Thursday, May 29, 2014

Elijah: T-Shirt Fundraiser

Well as if Sammy's challenge wasn't enough, Elijah felt as though he had to do something.  So he designed a t-shirt to sell through Bonfire Funds!  He chose the quote, drew the face, and helped with the font/color choices.  Here is his design:

The quote is: "The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved." -Mother Teresa
We have two weeks to sell 25 shirts.  An adult t-shirt is $20!  I am so proud of Elijah and his effort, especially since he was not able to join his brothers in the mohawk challenge.  To order from our Bonfire Fund please click HERE.

Elijah has an amazing heart for individuals with special needs.  He LOVES his brother, Dima, and helps out in our church's special needs ministry, The Love Department, almost every week.  Here are some examples of Elijah cheering his brother and his dear friends on at a special field day:

Elijah helping Dima show off a medal earned from winning a running event.
Elijah & our dear friend, Lisa.
Elijah helping his brother do some putt putt golf.
Elijah and my buddy, Shelley, who has CP like our Gracie Girl
Not only is Elijah wanting to help raise funds to help his sister get home, he is traveling to China with me since Eric will be staying behind to care for Dima.  Elijah thinks it is important that he does his part to help pay for the trip since he will be traveling, too.  I am so proud of this young man and his heart for others.  He also gave a speech in front of his entire school on why families should adopt children with special needs.  Wow.  There are days when I am just humbled that I have such amazing young men that I can call  my sons.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mohawk Challenge Extension

Well, Sammy's Mohawk Challenge has hit a lull.  A friend humbly requested that we extend this challenge and I will happily oblige.  Rather than end it on Friday, May 30th, I will end it on Monday, June 2nd, and will tabulate/give mohawks on Tuesday, June 3rd.  So that being said, let's keep this going and help a sweet little man help his big sister come home!  Tomorrow should be our Article 5 pick up (and it's already 4:15 a.m. TOMORROW in Beijing!!) so we are getting closer and closer every day!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sammy's Mohawk Challenge!!!

Well, we are nearing the end of the finish line of this adoption journey.  Our Article 5 was dropped off on May 16th and should be picked up on May 29th.  Two weeks from that we should have our TA and then just a short time from that Elijah and I will be off to China!  If everything continues to go according to plan we could have a June 30th Gotcha Day for our Gracie girl!  It was this time last year that Eric and I were just beginning to gather documents and take our baby steps towards Grace.  This time last year Grace had no idea that there was a family who desired to make her a part of their family; the daughter for which they prayed.

Our family works together.  The boys, Eric, and I are a team and when we see an obstacle we band together to overcome.  As of today, May 20th, we have a $9,000 obstacle before us.  Eric is working over time, I am making jewelry as many hours as possible, and now the boys want to help.  Four amazing little men want to pull together and do something big to help bring their sister home.  Some of you may recall 3 years ago when we were adopting Dima Elijah had a fundraiser called "Elijah's Mohawk Challenge".  He offered to get an obnoxious mohawk if he could raise $500 by Mother's Day 2011.  Not only was Elijah successful, he exceeded his goal by $1,000!  So as a result not only did Elijah get a bright purple mohawk, but Sammy did as well.  That has inspired the boys once again only this time Sammy is taking the lead on this one.

We now share with the world:


Here is how it will work:

If Sammy raises $500 by May 30th (one month from our projected Gotcha Day!) he will get a mohawk.  But not just any mohawk!  At that time we will draw a name from the list of people who have donated during the challenge and the winner gets to choose the color of Sammy's new 'hawk.  There's more!  If Sammy exceeds his goal by $500 DIMA WILL ALSO GET A MOHAWK!  We will draw another name and that person will get to determine what color of mohawk Dima will have, too!  Elijah will not be participating as we need to keep his hair and scalp presentable for our trip.  But he is certainly cheering Sammy and Dima on.  Jeremiah?  He will help with the dying of the hair and also cheer his younger brothers on.

How to donate to Sammy's Mohawk Challenge:

*Our FSP with Reece's Rainbow.  It is tax-deductible and easy to do via Paypal or you can send a check.  To get to our FSP click HERE.

*Our personal Paypal account (all funds in that account get sent directly to our adoption agency within 48 hours of receiving donations).  It is not tax-deductible.  Click on the first box on the upper right hand side of this blog.

Remember, the challenge runs from today, May 20th through May 30th.  On the morning of May 31st we will reveal wether or not the challenge has been met, just how many mohawks we will have, and the colors of said mohawks.  A thermometer will be posted to show our progress specifically for this fundraiser.

Sammy would like to share some words via video:

Spoken like a true 8 year old.  None of this was coerced or forced in any way.  Sammy is determined to get his sister home!!!  In fact, it was Sammy who first spotted Grace on Reece's Rainbow.  At that time Sammy was going through testing to see if he had a mild form of Cerebral Palsy.  While the test came up negative for CP, Sammy is still undergoing tests with his genetics.  At this time we know that his Mitochondrial DNA is not quite what it ought to be.  So sometimes he gets tremors, falls down, has muscle cramping, fatigue, etc...  But Sammy is so strong on the inside and is quite a fighter!  He knows that God has got a great plan for his life.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ten Ten Ten

Tomorrow is Dima's 10th Birthday!  It is hard to believe that our sassy, chubby, happy, clever, little man has been with us for almost three years.  The day I met Dima he was a tiny, sickly, clever (but in a survival sort of way),  hurting inside 7-year-old.  The difference has been night and day.  Around this time of year, between Mother's Day and Dima's birthday, I also think of Dima's birth mother.  I wonder how she is doing and if she is thinking of her little boy.  Does she miss him?  Does she understand what she lost?  Deep down inside I must believe that she loved Dima as well as his older brother.

In the past two and a half years Dima has thrived.  He has overcome quite a bit of hurt.  He loves life like no other; a child that has had every reason in the world to hate life.  Dima is the life of the party anywhere he goes, especially at school.  School!  He has been in school for two years and is learning to read, write, add, subtract, life skills, and most importantly (to Dima), how to go through a cafeteria line.  That boy can eat!

It is amazing to watch a child with special needs learn and overcome hurdles in their lives.  It breaks my heart to think, however, that Grace is now 11 1/2 and she has not had many of the opportunities that Dima has had.  When Dima came home to us he was 7.  While he was still consider an "older" child, he still had time to catch up developmentally in some of the areas in which is was lacking.  Grace, who is certainly even older, has lived her entire life in an orphanage.  It was only two years ago at age 9 that she began to even attend a special school for orphans with special needs.  I also think of her physical development and how she could have benefitted from receiving services from the time she was an infant.  While I know that her orphanage has done the best that they could, and she has indeed progressed some, it certainly could have been better.  No matter how you look at, growing up in an orphanage, particularly with special needs, is just not ideal.

Here, with us, she will have the opportunity to receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, be evaluated by our local Shriner's Hospital (a mere 45 minutes away!), attend a school that is specialized in helping her in the areas in which she will need the most help, and ultimately, a family that will love and support her.  She will have a mother who is patient, unafraid, and determined.  A father who is not only trained to work with children and adults with have special needs, but a father who is also patient, kind, and able to lead her into a productive adulthood.  Eric and I desire independence for Dima and Grace.  A productive life where they are contributing to our community in some way.  They will both have the assistance of the Key Training Center.  The Key is a unique organization that will greatly enrich their lives.  Families from all over the United States move to our small town in order to utilize their services and the clients of the Key are most welcomed into our community.  It is ideal for both Dima and Grace.

So in honor of Dima's 10th Birthday and the fact that we need to clear a $10,000 hurdle, would you prayerfully consider making a $10 donation to our adoption grant with Reece's Rainbow?  It is tax-deductible and that money will be transferred directly to our agency in order to cover the remaining expenses.  We have three other fundraisers going on and more in the works, but this is simple.  Meaningful.  $10 in honor of Dima's 10th Birthday to help erase a $10,000 hurdle.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

So Very Close

Last week Jeremiah and I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, my hometown, to visit with my family for the week.  We had a great week of visiting with family and most importantly, I was able to spend time with my 91-year-old Grammy.  The day before we left, however, our adoption process suddenly picked up the pace when we received our I-800a approval.  WOW!  Surprise!  I really had not been expecting that until this week or next.  That also meant that our Article 5 was dropped off at the offices in Beijing.  That takes about two weeks to process.

For those of you wondering what an Article 5 is here is an explanation: This is the last phase before your papers are submitted to CCCWA for your Travel Approval (TA). We send all of your immigration papers, documents, and letters to the Consult in China to affirm that all of your documents are in order. This is a two-part process. Your papers will then be sent to CCCWA to await the issue of your TA.

And here is the explanation of TA or Travel Approval:  Once travel approval is given, AAC will make the necessary appointments at government agencies that will be need approvals to finalize your adoption. Once these appointments are scheduled, you will be able to make your flight arrangements to China. Travel to China usually occurs about 2-3 weeks following your TA. Usually AAC arranges for families to receive their children within 24 hours after arriving in China. The official adoption typically takes place within 48 hours after arriving. Your child will also be sworn in as an American citizen and will become official once your child lands on American soil.

So what does this all mean?  It means that we are VERY close to the finish line!  It is possible that Elijah and I will be in China at the end of June or beginning of July.  In the grand scheme of things it is not really all that far away!

We have also been informed that our dear daughter wishes to have an American name:  Grace Anne.  Grace means elegance, lovely, and beauty.  It also, of course, means grace.  Grace.  My daughter.

The orphanage had sent us an update on Grace a few weeks back and I shared one of the photos with the intention to hold everything hostage.  Unfortunately that did not go too well so now I will just share our gifts with you.

I LOVE this picture.  I see a spunky young lady who will be able to hold her own with four brothers.

I shared this picture in my previous entry but here it is again.  This picture also shows that she is already into something that she and her brothers will have in common:  Sticks and dirt.
But even better than pictures are videos.  We received two that I would like to share.

Our family has watched these videos over and over trying to notice something new about her every time.  My goodness we wish we could just reach through and pull her to us.  Soon.  

In the meantime we have $7,000 $10,000 (I had failed to add Elijah's travel expenses) left to earn/raise before that can become a reality.  It can be done.  I have some fundraisers going at the moment:  

My Etsy shop, of course, is still up and running.  In fact I hope to have some new items in there over the next week or so.  100% of my profit from that goes directly towards our adoption.  

There is also a Dove Discoveries chocolate party from now until May 31st.  20% of Kate Olson's commission will go towards our adoption!  There are some YUMMY products to choose from so you don't want to miss out!  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Katie or myself. 

I mean REALLY!  Buy CHOCOLATE, help Grace come home.  It is a win/win!!!


Are you drooling yet?

I have personally never had a chocolate martini but I'm sure there are some folks out there that would enjoy one!


To place an order with Kate, please do the following:   

2. Click on the menu tab Shop Online 

3. Browse the Ready to Eat Treats, Drinks, Desserts, etc. 
and add the items you want to your shopping bag 

4. Click on Proceed to Check Out 

5. Click on Order Check Out

6. On the next screen you will see two boxes. Choose the one that says, "Were You Invited to a 
Tasting Party" and click on "Yes, help me find my Host" 

7. Type in Jenny Monier and click Search. (This is important – otherwise you won’t be 
part of my party!) 

8. When my name pops up, select the box next to it and click on Accept My Host 

9. Proceed to Check Out

Then, last but not least, there is always Ginger on a Mission!  Susan makes amazing handbags and other beautiful items.  50% of your purchase can go towards our adoption, just make sure you mention that at the check out.

Mini tote.


Business card holder.

Full sized tote.
So the mountain that stands between our family in the finish line may seem large, but it can be climbed!  Soon we will be at the finish line with Grace by our side!