Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Get $50 restaurant gift certificate for $20 and help our adoption at the same time!!!

In a few weeks we should be hearing back from our foundation in Z's country regarding our referral and travel dates.  This could happen next week or it could happen at the end of the month.  At that time, we need to come up with $5,665 before we are allowed to travel to meet Z.  Plus the cost of the plane tickets and hotel stay for those 5 days.  From the funds we have raised so far, we have sent up $1335 already.  So, if you do the math, we have $1659 raised so far that will be going to the foundation.  We are still in need of $4,006 for the foundation alone, then travel (approx. $3500 depending on ticket prices).

The Lord will provide.  We just know it!

We are partnered with CoupAid on a really awesome fundraiser that everyone can benefit from!  Everyone has to eat, so why not buy online restaurant coupons for an amazing price?  You can feed your family at a restaurant of you choice for 60% off!!!  We are selling $50 gift certificates to a restaurant of your choice for a mere $20!  What's even greater... $10 will go directly to our adoption!

How you ask??

Click on this link and it will take you to our adoption page.

(Please note, if you are taken to another family's page after registering, please come back here and click the link again to make sure you are buying from us)

You will have to register (don't worry, it's free), but after that you can buy as many coupons as you want! 

Restaurant.com offers certificates for thousands of restaurants in cities all across the United States.  These certificates make great gifts, never expire, and can be used immediately upon your donation.  

Dave and I have bought certificates like these in the past and they are a great way to feed our family at restaurants without worrying about spending too much!  You don't have to use the gift certificate all at once either.

Before CoupAid will write us a check we have to sell 10 of these certificates.  Won't you consider helping us?  


You can also make a donation on the side link too.  

We are also the featured family on www.forallfoundation.com  You can make a donation through that website also.  They will send you a tax receipt for any donation over $250 if you need one.  

Thanks for all your help so far.  We are hoping to have our dossier translated quickly so that we can get our referral before the government elections happen on May 12th.  Otherwise, it may be delayed for a few weeks.  Either way, we know God is in control and He is leading this.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A HUGE Thanks!!!

Saturday was an amazing night.  I am so very thankful for all who came out to show us support and offer prayers for our little man.  We are so blessed to have each of you in our lives.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart.  Special thanks to Heather Osborn who was able to capture some picture of the evening.

We had about 115 people there on Saturday night!

Thanks to my friends who helped me shop for the food and actually prepared and served it all evening long.  You are the best Katherine, Becki, Christy and Kim   (Not pictured-Kim).  The food was fantastic and we didn't even have very many leftovers!

Hannah did a great job setting up the raffle table full of over 40 items that people could put their names in to try and win.

Here's another picture of the raffle table and the items so nicely placed.  Also, this is our son, David and the little guy on the right is Emily and David's little brother.  

The band, "Lord's Light" was a HUGE blessing to our family and played some amazing songs.  Everyone I talked to LOVED listening to them.

My favorite song they played was "How Great is Our God" because that really sums up this whole adoption process.  God is amazing and this was a night filled with praising the Lord for choosing us to be Z's parents.  God is SO great and we give Him ALL the glory for this adoption. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvXweftb7UU

At the end of the night, all of our kids helped hand out prized from the raffle.  Hannah had a great time entertaining everyone with her goofy commentary while she drew names and the other kids were busy running around handing out the prizes.  

Little Z... You have SO many people who love you already.  You have so many people praying for you.  I know you don't know it yet, but soon you will be welcomed by not only mom and dad, sisters and brother... but some awesome friends!  You are coming home soon little guy and soon you will know the Lord and be able to praise Him just like we did on Saturday.  

And thanks to everyone who came out.  The total raised was.... are you ready for this?  


We still owe the foundation in Z's country approximately (due to exchange rates) $7,000.  These fees will be due before we travel in June or July.  We also still owe our placing agency here in the U.S. $3500.  Then both Dave and I will be traveling to visit him in June or July and last I checked airline tickets are running $1350 round trip per person.  We have to pay these fees twice for 2 trips, plus on the pick up trip we will need to buy Z a one way ticket (approximately $750) of course.  This means we still owe a total of about $16,650 not including the hotel and food for both trips.  

The amount that has been paid so far has been $1850 for the homestudy, $81 for FBI fingerprints to be taken and sent in plus $51 to get a federal seals on them, $890 for the immigration filing fees, $3,700 in placing agency fees, $1200 for post placement that had to be prepaid, $145 for required training courses, and a few other odds and end things like passports, medical exams, state appostilles etc. Approximate total paid so far is $7,917.

As you can see, we still have some really big fees coming up so if you weren't able to make in on Saturday but would still like to donate, feel free to donate on the right hand side.  Or if you want to make a tax deductible donation you can go to http://forallfoundation.com// and make a donation there.  100% of your donations through the For All Foundation or on this website will go directly to bringing little Z home.

If you know of any other cool ideas on ways we can raise money, please let us know.  My good friend Susan called me the other day and offered to help with a bake sale this summer.  Cool idea and I am so thankful for her help (Since you all know that I can't bake LOL).  My friend and I are planning to have a garage sale down in Ohio in a month or so (When she brings her twins home from the same country Z is in). Then what doesn't sell, will come back up here and we will have one here.  So, if you have anything that you want to get rid of, what better way than to donate it for our adoption :-).  Let me know.   

We know that God is leading this.   "And my God will supply all yours needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". (Phil. 4:19)  God clearly called us to step out in faith and trust HIM.  I will be honest, the $ amount is very haunting and down right scary.  But we serve an awesome God and I am continuously reminding myself that He will provide.  Z is our son and God has moved mountains for us this far.  We will trust that our needs will be met.

To God be the Glory!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

God Answers Prayers!

As of Thursday... Dave's birthday no less... USCIS (aka immigrations) approved us to bring a child into the U.S from a Hague country!  One big step down.  We are waiting for the official hard copy of the approval letter this week, then we will submit our dossier documents to our agency.  Praise the Lord!!  Getting closer little guy... mom and dad are hurrying as fast as we can!

Last week we also met an online friend that adopted her daughter from the same orphanage as Z!  There are a couple of orphanages in his town and also the one she was at was fairly big... about 200 kids.  So, we weren't sure if she was at the same one that she was.  Until her little girl saw his picture and immediately said, "Oh, he is blind and his room was close to hers!"  You can imagine how excited this news was.  Someone knows him!  I also found out that his orphanage is one of the better ones in his country.  Not perfect, but at least we learned that the staff genuinely love the children there.  They try really hard with the kids, but they are understaffed.  It's so awesome to talk to her about the experiences she has had with adopting from his orphanage.  Since starting this adopting process, we have met some amazing people.  I love how God has connected us with so many people who can help prepare for this new little addition in our lives!

I got asked a while ago what made us decide to adopt.  You know, it's always been in the back of my mind... even as a teenager.  When I first met Dave we actually talked about doing foster care.  Went to a couple classes early in our marriage.  The timing was not right back then and we knew it.  But I was not willing to give up on my dream.

I always wanted to make a difference in a child's life, even when I was a teen babysitting.  I actually thought that I wanted be a special education teacher, much like my favorite author, Torey Hayden.  She wrote her first book a long time ago entitled One Child.  If you haven't read it, you should.  I first read that book in 8th grade.  It's about a teacher (Torey) who taught children that were labeled "garbage children."  The ones that didn't fit into regular classrooms.  The hard to reach kids.  One little girl was placed in her classroom as a last resort.  This little girl was very troubled and didn't know love.  Torey was able to show this girl unconditional love and she blossomed.  

After I read this book, I continued to read all of Torey's other books.  Each time I read another book, I felt so energized... like this is the life I want to live.  Like I could make a difference in a child's life.

Then... it seems life happened.  I went away for college.  I tried education courses to become a teacher one semester in college. I was just not dedicated to it at the time.  I still knew I wanted to make a difference in children's lives, but I was young and didn't want to put the effort of learning how to do lesson plans.  Then God blessed me with Hannah and I felt that I needed to take the easy way out.  To combined all the credit that I had and figure out the fastest way to get a degree!  So, getting a degree in STATISTICS was the easy way out :-).  LOL.

Tonight we watched a movie called "Untamed Love." This movie is based on the One Child book.  While watching it tonight, all the thoughts I had long ago while reading the book came flooding back to me.  Torey Hayden is an amazing person and one that I really admire. God knows my deepest desires and he has answered not only our prayers from July when we prayed for Z to find a family, but my prayers from long ago... to be able to make a difference in a child's life much in the same way as Torey did in her classroom.

I may not ever be able to be a special education teacher like I used to think I would, but I can tell you that I am excited that God has called our family to make a difference in a little boy's life, who lives far, far away.  This boy that we love!

I can't wait!!!  I can't wait to learn how to care for a blind child, who doesn't speak, is not toilet trained, does not eat by himself, does not dress himself, may not be able to hear... one that has been written off as not knowing anything.  I can't wait to show him the world and teach him who God is and to teach him that prayers are answered.  God has remembered him :-).

I hope to see many of you on Saturday.  Thanks for all who have signed up to help make this night a success.  We still need a few more desserts if anyone would be willing to make some.  Please respond here or on Facebook.  Or you could email me at hanstella9@yahoo.com


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Officer assigned!!

Still waiting to hear from US immigrations, BUT I do know that we have been assigned an officer and I spoke to her yesterday!  She said to call back on Friday because by then she will have had a chance to review our application and know where we stand (whether we are approve or whether they need more information).  So, pray that we have good news on Friday!  Everything is ready to go for the dossier as soon as we get the approval letter from the I800A.

We made a bunch more soaps if anyone is interested in buy some.  These are great because when you use them you can say a quick prayer for little Z.  Just nice reminders.  We have one in our bathroom of course! $5 donation plus if you are not local, a few bucks for shipping would be great.

We are really gearing up for our fundraiser on April 20th at 6:00 at Hope Reformed Church.  We still need a few more people to make desserts for the dinner.  We've had several people volunteer to make some and I really appreciate it... I'm sure those coming will appreciate it too because I don't bake so well :-).

I am so thankful for all the people who are donating to the raffle.  There are going to be a lot of nice prizes.

About a week ago my dear friend who lives about an hour and a half away stopped by after work. She has four girls who obviously are being raised to have generous hearts.  Well, her middle daughter really wanted to contribute to the raffle to help bring little Z home.  On her own she made homemade bath salts!  And boy do they smell WONDERFUL!  I took a picture of her because 1) She is just so cute and 2) I wanted to give everyone a sneak peak of this raffle item.   
You can have a chance to win this item (or many other amazing items) by buying a raffle ticket for only $1 (or 25 for $20).

So, that's about it for the update.  Please continue to pray that our I800A is approved quickly and we get the hard copy in our hands so we can submit our dossier to Z's country.

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waiting... "Patiently" Waiting

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (psalm 27:14)

This verse has been repeated in my head over and over for the past couple weeks.  This adoption is a test of patience.  I have no fear that God is in control and His timing is perfect.  

I've called U.S department of immigrations every other day to see if our case has been assigned an officer yet.  Everyday, the answer has been nope... not yet.  One day the lady said it could be a month or two.  Then the next time I called, another lady said it could be within the next week.  So, I'm done calling.  I'm going to "wait on the Lord."  He is in control of the timing of this adoption.  I have put the phone number and case number back on the shelf so I will not be tempted to call again.

I am asking for prayers though.  This waiting is very hard.  The longer we wait, the longer it's going to take to visit little Z on the first trip.  After the first trip it's pretty much 5 months later that we can pick him up.  The longer this step in the process takes, the longer he waits to come home forever.  Please pray that I can have peace in waiting.  That I will not lose sight of God's timing.  Also, please pray that little Z is protected and safe while he waits.  Of course he doesn't know he has a family yet, but I just pray that he is surrounded by the Holy Spirit so that he can be prepared when we come.  

He never promised that this would be easy... but it will be worth it!

We've been trying to keep our mind off the waiting.  We had an awesome Easter spent with Dave's mom on Saturday and my side of the family at my parents house on Sunday.  My mom made these awesome bunnies for each of the grand kids   She even made one with a rattle in it and the fleece has textures for Z!  (His is red)  

And here the girls showing off their Easter attire at church on Sunday.  It's totally a tradition to the the "stairs-step" pose on Easter.  We have so many pictures growing up with my sisters and I doing the "stairs-step" pose.  

We also received Dave and Hannah's passports last week in the mail.  That was exciting!  Dave and I will be making the 1st trip alone and the verdict is still in whether Hannah will go or not the second trip.  Getting Hannah's passport is not a waste though because she hopes to go on a mission trip in high school.  

We are busy passing out flyers and collecting donations for the raffle we will have at our fundraising event.  We have quite a bit of stuff so far!  If anyone can't make it on APRIL 20th at 6:00, but would like to purchase raffle tickets for the prizes, let us know!  

Raffle tickets are $1 a piece or 25 for $20.  You can specify which item you would like to try for a chance to win.  Each item will be drawn separately from the "jar" next to that item.

Soon, I will post a more complete list of the items, but right off the top of my head here are some that I can remember:

Boy's bike and helmet- probably for a 6-10 year old boy?
Basket of bath salts
4 haircut coupons
4 certificates for 2 adult dinners at Noodles and Company
$20 to Texas Corral off West Main
Free bowling passes at Pinz
A few afghans (baby and adult)
Sentsy certificates (I think?)
Professional photo shoot (this is a really BIG value so we may do a silent auction)
Lots of homemade items (crafty friends!!!)
Deserts from Forth Coast Cafe made by a good friend from high school!
Lots of handmade (beautiful) jewelry
gift baskets
babysitting certificates

If you have anything else you would like to donate for this raffle... it's not too late!!!! Please contact me.  
hanstella9@yahoo.com or on my Facebook

Mark your calendar for APRIL 20th and respond either here or on Facebook if you are planning on coming.  
or here is one of the bands' event page.  This is the second band.  The first one we've heard play and they are AMAZING.  Beyond Sight is a band who heard about the event and graciously asked if they could be a part of helping to bring Z home!  They are a newly formed band and I look forward to hearing them play.  I've heard songs from them online and they sound really good :-).  They are really nice people and both bands have been a huge blessing in putting this event on.

Look forward to seeing you there.  Again, if you can't make it but would still like to donate items or even $ to help bring little Z home, let us know. 

Thanks for reading our blog and for the prayers.