Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Sammy Wammy!!

Eight years ago today at this time I was having an emergency c-section.  It is a long story but suffice to say that my amniotic fluid was non-existant and our little fellow's chances of survival were not very high.  I'll never forget that sickly little cry and how my tiny little baby was whisked off before I could even see or hold him.  That first night I stood on my feet for hours praying over Sammy.  His heart would stop and the nurse would say, "O.K. momma, time for you to do your job- PRAY!".  I never bargained so hard with God or pleaded so fiercely for a miracle.  The love that I had for that baby was immeasurable and I would have gladly given my own life so that he could have his.  And I had yet to even hold him.

And now, eight years later, my Sammy is still here and he is an amazing little boy.  As my mom puts it, he "sparkles".  Oh does he ever!  There is something special about him, how he loves life, how he loves others and animals.  Over the past year and a half we have been going through a lot of medical testing and the like and he is under the care of a neurologist and a geneticist.  While we still do not have all of the answers we are looking for I know that God knows.  I know that Sammy loves the Lord and trusts Him fully with the number of his days. He sometimes puts my own faith to shame.

Each of my boys have specific interests and for Sammy it is animals.  While he insists that he will be a cop someday I think deep down he is destined to be a vet.  He LOVES animals of all kind and he LOVES LOVES LOVES his dogs (Caleb, our Weim and Murphy, Sammy's Jack Russell).  We have had rabbits, dogs, hermit crabs, frogs, toads, fish, and even chickens.  Sammy would love to have a mini farm so we could have goats, some pigs, and maybe even a horse.  Ha!  We need more land for that.  But I love his heart.

So as a birthday tribute to my sweet Sammy, I leave you with some of my most favorite pictures of him.  They are mostly with animals, too.


My most favorite picture of Sammy ever (he was 3).  THIS is his face, his personality, his "sparkle".
Sammy at age 2 with our former dog, Jax.  Those two were always together.

Another picture of Sammy and Jax.
Sammy holding one of our former rabbits, Lina.  She was a house bun who was litter trained and all.  With Sammy and Lina is Elijah.
Sammy with one of our current dogs, Caleb.
Sammy on a pony at the Cooter Festival this past October.
Sammy feeding some goats.
Sammy at the neurologist with Dima.
Sammy with his surprise birthday gift this year:  Murphy the naughty Jack Russell.
Sammy singing to Caleb.
Sammy at Shriner's Hospital in Tampa.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
—Psalm 127:3-5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
—Matthew 18:1-3

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

T-Minus Six Days & Pictures

Only six days left to order a t-shirt through our Bonfire Funds t-shirt fundraiser.  We have sold 21 shirts but need to sell 50 in order for them to be printed.  So far we have raised $353 dollars which will help us cover our next agency fee that is due when we receive our LOA (Letter Of Approval) from China.  If things continue to progress at the rate they are for other families, we very well could have our LOA by the end of next month with travel 2-3 months from that point.  That puts us in the home stretch of this adoption!  Here is the design that we have available.

To place an order please click HERE and you will be taken directly to our fundraiser.  Unfortunately you cannot use Paypal to make your purchase.

In the meantime I was given such a gift last evening!  Someone had found an online photo album of children from Channah's orphanage and she was in a TON of the pictures!  The pictures were taken in 2009 so she was 6 years old.  Oh the joy it brought to my heart and that of her daddy and brothers!

Channah is the little girl in the bright orange coat.

Hanging out with boys- she will handle her brothers NO problem!

Channah is on the left.

Look at her writing!  

 No worries sweet girl.  That Minnie Mouse IS creepy!
So will you PLEASE order one t-shirt and help this adorable girl become part of our family?  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Another T-Shirt Challenge!

Good morning!!!!  Since my previous t-shirt challenge was successful I would like to offer another challenge for today.  Only this time there are two items and there will be two winners!!!

But first I would like to thank some donors who have donated financially to our Bonfire Fund.  We are extremely grateful and humbled by your generous donations.  Those donations will help tremendously in meeting our financial goal of covering our next round of agency fees.

We do, however, need to sell 36 more t-shirts in the next 13 days in order for them to be printed.  Our last t-shirt challenge was successful and congratulations to June R. on being the winner of the globe necklace!  So we are going to offer another challenge for today, March 19th.  Place an order for a t-shirt and have your name in the running to win one of two items that yours truly has made:

This is a jade and red aventurine stretchy bracelet.  And yes, that is REAL Jade.

See how that jade just pops?

This necklace has multiple colors of glass beads, orange stone beads, and red aventurine.  It is a long necklace measuring 30" in length.  

Lovely colors.

So how does this work?  Purchase any shirt from our Bonfire Fund and your name will be in the running to win.  You have until tomorrow morning, March 20th for your order to count.  The first name that is drawn will get to choose either the bracelet or necklace.  The runner up will get whichever item has not been chosen.  To place an order please click HERE.  Below is the design of our shirts.  I know a bunch of people who are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their shirts in the mail!

Will you help us reach our goal of selling 50 shirts?  Ready, set, GO!!!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

T-Shirt Fundraiser Challenge!

O.K. friends I am going to offer a challenge to you all for ONE DAY ONLY.  Today, March 14th, if you order a t-shirt or make a donation to our adoption through Bonfire Funds, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a necklace.  I did not make this necklace, rather, I had purchased it to use for fundraising purposes.  It features a spinning globe charm and binoculars.  Fitting for families who travel the world to adopt, no?

To enter the drawing purchase a t-shirt or make a donation HERE.  In order for our t-shirt fundraiser to be successful we need to sell at least 50 shirts.  If you would like to receive more chances to win the necklace please share our Bonfire Funds fundraiser on your Facebook wall, blog, or Twitter.  If you share on all three social media outlets you will get three extra entries.  You will need to comment on this entry with those links so I can verify and count your entries.  Unfortunately you have to make a purchase or donation in order to receive extra entries.  The winning name will be drawn tomorrow morning (March 15th).

Here is the awesome t-shirt design that we are offering (also available in long sleeve, hooded sweat shirt, and youth sizes).

If you have already made a purchase today your name will automatically be entered into the drawing.  A HUGE thank you to those of you who have already placed an order.  As of this moment we have raised $78!!!  Let's see if we can break $100 over the next 24 hours!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

T-Shirt Fundraiser

Our family has a t-shirt fundraiser through Bonfire Funds.   It ends April 1st and we are hoping to raise a few hundred dollars to get us to our $700 agency fee goal.  In order for this fundraiser to even been slightly successful we must sell at least 50 t-shirts.  If we do not reach our goal no shirts will be printed and we will get $0 (credit cards will not be charged at that point).  When we receive LOA we will owe another $700, Lord willing next month.  The t-shirts are a charcoal gray with the word ORPHANS and below that the Scripture Proverbs 24:12 in white.  This Scripture really spoke to our hearts in terms of adoption and the orphan crisis in general.  Because seriously, once you meet an orphan and know their name, their need, how can you not do something about it?

The t-shirts are available is adult and youth sizes and you can even order a long sleeve t-shirt or a hooded sweatshirt.  From what I have heard from others who have ordered t-shirts from other Bonfire Fund fundraisers, these shirts are super soft.  

To visit our family's Bonfire Fund page click HERE.  Thank you!!

Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act. 
Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One Step Closer & The Happenings

I am happy to share that our dossier is OOT (out of translation) and currently being reviewed by the Chinese officials!  We now (im)patiently wait for LOA (letter of approval) and it is our prayer that we receive LOA next month.  For the past seven months time has seemingly dragged on but I am hoping now that our dossier is actually in China that things will move forward in a timely fashion.  Would you please join us in prayer that we would receive LOA by the end of April?

In other news we have been busy and living life.  Last week we celebrated Jeremiah's 11th birthday!  He chose to have supper at the Taipei Taipei Teahouse in Brooksville and as always the food was delicious!  After supper we headed to Grammy and Pa's house for a visit with some relatives visiting from New Hampshire that we have not seen in quite some time.  It is so hard to believe that it was eleven years ago that Jeremiah made me a momma.  He was such an easy baby (hence his younger brothers so close behind) and he makes my job as a mother enjoyable.  We are so proud of how well he is doing in school and look forward to getting back to homeschooling him next year as he enters the sixth grade.

Elijah, Jeremiah, and Dima enjoying some egg drop soup.
Daddy and Elijah.
My delicious Kung Pao Shrimp.
Sammy and Mommy.

We have also added a new member to the family only this new member is of the four legged persuasion.  Sammy's 8th birthday is at the end of the month and his special wish was for a little dog.  As you may have seen in previous entries we have a beautiful pure bred Weimaraner who is six years old.  He is 75 lbs. and pure muscle- the best dog we have ever had!  The only problem is Sammy cannot pick up our Weim and carry him around.  Nor can the dog comfortably fit on a top bunk bed.  So as circumstance would have it, some friends of ours were about to move and could not take their little dog with them.  I had mentioned this to Sammy a few weeks back and of course he was keen to give this dog a home.  We talked it over with daddy and daddy was not so quick to agree to take on another animal.  The deal was that Sammy had to do his chores without prompting, get up at a reasonable time in the mornings without incident, and he had to not fuss at his brothers or provoke them.  If Sammy could keep that up daddy would let him know if he could get the little dog.  Well, last week the boys had two half days at school and on the first half day Sammy had a little surprise waiting for him at the bus top when he got off of the bus:



Spring is also arriving here in our neck of the woods.  Days are getting longer, the temperatures are becoming more seasonal, and the boys have been busy spending much of their free time outside.  Now that we have more daylight the boys quickly complete their homework when they get home so they can spend the rest of the day exploring the woods.  They are building forts, looking for wild turkeys, and I LOVE that they love to be outside.  Elijah especially loves to ride his bike and two weeks ago he decided to try building a bike ramp so he can do jumps.  One evening Elijah, Sammy, and Dima spent a couple of hours riding in circles in our driveway.

And Dima?  He is kicking bum and taking names at school learning how to read!  We are So proud of him and all that he has accomplished and overcome this past year at school.  Such a huge change from last year.  He also attended his first dance at the Key Training Center this past Friday evening.  Eric, Dima, and I had so much fun and really enjoyed the evening with our dear friends.

Our friend, Chris, myself, and Dima.
Dima and I dancin' the night away.
Our sweet friend, Ray.  I had snuck up behind him to give him bunny ears and when Eric showed him this picture he was kind of weirded out that I had done that- he did think it was funny, though.

So life is good.  The only thing that could make it even better would be to have Yun with us.  Not a day goes by that we don't talk about her, think about her, and wish that she was officially part of our family.  It is our hope and prayer that Elijah and I can head to China in June (or July) to get her.  In terms of funding we are about $10,000 (maybe a little more since we will be traveling in the summer) shy of being fully funded.  We recently had an anonymous donor bless our grant with Reece's Rainbow in the amount of $2500.  Our family was so grateful and humbled by such a generous donation.  If anyone wishes to make a tax-deductible donation to our grant we would be most grateful.  Or, please do not forget about Chicken Momma's Change!  My shop is always open and I have about 30 items listed and ready to be shipped.

Finally, please continue to be in prayer for our process.  Overall things have gone well and we would like things to continue on that path.  Pray for Yun's heart to be prepared as we are in the final months and weeks of waiting.  I can only imagine how vastly different life will be for her after eleven long years in an orphanage.  Overwhelming?  Shocking?  Maybe even a little scary?  I know God holds her in the palm of his hands and loves her even so much more than Eric and I ever could.  In that we rest.