Thursday, July 17, 2014

update: christine

Really overdue with an update on our adoption of Christine... 

We were so excited to send off some important paperwork a week or two ago.  What a relief!

We sent off our I-800A which requests approval from our government to adopt Christine.  We'll get a date to be federally fingerprinted and will go to Norfolk to do that in the next month or so.  Once our fingerprints are done, we'll receive approval to adopt her and will file our I-800 to immigrate her.  

While in this stage, we're plugging away at what our dossier needs to entail: certified/authenticated birth certificates for JD and me, certified marriage license, state police background check, guardianship letter, letters from Payton and Avery, etc.  The dossier will then be certified/apostilled by our Secretary of State, then onto the Secretary of State at the federal level and then to the Philippine Embassy for approval.  Finally, it will be sent to the Philippines.  Our hope is to have that happen by the end of August.

This is a lot of explanation to say that our hopes of bringing Christine home by Christmas may be a long shot.  Boo.  We were told by Children of All Nations (our adoption agency) that it could take three months to hear back from the Philippines.  Sigh.  We were hoping to hear very quickly and get travel approval very quickly thereafter.  We'd love to travel to get her this fall and have her here with her new family (!) for her birthday and to celebrate Christmas.  With God, all things are possible so that's our prayer.  And, frankly, I must mention that there are many friends/families we know who are stuck in the political and bureaucratic web that is international adoption and are being told they may never bring their children home, so if we have to wait beyond our deadline by a few months, so be it. We will eventually have Christine home.  Prayers for our friends who are swimming in a sea of unknowns.  

The other thing we sent off a week or two ago was our application to the Fathered Fund, our church's adoption fund.  We're hoping to be awarded a matching grant which means everything we fundraise up to $2500-5,000 could be matched!  That would be incredible!  We hope to hear from Lifesong for Orphans (the administrator of the fund) in the next several weeks.  

Speaking of fundraising!  Here's what we have going:

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes!  If you're on Facebook, you know that we've been collecting shoes for about two months and just had our first pick up today.  We donated 66 bags of shoes!  That's 1650 pairs!  Everyone has been so incredible helping us collect them!  We get paid $10 per bag of 25 shoes, so we should get a check soon for several hundred dollars!  After taxes, of course.  Grrr.  If only we were a non-profit, our donation would be tax free!

Here are some photos of our lives being taken over by shoes:

My sweet friend, Tracy, must've single-handedly collected 150 pairs!  Amongst many others who have taken this shoe drive on as their own.  We are so, so grateful.  JD and I were just saying that we need to make a list of all the people who've been so integral in making this happen.  We want Christine to see how many people stepped up to the challenge to help get her home.





The other thing we're doing is selling t-shirts.  I love the message.  

Love Found Me.   

Adults -- $20

Kids -- $15

Several years ago, HOPE (our church) hosted a great band called Revive.  I believe they were an Australian group.  They sold a shirt that said 'Love Found Me.'  I bought one and wore it often.  

One day a couple of summers ago, I was wearing it in Michigan and walked into a gas station and this young lad behind the counter read my shirt and said, 'Are you a Christian?  I like your shirt.'  I found it so neat that he got the message, 'Love found me.  God found me.'  

A year or so later, my shirt was getting tattered and I decided I wanted another one so I went on-line to find Revive's apparel to order another.  I was surprised to find that they had disbanded due to the travel schedule, having families and feeling called to other missions.  I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to replace my shirt.

Until now.  

The cool thing is that when I bought that shirt years ago, adoption wasn't even on my radar.  So now the message means even more to me.  And coupling it with one of my favorite adoption verses (John 14:18, see previous post) makes it that much more of a great adoption shirt.

If you're interested in purchasing one (or ten!) to support our adoption, please go to:

Finally, we're selling original pieces of art.  By collaborating with my dear friend, Beverly, who gave me free reign of her beautiful archive of thousands of amazing photos.  I'm making mosaics of the Richmond cityscape and of florals and still-life.  

This one's 48x48"

A few close-ups of Richmond landmarks.

Some of these landmarks don't exist anymore which makes this project really fun.

This piece is 30x30"

So bright and colorful!

All still-life or glimpses of beauty caught on film.

Beverly sure has a great eye.

So thankful for access to her beautiful photos from over the years.

Prices are: 

20x20" for $200

24x24" for $300

30x30" for $400

48x48" for $800

Feel free to share with others if you know of someone you think might be interested!

That's the latest!

Thank you so much for your love and support!

both ends burning

This very short video touches on the great need that exists around the world for children to be in families.

It also touches on the heart of Both Ends Burning.  They're doing great things.

Please pray for their work to be fruitful.  May child after child find his/her way into the arms of a loving family.

'I will not leave you as orphans.  I will come to you.'  John 14:18

Friday, July 4, 2014

worth celebrating

Quick post on something I must record here!  

JD is the BIG 4-0!  

Oh yeh.

People always giggle when they learn that I'm one year and four months older than JD.  Yes, it's true. We think nothing of it, but since he was just 38 when I turned 40 and I've been 40 for a year and four months, by the time this monumental birthday of his arrived, you could say I was ready to put the thirties behind us and move gracefully into the forties...together.  

Together with his parents, my parents, his brother, sister-in-law, niece and dear friends, we were able to pull off a surprise that I knew would mean the world to him: a week at the beach with his family.  And to kick it off?  A little party/gathering with dear friends present who traveled four hours just to be there for a night.  

What a kick off to a wonderful week.  So grateful!

His favorite: yellow cake with chocolate icing.

The deck was irresistible with the sun setting over the sound.

One of the most precious aspects of JD's surprise was that his brother from Tennessee was there.  JD loves him, so the fact that he and his family traveled two-days (13 hours!) to join us meant the world to JD! 

We've stayed in Duck (Outer Banks, North Carolina) many times over the last ten years, but this was our first sound front house.  Having a pier and being able to sit and look out over the sound, was a true treat.

The kids especially loved the pier.  And the crab pot that hung from it.  :)


Okay, all of these photos are pricelesss.  Look at this girl.  We love her so.  Lucy is truly part of our family.  We all just adore her.

Our first family stroll on the beach.  

JD's brother, Wade, and his wife, Mitzi.  

Look at this kid.  My goodness he's growing so fast.  

My mom and stepdad (aka Gramma and, Hot Tub).    

Aren't they cute?

Papa heading out on his daily Harley ride.

The girl cousins!  Ashton, Payton and Avery.

The beach house from the pier.

Payton, my mama, me and Avery.  At sunset.  Ahhh...

I have several photos over the years of Avery on this shark in the Village of Duck.  

The girl cousins again.  :)

A trip to play putt-putt.

Guys against gals. 

Wade, Mitzi and Ashton...beautiful family.

Our last stroll on the beach.

Always on her hands.

They refuse to cut their hair.  

And I love their independence!


And would you just look at this one?  Stunning.  Where in the world did my little girl go?  Sigh.

This little dude just keeps us so on our toes -- especially our EARS!  
He demands our ears at all times.  :)

The men at the grill -- Tommy (JD's dad), JD and Wade

Hanging at the pool.  Do you see Avery's pose?  They're out of control these days.

Lucy loved running down to the pier.  She loved her vacay at the beach. 

Such sweet girls.

Walking back after dinner on the looooong boardwalk on the sound.

This was an unexpected treat -- a theater room!  Who knew that we all -- kids and adults alike -- would enjoy it so much!  It was so cool.  Check out those couches!

And then it was over.  Just like that, we were back home.  And so happy to be.  It's a good thing when you can go on a wonderful vacation, but still be happy to come home.  Of course, an extra week at the beach would've been just fine too.  :)


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