Monday, March 24, 2014

Do Something! (TShirts)

Orders must be received by 10 PM EST

~Buy any three adult shirts and get them for just $16 each shipped
~Buy any adult tshirt and get a youth shirt/shirts for just $10 each shipped
*Deal applies to shirts going to the same address only*

We have a new tshirt campaign!

Inspired by the verse James 2:17 which says that faith without action is dead and our own beliefs that everyone can do something to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.

This design is not adoption specific, though I've talked before about how if every believer would do just their part in orphan care we could effectively solve the orphan crisis that exists today. But, whether it's seeing a need in your community and stepping up to do something about it, serving in the mission field abroad or in your backyard, or just offering a helping hand to a single person in need, we can all DO SOMETHING!

There are 4 options for the tshirts.

Light Grey Ash with Red Printing

Red Heather with White Printing

Dark Gray Heather with Either White or Red Printing 
(I don't have a sample of the red design on this color)

They are available in the following sizes, Price includes shipping!

Youth XS-XL $18
Adult S-XL $20
Adult 2X/3X $22


So, the Paypal widget seemed to be causing more confusion than it was helpful so I took it down.

To order a shirt/shirts simply send your payment via Paypal *Select the Family & Friends Option* to
 Then forward the receipt they will email you to and include your order: Color(s), Sizes(s), and your shipping information.
If you would like to include a bracelet(s) on your order just let me know what size (6/6.5 , 7/7.5 or 8/8.5) and your charm choice (Starfish, Star, Butterfly, Dragonfly, Flower, Heart or Plain Silver Ball) for each one.

We are also selling these awesome, coordinating bracelets!

They come in a variety of sizes and charm options:

They are $8 each with free shipping or

Buy any tshirt and get up to three bracelets for just $5 each!
(Includes getting the tshirts at the sale price!)

Our goal is to sell 100 tshirts!! If we do we will have $1000 towards our final expenses!

*Right now we need to sell 11 more shirts to have 50 sold*

If you have any questions about how to order, the tshirts, or would just like to place an order directly you can message me at

And, as always we thank you for your support in helping us bring this precious face home!

Progress, Prayers & Moving Mountains

We found out this morning that the next step in our process, our Article 5 interview at the Embassy in country is scheduled for this Friday!! We are so thankful every time we make another step towards bringing our boy home forever!

After the Article 5 interview our 2nd stage dossier is submitted again for a signature and then we will be assigned a judge! Depending on the judge's docket we will receive a court date (which our attorney in country attends on our behalf). Once we pass court, Ian will officially, legally, and FOREVER be our son! After court our agency applies for a new birth certificate and once they receive it we receive travel dates to go get our boy! All of these steps will take a few more months, but we are so close now to the end of our journey, and will begin a new chapter in our family as a family of four!

We covet your prayers. Prayers that the rest of our process goes quickly and smoothly, that we don't hit any snags or delays to hold us up. Prayers for our son across the ocean who is still adjusting (like any 8 year old would be) to the idea of having a family and going to live in a new country. Prayers for the son we have here who is so excited to have a brother but will probably go through an adjustment period once this all becomes a reality. 

We thank all of you again for every thing you have done to support our family during these last 14 months. Thank you for your prayers ~ to those who have given of their time and energy to help us put on fundraiser after fundraiser & those who have shown up for some or all of them ~ for everyone who has sewn into our adoption financially even when it was a sacrifice for you to do so ~ for every thing, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!



And, of course, speaking of fundraising ~ we're still at it! If we travel before the end of June (and that is our hope and prayer if you'd like to join us in praying) then we estimate that we still need around $6,000 to be fully funded. I know that still seems like a lot of money, but considering we jumped into this process with almost nothing saved and needing nearly $30,000 we're thankful for how God has worked to move the financial mountain between us and our son.

It hasn't been easy, there were times that I wondered if we could really do this. But, we're close to the summit now and the reward waiting for us on the other side is definitely worth the pain of the climb!

First, I need to clarify something that a few people have asked me about. Our FSP on Reece's Rainbow currently shows that we have $5,730.73 in our account. When we withdraw money from that account to pay fees or for travel, the total doesn't go down. Before first trip we withdrew every thing in the account at the time, $5,246.60 to pay towards our 2nd set of agency fees. So, our total in our FSP right now is actually just $484.13

If you feel led and want to make a tax deductible donation to our grant you can do so here

We also have a (hopefully) large, multi family yardsale coming up, as soon as the weather allows that will benefit our family and two other adopting families. If you are local and are doing any Spring cleaning in the next couple of weeks we'd be happy to pick up any donations! We will be presaling donuts and selling them the day of the yardsale as well.

Towards the end of May (or possibly sooner if it warms up enough) My Dad and the Riders Club of our local AMVETS are putting on a Poker Run for us! If you ride, or know anyone who does I will have more information coming soon!

We also have a multi-family auction that will go live on March 30th that we are doing with several other families adopting children from the same country as our boy! If you are on fb and want to check it out (There are over 250 items so far with more being added!) You can do so HERE

Finally our latest tshirt campaign is now live!

We are selling these shirts inspired by James 2:17 and the belief that faith without action is dead!
*I promise when I came up with the idea for these tshirts I had no idea I was using the title of another Matthew West song! I was inspired by a conversation after our Quarter Auction with a group of like minded friends*
Anyway, there is a widget now on the top right hand side of our blog but I have a blogpost coming up in a few minutes with more details on the tshirts AND the coordinating bracelets we will be selling!

UPDATE: TShirt Blog is Now Up!! Just Click HERE

As always, thank you for following along on our journey!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quarter Auction: Part 1 How It All Works

Ok I will try to keep this short and sweet so we can move on to what yall are really interested in coming in the next two posts : The Prizes and How to Enter to WIN them!!

So a Quarter Auction may seem confusing but it's actually pretty simple and so much fun! This will be the third one that A Sea of Hope is hosting in our local area and will be the 5th one that I have been to/helped put together. I'm just kind of bummed that since this one benefits our family I can't participate and win any of the great prizes.

In a Nutshell this is how it works when you attend a Quarter Auction in person.
(Even if you plan to bid remotely it's still important to see and understand how it all works)

Thank you to A Sea Of Hope board members and supporters, and to everyone who came out to the QA in Wilmington NC this past Saturday. This is where all of the pictures featured below are from. Our QA will be set up similarly.

Step 1

Show up :)
When you first come in the door there will be a table where we will be selling paddles.
Each paddle is numbered from 1-300
Each paddle is $5 and this year we are offering a special: Buy 3 paddles get one FREE!
You can select whatever number(s) you'd like.
We have a set of poker chips that are also labeled 1-300
After you select your paddles we will take the corresponding poker chips out of the case, show them to you, and place them in basket we use to draw from!

Step 2

Walk around and see all of the items that will be available to win!
At our upcoming QA items will be numbered and you will be able to see them in the next blog post as well!
All items will be together on 2-3 tables (Raffle items will be separate)

Pictures of just a few items from last year's QA in Martinsville which benefited our family and the Rhodes Family who were in process for their daughter Klemi who came home this past August!

Step 3

After you've purchased your paddles, checked out the items up for bids, the raffle, the vendors and grabbed yourself a bowl of home made chili or a slice of pizza ~ find a seat and get your paddles and quarters ready!

 We will have rolls of quarters available along with the paddles!

Step 4

Let the fun begin!

The auctioneer will hold up the item that is up for bids and give a description. For example a $25 Cracker Barrel Giftcard.

Step 5

If you would like to own that item then you toss one quarter into the bucket on your table for each paddle you want to raise. If you have two paddles, and want to raise them both, you would toss in two quarters, etc. So, toss in your quarters and raise your paddle!

Once everyone had bid who wants to, and has their paddles up we start drawing poker chips from the basket. If the first chip drawn is #7 and you have paddle number 7 and have paid to raise it YOU WIN!

If a number is drawn and that paddle is not up, we just draw the next poker chip until we have a winner!

It's that simple!

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

~You keep the same paddle(s) all night. You can win on the same paddle multiple times, you don't have to surrender it if you win!

~You don't have to bid on every item

~If you have multiple paddles you don't have to raise all of them to bid on an item you want. If you have 4 paddles and only want to raise 2 you would just toss two quarters in the bucket and pick which 2 paddles you do want to raise. However, you can only win off of the paddles you have paid to play, if one of your numbers is called and you didn't raise that paddle you can't win.

~You can purchase additional paddles and quarters throughout the night if you wish, however you can not swap out your paddle for a different number (it would take forever to search through all the poker chips to find the one to remove and would be disruptive to the auction process which moves quickly).

~Items can not be exchanged for cash :)

~ A few of our items the donors will be there that night set up as vendors and have offered to let the winner choose their product (Example my friend Traci from Canaan Hills Farm who donated goat milk soaps will let the winner swap their bars out for a different scent if they prefer and my friend Stacy from A Bug's Life For Us has donated an awesome child's art tote and has offered to let the winner pick a different fabric from her collection if they wish)

Stacy made this one for Ian filled with awesome things like a puzzle of the US, stickers, coloring books etc. which I know our boy is going to love!

If this all sounds like fun to you, I hope you will consider joining us this Saturday, March 8th at the Gallery in Martinsville VA. Doors will open at 5 PM for food and vendors and then the auction will start at 6. We will draw for all of the raffles at the end of the auction and there will be a brief intermission about half way through the items!

Now, if all of this sounds awesome to you but you are nowhere near VA stay tuned. In a few minutes I am going to post a blog with all of the prizes and then right after that I will post one with ways for you to bid remotely! 

If you are local but can't make it due to work, travel, etc. I will also include a way for you to bid remotely.

Additionally for those who plan to attend I am going to post a way for you to make a tax deductible donation and pre pay for your night!

I will include the two items we have available for raffle in the prize post and how to enter the raffle in the remote bidding post! We have a brand new American Girl Doll with an extra outfit and a gently used Coach purse! There will also be a 50/50 raffle for those who attend the event live!

PLUS: Be sure to check out the remote bidding post, even if you plan to attend in person, as I am going to post a few package deals!

Thank you so much to everyone who has worked to help put this event together:
~To our local planning committe: Heather M, Mandy R, Stacy C. and Tonya J. for helping to plan and coordinate every thing.
~To all of our friends at A Sea of Hope Orphan Ministries for being a huge source of support during our whole adoption process and for helping to put the Quarter Auctions on for adopting families. Susie, Christy and JB we love you!
~ A huge thank you to Whitney at  The Gallery for so generously donating the awesome venue to us!
~To all of our vendors, family, and friends who have donated prizes, food, and your time to help us put this event together.
~To everyone who has been sharing our event on facebook and who took flyers and posters around town for us

To everyone who has come beside us in any way during this journey to bring our boy home, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you and pray the Lord will return the kindness you've shown us tenfold!

And, because I can't get enough of this sweet face ... Thank you for helping us bring our sweet treasure home!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

An Update and a Confession

For those following along on our journey to bring Ian home...

The Update

We mailed our I800 (The follow up to the form approving us to adopt internationally that approves Ian to become a citizen) on 2/21 and yesterday received the receipt that it was logged in on the 27th. I had also called yesterday morning and spoke with our officer, but he had not received any thing yet. He told me to expect at least 10 business days for the I800 to make it to him, but that once it did he would process it within 24 hours. 

Once it is approved its sent to the National Visa Center to be processed and then sent to the embassy in our boy's country. 

Once it is there we will have what is called an Article 5 interview which our attorney in country attends on our behalf.

Last week we mailed all of our last documents needed for this interview off to be apostilled in Richmond. I'm praying they arrived and have been done and will be sent back to our Social Worker this week to be sent ahead to country.

So basically, nothing real newsworthy to report, we're just waiting. We've done all that we can do and now its out of our hands. 

After every thing above happens there are a few more steps then we'll have court in country, which again is attended by our attorney on our behalf. All of these steps can take anywhere 2-4 weeks each. If every thing goes smoothly and we don't hit any more snags or delays we are hopeful for a pick up date in June!

Please pray with us for favor over this last part of our process and that our boy is home by June!

The last of our paperwork, right before I mailed it off!


The Confession

This morning I saw this and it stepped on my toes

When we first got home from meeting our son I was in a good place mentally and emotionally. I had minor surgery the Monday after we returned then I got right onto finishing our paperwork. We have a big fundraiser in the works that I've been working on daily and we attended a fundraiser for our family and another family this past weekend in NC.

I was busy.

I'm still busy, but ,somewhere along the way the peace I had after meeting our son and finding out that he was in a good place now with people who care about him has started to ebb away.

The glow and excitement from meeting our son has faded into the reality that we still have months left to bring him home and still need $10,000 to make that happen.

Throughout this process (which we've been in now since 1/08/13) I've learned to trust in His timing, but it hasn't been easy. I've been on my knees with tears pouring down my face praying angry and hurting prayers. In the beginning I felt like it was wrong to pray like that so either didn't pray or I prayed route prayers of half hearted thanks, asking for things we needed while doubting whether God was actually going to provide them. It didn't take long for me to realize that there wasn't much point in praying like that, God knows our hearts better than we do. So, I let myself pray when I was angry, hurt, and confused. Time and again I've had to ask for my peace to be restored and it always is.

There are plenty of people who will say that we never should have started an adoption with nothing saved, that there's no way to raise $30,000 and if we've struggled its our own faults.

My plan was to save for an adoption ~ one day after God finally broke my husband's heart and he agreed to adopt, we'd save up the money for our upfront costs and we'd have a plan for coming up with the rest.

Then God asked us to go get this boy, to make this one our son.

So, I ask you, look at our son's face. Should we have left him waiting for another 2 years after we found him and God asked us to go? 

He's waited 8 years for someone to make him a son. I knew the moment I saw his outdated picture, shared on a friend's facebook wall, that he was meant to be our son. 

It may be hard for you to imagine, but having this son across the ocean for the last 14 months, meeting him and then leaving him there was no easier than if Nicholas had been taken from us and held for ransom. 

Leaving Ian broke my heart. I think I was ok for a while because I was still processing every thing. Then we went to church and shared our video and I tried to speak, and broke down. You know it was bad because Steve did most of the talking. But, that's ok. I want to share my heart with people, I need them to know that we love this son of ours as much as we love his brother who I carried under my heart.

If I've ever given you the impression that any of this has been easy then I'm sorry. I do try not to constantly be a weeping mess so sometimes when talking about our process or our boy maybe I seem detached to you.

 It's a coping mechanism I think. In the beginning of this process I was consumed with thinking about Ian to the point that I could barely function, I felt like my heart had been ripped and it physically hurt. I believe that God shows mercy to us because if I had lived like that, with my heart so raw and on the surface I believe I would be a basket case now. 

Plus it would have been unfair to Nicholas. One of the best pieces of advice I got from one of my best friends (who has now been through this process twice herself) was to still be in the moment with Nicholas. Sometimes this meant that I spent time on holidays crying in the bathroom but then came out and put on a happy face because I still wanted Nick to enjoy his birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day etc.

Sorry that this turned into a rambling mess! Things have been a little tough the past few days, I have bronchitis that is not letting me get any sleep for coughing. Our dryer's heating element went out and since the dryer is 20 years old and we've worked on it twice before we've decided it would be best to replace it. Our heat pump is messing up again. Right before we left for first trip we had to pay to have plumbing fixed that had messed up during all the snow that we've gotten this year, more than probably the last 10 years combined in our corner of VA. 

These are just minor things but they drain our finances, they add to our stress and they chip away at the peace I was talking about having.

With all of that being said, I trust our God. On this journey so far the money has been there when we needed it to be, whether from a tax refund, over time, fundraising, donations, gifts, etc.

Yes, I'm tired. 

Yes, it is so much harder than I ever thought it would be.

I've lost count of the number of fundraisers we've done, I think the last time I tried to make a list it was over 25 and that was before Christmas. Almost 14 months of back to back, constant fundraising and we still need $10,000. Some people would take this as proof that we got in over our heads. 

I trust.

I trust that the God who took my husband from saying that an international, special needs adoption was something we would never do to having a complete change of heart in 4 Days will provide.

That is not the face of a reluctant husband, that's the love and pride of a Daddy.

I'm lucky

I believe in a sovereign, all knowing, all powerful God. 

I'm willing to keep doing the work until He tells me to be still.

I believe

Our family picture isn't complete yet, but it will be soon.

THANK YOU  to everyone who has come alongside us on this journey. For praying, for encouraging, for giving, often out of your own need, for every thing you do.