving these precious kids a second chance. The laptop should go to them, for I know the girls would really make a good use of it.

khaaarm said...

i'm not really sure if i can put into words how much this little girl has actually changed my outlook on things. a few years back, she was born with down syndrome.. and at the time i didn't fully understand what that was and how it would effect her, but i did know she was special. she is the most loving individual i have ever met, always doing things to cheer me up when i am down. over the years i've come to realize the things she has to go through everyday to get to where she is. i've never met someone so excited to learn new things, and i know this laptop will really help her out. this is why my vote is going to have to go to #5, ciarra, my little sister. i hear stories, and of course have been personally effected, by this amazing little girl with the biggest drive to learn.

good luck to everyone, and thanks for the awesome opportunity to win something that really would make such a difference.

spencer said...

I think a childs biggest fear is not being able to communicate, and make thier needs know. i would like to vote for family #5. I have worked with Downsyndrome children and i think she would really enjoy this new lap top. Feeling a sense of acomplishment is a really great feeling for them.

mjm said...

First I would like to say that this is a wonderful way to teach such a valuable lesson in selflessness. As a father of 4 I know how hard that lesson comes to our much pampered teens.

It must have been extremely difficult for you even to narrow the field to these all deserving five.

I found your contest quite by accident and thought this to be a wonderful humanities lesson.

It seems to me that one family seems to stand out in this though.
I'm speaking of the family that has adopted the 3 children with special abilities (and on a military salary!). To travel to lesser developed countries and bring back and love hard to place kids seems to extoll the very value you are trying to teach.

God Bless you and all of these families.

Kell said...

I'm voting for Emma - because a kid should be allowed to be a kid - even if she's an early momma and helper. She seems to have a beautiful spirit - and - well, my vote is for Child 1: Emma!

Rita Andrews said...

Hi, Im Rita and the proud Momma to 6 God sent Angels. 3 of these angels have been given the extra gift of Down Syndrome. Some folks may say, "Oh poor them...and they will never accomplish much, they are lucky to have found you" Well my response to that is "No we are lucky we found them! YEs they are our angels sent at just the PERFECT time for our family....and they are TRUELY a gift" We have spent thousands of dollars adopting them, giving our girls a second chance to a life they each so deserve...this was OUR choice to adopt! We know they are meant to be a part of our family...and we couldnt be happier...That said...I have seen such a HUGE difference in ALL of our girls. They all have a different background and how they were placed for adoption...but they CAN and WILL accomplish exactly what they were meant to accomplish. It is our responsibility to find EVERY resource we can to help them...this is why we would love to win this little computer...for our angels sent from above.

Rita
www.andrewscrew.blogspot.com

happykosmo said...

Wow, what an awesome thing to do! Fabulous idea. Very hard to choose. I vote #5. Hugs to each family and their beautiful children, may they be blessed with an abundance of health and happiness.

mindicherry said...

All of them deserve it, but I'm voting for #3, the family with 4 kids & 2 dogs.

Having given up much (like going out to anything nicer than an Outback) in order for me to be able to stay home, I applaud the sacrifices that they have made.

Great competition, by the way!

Reba said...

I vote for family #4. We are the adoptive parents of two Guatemalan sweeties ourselves. It (adoption) is financially exhausting. The blessings more than make up for the cost, obviously, but I know how limiting adoption can be. I cannot imagine adding special needs on top of that. I would love to see those little girls using the computer.

Lily Sunshine said...

All of the stories are amazing, but I vote for #5 Ciarra. My daugter has Down Syndrome too. We look at Ciarra for inspiration for her future! Thanks, Heather, Lilysmom

Sarabeth said...

I've had two people contact via email as they couldn't find a way to get the OpenID to work properly. Both were for family #5.

The count as of 3:48pm CDT is 26 for the Andrews (family 4) and 24 for Ciarra (family 5). This is consistent with the polling which showed a 4% vote for families 1 and 3, a 17% vote for family 2, and neck and neck between the final two families.

jmb said...

I came back to check again and what a debacle.
So I am voting via comment now and for No 5. Every one of these children deserves to have the computer but something has to grab you about one over the others. I liked that the mother of No 5 thought of the others in the contest. I also think it would be a shame for her daughter to lose what she has fought so hard to attain.

sarahgw said...

I vote for Ciarra #5. She is such a wonderful little girl and she is so smart. Something like this laptop will give her more opportunities to excel.

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

I vote for #5 (Ciarra)!

Rob Anderson said...

I vote for #2

Pipey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pipey said...

Number #4 - 3 children with downs in one house is amazing. They could all use the computer and learn with it.

I made a typo in my first one!

gallopinghorsemom said...

We wanted to vote for family #4!

NoleGirl said...

The Andrew's family is one of the dearest and most humble families I know. They have sacrifice so much to give joy, love and hope to children born in their hearts. My vote is for the Andrew's family.

Jesse said...

I am Ciarras brother and I think that this would be awesome for her schoolwork. She would learn so much from this, and it would open up somthing new for her.

papa said...

i vote for number 4

Angel said...

I vote for number 4. It is truly special to adopt children and especially three with disabilities. I'm in awe of what they have done.

Kris said...

Number 4, Rita and William A. This was a challenging vote as I think there are a couple of remarkable families, here. I love the family who gave it all up and also the little girl who is ill, so this is very difficult. But I voted for family 4 as they have opened their home and to children who needed a home and I really admire them for doing this. I know their children would enjoy this and learn much from it.

mymilly said...

I am voting for family #5 I know Ciarra personally and she would definitely use this computer to it's full potential. She is bright and she certainly uses things until they are worn out. She is so gifted and talented and this laptop would only enhance her abilities and experiences as one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Her family is so strong and has been through so much, this would be a wonderful help.

uloklikabrokeass said...

I am voting for family number five. I have a cousin who has down syndrome and he uses the computer all the time. I know that they would use this.

Gennie said...

This is a really tough choice, but I'd vote for #5, because it's really inspiring what this little girl has accomplished. DS touches so many families, but the love and inspiration the children bring makes so many hearts open up.

Amanda said...

My vote is for #5, Ciarra. I've been fortunate to meet her a couple times and she is truely an amazing child. All children learn in a different way, and if computers is the way she understands the best, well then she 100% deserves it. Shes already an intelligent little girl, she certainly does not let her down syndrom slow her down but this laptop would help her out for years to come! Oh and may I mention that Michelle is one amazing person and mother and she would be so grateful for this gift for Ciarra!
Happy Voting!

As We Sail... said...

I vote for #1. Emma sounds very deserving, being a help to her mom, and what she has to put up with everyday (meds, illness, being overlooked). She deserves to feel special and be rewarded for being a patient and kind girl.

Liz said...

I vote for #2! the other children may have needs but they're families also have TIME to raise the funds or submit other requests elswhere to get a computer... Autum's time is running out. She deserves to see the world, explore her interests and extend her knowledge with the all-to-little time she has left. PLEASE GIVE THE COMPUTER TO CHILD NUMBER 2!!!!

hhsdanzer07 said...

I vote for the Andrews!!! They really deserve it!!!

Shelley said...

I have had the opportunity to get to know Rita Andrews in the past year as my family has went through the journey of internation adoption of children with Down syndrome. As a fellow Army wife and also the mom to 2(and soon to be 3)adopted children with Down syndrome, I can assure you that both of these jobs alone(Army wife and mom) are a full time job....together, they make life interesting! Rita is a beautiful person, and she is always so positive and upbeat. She has 4 very deserving little girls who could all benefit greatly from this gift.

seoulmom said...

Tough choice, but my vote is for family #4.

Kendra said...

As the first commenter said, I'd give them all a laptop if I could. However, my vote has to go for #5.

Vicki said...

I vote for family #4. Adoption is financially hard, especially for a one income, military family. This family has done it 4 times and chose to adopt 3 special needs children with Down Syndrome, what a blessing!

While I am sure their children have everything they need, extras (like a laptop) are probably harder to come by. We have 2 bio children and 2 adopted, one with special needs. She is such a joy and a blessing!

CiarrasDADDY said...

Hi, I am Ciarra's Dad. I vote for her to win the laptop. Thank you to all who said such nic things. They are appreciated.

mike42764 said...

I would like to vote for Ciarra (#5) because i know her...well kinda. My mother is friends with her mom and they talk online ALL THE TIME and i have talked to ciarra on a couple of occasions and she is SOOO smart..she calls me GOD...she heard my voice on the webcam and phone and because it was soo deep...she thought i was god... and whispered in her cute little voice..."mommy...is that god?" , thats how the name stuck. she deserves the computer cause i believe that she is VERY capable of being a poster child for DS, she does well in school and could do much better with the laptop...they have alot of programs out to teach her things...that she could really benifit from.

bowling god said...

Knowing Ciarra (#5) thru my wife and her involvement on message boards, and hearing the stories and reading the posts about Ciarra...I have to say she really deserves this laptop.

jonimitch said...

i vote for #5 CIARRA
SHE SOUNDS LIKE A VERY SPECIAL GIRL AND I THINK I WOULD LOVE TO SEE HER GET THIS NEW COMPUTER

jackie said...

hi im jackie, ciarra is a beautiful little girl that could possibly have a bright future ahead of her, and with this laptop that would be even more possible...I VOTE FOR HER #5

jackie said...

hi im jackie, ciarra is a beautiful little girl that could possibly have a bright future ahead of her, and with this laptop that would be even more possible...I VOTE FOR HER #5

Matt said...

I've heard numerous amazing things about Ciarra. She is such a great inspiration for others, while also continually challenging herself to do better. My vote goes to #5.

becbaby said...

I vote for family #4. Having a biological daughter with Downs - I know what a benefit having a computer can be.

becbaby said...

I vote for family #4. Having a biological daughter with Downs - I know what a benefit having a computer can be.

daddystanford said...

Family #4 - They are all deserving.

amanda said...

my vote is for #4 rita and william!!

Rhonda said...

My vote is for #5. My 3 year old granddaughter has DS, 1 week after her first birthday she was diagnosed with leukemia. We met Ciarra and her mom the first day at the hospital. My family was so amazed with Ciarra, she showed us that having DS is what you have not what you are. Thank you Ciarra for being a wonderful role model

William said...

I am the Dad to #4. My kiddos are the greatest....please consider them.

WendysWorld said...

I would like to vote for Ciarra #5 I am lucky enough to know this little girl and she is amazing.

Donna and Doug said...

I vote for number 4. It is not easy taking care of one small toddler, much less 4 and then when 3 of the 4 adopted children also have Down's syndrome it is even more difficult. Rita and her family have made many sacrifices for their children. They consider all of those sacrifices worth it though when they see the smiling faces of their children everyday. A computer would make their lives a bit simpler. It would help them to communicate easier with their three Down's Syndrome children and it would also help teach their 4 adopted children how to speak English. I vote for #4 Rita Andrews and the Andrews family.

Chris, Megan, and the girls! said...

Our vote is for William and Rita (Family #4). We are also a family who has chosen adoption. There are so many unknowns that as adoptive parents you have to just have faith on. William and Rita have excepted these unknowns on top of a Down Syndrome Diagnosis. Who knows where these beautiful souls would be if William and Rita didn't open their hearts to them.

rlharmon said...

My vote is for Number 5, Ciarra my niece. Hope you win Ciarra

I love you,

Uncle Ronnie

brewerballa3 said...

love ya Sierra Hope you get the laptop you so need mary your hairstylist!!!:-)

June Berger said...

#4, they are all very worthy, but my heart goes to the family that adopted the children with Down Syndrome. I have three adopted children, two of which have down syndrome, so you can see that these special children are very near and dear to my heart. I also know the cost of adopting!!! VERY expensive!