Friday, December 27, 2013

what adoption means to us

Mary Beth picked out these gifts for her sister and is saving them for the day when we are allowed to send them to her in the orphanage.  The big elephant she will save to give her in person.  She sleeps with them all every night... it's so sweet.

I wanted to share here what adoption means to us:

Adoption wonderful way to add another little one to our happy family- another little one to love with all of our hearts.  It doesn't mean agony in the waiting, or despair about the cost, or anger over the seemingly endless paperwork.  Those things are only very small inconveniences- easily forgotten when it's over(just like labor pains!) and they are definitely a very insignificant part of the journey.  Adoption is about giving a child a family that didn't have one before, adding more love and joy to our home and our hearts, growing our family, and making a whole lifetime of new memories.  The other stuff is nothing- truly!   It is just stuff- it should never stop anyone from considering adoption if their hearts are leading them down that path.  Paperwork is no big deal when it's over- it seems endless in the beginning but after it's done- you look back and think heck, that wasn't THAT bad!  The waiting is very similar to waiting while you are pregnant- 9 months is a long wait too... so what's a few more?  And the cost... well- yes, it's quite a bit.  But someone said to me once that IVF costs almost that much and people pay that all the time without any guarantee that it will even result in a pregnancy.  So true!  And how can any price be put on a human life?  We would pay anything to bring one of our children home if that's what it took- or to save their life... so how is this any different?  There are always ways to make money- and there is plenty of time to do it too.  If you are considering adoption and the money part makes you feel like it isn't possible for you- spend some time reading adoption blogs... families adopt over and over again- on one income and very little disposable income!  There is always a way!!  Grants, fundraisers, donations, extra jobs, the adoption tax credit, ect.  Please feel free to contact me if you need ideas or have questions.  I am always happy to talk about adoption!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to our Little Angel

(photo by Carrie Snyder- The Forum)

As you can see we hung 6 stockings by the fire this year... one for our little girl who is waiting half way around the world for us to come and get her- while we wait here to hold her in our arms.  She is never not in our thoughts and in our prayers.  We may not know what she looks like yet but our youngest daughter is out there and we wish more than anything that she was here with us this Christmas.  But we know that it is highly likely she will be with us for the next one!  So even though this part is difficult- not being able to spend these special firsts with her- we rejoice in the fact that soon we will be together and begin our whole lifetime of special moments together.  And that makes us very happy indeed.

The Forum came and took our picture and did a story about this phase of our adoption journey.  If you didn't read it already you can find it here.

I heard this song recently about adoption... it brought me to tears and I wanted to share some of the lyrics here:

There’s a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for her momma’s arms at an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are
But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine
It’s Christmas time again but you’re not home
Your family is here and yet you’re somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"The Teepee Lady" {adoption fundraising}

Maybe you are wondering where I have been???
Well- I have been making things like a mad woman!

You see, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving Ashley from Unglued asked me if I would be interested in making a bunch of teepees to sell in the new holiday pop-up shop they would be opening on Black Friday.  She extended the offer that she gives us on the other crafts I sell at their other shop:  100% of the sales would go directly to our adoption fund- they would not keep a cut.  This is very generous and has since been a HUGE blessing to our family.  Why?  Because everything is selling REALLY WELL!!  And so to keep up, I spend every spare minute making teepees, fort kits, scarves, and scrappy bunting! :)  Here are some pictures of what I've been making:

The second week I tried something new- doll sized teepees!  They turned out so cute.  My dear friend Wendy offered to crochet mini afghans for them- look how beautiful they are!

Here are the other VERY popular items... fort kits!
I can barely keep up making them- and I get why... they are the perfect present.  It's a gift of imagination, adventure, and hours of fun.  What kid doesn't love a fort??

I've got some Christmas scrappy garland for sale there too! 
And here are some of the scarves I'm selling- flannel infinity, and I also have some super soft double-looped knit infinity scarves also(aztec print!).

We have made MANY, MANY trips to home improvement stores for lumber and bamboo to keep up with the teepee sales.  Each time John says:  this has to be more than we will need!  And then we always end up going back in a few days!  :)

Here are some pictures of the kid-size teepees set up at the pop-up shop:  Unglued's Very Merry Market
Each teepee comes with a vintage afghan and a string of coordinating scrappy bunting.
Oh, and I am now known around Fargo as The Teepee Lady- ha!

Here's the whole store:  (the teepees take up the entire back end!)
Isn't it gorgeous?? If you have not visited this shop yet- do it!  They have the cutest things for sale in there and many fun events every week!  The holiday pop-up shop (Unglued's Very Merry Market) is at 102 Broadway in downtown Fargo(right across from the HoDo) and it's amazing!

Here are the scrappy garlands I sell at the original Unglued.  And next to them is one of the chandelier hoops I sell there too.

And my vintage book page hoops- I think these are my favorite!

A VERY special thank you to John's mom for all of the thrift store trips she has been making to find me all of these hoops for my crafts!  Amazing!  I keep getting boxes of them and thank goodness!  Because I couldn't make this stuff without them.  Paying full price just wasn't an option for us!  
Thank you so much Donna!

Ok, well- now you know why there haven't been any posts in awhile!  Between this, homeschooling the kids, trying to decorate for the holidays, and everything else, I haven't had a spare second!
I will try and post the Halloween pics, ect. soon.

Also, no new adoption news... still just waiting to be matched.  It could take up to 8 months from our LID so all there is to do is just wait!  It is disappointing and frustrating when months go by without being matched with our daughter but staying busy is helping and also we know in our hearts that it will all play out in the way it is meant to.  And she is surely worth the wait!
Thank you for all of your continued prayers and support during these past months- we appreciate it more than we can ever express in words. 

And to all the customers who have bought any of my items- 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Adopting a Child with Special Needs

November is Orphan Awareness Month.
So I will be posting a lot about adoption and orphan care this month.

As many of you know we have chosen to adopt a child with special needs- 
this is a great short film talking more about that.

Here are some great articles explaining why there are so many special needs adoptions coming out of China.

When a family goes this route, they are able to tell their agency which needs they are open to, what they are comfortable with and what they feel their family is able to handle.  A lot of research through reading and talking to other families went into our decision about what needs we would be open to.
If any of you have any questions for us regarding this topic, please ask!  We are always happy to talk about adoption and specifically our personal journey.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Love Without Boundaries- "What is Adoption?" {I cried at the end}

I have cried about a million times these past few weeks... it's been an emotional time.
I thought I'd be excited during the wait for a referral(and I am) but it's just really... hard.
And I hear the 4-6 months after the referral while you are waiting for the go ahead to travel is THE WORST- because you have "met" your child and she is yours, but you have to just do a lot more waiting- knowing she is still waiting for us to come get her.  
They say adoption is not for the faint of heart... that is so true.  But it will all be worth it in the end.  She is worth the wait, worth the endless paperwork, worth the expense, worth the tears.
Because every child is beautiful and special- every child deserves a family.

I’m only one. But still, I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
– Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Today is Orphan Sunday{11.3.13}

"Do you want to do something beautiful?  There is a person that needs you.  This is your chance."
-Mother Teresa

We had a wonderful afternoon at the local Orphan Sunday event here in Fargo.  I just wish everyone I know and more could have been there... it was so special and wonderful.  We met several amazing adoptive families and talked to more that are waiting just like us.  It would be so great if many more from the community could come to hear the stories and learn about ways that everyone can do small or big things to support orphan care in the world.  Anyway, we are happy that we could be there and are so grateful for all the beautiful families that are becoming a part of our life through our adoption journey this year. Here are some links to the news broadcasts from the event:

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Guess what?? We have our LID!!! Our adoption coordinator emailed me to tell us our dossier made it to China & we are officially logged in & ready to receive a referral-to be matched with a baby girl!! Soon we will finally see her face & learn about her special story. How awesome is that?? We hoped and prayed we'd be LID before the Oct. shared list of waiting children was released & it happened!! A new round of waiting begins now but we are celebrating this great news today! One step closer to our sweet little one... and we couldn't be happier today.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mid Autumn Moon Festival

On Sept. 25th we got together with the families we have met in town that have also adopted from China.  Every year they get together to celebrate the Mid Autumn Moon Festival(we were a week late but not a big deal!) and this year we were so happy and grateful to be included in the festivities!  The kids had a blast- we had a delicious meal, moon pies, craft time-the kids made their own Chinese lanterns, and then they all went on a lantern parade around the block.  It was really something seeing all of the kids together on the parade- there were 12 kids between all of us there- running around with glowing lanterns.  They loved it and the parents loved watching them.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hot Mama Shopping Event {adoption fundraiser}

My sweet friend Michelle organized a fundraising shopping event for our adoption tonight.  What a perfect ending to our happy news day!  It was so fun- she brought wine, appetizers, and invited friends to shop at Hot Mama for some cute new clothes.  Our family received 15% of the amount they purchased that evening and guess what?  We will be adding $350 to our fund after tonight! Yay!  Another step closer... thank you dear friends!

We are DTC!!(dossier to China)... {adoption update}

Today was a full day.  Jeffrey had orchestra at the school in the morning, MB, Mickey and I had "coffee club", Jeffrey had a field trip with the 5th grade class he attends gym/music with, and tonight my friend Michelle organized a shopping event/adoption fundraiser at the store Hot Mama in the mall.  More to come on that- it was so great!!
Meanwhile, all day I was an absolute basket case inside- and so were the kids!  You see, our dossier was picked up from the Chinese Embassy on Wednesday(the Embassy was closed on Monday and Tuesday due to a Chinese holiday) and then overnight-ed to our agency that same day(cost: $57 to overnight it people!!- how crazy is that???).  We also had to overnight new cashier's checks to our agency the same day(long story but we sent the wrong amounts the first time which ended up being kind of a big deal since each check costs $5 and then we had to overnight it ($20) so that our coordinator got the correct ones in time).  Boo.  We got over it.  Stuff happens, right?
Now, our agency only mails dossiers to China on Fridays(not sure why, but that's the deal) and so it was VERY important to us that all of our stuff got to her by Thursday so she had time to make some copies, look it over and make sure everything was in order.  Everything got there on Thursday.  YAY!
There was always an off chance that our dossier would not get mailed on Friday... since she said she "should have enough time" to get it ready.  And what if there was something amiss?  So that is why we were so nervous all day today.  I checked my email 600 times at least, waiting to hear from her that it was sent.  The kids kept asking me if it was time to celebrate yet.  "Are we DTC, are we DTC?" is all I heard all day(that didn't help my nerves).  I started doing time zone figuring in my head... our agency is in CA so 2 hours behind... what if she goes home at 4pm today since it's a Friday?  What if she never emails us to let us know, assuming that we were assuming it would just go out?  I already emailed her once in the morning, should I do it again?  Would she hate me if I did?  Is she home sick?  Should I make John call?  If so, what time?  I decided for the sake of all of our sanity, that John would have to call her at 3:30 her time.  That seemed safe to me.  So he called... and she answered... and said yes, it was mailed(like it was no big deal! ha!!)  In the background MB was yelling "did she mail it? did she???"... oh my goodness- I wonder what our coordinator thinks of this family that emails her almost everyday(I'm exaggerating- but not much) with a million questions and screams like a nutcase over any news.  ugh...  Anyway- WE ARE DTC! WE ARE DTC! WE ARE DTC!!!!!!
This means dossier to China.  And THAT means that ALL the paperwork that we have been working on for 6 months, sending all over creation for notarizations, seals, and approvals, has FINALLY been put all together and mailed off to China!!!  This is a big milestone in the process.  HUGE.  And we are over the moon happy about it.  I was shaking and felt like a nervous wreck after we found out though- maybe because it suddenly felt so REAL, ya know?  Hard to explain...
So now what?  We wait to hear from China that they received it(happily, I don't think there's any holidays this coming week) and then we are officially LID.  Another HUGE milestone.  It stands for "log in date"- which is a really big deal because we cannot be matched with a child until we have our LID.  The sad news is that the next shared list(the list that only comes out once a month from China with all the new children that are available for adoption) is probably coming out this coming week.  I'm sure before we can even hope to be LID.  So that stinks.  But maybe, just maybe there's a chance we could find our daughter or be matched somehow this coming month???  Nothing is impossible, right?  I'm not getting my hopes up though... even though that is what our heart's desire is, we realize that it's a possibility that we could be waiting months for a match(our agency said it could be 3-8 months).  I'm assuming that's worst case scenario- ha!  It's been known to happen faster- our coordinator is actually known for being a really fast matcher- so we'll see!
It all depends on so many things...
We will keep you posted though!  So again, coming up next in this process is:
 LID and then:  our baby girl!  I can hardly believe we've come this far!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Nonna's Gardens

Isn't my mom's yard gorgeous??