Monday, August 31, 2009


Okay, the winners have finally been drawn by my lovely assistant Malori, but before I announce the winners I have a few things to say.

First, we had a total of 35 contributors, 98 raffle entries, for a total donation of $985.00!

Matt and I want to thank each and every one of you who either made a monetary donation, or a donation of prayer. We are completely in awe of the amount that was raised in only a week. I truly did not think we would come close to our goal, let alone reach in in only a couple of days, then to do on and surpass it. So, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

Because of all of you, our paperwork is signed, sealed, and delivered. Our agency is only waiting on a couple of revisions, then it will be ready to go. We should be DTC within the next 2 weeks! Whoooo Hoooo!

And now for what you have all been waiting for..

The winner of the ADULT size Wild Olive Tee is...


The winner of the Child's Wild Olive Tee is...


The winner of the blog makeover by yours truly is...


The winner of the Baby Be Blessed doll is...


The winner of the handmade tutu by again, yours truly is...


The winner of the $20.00 gift certificate from Girly Girl Boutique is...


And finally, the winner of the tights from Ruffle Stiltkins is...


Again, THANK YOU just does not seem enough for all you have done to help us get to this point. Please e-mail me, or I will contact you about your prizes. Also, I just wanted to let you all know that I will be posting an update on Sweet Elsa in just a bit.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Raffle Update

Okay, I know I said I was going to have the winners posted on Saturday, but this weekend has been quite busy. Saturday evening we had to go to my sister-in-laws wedding reception (they were married in Puerta Vallarta earlier this summer.

I spent today in Indy with my sister, her husband, and Riley (my niece). She is pregnant with triplets and is scheduled to be induced next week (she is hoping she goes earlier, like NOW. I feel so bad for her, because not only is she huge, she is absolutely miserable.

And since I have been busy all weekend, I have not had a chance to even think about the raffle. I apologize, and promise to get it done first thing in the morning. I am getting ready to take a test and then it is off to bed for me, I am exhausted.

Tomorrow, I promise.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Update and a Reminder

First and foremost, I wanted to thank everyone who has been saying prayers for sweet Elsa. Her older sister started a blog to keep everyone updated (before I post the address I want to make sure I have permission). As of this morning Elsa was on the waiting list for surgery and was taken back around 2:30 p.m. I just checked and there was an update on what they found during surgery...

"The surgeon just came to let us know how the surgery went. It is now 2:25 and she just went into recovery about 5 mins ago. We should be able to go back and see her in about half an hour. The doctor said that everything went as well as it could have. He said that it is a lymphoma, but we will not be sure what type until we get the test results back from the biopsy. They said the results will take at least 24 hours. Once we get the results we will know the treatment necessary.
The tumors ended up being larger than they suspected. One is the size of a softball and the other is the size of a golf ball and they are around the small intestines, but the doctor did not seem worried and said that if you are a two year old and you happen to have a cancer, this is not a bad type to have.

I am relieved that she pulled through the surgery, and I am a little anxious about seeing her in pain, but I know that this is going to make her better and I hope that when we all look back on this it will just look like a blip in time.

Elsa will be such an awesome old lady."

Elsa spent a year of her life lying in a crib in an orphanage with no one to touch her, no one to care for her, and more importantly no one to LOVE her. Elsa is a fighter, she is one tough little girl who because she now has the love of a family, her family, she will get through this. Yes, it sucks that she has to go through this, but at least she is going to go through it with the love of a family, friends, her Church, and her Nanjing family and of course God.

Please continue to pray for Elsa and her family. Pray that they have strength as they wait for tomorrow to see exactly what type of Lymphoma she has and how they are going to treat it. Pray that Elsa is not in much pain over the next few days. JUST PRAY, PLEASE, JUST PRAY.


As much as I hate to pair this with the above, I just wanted to remind everyone that tomorrow is the last day to get in on the raffle. The raffle will end at midnight tomorrow and I will let you all know who the winners are on Saturday. For a list of all the raffle prizes and the rules on how to get a ticket, click HERE.

Again, thank you to ALL who have either donated through Chip In or dropped by something. Every dollar counts. And if light of current events (I will post about later), every penny counts at this point.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request

Many of you know that that Mylee and I are part of a Nanjing Kids group here in Ft. Wayne. When we were going through the process for Mylee, our agency was just in the beginning stages of a pilot program with the Nanjing SWI. The program was called The United In Hope program. In a nutshell, our agency worked directly with the SWI to get specific kids adopted. While paper chasing for Mylee we were fortunate enough to find out that there were several other families right here in our area that were getting kids from the exact same orphanage. So, we started a support group which has turned into a great friendship among all of us. We get together twice a month. Once with the kids for a play date and once for the moms to discuss any issues at hand about adoption, bonding, attachment, and pretty much anything else that comes (adoption related or not). Whenever we get together we have a great time. We talk, we laugh, we cry, we snack, we listen, etc. Right now we are crying as the unspeakable is taking place.

I just found out from one of the moms that one of the little girls is on her way to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis because late last night she was taken to the emergency room where a CT scan was done and they found a pretty large cancerous tumor in her tummy. Apparently last week Elsa said her tummy hurt so Susan took her to the doctor where it was determined that nothing was wrong. I guess Elsa kept complaining and stopped eating so Susan took her to the emergency room where after an exam and a CT there was a tumor found. Right now they have no idea what type of cancer it is, but they do know that she will be having surgery as soon as possible to see exactly where it is, how big it is, and to do a biopsy so the right treatment can be started.

Right now there are many unknowns since they are just in the beginning stages of diagnosing what type of cancer and the best treatment plan for Elsa.

Elsa turned two in January and is a beautiful little girl. Elsa was the first Nanjing girl brought home. Susan (her mom) is a fantastic women and is huge asset to our group. She is very intelligent and knows quite a bit about attachment and bonding and has taught us quite a bit as well.

Please lift this family up in prayer as they are embarking on a journey that is every parents nightmare. As soon as I know more I will let you all know, but for now PLEASE PRAY for sweet Elsa.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

He Is Providing...

Let me just start this post saying that I am truly humbled by the overflowing amount of generosity you all have in helping us bring home Drew. My e-mail has been bombarded with thoughtful comments, words of encouragement, etc. I have also received several e-mails from people wanting to donate something to a future fundraiser. For a complete list of the prizes go here, and to read my It Takes a Village Post, go here.

A fabulous lady and grandma to an adopted granddaughter from Ethiopia has offered to donate 30% of her sales from her China designs. For the next two months 30% of her sales from her China collection will go towards bringing Drew home. Plus, if you mention my name when ordering you will receive a pair of sterling silver earrings FOR FREE! How awesome is that? Tracy is an absolute woman with a huge heart for adoption. She is definitely one of the ones that "get it." Tracy has a store on Etsy which means ALL of her jewelry is handmade by her right here in the good ol' USA.

I know the holidays are still a few months away, but I am also sure they will sneak up on us. So, how about getting a jump start on your shopping by heading over to Tracy's Etsy shop JUNKPOSSE and ordering a gift for someone, or even yourself. I myself LOVE the "Wish Came True" necklace (hint hint). She even has bracelets for little girls that say "adopted with love" in Chinese. Any of these pieces can also be engraved with a name, birthday, gotcha day, etc.

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These are just a couple of her designs, there are several more to chose from at her Etsy site.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
~Mitch Albom

I CANNOT believe that after only three days into the raffle we have already hit our immediate goal to get our dosseir to China. I am completely overwhelmed and humbled by your generosity to help us bring home our son.

I was planning on taking the Chip In button off once we hit our goal, but I have received several e-mails saying I should leave it up to see how much more we can raise to help with the cost to bring our son home. Although our immediate need has been met, we are still in need of quite a bit more. So for now, we have decided to continue with the Chip In button to see how much more we can come up with. The deadline for the raffle is August 28th, so there is still plenty of time to get in for a chance to win some really great prizes.

What amazes me the most is that many of you who have donated are currently in the process of financing an adoption of your own. I honestly cannot say I am not surprised. It is those of you who are familiar with adoption for whatever reason (adoptive parent, grandparent, sponsor, etc), that truly "get it." You get that it doesn't matter how we get these kids home, but the fact that WE do. You get that IT TAKES A VILLAGE. You get that we ALL need to band together to end the orphan crisis. It can be done, and it can be done $10.00 at a time. I am certainly not saying that everyone needs to run out and start the adoption process to bring home a child. What I am saying, and asking that EVERONE wakes up and realizes that not just in countries like China, Guatemala, Russia, Africa, etc, but right here in America there are children going to bed hungry, neglected, cold, sad, sick, unloved, malnourished, alone, and the list goes on and on.

As difficult as times are right now, I can whole heartedly, and honestly say that I am so thankful that we are all happy, healthy, and that in time, things will get better. Imagine for just a moment having to put your child(ren) to bed hungry because you did not have the money or even the means to feed them. Imagine not being able to keep your child(ren) warm because you have no way to clothe them or even get a blanket for them. Imagine having to abandon your child because you cannot afford the medical expenses to take care of them. Imagine knowing that because of Aids/HIV or some other disease you will be leaving your child(ren) to care for themselves when you are no longer able to. Imagine having to walk miles with out shoes, or proper clothing to leave your child in an orphanage because you know you are not capable of caring for them. Imagine being a child not knowing what it is to be feel the warmth and touch of a human being because they are lying in a crib all day. Imagine being a child who does not know what it is to be loved, or to be loved so much that your parents relinquish their rights in the hopes that you will be adopted by a family who will be able to give you everything they cannot. Imagine being one of the 147 million orphans in the world who right this very minute do not know what it is like to BELONG TO A FAMILY.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9

It is because of the 27 contributors to our raffle that there will soon be one less orphan that will go to bed at night not knowing what it is like to belong to a family. Because of you 27 people, we are one step closer to bringing our son home to not just our family, but to His family.

Too see the great prizes available in the raffle just scroll down to the next post.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Raffle Time!

Okay all, we have yet another prize to add to the raffle:

My dear friend Melanie is launching a new line of leggings and matching bows for little girls. She has donated a pair of leggings and a matching bow from her store, Ruffle Stiltskins. She has several other products as well, so head on over to her web-site to check it out. She is also in the process of adopting a little boy from China (she and her husband have two beautiful little girls from China as well).


Kelli from Girly Girl Boutique has offered to donate $20 worth of products from her store. She is a sponsor of New Day and donates 100% of her adoption line of hair accessories to New Day.

Before I get started on the details of the raffle, I first must share with you our excitement this morning when I checked our e-mail to see that we have already raised $120.00 to bring Drew home. (for some reason Chip in is not showing all the money, I will have to see what is going on). We are so very humbled and thankful for those who have already helped, and for those who will help in the future. Also, if you haven't read the previous post, you want to check it out first.

Okay everybody here is how this is going to work...

1. The first entry is free, all you have to do is leave me a comment. Pretty simple. For those of you who do not blog (family and friends), you can still enter to win just by leaving a comment anonymously.

2. The next chance to win is to grab our button on the right hand side, post it to your blog and encourage others to donate, or at least come check out our story.

3. And the last way to get an entry and the most important is to donate. For every $10.00 you donate you will be entered into the raffle for one of the following prizes. In other words, if you donate $10, you will have once chance of winning. But if you donate $50 you will have five chances of winning.

The raffle will end on Friday August 25 and the winners will be announced on Saturday August 26th. I have already received a couple of e-mail asking why we are only trying to raise $650.00. That is simple to answer. Because, that is what we need RIGHT NOW in order to get our paperwork to China. Don't get me wrong, if we exceed our goal, we will be ecstatic and will put that money away towards the next fees that are due.

So, without further ado, below is the list of prizes available to win with this raffle. I know they are not that extravagant, but right now we just don't have the money to buy big ticket items to raffle off so we have gotten creative in what we can provide without costing us alot of money.

Design your own tutu. This is a replica of the tutus I will be making for Emma's dance studio this year. The owner of the studio said these are much cuter and nicer than the ones they order from the costume catalogs. So, you will pick your colors, I can do any color any number of colors. These are also made to custom fit your child. raffle 005

These are also cute for Halloween with fairy wings, butterfly wings, or angel wings. In fact, Emma was a butterfly last year.
Emma butterfly

Blog Makeover by ME! In one of my recent posts I mentioned that I was hoping to do a few blog makeovers to help earn money to bring Drew home. Below is one I did for my dear friend Tara and I am also in the process of doing one for Lori over at JOY UNSPEAKABLE.

Up next is a gift certificate in the amount of $55.00 for your very own personalized Baby Be Blessed Dolls. These dolls are custom made and absolutely adorable. The best part is that each doll comes with a personalized message or scripture on his/her tummy.
baby be blessed

And because what would a raffle be without a fabulous Wild Olive Tee. The wonderful ladies over at Wild Olive graciously offered to donate not one, but two Wild Olive tees of your Choice. This prize is for 1 adult size shirt of your choice.

And last but not least, 1 lucky winner will
receive a tee from Wild Olive's brand new children's line.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ABC 123

Yesterday was Mylee's first day back to Pre-School. All week long I have been preparing her to go back. She kept talking about Mrs. James (who is awesome) and seeing all her friends. Sunday afternoon I took her to T*arget to get the rest of her school supplies. She got a new back pack, and picked out a Kai Lan folder. Monday morning she got up, got dressed, had breakfast still talking about going to school and then the bus pulled up. It went down hill from there. As I took her out to the bus she kept saying "I'll be back in a little bit?" I told her "Yes, you will be back in a little bit and then we will have lunch and play a game." That seemed to calm her down a bit until she sat in her seat and was buckled in. She didn't really cry, or throw a fit, she just had the saddest face. It was pathetic.

I know she is fine once the bus pulls away, in fact, her bus driver called me after she dropped Mylee off to tell me she WAS fine, and sang all the way to school. Her teacher called me as well at the end of the day to let me know that Mylee had a GREAT day and could not wait to show everyone that she can crawl and sit criss cross.

Sorry about the poor quality of photos, it was a dark, dreary, rainy day yesterday so the lighting was terrible.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Most Wonderful TIme of the Year

Usually in the mornings I am dragging myself out of bed, but NOT this morning. NO WAY! Can you guess what today was? It was the first day back to school. Whoooo Hooooo!!! Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids, LOVE having them home, and LOVE spending time with them, but I also LOVE that after a few months home ALL day EVERY day they get to go back to school. I am so looking forward to getting back into a daily routine. Not only was I ready for them to go back, but they were equally excited. They were ready to see their school friends, and believe it or not, my kids do like school and are very good students.

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Blake is 12 (almost 13) and in the 7th grade this year. He is most excited about being able to officially play football and basketball for the school. Last year he played, but was not play FOR the school. He is obsessed with everything football and is quite a good player. He will have football practice every day after school from 3:30-5:30. I am not 100% sure, but I don't think his first game is until September, so we are looking forward to going as a family to cheer him on. I am going to make some special outfits for Emma and Mylee to wear once I know what his number is.
Blake is still mowing lawns trying to save money to go to China. I did talk with his principal at registration about us taking him with us. He basically said that it is all up to Blake whether or not is considered an excused or unexcused absence. As long as he is a good student, does not cause any problems, and continues to get good graded he will be allowed to go and it will be an excused absence. I really don't think we will have anything to worry about.
Closer to the time of us leaving we are going to set up a blog for Blake to journal on while we are in China so his friends and schoolmates can keep up with what is going on. I also think it will be neat to have his perspective of the whole experience.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Blake is officially taller than me now. I am 5'7 and he was measured at football a few weeks ago and is 5'8. I did not think that my 12, almost 13 year old would be taller than me.

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Miss Emma is 7 and is starting the 2nd grade at a brand new school. Our district is growing by leaps and bounds so they built a new school practically in our backyard. Seriously, we can see the school from our house. Because we are so close, she is now walking to school. I will be honest in saying that I am not really looking forward to her walking, but at the same time it is literally around the corner, and we have several parents that have gotten together to make sure all the kids get to school safely.
Sunday evening they had an open house which was really nice because not only did we get to see the school, and meet the teachers, but we were able to take in all of her school supplies to lighten her load today. She was super excited when she found out that she had a locker. I on the other hand was quite surprised to see that ALL the grades (K-5th) had lockers. She is already asking if she can get a mirror, message board and some other decorations for her locker. I am in so much trouble...

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Walking to school with Grandma
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Gabe just turned 5 on August 5th and will be going to pre-school this year. He doesn't start until September 8th, but asks every day if it is his turn to go to school. He is such a sweet little boy and I am really going to miss not having him here in the mornings. He loves to play with the babies I watch and is so kind and gentle with them.

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Mylee will begin pre-school on Monday and is also excited. She is looking forward to seeing her teacher again and riding the bus. We ran into her teacher at registration and Mylee was so excited to show her how she can now sit criss-cross (something she was not able to do when she started school last spring). She is also now crawling, I mean really crawling. She is able to get on all fours and actually crawl like a baby. She moves her legs and all. Before she just used her upper body to "crawl" but now she is actually crawling. She is VERY proud of herself. I am so amazed at the progress she is making. She is such a blessing to our family in so may ways.

There is nothing really new to post on Drew. We are still able to talk to him through SKYPE every Sunday. He loves to sing to us and of course we love to hear him sing. He tells us about what he is learning in pre-school that day usually a letter, number, or color. He also has English lessons in the afternoon which is going to be such a benefit for us and him when we travel to bring him home. We have been asked if there is anything specific we want him to know. We suggested that they teach him to tell us if he is hungry, thirsty, and the obvious of having to use the restroom. I guess he is doing very well and is a very good student.

Matt is STILL laid off. He did talk with his boss the other day to find out if there was any work coming up. He was told that it is going to be at least a couple more weeks before they have anything. I know there are thousands of families in our situation right now, and it is not fun. Please pray for us and them that the economy turns around soon so we can all get back to work.

I am excited about my daycare situation this year. I am waiting a 4 year old little girl that I have had since she was 9 months old, and three 1 year old little boys. Gabe and the little girl will be in pre-school three mornings a week (M,W,F), Mylee will also be in pre-school three days a week (M,T,TH) and with the schedule of the little boys, I will have one or two mornings a week when I will be pretty much alone. The little ones still nap in the morning and afternoon, so while they are napping in the morning I am hoping to get some of y homework done. Yes, I am taking classes this semester. I decided that with the adoption I am only going to take two classes this semester and next. This semester I am taking Abnormal Psych and Family Communication. I am actually excited because I have been wanting to take Abnormal Psych for a couple of semesters but it was already full by the time I registered.

I also have a couple of adoption fundraising projects in the works. For one, I will be making tutus for all the little ballerinas at Emma's dance studio this year. The owner and Emma's teacher has had me make a few other costumes in the past for recitals (just for Emma's class). So, this year I made up a couple of sample tutus to show her and lucky for me she LOVED. So instead of ordering the ballet costumes through a catalog this year, she will be ordering them through me. I have no idea how many I will be making, but am looking forward to the opportunity to earn some money for Drew's adoption.
I am also hoping to do some blog makeovers thanks to Rebecca. She came over one day and spent a couple of hours showing me how to make-over a blog. THANKS REBECCA. I have already done one makeover for my dear friend Tara and am in the process of doing another for a fellow bloggy friend (who I will reveal once it is done). So, with fall approaching, if you are wanting a new look, please e-mail me for all the details.

Thanks for sticking with me, I did not intend for this to be such a lengthy post, but I wanted to make sure that you were all updated to this point since it has been awhile since I have posted.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We Are Approved!

Not that I was worried, but we got our immigration approval yesterday. What does this mean? Well, we are getting much closer to getting our dossier to China. The next step is to get the immigration approval authenticated by the Indiana Secretary of State then ALL of our paperwork can be send to the Chinese Consulate for final approval before being sent to China.

On another note, Matt was home yesterday and today. Why you ask? Well, because he is out of work AGAIN. Yes, AGAIN. As of right now we don't know for how long, we are just praying he gets some work soon. However, since he is off, one of us will be driving our immigration approval to Indy today to get the authentication. I was really hoping he would, be he would rather I do it since I have already been there twice and know exactly where it is and what needs to be done. The alternative is that that if go, he will be here watching our four kids, my niece who is staying with us for the week, and my four daycare kids. He seriously must not want to make the drive to Indy (about 2 hours) since he is the one who suggested me going and him staying at home.

I will update later to let you know who went and who stayed. In the mean time, I will leave you with the most recent update from Drew's foster mom.

We hope this note finds you doing well, and that you enjoy reading this month's update.

Drew (Jeremy) is 3 Years 4 Months Old.

Drew (Jeremy)’s foster mom wrote this update:

Drew is very well behaved. Every morning after he wakes up, he washes his hands and face by himself and brushes his teeth. He says, “I’m a big boy now!” Drew knows how to take a shower by himself and wash his feet and shoes at night. He’ll cry, “So cool and awesome!” when he’s putting on his clothes. Drew loves it when things are tidy.

One day when he saw me standing and brushing my teeth, he ran and got a stool for me and told me to sit down to brush my teeth. It brought tears to my eyes because I was so excited. I told him, “Drew you're so sensible! You're all grown up! You're my boy!” I am very proud of him!