Monday, March 28, 2011

Sari Give-a-way!

I am so excited about our newest give-a-way! My friend from our Cambridge days (and mom to Nathan's closest friend there) is now living in Pune, India with her family. She is working with some local women to develop a business making beautiful saris for 18" dolls (American Girl size and similar). These saris are incredibly beautiful. Anna Faith has been drooling over this one all day. Janet's venture is intended to help the women in this city earn scholarships for their children. She tells me that this area of India is incredibly poor, and she is working out a way for these women to help their families with their impressive talents creating these saris--each is a piece of art in and of itself. According to Janet, these women are "provided training, equipment and a chance to work in their homes for wages they set; profits from sells go towards scholarships for their children."

First, I want to tell you how you can help Janet and the women of Pune! You can place an order for your doll-sized sari for your daughter's American Girl doll, or other 18" doll. Each sari is $25 and includes a bangle, gift bag, and bindi. $10 of each of these purchases goes toward scholarships for the children of the artisans. She is also looking for sponsors to help them purchase more sewing machines. These are $160 each. For more information, email and thanks for helping make a difference in the lives of these women!

On to the give-a-way...Janet has sent me one of these beautiful saris to give a way to you all. This sari is red and gold and comes with bangles and a beautiful bag in the same fabric. I can't tell you how beautiful this traditional Indian fabric is and I am sure the pics don't do it justice. Anna Faith allowed me to use her Julie doll to model. I will be giving this sari to one lucky donator. For each $3 donation to our adoption fund, you will get one entry. Just use the link at the right. You can donate even if you don't have a paypal account. I will also give you freebie entries for sharing on facebook or your blog-just comment here to let me know you shared. I am happy to ship the sari if the winner is not local. We are very close to traveling and have a lot of money left to raise, and we really appreciate each and every donation!

And remember, if you don't win, you can still order one of these beautiful saris for your daughter and her doll and help the women of Pune at the same time. Thanks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


We were submitted today! Wow. God is showing off. Grace and Malachi here we come! I will update on DC soon. What a week! Help us fundraise! So close to traveling!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Painting Give-a-way

We have a beautiful, framed original piece of artwork to give a way by the artist Dan Bourne. It is beautiful and bright. The dimensions are 20"x24".

Here is a close up view of the color and detail:

Donate to our adoption fund to enter. Each $5 will earn you 1 entry. And let me know you if you share this give a way on fb or on your blog and I will give you an extra entry. Because of the cost of shipping this item, this will need to be a relatively local winner. Thanks all in helping us to continue our fundraising as we wait on a travel date!

Baseball Give-a-way Winner!

Congrats to my winner (and her boys!). We drew for this earlier today but then had to run out to softball ourselves, so I am just now getting this posted. Sorry!

Congrats Mandy Welch! I will be in touch about your Bases Loaded package and thanks to Bases Loaded again!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Oh my. Sweet Lauren. She has stolen my heart with thos big brown eyes. They remind me so much of my Abigail. But sweet Lauren is across the ocean and has never known the love of a family. I would go get her in a second if it were at all possible. But I can't, so the next best thing is to help her family find her. Are you her family? Just look at those beautiful brown eyes. I am more than happy to answer any questions for you if you are interested in bringing Lauren home and showing that sweet girl what love is. Find out more about Lauren here.

So here we are

I still really can't believe we are in this place--both in the year and in this adoption. I can't wrap my head around it. On one hand, I am in total amazement at God's work getting our immigration approval so fast. We are so close to traveling and meeting our newbies. I can not wait. We were so blessed to hear news of them this week from the blogger that started it all. Corbett--the updates you have given me are priceless. She is at our orphanage adopting her sweet little man right now and who should she see walk by but our 2! She said Grace had little pig tails with red puff balls attached to them and is "just as beautiful in person as in her little photo" and she has a "soulful quality about her." Malachi was hilarious she said, "cruising along, not paying attention" and he has the "chubbiest little cheeks." And if that wasn't enough excitement, she saw them the next day too! She said "they both look super healthy" and Grace talked to her!! She said "she has a sweet voice and said paca mamma (bye mamma)" and she seems "really sharp and sweet." Malachi was "swinging his arms and marching through." I can. not. wait!! We are praying for favor in their country and speed with submission. We are so close to our decade plus long dream of adoption!

And then I can't believe we are at this place in the year already. I can tell you exactly what we were doing each day last year now. I have pictures for each of those as well. I'm so thankful for the blessing of having Eli 5 weeks before we lost Abigail so that I have such vivid, intentional memories of what would be those last days. I should be getting ready for Abigail's 3rd birthday party. It would have probably been this coming weekend like it was last year. I should be buying her spring clothes and giggling at her newest antics. Instead, I am trying to find the perfect flowers for her grave and plan some kind of celebration/fall apart for April 9th. How am I going to get through that day without holding her? And then to re-live those memories just 2 days later. God carry me through. I can't do it. I miss my baby girl and that longing for her is a constant ache in the depths of me.

The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. What a roller coaster this year has been. And then on Wednesday I get to go and share her story in DC. I get to beg and plead for legislation that would save lives, that might have saved her life. What an honor and oh how painful this is going to be. I dread preparing what I am going to say later today.

I am so moved by how many people my little bit has touched. I am so moved that she is still remembered and loved. I am so moved by how many lives are being saved, in part due to her story, through the beautiful tribute of adoption. But despite all of that, I just want her. I want her giggle and her dimples. I want her yelling and screaming. I want her demands and her purpose and her passion. I want to feel the weight of her in my arms and smell her dirty little neck. I want to battle with her over naps and eating and everything. I want to see her following her siblings and bossing everyone in sight. I want to see her play and scoot and fall down. I so desperately miss jump jump jump and her version of twinkle twinkle sung at the top of her lungs. I miss her not letting me hold the buggy while I try to push her through a store. I miss every bit of you little bit, even the hard parts--I loved those the most. Even in all our busyness and our excitement over the newbies, you are always at the front of my mind and I am suffering without you to the depths of my soul. Our reunion will be oh so sweet baby girl and I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's Off!

What a flurry of adoption activity the past 2 days have been! We had our immigration fingerprints taken last Thursday and so we called Monday to check on our status, and were quite surprised to receive our approval just a couple of hours later! Wow! That is unbelievably fast! Of course, we weren't expecting approval that fast, so Monday evening turned into a flurry of activity looking for a notary to get the last of dossier papers ready. I then drove those papers to Montgomery for apostilles this morning and shipped them out via UPS on the way home. Bye bye baby!

It feels good to get that step out of the way, but at the same time, I am starting to panic-ha! We have so much to do to be ready to travel and to bring 2 children home. I can't wait but I am so tired just thinking about what we have to do!

Lot of people have asked me what comes next. Basically, our dossier will now be translated and submitted to our Eastern European government. We will wait on them then to invite us to travel to meet our children. Once we accept their referral officially (and fill out lots more paperwork etc) we will go before a judge and prayerfully become offically their parents. After a 10 day wait after court, we will be able to spring them from their baby house and get a new birth certificate, passport, visa, etc, and bring them home! The entire process takes around 6 weeks in country.

I have also thought so much about how God is redeeming our April. He is bringing beauty from our ashes with the timing of this adoption. At this rate, we are likely to find out our travel date around April 11th. These children couldn't begin to replace my spunky one, but they are giving us a reason to keep moving through this dark valley. We love them even though we haven't met them yet, and we know that they will have their own spaces in our hearts, just like each of the others. It is has always amazed me how we are designed to love each child with our whole heart, even if we have a house-full.

On the fundraising front-we still have a long way to go. God is providing, but with the speed of this process, it is hard not to get discouraged. We have faith that the funds will be in place as we need them. We are still selling coffee and t-shirts (see the right here) as well as having a new give-a-way for baseball lessons (see below). Thank you for all your support!

I hope and pray that we will be able to announce submission and then a travel date very soon! And I would love to be able to announce that we are fully funded.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baseball Lesson Give-a-way

I have a great give-a-way thanks to Bases Loaded! According to their website, "Bases Loaded Training Facility has expanded to it's 20,000 square foot indoor training facility. We now have 4 retractable batting cages, 3 pitching lanes and 5 Iron Mike pitching machines which are token operated. Our staff of professional instructors are very experienced and have played at very high levels." This facility is the it place for anyone looking to improve their baseball skills and have some fun.

The awesome package I have to give away is a $250 value!! It includes 5 lessons with the Bases Loaded instructors AND 50 tokens. This is a great time of the year to take your kids to improve their skills and perfect their game.

To enter, donate $5 to our adoption fund through the link on the right. Each $5 gets you one entry. If you share or blog about this give-a-way, I will give you an extra entry--just let me know in your comments. I will draw for this on March 21st. Help me spread the word and thanks!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

DC here I come

I have been given an amazing, unexpected opportunity to speak to the Department of Transportation regarding the vital importance of rear-view cameras. I struggled with whether or not I should spend the money to travel and attend this meeting when we are in the middle of fundraising for our adoptions. I just didn't know how to use money when we are still working so hard the save and raise the money we will need to bring our 2 home (hopefully very soon)--the sum of which seems a never-ending hurdle at times. However, God has sent some wonderful people into my life and they have committed to help me raise the money I will need to travel in just a little over a week now. I can't thank you all enough, especially the sweet girl who shares a name with my longed-for daughter. I have faith that we will meet our goals, and I have committed to go and speak.

I am honored to go and speak on behalf of all children. I am honored to get an opportunity to share Abigail's story and to plead for our children's safety. I am overwhelmed with the emotion of having to re-live that day. I am overwhelmed with the responsibility and the importance of what I have to do. The weight of it all is heavy on me today. I can't do anything but go and speak for her, and at the same time, speak for all our children. Pray that I have the strength and the words I need to say.

Some facts for you:
In the U.S. at least fifty children are being backed over by vehicles EVERY week. Forty-eight (48) are treated in hospital emergency rooms and at least two (2) children are fatality injured every WEEK.

• The predominant age of victims is one year olds. (12‐23 months)

• Over 60% of backing up incidents involved a larger size vehicle. (truck, van, SUV)

• Tragically, in over 70% of these incidents, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel.

Please visit Kids and Cars to read more. They have stats, information, and vital safety information. They also have stories of children lost to this kind of tragedy. Abigail's story will be there as soon as I get a chance to right it. Read their stories. Remember them. Hug your kids a little tighter and warn children about driveways. Don't live a life of fear, but live a life aware that life is short and life is fragile.

Spa Day Winner

Congrats to my winner! I know you will really enjoy this package. And thanks to Sara Beth for setting this up for me! And on to the winner...

Congrats Sharon! I will mail you the certificate to the address on paypal unless I hear otherwise from you.

Don't forget we are still selling coffee, t-shirts, and Bead for Life jewelry (I have beads for another couple of weeks). All the details are on the right here. I have a new give-a-way coming tomorrow! Thanks!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I've had many comments about how open I am to talking about my grief. To be honest, I don't have much choice. I am the kind of person who used to be very private. I just don't let many people close. However, losing Abigail has made it necessary for me to reach out to others. If you had visited me those first few weeks, and some of you did, you would have witnessed my verbal vomiting. I basically just dumped all I was thinking on feeling on each and every person who walked through my door. And ask my friend Jenny if you think I am exaggerating. That early grief was so overbearing that I felt I would physically rip apart if I didn't. I told everyone everything. I have a little more control now, but at the same time, I still think it is so important for grieving parents to feel like they can do that. I freaked more than a few people out by telling them all my deepest emotions-ha! I scared more than a few people away. Some people are still scared of me. But, at the same time, I found close friends, and we became close fast since I had no walls. I don't want other grieving parents to feel that they need to hide their pain. Talking is vital and necessary. Your grief is not something you need to hide or feel like you need to carry alone. You can't do it. It doesn't make you stronger to pretend you are ok. In reality, it probably takes more strength to say you need someone to help you through this, or, as in my case, lots of someones. I just want to thank each of you for putting up with my verbal vomit those first weeks and months, and for continuing to put up with it now. I have definitely learned that my filter needs to go. That is not to say that I need to say things that are hurtful or damaging, but that I need to speak up for what really matters and not just get carried away in the superficial monotony of daily conversation and never deal with bigger things. I've never had much patience for superficial anyway, but I am more likely to actually tell you that now. If that makes you uncomfortable, I'm sorry. If it makes you uncomfortable to hear about grief or orphans or anything else I need to talk about, I'm sorry. But somethings are more important than being comfortable. I can't settle for just being comfortable anymore.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Help us fundraise by supporting these businesses!

We have had so many wonderful offers from a variety of businesses. Each of these businesses has committed to help us fundraise by offering a portion of their proceeds for anyone mentioning our family or the Hope Project. Please consider each of these businesses and thank them for working with us!

Tax Prep: $20 for each return will go to our adoption fund

Travel Services: 10% of proceeds for each trip book by December

Mary Kay: 10%--book parties or order products

Flower Cakes Bakery: 10%-birthday parties, classes, orders, super yummy cupcakes

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spa Give-a-way

I have a fantastic give-a-way to offer you guys. We are still neck-deep in fundraising and my friend (who is in the process of her own adoption!) has offered me a great package to fundraise with. It is very appropriate for all of us who just went through the crazy fun stress of The Hope Project...

It a gift certificate for a facial, massage, cut and color, and make up application at 'N Vogue Salon and Spa!!

You know you want this. To win, donate $5 to our adoption fund through the link on the right. Each $5 will earn you an extra chance to win. Share after you donate and I will give you a freebie entry.

I will keep this open until March 12th. Thanks for all your support!

Eli's Birthday

I knew this time of year would be hard. I have been dreading it for almost a year now. This time last year, we were doing much of the same things. The kids were involved in spring softball and baseball. I had just had the exact same exchange student event that I went to last weekend, and I was anxiously anticipating the arrival of our 5th baby. I want so much to look forward to celebrating his first birthday on Saturday with him. I want to be anxious for memories and pictures. But, to be honest, memories hurt and I can't take pictures anymore. I want life to be on hold. I want time to stop moving. How can it still move and life go on without my little bit in this world? I am in a dark place this week. The weight of grief is so very heavy.

My grief counselor says that we can let the grief win, or we can take positive steps to reclaim all it has taken from us. No, we can't get her back, but we can move forward in ways that are honoring to her. That is what we are trying to do. When the grief first comes, it feels like that to do anything would be betraying her. If you haven't lost a child, that might not make sense, but that is how it feels. If feels like if I go to the store without her, I have betrayed her because I am operating as if she didn't exist. If I go to a birthday party, then I am betraying her because I am participating in a celebration when she isn't here. I know that all sounds a little crazy, but that is my reality. I have spent almost a year battling those feelings, a year reminding myself that the betrayal is not in positive things, but in negative. It would be betrayal to shut down and wither away. That would be easy, but not honoring. That we miss her is a given. That we would give anything to have her back is a given. That we don't want to go on without her is a given. But the brutal, disgusting, excruciating truth is that we have to. It doesn't matter how much I lay in bed and beg God to give her back--and I have---that reality doesn't exist anymore. From this point on, I have to chose to make choices that are positive and honoring.

So with that in mind, we move forward with adopting and offering life to 2 sweet little ones. We celebrate our little Eli who has carried me so much more through this year than I have carried him. We pray for a way to be made to go and speak in DC about rear visibility standards. We make a difference in the world. Death will not win. Abigail will always remain a part of our family. I will forever tell her story and tell strangers about her. I will never answer the question how many kids do you have and leave her out just because that is the easy path. But I will also keep moving, especially when I don't want to. You took my heart with you baby girl, but I will LIVE until the day I get to be with you again.

So please, my sweet readers, pray for me this weekend. I have never met many of you, but just knowing you are there helps. I feel your strength behind me when I hit these dark patches. I will need every ounce of that to smile on my son's birthday and not collapse for wanting his sister to watch her baby eat his first cake, to not collapse with the weight of beautiful memories of last March 5th that will never be again.

And to you my sweet Eli. Mommy loves you so so much. I wish I could just simply celebrate you, but everything in life is so complicated and emotional now. I love you so incredibly much. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter blessing that you my youngest. Your smile and your ever present giggle warm my broken heart. I dread this next year with you, but I pray everyday for the strength to enjoy it too.