Sunday, February 10, 2013

Share and win during Lent

Just visit this website to find out how!  It's called Forty to forever.  Their goal is to help 39 families and one sweet orphan raise money for their adoption costs and to spread the word about these children and their need for loving homes.
Please consider making Forty to Forever part of your Lenten season this year.

Because every child deserves moments like this.

Listen up!

 I was just told that someone made a disparaging remark on Facebook about the fact that we need to take one of our children with us for the gotcha trip and I would like to clear up some misunderstandings. (Before anyone asks... it doesn't matter who said what.  That's not what this post (rant, diatribe, etc) is about.)

Yes, we are taking on of our children with us on our trip to bring Christiana home.

We are not taking our son who has autism. (Deacon)  He will be staying here at home (his Rara (grandma) will be staying with him.. and with Jasper) because his autism would make a trip like this EXTREMELY traumatic for him.  He could not handle the sensory issues involved in airplanes, airports, new foods (he has feeding issues and gi issues), etc.  We will be spending almost 24 hours travelling nonstop.  We would never want to put him through that kind of stress and hardship.

We are taking our son James (who is 6).  He can handle the trip much better than our 3 year old can... and unlike Jasper... he will be able to benefit from this experience.

I want to stress this to everyone... WE ARE NOT doing this frivolously.  We aren't taking him because it will be "fun" or like some kind of vacation.  We're taking him because we need to take one of the kids with us and he is the child that will do the best on the journey and we hope that he will learn from this experience and grow in his spirit, heart, and mind.

There was some discussion about overnight layovers in foreign countries (Paris, for example) in one of the adoption groups.  I know that at least one family plans to do this.  If our flight had an overnight or very long layover, (some do, most don't) it would be awesome to see a city like London, Frankfurt, or Paris (typical stops for flights to B).   But it's not likely and we're not tying to do that.  Sure, it would be fun... but it would also be a large, added expense.  We're trying not to have any of those!

We are VERY mindful of the money that we have been entrusted with!  Please note that I don't say "given".  We haven't been given these funds.  We've been entrusted with money that is intended for a specific purpose - paying for our adoption and adoption related travel expenses.  We are budgeting very strictly and have already planned to donate any remaining money (once we're home) to other families in need.  I've posted this before.

I don't look at this as "our" money.  I never have.  That's why I've always (with a couple of exceptions... money to pay shipping costs, for example) asked that donations be made to our FSP. I've wanted as much as possible to be designated "her" money so that if something happened with our adoption... Crista would have a better chance of finding a family - and that family would have an easier time bringing her home.

Once we're home, we plan to continue fundraising for other adoptive families and orphaned children.  We plan to begin with families who are still working toward their OWN gotcha trips.  There are a LOT of families out there who are in need and we plan to help them as much as we are able.

We are not treating this money frivolously and we will not waste any of  it.  We are doing what we feel is really necessary.

Once we're home (and before we leave if we can get our tickets bought and food/lodging paid for) I will still be crafting, selling, donating, and advocating my butt off!  I know that some people see their gotcha trip as reaching "the end of the rainbow".  Let me tell you, folks, it's not.  You can ask anyone who has adopted... the gotcha experience is JUST THE BEGINNING.  It's just like having a baby.  Pregnancy ends once you give birth (adoption process), but a whole new journey begins at that point!  You're getting to know a whole new person and adding them into your family.  It's a process that changes everyone.

We haven't committed ourselves (and our lives) to just Christiana.  We've committed ourselves to orphaned children AND the families who are adopting them.  We plan to keep moving forward.  Whether that means just advocating and helping other families or adopting again in the future... I don't know.  I do know that we're in this for the duration.

And with that in mind... we will continue doing what we've done all along in this process.  We'll be budgeting, pinching pennies, crafting, fundraising, and trying to get the most impact from EVERY CENT we're entrusted with!

I'll try to wrap this up now.  Yes, we're still fundraising.  We still need around $400 to meet a small, last minute matching grant that was generously offered to us.  Once we have that, and the proceeds from the facebook auction that ends on Tuesday, we should have enough money to pay for our plane tickets, food, hotel, and embassy costs (pretty minor... an exam and a small fee, I think) for our daughter's visa to enter the US and become a United Stated citizen upon arrival.  That's it!  That's all we have left to raise... all we have left to do to complete our adoption and get our daughter home.

One more thing I would like to add...
This blog and my voice on facebook has done more than just record our adoption journey and boost our fundraising efforts.  I'm very proud to say that because we've shared this with all of you, seven families have come to me privately to either inquire about a particular child, ask advice about choosing an adoption agency, or for advice on committing to adopt a child.  It has also allowed me to have support when I've needed it during this last year.
Communication is an amazing thing.  I urge you to give it a try.  Many days you will think you have nothing to say... that no one will read it... that it won't matter.  I've thought these same things so many times.
But this week I was shown by my dear friend "Ammu" that I was wrong.  People are listening and my words matter.

I'm going to end (I know... finally!) with the Starfish Story because "it matters to this one" is my favorite message and one that we all should remember.

The Starfish Story

adapted from The Star Thrower

by Loren Eiseley
(1907 - 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, so he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

As if he hadn't heard, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he turned, smiled and said, "It made a difference to that one!"

Make a difference.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some good news: the final push

On Thursday, the 7 day mandatory wait will have ended and our adoption decree will be final!  Our daughter will OFFICIALLY be a Matthews!

I'm so very excited.  The following week we should receive the dates when we can travel to bring her home! As soon as her little foot steps onto US soil... she will automatically become a US citizen.  How amazing and beautiful is that?

Other good news... we've been offered not one, but TWO matching grants totaling $1,250!  For those who don't know - a matching grant is one where a donor asks you to raise a certain amount of money and when you meet that goal... they give you the same amount, doubling what you have already raised!

Once we match the $1,250 that has been pledged, they will donate the same amount and WE WILL BE FULLY FUNDED!!!  We will be able to go and bring our daughter home as soon as her government says we can!

So if you want to get one of my mystery gifts (hair clippies, key fobs, button bobbies, and more), just go to our link and make a donation!  Then email me at and I will send you something amazing as a great big thank you for helping me bring my baby girl home!!  The link to our adoption fund is at the top right side of this screen.

I'm so excited.  I wish I could make you all understand just how VERY excited I am.  In just a few weeks I will see my daughter again.  But this time... I won't have to say goodbye. Not ever again!!

One last thing...
Could I ask another favor from those of you reading this?  Could you please share this on your own blogs, Facebook pages, etc?


Saturday, February 2, 2013

The best news yet!

Our adoption has been granted!  Crista is officially our daughter.  

We have a mandatory 7 day wait for the judge's ruling to be final and then another 4-5 days before our lawyer gets our court decree.  

But she's ours and in about 2 weeks, we should receive our travel dates to bring her home for GOOD!  

We're almost fully funded for this trip, but still need to raise another $2600 to pay for our travel.  So... I've decided that anyone who donates $20 (or more) and forwards their email receipt to me will get a thank you gift from our family!  The gifts are mystery gifts. After all... doesn't everyone love a surprise?  You could get a key fob, a hair clippie, or any number or other things.  It's our way of saying thank you for helping us bring our baby home.