Sunday, November 24, 2013

Auction Results!

              So I'm sure we've probably said "thank you" about 7 million times in the process of adopting Levi and now this second adoption....and I often feel that it's incredibly inadequate.  But really, THANK YOU....I wish there was a better way to express our gratitude towards everyone and all that SO very many of you have done to help on these journeys.  But please know how much we appreciate all of the support you have shown us.

             In all honesty, I was hesitant to do an auction because it involved asking for people to make donations in order that we could ask people to buy stuff.  I've never been too keen on fundraising, and find it uncomfortable.....and yet it's been crucial to our following God's call and incredibly humbling to witness the willing generosity and support of so many friends, family and even many who have never met us.

           So again, thank you to all who donated and made this possible.....YOU have played a role in changing the lives of two children...no really, four children and our entire family....and ultimately countless others.  YOU have answered the call to care for orphans and defend the cause of the fatherless.  I can't stress that enough.

           The auction was really a lot of fun.....it's been a huge endeavor, but really a great way to actively fund-raise during the colder months when we can't be having our yard sales etc.  With all of the items on the auction that sold, including all soap orders (there were around 100!!), but not including bracelets the total we raised was $1,473.50!!!!  I did buy a few things here and there, and will be shipping some items, but this is beyond what I ever expected!!!

         
         When I looked back at the information we received from the facilitator we plan to work with, and looked at what God has already provided us with, I realized that we have enough to cover everything up until we would travel!  I have mixed feelings with these things.....at first I feel blown away, and at the same time it's really no surprise.  Sort of contradictory, but it's just amazing to see how God provides, and yet as we've seen it time and time again, it's not so surprising.....that God would equip us for what He's called us to do.  That He's doing what He promises He'll do...not really a surprise....just really amazing.

       I finally updated the Q & A page for the second adoption and we are eager to get started....but we know that it will all happen in God's perfect timing, and that anything can change along the way!  Have I mentioned that life is so much more exciting....crazy.....fun....fulfilling.....purposeful, since we've started letting God really be in control?  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Show Hope...and a familiar face

           I'm scrolling through my news feed on facebook and a familiar face catches my eye.  I stop.  Click.  What?  How on earth did a post just personalize itself with MY son's picture???  Seriously this is my thought process.....my brain is on overload so it took me a while to figure it out.  See what I mean?  So then I start to realize....we had sent in photos and our story after receiving the Show Hope grant and bringing Levi home.  It's something they request and we were so happy to share the story that they played a major role in!  I clicked and saw another photo and just sat in amazement......not that my son's picture is on their website....but that this is part of our story.  It still amazes me to really stop and think about all that God did in one year to bring that little boy home....and that He chose us to be a part of it.  Mind blowing really.

        And the post was there to share....so that the work and mission of Show Hope would be carried on and reach even more people.  So I thought I'd share it here as well.  What a blessing this organization has been to so so many families and more importantly to so many orphans.  If you're looking for a place to give, please consider Show Hope.  There are SO many ways to partner with them....not just in giving grants to families adopting, but also in providing food, medical care etc. to orphans overseas!  I am so thankful for the work that they do....and for their willingness to share their story as well.  Much of their adoption story is told in Mary Beth Chapman's book "Choosing To See."  It was through this book that the very first seeds of adopting at this point in my life were planted.  I had read it just before God started placing the topic of adoption in every aspect of our lives and know it was no coincidence.  Visit their site   http://showhope.org/ for more!

Monday, November 11, 2013

National Adoption Awareness 2013 Video

**Unfortunately this had to be taken down, hopefully it will be back up eventually!
        

          This video was put together by a fellow adoptive mom.  The number of thriving, SMILING children and FAMILIES in these photos is such a blessing.  Their smiles just really say it all.  Oh and you might recognize the precious boys at 12:40 : )

                                   National Adoption Awareness Video 2013


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Adoption Auction

               After months of planning and many generous friends and family donating items, our auction is about to officially begin!  As always we are so thankful to all those who helped make this possible and now to all those who are taking part in the auction itself.  God has already begun providing in huge ways and we have more than enough (isn't this always the case?!) to begin our first steps and more.  Our house in it's current state is holding us back a bit on updating our home study, but we hope it will soon be ready and are eager to start on this journey.

              Anyone and everyone is welcome to join the auction group...it is open, however I do believe that you need to request to join.  I will certainly add anyone who requests, so please feel free to share with your friends and family.  Although there are some bids already, the auction officially begins on Monday November 11th (update: as I've added people, the bidding has already taken off, so we're open early, but will end as scheduled!) and will end at 8pm on November 22nd.  There are details on the auction site about how it works.

                                                   To Go To The Auction Site Click Here

            I'd like to just say thank you to many of the donors and share with you some of their information in case you are interested in purchasing additional items from them in the future.  They have all so generously and willingly donated, so my hope is to help advertise for them a bit here as a thank you!

                                                 Thank you so very much to............
                             
                                    Sylvia Witt for the beautiful homemade Tea basket

         Julie Carnevale for the Ava Anderson Baby set - Www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/Juliecarnevale

           Erica Shea for the Photo Session - http://www.blessedbeginningsri.com/photography.php

East Greenwich Photo for the Photo Package - http://www.egphoto.com/ or visit them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/East-Greenwich-Photo-and-Studio/162974410392192

 Christina Poulsen for the $50 Ava Anderson gift certificate - www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/ChristinaPoulsen

       Walter Ortiz for the free Martial Arts Package - http://www.higherpowermartialarts.org/

Amanda Towne for the Pampered Chef Set - http://new.pamperedchef.com/pws/amandatowne

Joyce Andrade for the Geneology Package Gift Certificate - www.GenealogyLighthouse.com

 Amy Ortiz for the free photo shoot and cd of images - Visit her website at www.TickledPink-Photography.com and her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TickledPinkPhotographyRI for more!

            Morning Star for the two gift certificates - http://morningstarbookstore.com/

                                Maddie Towne for the beautiful handmade scarf

                                    Kristen Gengenbach for the girls bedroom set

                                    Diane Black for the huge box of assorted felt

       Becca Sherwood for the homemade soaps - http://www.beccashomemadesoaps.com/ AND thirty one products - www.mythirtyone.com/becc517




       This is all such a joint effort and we are so grateful for the many people that stand beside us!







Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Orphans answer the question, what is adoption?


A different perspective....




               
                And a glimpse at more of these precious children....."they are just children".....who so need us to step up and teach them what adoption is.  Often times our own fears and hesitation towards change keeps us from taking the step.....and yet, these children....most of whom did not even know how to answer the         question, what is adoption?......when asked if they would like to be adopted, answered YES!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Leaps and Bounds


              This is from just about a month ago, but it's been so exciting to see Levi motivated enough to actually be doing this on his own!  He's been doing so well in so many areas.  Our early intervention visit last week went especially well.....Levi just kept surprising us and then proceeded to top it all off by saying buh-bye to our service coordinator.  He always waves, but getting him to actually say the words is often a challenge.  I've been trying to get him to make the l sound and last night int he car he was babbling away to himself saying la la la.....I know it all sounds minimal, but for us its leaps and bounds and so.very.exciting!  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Orphan Sunday

                                                 Orphan Sunday clip with David Platt

         November is National Adoption Awareness month.  It brings me back to that day, October 31st, two years ago (how has it been two years?!) when I was trying to tune out God's call for us to adopt.  I had decided it was just too much....too hard....too uncertain....too much change, too many unknowns and on and on went my excuses.  And then came November 1st and National Adoption Awareness month only amplified God's voice for me.  It was a huge confirmation and constant encouragement all month long.  I wonder how many others are being impacted and especially today.  Today is Orphan Sunday.  It gives me chills to think about how many people may have been given a push....an eye opener....a much needed encouragement or confirmation today.  

        As I looked up a little about Orphan Sunday, I found that this years video focuses on efforts in Ukraine and a program called You Will Be Found.  Of course, I thought....it should be no surprise that Ukraine would come up again.  When God wants you to do something....if you're listening, even just a little...He makes it clear!

       Tonight Caleb asked me....seemingly out of the blue.....if Levi was in my belly when he was a baby.  I'm not sure what triggered the question, but it caught me off guard.  I explained to him, as best I could and he seemed slightly bothered, but content for now with my answer.  Someday that will be Levi asking and the hard questions, answers and realities will come.  But again it brought me back.  This sweet, super smart, strong willed, curious boy who is our precious son was once an orphan.  And to think that I almost continued to stand with my arms crossed in defiance....almost missed the chance to have the privilege of being his mom.  Let this month, this day....the awareness of an orphan's reality move you.....physically move you to take action....don't miss out.  It's really not about us at all, and yet we are so incredibly blessed!

                                      *                                 *                              *

        On a side note, due to the large amount of clothing donations we receive, I've had to do some research on alternatives to the once a year Women's Sale.  I've decided to attempt two new options.  The first is to bring all acceptable clothing to a local consignment store where we will receive 50% of the profit, and the second is to send the rest to Thred Up.  So just before we moved, I washed, dried, and carefully folded all clothing for the consignment store I chose.  Their website said they accepted clothing the first week of each month, so when I didn't get through by phone or email, I decided to just take a drive over.  They were closed, and I was starting to get annoyed!  The boxes ended up having to make the move with us to our new house and have sat in a room until yesterday.  I still hadn't been able to get in touch with anyone and was wondering if I should find a new store.  Since we were already out, I decided to take one last drive by on Saturday.  Much to my relief the shop was open and the owner was extremely sweet.  She explained they had some personal things going on that had kept them from the store etc.  She then inquired as to why the coat on the top of my box was a size that couldn't have been mine.  I explained what I do with the clothes and that they are donated.  The sole customer in the store had stopped to listen and told me what a great idea it was etc.  I talked to the owner a bit about Levi and our story as she asked questions and when we finished the customer shared the following.  She sincerely thanked me for what we were doing, because she was adopted.  And she so appreciated our efforts.  I felt the "smack to my forehead" for lack of a better phrase right about then.  I had been so annoyed by not being able to get the clothes to the store so it would be one less thing I had to think about that I hadn't stopped to consider that even in these small things....even in dropping off some clothes to a consignment store....God may have a greater purpose.  I have no idea why, but I felt certain that God wanted me to be there at that moment, to have that encounter with the customer.  I hadn't planned to share what we were doing.....I just wanted to drop off the clothes and be on my way!  As I've mentioned....I'm a slow learner....but again I'm seeing that purpose in everything.....the gifts everywhere I look.

     

        

Friday, November 1, 2013

A New Chapter Begins!


         Six years ago I began subbing at the elementary level, with dreams of soon setting up my own classroom and making a difference in the lives of my students.  I had notebooks full of ideas, loads of resources I had accumulated through student teaching and practicums, but most of all I was motivated and eager to get started.  I had an interview that was shockingly well and was encouraged that I was definitely be among the next to be hired!  Unfortunately one year of subbing turned to two...and then three.....schools continued to close, teachers were laid off, and my chances of obtaining a full time position continued to diminish.  And then in my third year of subbing I found myself pregnant with our first child and facing a major life decision.  The fact that I hadn't been hired was disappointing, but really made the decision to stay home that much easier.  Once the kids were in school, I'd have the perfect job in teaching and hopefully by then the outlook would be more promising. 

     I think Caleb was a year and a half when the idea of homeschooling started to permeate my life.  I thought it was odd since Luke and I had long since decided that it just wasn't for us and we would definitely put our kids in public school.  The more it surrounded me, however, the more I felt myself opening up to the idea.  I couldn't even believe I was considering it and just knew for sure Luke would be against it anyway.  I wasn't sure I wanted to give up teaching in my own classroom someday altogether anyway....and it would be a lot of work.....so I threw it out there just knowing he would squash the idea.  Of course God had other plans and Luke was suddenly not so against it after all.  What was happening? Who were we?  We had made all these decisions already!  This was truly the start of us realizing that up until now we had really been making most of our decisions on our own.  We asked for God to be with us in the decisions we made, but I guess we hadn't realized that we weren't asking for Him to show us what decision to make in the first place.  This was our turning point....and since...our lives have changed dramatically.  For.The.(Way.Way.)Better.  

So this past week I (finally) had the privilege to finally set up my own classroom (as best I can until the house is finished!).  It was not the way I had always imagined, and the class size was much smaller.....but now I couldn't imagine it any other way, and I could not be happier.  

My two students on their very first day of preschool!

          The boys have been excitedly checking out the room each day to see what has changed and explore everything I've put out.  We talked all week about starting school today on November 1st.  I was surprised at how much I felt like I was back in a classroom, and how much I loved it.  I have the best students....they were so eager to learn and do each activity.  Actually it only took us about an hour to do everything (I'm using this curriculum. Love It! And some extras that I added), but they wanted to keep going.  Caleb took out just about everything in the room and we continued to learn and play together.  He loves structured activities and sometimes I just can't think of anything on the spot to do.  I think this is going to be amazing for all of us!  Early Intervention thinks it will be great reinforcement for Levi too and his language development especially.  

                            Seriously, God's ideas and plans are so much better than ours!