Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 Things

1. Tomorrow is the last day to buy raffle tickets for our American Girl Doll raffle!  We've sold 63 tickets so far so the odds are still pretty good!  I kind of had an unofficial goal of making $500 from the raffle and right now we are netting $375 (that's after the cost of the doll).  If five more people purchase three tickets for $25 we'll meet our goal!  Also, if you would rather put the cost of the doll ($105 plus tax/shipping) toward accessories or clothes for a doll your little girl already has or Bitty Babies ($50 each) or Bitty Twins ($105 for two or $65 for one), I'm totally cool with that!  If when you win, I'll contact you and you can let me know how you want to spend the moo-lah!
You can choose any combination of the two dolls for the Bitty Twins: black, white, asian, hispanic, boy girl, blond, brunette, etc.
Bitty Babies also come in different races, hair/eye colors.  This one is a red-head!

2. I got a haircut today (my first in over a year - I was WAY overdue - but who can fork over that kind of money when there are babies to save up for!?) and Lila cried when I came home. "I want your hair LONG!  Cut it LONG!"  I actually was sort of anticipating that reaction because she's kind of a micro-manager when it comes to my hair.  She doesn't like it when I wear it up.  "Mommy, I want your hair down!"  Not sure what that's all about.

3. Yesterday, the Husband camped out at the grand opening of the new Chick-fil-a by our house!  He made it in the First 100 and won us Chick-fil-a for a year (52 meal coupons)!  His friends who were going to camp out with him bailed at the last minute so I was worried he'd be lonely, but it turns out there were several families from Mission Adelante, a local ministry that supports the hispanic community and Bhutanese refugees in Kansas City, KS.  We have several friends who work for Mission Adelante and one of them was there with some other families and they invited the Husband to join them.  I was relieved for him that he had a group to hang out with since Lila and I couldn't be there because of school.  We did come by after school to visit and have dinner and Lila got to run around with her new boyfriend, Luke.  When it was time to go, she tilted her head toward her shoulder and said coyly, "Bye, Luke!"  Where does she learn this stuff!?  We're in trouble.

First 100 Tents
Eric's Chick-fil-a Campout Family
4. I know I promised a post about our next fundraiser, so I'll post that at the beginning of next week.  Here's another sneak peek:

5. I've been finding all kinds of little surprises after Lila has been in a bout of imaginative play.  For instance, one day I couldn't find my shoes until I spotted them on the green chair:
They were filled to the brim with Sesame Street guys.
 And we have started decorating for Christmas and Baby Jesus and Those Guys are back with a few new friends:
Lucille Ball was at the birth of Jesus, right?
Well that's all for now!  We'll announce the winner of the American Girl Doll raffle on Saturday so check back in then to see who won!  Good luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving and other stuff

A quick note: Only four more days left to enter our American Girl Doll raffle!  We have only sold 45 tickets so far so your odds are good - especially if you purchase more than one ticket!  For more info, click on that cute little American Girl Doll on the right or click here.

I'm a little late on our Thanksgiving post, but it's because our Thanksgiving plans were thwarted by a sick kid.  So instead of enjoying four kinds of potatoes, we were giving thanks in our PJs:
- for an uncle who is a doctor and who graciously squeezed us into his already jam-packed schedule
- for the Husband's sweet mom who brought us leftovers
- for the fact that fevers and runny noses are the worst of our concerns when it comes to our daughter's health (especially in light of dear Emmaus' brain surgery - she's been seizure free since the surgery(!), but they are worried about some swelling, so keep her in your prayers)
- for an illness that coincided with the Husband's holiday time off so he could help care for the sick one and her mama who, after being sneezed, snotted, coughed and drooled on, of course came down with the same bug.
sweet sick girl.  how can someone be so pretty when they're sick?
Because we got sick over the holiday (and because I have an awesome Husband), I got to lay in bed for two days straight which I think is directly linked to the fact that I'm already feeling much better.  I'm thankful for the Husband who abandoned his to-do list to take care of his girls this weekend.  Also, I'm thankful for Mucinex.  Good bless Mucinex!

Thankfully, Lila has almost completely recovered and she's been an absolute delight.  I don't know if she's especially cheerful because she is so glad to be feeling better or if I just forgot what she is like when she's well.  But she's been so sweet and compliant and hilarious and cute the last two days I can hardly stand it.  (Not that she's all sweet and no sass.  I did overhear her tell the Husband, "NO! Princesses don't wear jeans!" when he was trying to get her dressed.  She has a fair point, though.)

My dad picked her up today for some play time so I could make a good dent in our home study paperwork (which sat untouched for an entire week because of the aforementioned sick kiddo).  She was positively giddy to be having a date with her Pop and I watched out the window as my big girl skipped to the car.  I can't believe she's almost three.  Boo.

Anyway, thanks to some kid-free errands, I was able to put a ton of checkmarks next to our crazy-long list at the end of the day:

We're making good progress.  It's much easier this time around.  And I am not nearly as overwhelmed with the home study paperwork as I was last year so I am actually being proactive about our dossier documents, too as there are some things that we can use for both.  Last year I couldn't bear to look past the mound of paperwork in front of me to even process what the dossier would require and I ended up having to ask people to re-write things that they could have just made a copy of the first time around.

Not to say that we'll avoid all hang-ups.  I'm already a little concerned that my fingerprints will be rejected for the criminal background check because the guy who took them couldn't get the machine to accept my prints.  He told me my hands were too soft and I should rub them on the carpet for 30 seconds each day to roughen them up.  Thanks, Fingerprint Man.  I'll go back in time and do that for ya.  It may sound minor, but we'd love prayer that the Great and Powerful Fingerprint Readers would accept my too-soft fingers' prints because a rejection could add several weeks of delay to our home study process which could end up delaying our dossier.  Of course, we have until April, but you never know what hiccups you'll run into and I'd like to be done with paperwork well before my 30th birthday so we can really focus on fundraising.

Speaking of fundraising, (see how I did that?) we have hit the 25% mark of our One of One Hundred Project!  That is so very exciting and it means that if all 25 people raise their $300, we'll have $7500!  If you have watched our thermometer on the right, you can see that some of the pledges have already started to come in!

Some friends are selling things on Craigslist to raise their $300 pledge and I told them I'd link to their stuff here to see if any of you are interested:

A bunch of home decor stuff (wreaths, frames, clock, candles, etc)
Black Old Navy Coat and gloves
Gap Ski Coat

Check out their listings and spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested.  And if anyone else is doing some creative fundraising, let me know and I'll link to it or at least write about it here!  Thank you to everyone who has pledged to be One of One Hundred.  We are so grateful!  

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

seashells

I had a migraine this morning so the awesome Husband took Lila on a few errands and then they played outside for a bit.  Around nap time, I heard her crying outside and he came in a few seconds later holding her.  She was saying something unintelligible through her tears.  I could hear him trying to guess what she was saying, "You want your shoes off?  You want what?"

She kept repeating it, getting more and more worked up with the combination of not being understood and not being given whatever it was that she wanted.  And finally, from the other room, I figured out what she was saying, "She wants her seashells!" I yelled from the bedroom.

Husband to Lila: You want your seashells?
Lila: (wailing) Yeaaaaahhhhhhhh.
Husband: Okay, go sit with Mommy and I'll get your seashells.

She came in to the bedroom and, sniffling, crawled into bed with me while the Husband went to get her seashells.  He came in with an amused my-kid-is-so-cute grin on his face, holding a paper towel with something on it.

At first she didn't want me to see it.  "You can't have them," she told me.

"I just want to see them, can you show me?"

Finally, she acquiesced and showed me her "seashells."


My heart just about exploded with the cuteness.

"Lila, you're the best," I said, squeezing her.

Oh, to be (almost) three and see seashells in acorns, an ocean's beach in the front yard in our land-locked state.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Updates!

Lots of updates to share today!

Emmaus Update:
Emmaus is doing well.  From Laurisa: No seizures since surgery.  Doesn't mean we are all clear - because she's had steroids and sedation, etc, but it's definitely a good sign!  She hasn't needed a blood transfusion.  Her HGB (blood level) this morning was 7 which is borderline and if it drops they will probably transfuse, but not now.  They only expect it to rise.  

Thank you for joining us in our prayers for a full recovery and for seizure freedom for our sweet little friend.  Laurisa posted the saddest picture on her blog of Em post-surgery and I'm not gonna lie, it made me cry a little.  It's all normal and expected post-surgery (pale from blood loss, swollen, all marked up, etc), but it's still heartbreaking to see a little babe looking that sick.  I can't bring myself to post that picture so you'll have to click over to Laurisa's blog to see it.  Instead I'll post a happy one:

Keep praying for that sweet girl and her mama and daddy!

Ethiopian Adoption update:
We had been hearing rumors that, like us, many families had been looking for other options since finding out that the wait is now 4 years for a referral.  We also have seen a few referrals the last few months so I asked our consultant what our official wait list number is and we've jumped a whole ten spots to number 78!  We might even be at number 76 because she said there were two referrals for which they were waiting to hear from families.  This is a big jump, but we don't think it's indicative of a speed-up in referrals.  More a mass exodus of families choosing other programs or agencies after the 4 year announcement.

In case you are wondering what would happen if things did start moving faster than we expected, I'll explain a bit.  Our agency requires that families wait a year in between any major life events (birth, death, adopted children joining the family, etc) so we will not be eligible to accept a referral for Ethiopia until a full year after our Chinese baby comes home which could be as early as May or as late as next November.  Should we be next in line for a referral before that date comes, we will be put on hold - just as we would have been had we given birth to our next child - until a year had passed.

While we are on the subject, I wanted to share a few things we have been processing regarding the decision to adopt concurrently.  A few factors went into that decision:
- We weren't emotionally ready to close the door on Ethiopian adoption.  It just didn't feel right.
- We have invested so much time and money into our Ethiopian adoption and we want to be good stewards of the generosity of our friends and family.  We felt like it would have been a hasty decision to abandon that investment at this point.
- The only cost to us to stay on the list is a $400 home study update which we are doing with our new home study and which our HS agency is basically giving us for free because they are giving us a discount on our Chinese HS.  $400 seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of dollars we have already paid into our Ethiopia process which we would have to just count as lost if we decided to not pursue concurrent adoptions.
- We really believe that God told us to adopt from Ethiopia way back in June of 2011.  Now, whether He intended us to start that path because it would intersect with our new path or whether He intended us to do both is yet to be seen!  But at this point, in our prayers about it, we don't feel like we are done with Ethiopia.
- After all that, I will say that I am keenly aware of the challenge that being a transracial family will be and I do wonder what the experts would say about having three races and nationalities and cultures represented in our family.  I intend to do some sincere research to be sure that we wouldn't be putting our children in an additionally confusing spot as they look around and see three colors of the rainbow represented in just our family.  We have a lot to learn about this so this is not a decision we will make lightly.
But, I did find this print on Etsy and I'm kind of in love - daydreaming about having three girls from three different continents playing together.
image credit
Don't they look like they are enjoying themselves? Makes my heart happy to imagine this print hanging in a room of three sisters.  And no, we haven't requested girls only.  It's just what I tend to imagine because I grew up with a sister.

Chinese Adoption Update:
We are neck-deep in home study paperwork.  Sometimes I can't believe that I'm already doing this stuff again.  Of course, it is so much easier the second time around.  A lot of it I can just copy from the papers we filled out for our first home study, but it still feels tedious.  I was up until the wee hours of the morning last night color-coding, sorting and making lists of who and what we need to complete the paperwork and updating the things that I can do myself.
Okay, so maybe I enjoyed playing with the post-its a bit.  And I'm happy that my heavy-duty paper case is being used again.  Yes, I'm a nerd.
Last week, we joined a group of adoptive parents from Heartland Community Church and saw the movie Somewhere Between.  It's a documentary following four teenage girls who were adopted from China as children.  It was so wonderful.  It's not playing in Kansas City anymore, but if you are in another part of the country, check out the webpage and see if it's playing near you.  It's a great movie regardless of whether you are adopting, but if you are or you know someone who is, it is a wonderful resource.  Any little thing I can do to offer my son or daughter a community of people who have even the smallest amount of understanding of his or her experience will be a great gift.  Here's the trailer:


As far as our fundraisers, we are chugging along!  We are almost to $500 on our new thermometer.

- We have sold 39 tickets for our American Girl Raffle.  I'm hoping we get a surge toward the end of the month, because about half of those donations will have to go to pay for the doll and I'd like to make at least a few hundred dollars from this effort.  Then again, the fewer the raffle tickets, the better the odds of winning so I'm happy for those who have already bought their tickets - so far their chances of winning are pretty darn good!
- We have almost 20% of our goal of 100 people committed to raising $300 each in our One of One Hundred project!  That is super exciting and we are so grateful for the willingness to step up and help us expand our networks of support!  (If ever I have considered getting Facebook, it has been during these adoptions, but I think that God can make this happen with or without Mr. Zuckerberg's help!)  If you are considering being one of our one hundred, but feel like $300 is a little steep, consider partnering with a friend and each of you try to raise $150 - you would only have to ask 10 friends to give $15 each or 15 friends to give $10 each.  Believe me I know it's awkward to ask for money, but you'll be surprised at how generous people are.  We can certainly testify to that!
- We have also been selling off the bigger items left over from our garage sale on Craigslist and we made a few hundred dollars doing that this week alone!  We also were given a few more things to try to sell including this $100+ year old antique spinning wheel that has been in our friends' family for several generations:
 And this oh-so-sweet Jenny Lind bed.  I don't know exactly how old it is, but it was bought as an antique in the 80's and has been restored.  It has side rails and slats so it's all ready to go, or you could prop up the footboard and use it as a headboard and you'd have two matching beds!  They are perfect as they are or they'd be darling painted a fun color (if you can bear to do that to an antique).
cute little girl, not included

If you or anyone you know might be interested in either of these, let me know and we can talk price.

I'll wrap this up and tell you to stay tuned because I have yet another fundraiser to announce in the next week or so!  Here's a sneak peek:
Oooh! I hope you're excited!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Surgery Day for Emmaus

UPDATE from Laurisa around 3:00pm: Emmaus made it out of surgery and is in recovery.  She did very well!  They were told Em might need blood and she and Dan were going to get to see her soon.  Keep praying for a full and quick recovery!
  
Emmaus' surgery is at 10:00am today.  Please pray for the Ballews as they endure four hours of waiting and then begin the post-surgery wait to see how Em recovers.

Pray for:
- A safe and effective surgery
- That the ping-pong-ball-sized tumor would be removed completely and cleanly
- That Emmaus would respond well to the anesthesia
- That the surgeon's hand would be steady and his mind alert
- That Dan and Laurisa would feel at peace as they wait and be sufficiently distracted as the time passes
- That their friends and family who are with them in St. Louis would be intuitive about Dan and Laurisa's needs
- That the results from the surgery would be seizure freedom and development catch-up

For 18 month we have prayed for this sweet girl.  When Lila was about Emmaus' age, Lila's prayer for her friend was, "Baby 'Maus, all better."  We are praying that prayer again today.   Jesus, Jehovah Rapha, God the Healer, please make Baby Emmaus all better.



Check in with Laurisa's blog for updates: http://laballews.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prayers for Emmaus and a thank you

We want to invite you to pray for our friends, the Ballews and their daughter Emmaus, but first a quick thank you:


We have been overwhelmed by the response to our One of One Hundred Project.  We already have 12 people/families who have committed to raising $300 each for our Chinese adoption!  That's 12% of our goal of 100 people in less than 24 hours!  (Aren't you impressed by my math skills?)  We are so very grateful to each of you who have signed on and to those of you who are simply considering it.  I know if is a lot to ask, but we believe God can do big things and we hope you choose to be a part of it!

Check out this post for more information and this page to see who has already committed!

We've talked about our friends, Dan and Laurisa Ballew on this blog before (here, herehere, here, herehere and most recently here.)  Their little girl, Emmaus, has a rare genetic disease called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).  Children born with TSC lack the gene that inhibits tumor growth so Emmaus had tumors growing in her brain and heart.  The tumors in her brain have caused daily seizures since she was just a wee one.  Those seizures have been controlled by a medication, but haven't been eliminated.  As a result of the seizures, Emmaus has experienced delayed development.  She's 18 months old and Laurisa estimates that she is 9 months old developmentally.

A few weeks ago, Dan and Laurisa took Emmaus to St. Louis to have some tests run at a hospital there that has a TSC specialist.  One of the tests revealed that nearly all of her seizures are being caused by one particular tumor.  The specialist told them that the tumor was operable and that if he was able to remove it, Emmaus might be nearly seizure free.  And free from seizures, she could have the opportunity to catch up developmentally.

This isn't a permanent fix.  It's not a cure.  Emmaus has many tumors in her brain that may begin to cause seizure activity at any point.  But since this tumor is the cause of nearly all of the seizures they monitored during her stay and since it is in an accessible part of the brain, it is operable.  And that is good news.

So, Emmaus will be having surgery this Thursday morning.  Brain surgery.  Brain surgery.

Please pray for Emmaus.  Pray for the surgeon who will operate on her sweet little blond head.  Pray for Dan and Laurisa as they endure the next two days of anticipation and the wait during the surgery.  Pray for the three of them as Emmaus recovers post-surgery.  Pray that it would be a successful surgery with no complications.  Pray that the result would be a decrease in seizure activity and that Emmaus would begin developing quickly.  Pray for peaceful hearts for her family.  Pray.

Here's a post from Laurisa's blog that answers the FAQs and will give you some more information.

I'll leave you with this:



And a note from Dan and Laurisa:

We are the Ballews- Our daughter Emmaus was born with a disease called Tuberous sclerosis, that causes uninhibited tumor growth in her body. She has heart and brain tumors currently. She will undergo brain surgery to take out a tumor that is causing most of her seizures.  
We are praying for safety in her surgery. That surgery would be successful and seizure freedom and development would be the result. We are praying that our story of hope, would lead people to know the goodness and faithfulness of Jesus.

Aren't they awesome?  Check in with her blog to follow along as they keep us all updated on Emmaus' progress.  Thanks for joining us in prayer.  Your prayers matter!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Will you be one of our one hundred?

I've been thinking of ways that God might do "more than we ask or imagine" with this adoption.  I was thinking about all the things that are out of my control and the biggest thing weighing on me right now is the $30,000 we have to raise in 6 months.  

With our Ethiopian adoption funds we always had just enough, just before we needed it.  It was nerve-wracking, but God was always faithful.  We also had more time in between each goal.  But with this adoption, we have to raise a lot quickly.  Because we are adopting a waiting child, a lot of our fees will come back-to-back.  And I've been wondering if, because our need is different this time, God will provide differently - in another way.  In a really big way.

And then I had an idea.

It might not work, but I want to try it.

I was thinking about all the ways $30,000 breaks down into more manageable increments:
If 3,000 people each gave $10 we would have it.
If 1000 people each gave $30 we would have it.
If 30 people each gave $1000 we would have it.
If 300 people each gave $100, we would have it.

But all those numbers sounded overwhelming.  I don't know 3,000 people.  I don't know 30 people who can afford to give away $1,000.  Heck, I don't even know 300 people who can afford to give away $100!

But then I had the thought:

If we could get 100 people to commit to finding 10 people to donate $30 each to support our adoption, we would have $30,000.  

100 X 10 X 30 = 30,000.  Think about it.

Basically, I'd be asking people to raise $300.  But if you break it down to asking ten people to give $30, doesn't that sound a little more manageable? (Or if $30 sounds like too much to ask, finding 30 people giving $10?)

Do you know ten people who might give $30 to help bring a child home?

$30 to:
- give an orphan a family
- give a child with a medical condition access to the best care possible
- give a little girl a brother or sister
- give this mama a baby
- see God do really big things

If the answer is "yes," then let me ask you another question:

Will you commit to asking ten people to each give $30 toward our adoption fund?  OR will you commit to asking 30 people to give $10 to our adoption fund?

If you feel compelled to join this little experiment in God's faithfulness, email me at makewayfortheawesomekid (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject line: "I want to be one of the one hundred" and I will send you an email with more information about how to have people donate along with a flyer you can pass out, email or post to your blog or Facebook.

I have created a separate page for this little project.  Check out the One of One Hundred Project tab at the top of the blog and please consider being One of One Hundred.  Will you?

An update in pictures

Well, we've been hard at work on our home study, but life also is carrying on in the midst of the mounds of paperwork.  Here's what we've been up to:
Lila got a new (to us) swing set.  She's been in heaven.  And so has Franny because she gets to hang out outside more often and torment the squirrels.  Or maybe they torment her.  Hard to tell.
 Lila found some leftover visors from a craft I did with my students last year.  She kept calling them her "caps" which I found hilarious.  Lila did not appreciate her Daddy's creative cap-wearing.
Lila got sick. Twice.  She had a fever and croup for a week, was well for a few days and then had a flu bug that knocked her out.  But this cuteness happened:
She was a little lamb for Halloween.  We had a hard time pinning down a costume.  She changed her mind every day.  She wanted to be everything from a fairy princess to a square (kinda hoped that one would be the winner because how funny would that have been!?).  In the end, we settled on a little lamb with a really jimmy-rigged costume that Mommy made by hot gluing the inside of a pillow to a shirt.  It shed fuzz-balls every time she moved or touched it.  A crafter, I am not.  Also, she was a grump...
 ...until she found her friend, Ruby and they whacked a balloon back and forth at each other...
 ...and I held Ruby's little sister and was loving my life.  Isn't she the prettiest?
 We played on our swing set some more.
 We went to Manhattan to visit our besties, the Walkers.  We went to the K-State tailgate and Lila's assessment of the marching band was (hands over her ears): TOO LOUD!
Love those two.
We've had lots of play dates with Ruby since we miss her and to give her mommy a break.  We went to Barnes and Noble on a cold day to play with the trains.
 But Ruby was more interested in the puppies she found.
 Puppy Godzilla!
Lila still makes her dolls fly when she plays with them.  She has long been frustrated that she doesn't have wings so I think she's living vicariously through her princesses.
 I let Lila play with my phone while I finished a conversation with a friend.  Later, I found this picture and several similar ones.
 A few minutes later, this happened.  Daylight Savings Time is not our friend.  The other day at 9:30am, she told me, "Mommy, I'm so tired! I need a nap!" and then she put herself down for a nap and slept for 2 hours which of course messed up the rest of our day.  Daylight Savings Time is ruining my life.
Also, because I can't help bragging about my kid, someone learned how to write her name.

Proud mama, right here.  In all fairness, her A's usually look more like H's, but this one turned out legible!

So that's what we've been up to, what have you been up to?

Monday, November 5, 2012

our youngest supporter

Now that we're back in full-on fundraising mode (don't forget to buy your raffle ticket to earn a chance to win an American Girl Doll!), I've been going back over the financial tracking I have done for our Ethiopian adoption so I can set up documents and spreadsheets to track the donations and expenses for this adoption.  In doing so, I came across something I had meant to blog about, but lost track of.  

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends, family and even strangers over the last year and a half of this adoption journey.  But there are several really unique donations that just stick in my mind and make me tear up every time I think about them.  One of them is the story I'm about to tell you.

Toward the end of last school year, the parent of a former student sent me an email:

Dear Kelsey,
 
Happy Mother's Day!  How is the adoption coming along?
 
Isaac has been raising money for the adoption by making items and selling them in his "store" since we first heard about your raising money for the adoption back in the fall.  He has raised $47.35 and he's ready to give it to you.  What would be the best way to donate it to you? 
 
We hope and pray that all is moving along smoothly and that your family is well.
 
Sincerely,
Lisa

It turns out he had been busy making little trinkets out of paper and selling them to neighbors and family members.  I was so touched by my student's sweet heart that he would put so much effort into raising the money, and then be willing to give it away!  $50 is a lot of money anyway, but think about what $50 is to an eight-year-old!  When he brought it to me at school the next week, it was in an envelope marked: Mrs. Kautzi  $52.35


He had made another five dollars since her email!  I just couldn't get over it.  I still get a little teary whenever I think about it.  I wrote his mom back and said, "Never has $52.35 meant so much to me!"  And it's true!  
Truly, friends.  Every dollar that has been given to us has meant the world to us.  We can't do this without you and we are so grateful to have you all partnering with us to bring our babies home.  We are blessed beyond measure.  


I'll leave you with a picture of Isaac and me.  A few disclaimers: it was field day, thus the less-than-professional attire and the so-sunburnt-you-could-fry-eggs-on-them shoulders.  And I'm sorry for the (ahem) cleavage - it's hard to avoid that when you are (ahem-ahem) ample-breasted and it's 100+ degrees outside.  I now know not to lean down so far when having my photo taken with a student.  How embarrassing.  *sigh* Redirect your eyes to that sweet boy whose hard work and generous heart is helping to Make Way for our Ethiopian and Chinese babies!
our youngest supporter

Thursday, November 1, 2012

American Girl Doll Fundraiser - Round Two!

So the news is out: we're adopting from Ethiopia AND China!  Our Chinese baby will hopefully be home within the year and we are already hard at work on our new home study paperwork!  With that quick timeline comes a need for some big-time fundraising!  You'll notice I updated the fundraising thermometer to reflect our current need for our Chinese adoption.  The next fee for our Ethiopian adoption is a $400 update to our home study which we will actually do now since we are already doing a home study for China, but other than that we won't have any more fees for our Ethiopian adoption until we get our referral in a few years.  We had close to $3,000 saved/raised toward our referral which will go to pay our initial fees for this adoption which just so happen to be...$3,000.



Isn't that convenient?  It might sound cheesy, but as I was adding up what we needed right off the bat and realized it was exactly the amount we have ready to go, it felt like it was this little whisper from God saying, "I'm faithful.  I'm with you.  I'm ready to do immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine!"  Thank you, Lord for that small voice that brought peace to my heart and mind today!

Our next fees will be big ones.  Here is a screenshot from the paperwork our agency sent us:

Payment #1 and #2 are included in the breakdown I just shared.  And since we are adopting a waiting child, payments #3 and #4 will probably come back-to-back.  But for now, we'll focus on #3 as our next goal, just to make it seem more manageable, so that's what the new thermometer reflects.

We had been taking a break from fundraising as we figured out where in the world our next child is, but now that we have a plan in motion, we're ready to kick back into gear!  So here's our first fundraiser (of this adoption at least!  It's actually our fifth fundraiser - puzzle, t-shirts, garage sale, and last year's American Girl Doll raffle.  By the way, we still have many t-shirts and puzzle pieces left to buy or sponsor so check out those links!)  We decided that last year's raffle for an American Girl Doll was such a success that we wanted to do it again!  And I'm so excited that there is an Chinese American Girl Doll, Ivy!

 Last year, our raffle was so successful that we ended up giving away two dolls to two lucky little ladies:
The winners actually ended up sharing their dolls with their sisters so there were two dolls, but FIVE happy girls!

So this year we'll be doing the raffle the exact same way.   Here are the details:

  • We will be giving away one* American Girl Doll of YOUR CHOICE to one* lucky winner! *If we sell more than 150 virtual tickets, we'll add a 2nd doll so there will be TWO lucky winners! 
  • The giveaway is open for the month of November (November 1st - November 30th).  The winner(s) will be announced Saturday December 1st - perfect timing for a Christmas gift for your favorite little girl in your life.
Here's how it works:
  • Purchase a virtual raffle ticket by clicking on the PayPal button on the right that says "American Girl Raffle."  Important: Please indicate your contact information in the notes section so we can find you if when you win.
  • Each donation of $10 buys you 1 virtual raffle ticket.  A donation of $25 buys you 3 virtual raffle tickets.
  • Once your donation posts via PayPal, you will receive an email with your virtual raffle ticket number.  **Note, I will send the virtual raffle ticket to the email address associated with your PayPal account unless you indicate otherwise.** It will look like this: 
  • The winner will be selected using Random.org and announced here on this blog.
  • If you are the lucky winner, I will contact you via email to find out which doll you would like.  I will order and ship her to you through the American Girl online store (dolls can only be shipped within the 50 states - see their shipping policies here).  Or, if you are a Kansas City local, we can arrange for you to pick out your doll in person at the American Girl store at Oak Park Mall.
**We reserve the right to refund your donation and cancel the giveaway if we do not sell at least enough entries to cover the cost of the doll.** UPDATE: It's on! We have enough entries to cover the cost of the doll!  Every subsequent entry will go directly into our adoption fund!  Thank you and keep 'em coming!

We are so excited to host this giveaway again!  American Girl Dolls are pricey ($100+), but the chance to win one for $10 or $25 is a great deal!  Plus, of course, you're helping us MAKE WAY for our sweet Chinese baby.  And for that, we are so grateful!

So click on over to that PayPal button and let's get this raffle rollin'!

P.S. You can see all of your doll options here.

P.P.S. Please blog, email, link, tweet, facebook this giveaway!  Help us spread the word! We appreciate it!