Monday, November 25, 2013

updates, a name & a story about poop

Are you sick and tired of hearing us talk about raising money for the adoption?

Are you rolling your eyes at yet another "fundraising" post?

Yeah, me too!

I promise you my friend, I'm more weary of this "adoption fund raising" than you are.  Trust me.

Here are the facts:
1.  God has given my family a huge and unexplainable (apart from Him) burden for orphans.

2.  God has called Lee to be a pastor and me, a stay-at-home mom.  You do the math on income! :)

3.  The perfect scenario would be for us to have an extra, oh say, $30,000 sitting around so we could completely fund it ourselves.

And here is our prayer:
*That other Christians will heed the command of scripture to care for orphans.  For the Believer, it's not a suggestion, it's a command.  We are the ones to carry the burden for the fatherless.  Not everyone is called to actually adopt, but all Christians are called to do something.  So our prayer is that others will carry the burden with us through finances and prayer.   

So here's an update on where we are with the envelope fundraiser...

The Lord has blessed us in a huge way!!  I cannot begin to tell you how thankful we are for all of you who have claimed an envelope.  We've had 78 of the 150 claimed and that is amazing.  Many of you have taken more than one envelope and others have donated more than what was asked.  It's truly been humbling to see.  

There are still some envelopes out there that have been claimed but haven't been returned, so I can't give you a total yet.  I do know it's over $5,000 and that blows my mind!!

Click here to see details of the fundraiser.  Basically, we're asking you to claim a numbered envelope and then donate the coordinating number.  The numbers are 1-150 so you're guaranteed to not be obligated beyond 150.  Actually, it's lower than that because many have asked for the highest one available.  

We are praying for at least 100 to be claimed so that's just about 22 more!!  Please prayerfully consider claiming one!!

So onto an adoption update:

We will have our home study complete by the 2nd week of December which is a huge relief!  From then, we'll begin working on our dossier.  I'm told this is even more intense than a home study.  I don't know how that's possible, but we'll see!!  (Korea doesn't require one so we didn't experience that with Sam.)

At this point, we're still not sure of a timeline, but here are some things we "know."  (I say "know" because you feel like you never really know anything on this journey!)
*Once all of our paperwork arrives in China (which will probably still be a few months) we'll be waiting 1-5 months for a referral.
*After our referral, we'll be looking at 3-4 months (I think!) until we travel to get him.
*So if you do a little calculation, we'll maybe-possibly-who-really-knows bring our son home at the end of next summer.

And the sweet munchkin already has a name...

Elijah Raith Brown

I get chills seeing it typed out.  I just can not wait to have my quiver full and have my Elijah home in my arms!  Please Lord.

So onto poop...

Really?  Yes.

I must share this story because it's one of my favorites! 

Lee & I began noticing that Sam would not eat brown M & M's.  Just wouldn't do it.  (We used them as treats when he was potty-training.)

He would rather walk away and have none than put a brown one in his mouth.  

This continued for a while and we were completely puzzled by it!

While talking about this one day in front of Ellee, she sheepishly grinned and said...

"I just may have told him that they were poopy..."

That Ellee.  If you know her, then you can see her saying it.  She is truly one of a kind.  Somehow she has her brother fully convinced that brown M & M's are poop.  

We've tried everything to convince him otherwise but he's not buying it.  I gave him a handful yesterday and he ate every one except the brown ones and he threw those in the trash.  

Silly, silly kids.  

And I pray soon that we'll have one more silly kid to add to the bunch!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

encouragement (hopefully!) for the weary mom

I was sitting in an interview with our social worker for the adoption and she began asking those questions you hate to answer...

"Describe yourself in 3 words."

"What's your greatest struggle?"

"How would your friends and family describe you?"

Ugh - I can not stand to answer those kinds of questions!  I mean really...I'm sitting in an office with a lady that has a large amount of control over this adoption that really an environment for which one should feel comfortable airing their dirty laundry?!?

Then she started asking questions that were more manageable...

"How would you describe your family growing up?"

"What is your relationship with your parents like?"

"Describe your mom."

Those I can do.  And after I answered the one about Mom, I began thinking about myself in light of how my mother parented me...

{Side note:  I didn't ask my mom for permission to share this stuff so I hope she's ok with it!  Love you Mom!}
Over the summer, I was down visiting my parents for a few days with my kiddos.  Somehow, my girls stumbled upon some of my old toys, crafts, yearbooks, cheerleading uniforms, and some other treasures from my childhood.  They found all of it stuffed in a trunk in my parents' attic.

My girls laughed and played with those things for hours and I had so much fun watching them enjoy things I enjoyed as a girl.

Later they looked at some old family photos.  They found these tossed into a box in a hutch somewhere.

Here's the reality of how my Mom was when my brother and I were growing up...

She would have never been Pinterest approved.  Never.  Ever.

  • Our snacks never had a theme and our lunch was never color coordinated.  As a matter of fact, I remember eating vienna sausages right out of the can.  What?!?  
  • Our school & craft projects were never dated or tucked neatly away in crates with colored folders.
  • Our birthday parties would've never showed up on Facebook for all to admire.

But here's the reality...

I would argue anyone to my death that I have the BEST MOTHER ever!  I really do.  She's full of love and compassion.  She listens and cares and loves deeply!  I have always been very close to my Mom (both of my parents actually!)  and am proud to call her one of my best friends.

Even as a teenager, she and I never had any major disagreements like so many do.  And...get ready for this one...we never argued a single time while planning my wedding. What?!

I adore my Mom and I have never ever felt slighted because my childhood memories aren't nestled away in a Pinterest-approved type of get up.  And it sure didn't hinder my girls from getting a glimpse into their Mommy's past.

Most moms are super defensive and critical and that's not my point at all, so before you crafty, super organized, Pinterest-perfect Moms get frustrated and go on the defense, hear me out...

I'm the opposite of my mom on most of those things mentioned above.  I really am... and it's kind of funny that I turned out that way!
For fear of sounding boastful,  I won't list specific things I do that Mom didn't do!  Just trust me... we're different!

Here's the truth though...I'm no better at being Mom because I keep color coordinated files of my children's school work.

And she's no better because she didn't.

I genuinely enjoy my label maker and files and big birthday parties -  that's why I do it!  It's fun to me!  Some of you moms don't care a thing about that....and that's ok!  It really is!

I suppose my point is this...

You were knit together by our Creator in a certain way.  Your unique ways play out in the exhausting, overwhelming, guilt-producing world of Mommy-hood!  

So find rest, weary Mom...

The Lord knew what He was doing when He gifted you in certain ways.  And it's ok if your gifts and interests are different than your neighbors, your Facebook friends and your sister-in-law!

It really is ok - this coming from one type of mom that was raised by a completely different type of mom!  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

If I were just a little braver, I'd answer "those" questions...

One day, when I'm feeling brave...the more appropriate word would be BOLD...I may respond to questions and criticisms that are floating around about adoption, why we're doing it, why we chose international as opposed to domestic, why we don't just "pay for it ourselves" and many others...

But the truth is, I'm not ready to jump off that bridge yet! Maybe one day soon...maybe...

The journey of adoption is a tough one my friend, and we continue to ask for you to intercede on our behalf...and on behalf of our sweet baby boy who is waiting in China!

But as we wait and pray and pray and wait, we continue to labor towards making and raising the funds to bring him home.

So onto our second fundraiser...

With the help of my amazing Daddy, we have crafted a few signs and such to sell with all profits - yes, ALL  - 100% - going towards our adoption.  I have created an Etsy store {called For the Love of Orphans} to make the transactions a little easier.  I hope to add items on a regular basis.

Here is the link -

:: Just a few examples::

There are several ways you can help with this if you are willing...

1.  Obviously - consider purchasing something for yourself or as a gift!  Everything you see is completely customizable in terms of size and color.  Just let me know what you'd like!

2.  Most importantly - please share!!  Share on Facebook, email your friends, PIN SOME OF THE SIGNS on your Pinterest boards.  Anything would be great because the more "traffic"- the more potential for sales.

3.  Become a "follower" of the store! :)

This fundraiser has been particularly difficult for me to launch because I feel so vulnerable with it!  These signs have been hand-crafted and hand-painted by myself (& Dad with some!) and it's been very hard to put those items out there.  It may not make much sense, but it's been a struggle for me.  I guess it's that fear of rejection because it seems so personal.  

But none the less, here we go!!

And a little update...

Our first fundraiser - the envelopes - has been a huge blessing to us!  We've raised quite a bit and we praise the Lord for that!  Here are some numbers we still have available if anyone would like to claim one.  And if you're completely confused about the envelopes, click here for an explanation...


There are others, but these are just a few!


And on another note, I must say Happy 10th Birthday to my first born child!  It's hard to believe that I've been called Mommy for 10 years, but it's true!  This sweet girl is precious to me and such a gift to our family!

:: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow ::