Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy 2nd Gotcha Day Dima!

Two years ago today a spunky monkey was busted out of an orphanage.  The day he had (im)patiently waited for since the day he met us.  I could never adequately express in words what that day was like or what I was thinking.  I can, however, share a bunch of videos.


As you can see it was quite a feels like another lifetime.  Today when Sammy wished Dima a happy gotcha day Jeremiah said, "There's no gotcha day!  He has been with us forever in our heart!".  I like to think so.

Happy Second Gotcha Day Dima!!!  We are so thankful to have you in our family and we love you to the moon and back!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Two Years Ago...Continued Reflections

Two years ago today Carol and I were being shuttled all around Eastern Ukraine getting the last of the documents/paperwork in order so that we could spring Dima from the orphanage.  I remember it being a very long and tiresome day and in all, we were in the car for over eights hours.  We saw so much of countryside that day as well as the village in which Dima was actually born.  Carol and I had the ride of our lives in that little station wagon with my facilitator, Alex, and our driver, "Metroslob".  We felt as though we were in a Mario Kart recreation!  As I think about this day two years ago it all seems like a distant memory, a dream.  But as I watch the videos it feels as though it was only yesterday.  I can still feel the jarring car ride, smell the country air, hear the Ukrainian music on the radio, and hear Alex and "Metroslob's" voices converse in Russian.  It is surely safe to say that I left a rather large piece of my heart in Ukraine and of course that is largely in part of the fact that my son is Ukrainian.  I love his people, his culture, and his country.  Life in Ukraine is hard, but simple compared to how we live here in the States.  So now I share with you some videos from our day of paper chasing in Ukraine...

Friday, August 23, 2013

What's a Girl To Do?

So what does a mom do on her birthday?  After getting my boys off to school I sent out a necklace order to a fabulous repeat customer and hoofed it over to the bead store.  It is still hot, humid, and very much summer here in Florida but just walking into Wal-Mart will tell a very different tale.  Halloween and harvest decor abounds and it is a reminder that fall and all of the holidays are just around the corner.  So with that in mind I looked at some fall/Christmas charms to see what I could come up with for new necklaces.
How cute is this?!  An enamel Mayflower & Pilgrim on a dull silver chain.

Pumpkin & turkey - both make excellent Thanksgiving food!

A colorful gourd and Native American.  If it had not been for the Native Americans I would not be here!  I am a direct descendant of Isaac Allerton from the Mayflower.

And the Nativity.  I have already sold two of these but have two more in stock.  It is simple yet beautiful and the center of what Christmas is truly about.

Each necklace can be purchased from my Etsy shop, Chicken Momma's Change.  Any necklace can be altered to meet your specifications so please do not hesitate to ask.  There are some other necklaces that I added this morning as well, but these were my favorites.  Remember, 100% of the proceeds go towards our adoption!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

They Say It's Your Birthday!

Admit it.  When you read the title to this entry that infamous Beatles song song popped into your head.  When I looked the song up on Youtube I found the silly video and thought I would share.  It will be, after all, my birthday!  My birthday is not until tomorrow, August 23rd, but this entry has a purpose.  While this year is nothing special, just another year, I do have a wish.

I wish to have a daughter.  

An 11-year-old daughter.

From Asia.

With Cerebral Palsy.

I have longed to have a daughter since 2006 and finally, FINALLY, my wish is going to come true.  From what I understand about Channah, it is her desire to have a family.  Last night I had a vivid dream about meeting her and it was wonderful.  Sadly it ended when my alarm went off and reality hit.

Will you help be a part of making my birthday wish come true?  You can do so by one of several ways:

*Bless our FSP.
*Make a purchase from my Esty shop.  
*Purchase something from Channah's Guardian Angel and mention you would like 50% of the purchase to go towards our adoption.
*Participate in the Thirty-One fundraiser being held for our family.
*Participate in the Scentsy fundraiser also being held for our family.

Most importantly, however, please continue to pray for our family as we continue to walk through each door to our soon-to-be daughter.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guest Blogger: Channah's Guardian Angel!

This blog entry is written by Channah's Prayer Warrior and Christmas Warrior, Susan.  She has faithfully prayed for our sweet girl every day since December and even helped to raise $1,000 for her during last year's Christmas Angel Tree Warrior project with Reece's Rainbow.  Eric, the boys, and I are extremely grateful for Susan and the love she has for Channah.  She contacted me earlier this week and wanted to share all that she is going to continue to do for Channah as well as other families who are in the process of adopting.  Please visit her Etsy shop, Ginger on a Mission, and consider some of the beautiful items that she has for sale.  You can dedicate your purchase to Channah and help bring her home!

So, without further ado, I introduce you to Susan!


Last November my heart was being tugged when I saw a blog post by an adoptive mom saying she had signed up to be a Angel Tree Warrior for a little girl listed on Reece’s Rainbow. The goal was to help the child’s grant money grow by $1,000 during the holiday season.  I thought that would be fun but $1,000 seemed like too big of a goal for me.  After about a week of thinking about it quietly I mentioned it to my boyfriend and he of course said go for it, who cares if you don’t reach $1,000 every dollar will be more than the grant had before.  So then I poured over the children that I could choose from, how does one pick?  

I came to the conclusion that I wanted to select an older child and one with Cerebral Palsy as my passion for people with special needs started with a small orphanage in Vina del Mar, Chile where many of the children had cerebral palsy.  Channah’s picture stuck out to me immediately and as I read her profile and it stated she LOVED dresses I knew I found a match.  I LOVE wearing dresses.  I didn’t know much about Channah, just that she was somewhere in Asia, 10 years old, had CP and of course ADORABLE!  

After it was confirmed that I was matched as Channah’s Angel Tree Warrior, I started posting randomly on facebook about orphan statistics and my experience with special needs orphans in Chile.  I asked people to spare just a dollar for this sweet girl and watched her grant grow.  I shared her profile with other families who had a big blog following and continued to pester my friends.  Bugging them through facebook and in person wasn’t going to get me too far, I had to find a way to reach them and in Milwaukee… that way tends to be through food and drink.    

For my birthday which falls in December, I decided throwing a party and spending money on myself just didn’t seem like fun.  I had seen a local ad stating that a local bar/restaurant takes Guest Bartenders on Wednesday nights with all tips going to charity.  I have never bartended before but it seemed like a fun idea and way to celebrate my birthday through giving back.  I chose the night before my birthday and invited a bunch of friends, because hey, if we went out to celebrate my birthday, everyone would be tipping their bartender anyway!  

The actual bartending was quite an experience!  The restaurant is called Rustico and is in downtown Milwaukee.  A good friend of mine also works there so he requested to work that night to join in the fun.  Having about twenty friends come and just sit at the bar and watch me work was an experience.  It was such an wonderful and exciting evening that taught me I don’t want to bartend for a living!  I made almost $200 in tips (if I could make that bartending in three hours for real… I might switch careers!) from some very generous friends and strangers who rallied for my cause.

Since the holiday season I have tried to figure out how I could do more but I’m a social worker and let’s just say I’m not in it for the money.  My friends are all mid 20’s so clearly we aren’t ready to start our own families and adopt.  I became addicted to Pinterest and decided to buy a sewing machine.  My boyfriend thought I was out of my mind.  I tried to explain that I really did know how to sew.  In college I volunteered and taught a sewing class at a day program for adults with special needs, so clearly I can sew.   Once I started sewing things and they actually turned out he realized I had something.  He encouraged me to sell my items but I didn’t think they were good enough.  After some debate I realized that this was my way to help orphans.  I didn’t have money, but I had time and a skill.  This is where Ginger on a Mission came into play.
I put off opening my Etsy store for a while but after a lot of pushing from my best friend and boyfriend, I have officially opened my Etsy store.  You can see it at:

50% of each purchase goes to a Reece’s Rainbow family or child’s grant!  All you have to do is specify in the message at check out the family or child you are choosing.  This can be stated by their blog link or sponsorship link.  Obviously you can just write Channah and I will know who it is for     

Here are some of my items!
Susie Reusie Snack Bag- so awesome for snacks on the go and packing your lunch.  No more using plastic bags!  

Business Card Holder/Wallet/Gift Card Holder- Super adorable and fashionable to store business cards or a small wallet on the go when you just want a couple things in your pocket.  Also a way to dress up gift cards when you give them as a present.  

All of the Card Holders!  (I cannot take credit for all of these; I have an AWESOME best friend who spent many hours on these with me!)

Headbands- Will be there soon!  My adorable niece Eleanor makes them look so wonderful   Cannot wait to see Channah home and sporting one herself!

Amazing Weekend With Some Amazing Friends

This past weekend was filled with pure joy and it was too wonderful not to share with you all.  As most of you know Eric and I work with First Baptist Church's Love Department.  It is a special needs ministry that has been in place for over 25 years and is still going strong.  Each week we serve about 75 adults with various needs and I can honestly say that Sunday mornings are the BEST because not only do we get to worship God, we get to do so with some amazing people.  A majority of the adults with whom we work are clients of The Key Training Center.

From The Key Training Center's website:  "The Key Training Center, a private nonprofit Florida 501(c) (3) organization, is dedicated to serving adults with developmental disabilities. Since 1966, the Key Center has offered Kindness, Love, Dignity, and Respect to individuals and their families. We offer a myriad of programs and services to meet the social, vocational, residential/housing and advocacy needs of Citrus County and West Central Florida. Funds to support the Center are derived from Voluntary Health Agency Grants and assistance at the Federal, State and Local Government levels... together with private/public contributions.

The Key Center is the only facility of its kind in Citrus County and the surrounding areas providing vitally needed community based services to over 300 developmentally disabled adults. The Key Center has served over 2,500 developmentally disabled citizens since its inception in 1966. Program participants are accepted and services are offered regardless of age, race, religion, color, creed, sex, nationality, or ability to pay. The Key Center takes great pride in being viewed as a leader and innovator at the Federal, State and Local level in the delivery of community based services to the developmentally disabled."

Not only does the Key serve our friends, but it is Dima's future as well.  I can honestly say that our friends who are Key clients live a very full and happy life.  Eric and I are grateful for all that the Key does for our friends and we pray that it continues to go on strong in the years to come.

But first, this past weekend we had the Love Department Vacation Bible School.  This year it was on Sunday morning for three hours and we ended with a pizza party.  I think it is safe to say that a wonderful time was had by all, especially our friends, and it blessed the hearts of those who help make it such a spectacular day.  Here are some videos from our VBS:

Myself, our friend, Ray, & Eric.

VBS was not the only excitement this past weekend, however.  On Friday morning our dear friends from the Key put on an amazing play called Music of the Decades.  It was one of the best plays EVER!  My friends had so much fun performing for the audience and you could see it in their faces.  I was fortunate enough to get some video of that as well, so here are my favorite clips:

Eric and I are so proud of our friends for putting on such a great performance!  A lot of hard work went into that play and we cannot wait to see what the Key comes up with next!

While we certainly had a great weekend, we were very aware of an absence.  Eric, the boys, and I kept saying to one another, "Gosh, Channah would LOVE this!".  As you can see our family is more than able to provide a happy, loving, stable, and fulfilling life.  Our family is comfortable and familiar with various special needs which will enable us to give Channah the best care possible.  Our home study is being finished up and Eric and I are gathering documents for our Dossier.  Hopefully in the next few weeks we can send everything off to our agency and move onto the next step which is USICS.  Would you please continue to pray for our family as well as Channah?  We understand that it is all in God's timing but we sure are anxious to make a little more progress.  Thank you.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Step by Step/Thirty One/Scentsy/Etsy

With each day that passes Eric and I accomplish one more task towards getting Channah home.  This morning I went in for my lab work and hopefully Eric will get in tomorrow.  I am beginning to gather up documents that need to go to our agency and I know my social worker is diligently working on our home study.  In the meantime Eric is working overtime to sock funds away and I am working on necklaces each day.  This past week, however, has felt as though I am stuck in Jell-O or quick sand; that nothing is moving fast enough.  We have been diligent in praying for her and know that just as Dima made it home, Channah will, too.  God has got this.

We do have two fundraisers currently up and running.  The first is a Thirty One party hosted by a fellow orphan advocate.  All sale from her website will benefit our adoption and at the end of the month she will donate the funds to our FSP.  Thirty One has fantastic products that are both durable and stylish.  My boys each have a backpack that has survived almost a full year of use!  To place an order with our hostess, Ashley, please visit: .  There is no specific party for our adoption, again, any purchase from her site will benefit our family for the month of August.

The next fundraiser is Scentsy!  My dear friend, Marion, who is an amazing adoptive mother to some children with special needs has graciously offered to host an online party for our adoption!  Christmas is not too far away and Scentsy makes wonderful gifts.  To order directly from the online party site please go here: .

Finally, I designed a new necklace for my Etsy shop.  It is very fitting for an adoptive momma or even an adopted child:

I had only made two and one sold almost right away, but plan on making more.  You can custom order this necklace to be any length you wish, just ask!  To order visit my Etsy shop:  Chicken Momma's Change!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we take each step towards Channah.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today Eric and I walked into an orphanage and met our son, Dima, for the very first time.  I can still remember how I felt walking through those doors for the very first time;  I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest!  And I will certainly never forget laying eyes on Dima for the very first time!  It was so a dream come true!

And now, two years later Dima got on a school bus and went off to school like any 9 year old boy should.  He is learning how to read and write, self control, he swims like a fish, and loves Jesus.  Yesterday morning at church he helped to lead the Love Department in VBS songs!  He is not even the same little boy that I met to years ago.  No, the little boy I met two years ago had so much pain and baggage:  he had never been to school, he had been abused, and had never even been outside much at night which was just unfathomable.  I will also never forget the first time I took him into a store called the Amstor - It was as though he was channeling the Tazmanian Devil!  Life suddenly looked very different as I watched him experience so many things we take for granted for the first time.

As I reflect on the significance of this day (for our family) I cannot help but allow my mind to wander to the future.  What will it be like meeting yet another child born from my heart?  What will Channah be like?  How will it feel the moment I lay eyes on her for the first time?  How will she feel?  With Dima's adoption I spent close to six weeks in his country and the love I have for Ukraine and for the people runs deep.  For Channah I will only have two weeks tops.  Will I fall in love with her culture as well?

There are so many more thoughts and emotions running through my head as I reflect on this anniversary but they are reflections I prefer to keep to myself.  They are good thoughts and memories but complex.  My thoughts have also turned to Dima's birth family....I continue to uplift his birthmother in prayer.  I pray that she knows deep in her heart that Dima is safe and loved unconditionally.

In the meantime, I will rejoice on having Dima in our lives.  We are so grateful that God has allowed us to be his forever family.  I am so very glad that we were obedient to His call.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Moving Along

Our adoption process seems to be moving forward once again.  The pace may be that of a snail but forward progress is forward progress, no?

I had my physical today and Eric has his on Monday.  Hopefully by the end of next week our forms will be completed and I can set those aside with some other documents that we have for our Dossier.  I am also finishing up the background checks and since we have lived in so many States our background checks have been extensive.  Hope to send out the last few next week, too,

In other non-adoption news the boys went back to school this past Monday.  I was very sad to see them go but they were excited and very much looking forward to the new school year.  Eric and I are quite pleased with their new teachers and we are also pleased with Dima's new placement at the CREST school.  His behavior has been wonderful both at school and at home, and he seems to be so much more relaxed and happy.  It is going to be a good year.

So what do I do with all of my "spare time"?  HA!  There really is not much of that as I am trying to get caught up on housework, laundry, adoption stuff, and making more necklaces for my Etsy Shop!  On average I am selling at least one necklace per day and I am very thankful for the many orders that I have had.  This past week I ordered some items off of Ebay that are bound to make some great necklaces!  In the meantime here are some new items that I completed today:

Beautifully detailed turtle.

The Four Seasons.

I am not going to lie- this is my favorite at the moment.  This little guy reminds me of a Ukrainian cartoon.

Heart and cross.
The sizes are different now that I've been purchasing chains from another supplier.  I can custom fit the necklaces to your specifications.  If you wish to place an order please visit my Etsy Shop:  Chicken Momma's Change.  Remember, the the money made by the sale of these necklaces goes towards adoption expenses!

Today it really hit me how much I long to have Channah in our lives.  Sure, I've loved her all along but there was indeed a small part of me trying to guard my heart.  But today the wall totally and completely crumbled under the weight of love for a young lady whose picture and videos captured our hearts.  I know that technically she is not mine but I love her as though she is.

Well, it is Friday and Eric is about to come home from work.  I am looking forward to another great weekend with my boys and then a fantastic Sunday morning with my favorite folks (The Love Department!).  I hope you all have a great weekend, too! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Order While Supplies Last!

As posted in a previous entry, I have an Etsy shop where I sell necklaces.  In the beginning I started out with hemp cord and wooden beads, then used some glass pendants on hemp cord, and now I am happy to share my best selling necklaces - metals!  On average I am shipping out 3-5 packages per day and can hardly keep up with the orders!  THANK YOU!  Not only has this turned into a relatively successful "fundraiser" for Channah, but I am enjoying my work as well.  Below are the necklaces I currently have available.  If you wish to make a purchase, please visit my Etsy Shop:  Chicken Momma's Change!  Every penny earned is going towards our adoption expenses and now that we are almost done with our paperwork we will have quite a bit of fees soon due to our agency.

I am also now taking some requests.  If you wish to have a necklace with a particular charm I can usually find what you want.  

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Thank you again to those of you who have already made a purchase (especially repeat customers!) and happy shopping!