Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Results Are In

We made two thousand one hundred nineteen dollars today! Yep, that's right, $2,119 at a yard sale. I am so amazed and thankful. Thank you, thank you everyone who came to the sale and supported us today. And thank you to all who donated items to be sold. It added up. And a huge shout out goes to Emily, Hope, and the Smiley family who all came EARLY today and stayed LATE to help with everything. You guys are awesome. And to Daniel's mom who stayed with M all day Friday and Saturday while we worked. And my mom who spent countless hours helping me to price and sort. I see that it is taking a village to bring this little boy home. I am grateful for all of you.

I will post pics and more about the sale tomorrow. But for tonight....it's bedtime. I got two hours sleep last night, and the adrenaline is gone.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ahhhhh!

The yard sale is tomorrow! Ahhhhh! Oh my goodness, we have so much to do. We're about to go out to hang the signs now, and then we will spend the rest of the day at the church sorting, pricing, hanging, and organizing. We'll pick up bake sale stuff, and we will receive several more deliveries of donations for the sale. It's going to be awesome tomorrow! But I may not get to go to bed tonight.... See you tomorrow!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Six More Days....

Until...


Click on above image for more information, including driving directions.

This is going to be one rockin' yard sale. We have an almost brand new pressure washer, a gas grill, lots of furniture (including a kitchen table, a chest of drawers, and lots of chairs), a dehumidifier, some stereo equipment, a really nice food processor, a crib and a bassinet, two weed eaters, a couple printers, a great stroller and other baby stuff, a rocking chair, and lots of clothes, toys, and housewares. I could go on and on. Oh and a TiVo that includes two months free subscription!

But that's only the beginning. We will also be serving hot Gobena coffee in the morning, and yummy lemonade once the weather heats up. And there will be lots of baked goods - cookies, brownies, muffins, and 18 loaves of my mom's homemade sourdough bread. Come early before it's gone! Her bread rivals the Amish. Seriously.

There's one more exciting thing that's not included on the poster. We are offering DISCOUNT GO. SEEK. LOVE. T-SHIRTS on the day of the yard sale. All adult T-shirts will be $15 each, kids' T-shirts will be $10 each, onesies will be $8, and note cards will be $5/pack of 8. If we don't have what you need in stock, you can order it that day at the discount price, and we will deliver it to you a.s.a.p.

So remember, rain or shine, the yard sale starts at 7 am this Saturday. See you there!

P.S. We are still accepting donations, and we have a truck for pickup. Just email us at family @ duboisadoption . com (without spaces) if you have anything you would like to donate. Thank you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Adoption Update

I keep thinking that just around the bend, the workload for our adoption is going to lighten up. I figure that just as soon as we make it to the next milestone, there won’t be nearly as much to do… Well, it hasn’t happened yet. So here is what’s keeping us busy these days.

Since my last big update a month-and-a-half ago, we have completed our home study and almost everything for our dossier. After finally receiving the paperwork for our home study, I immediately sent a copy of it to USCIS (immigration office) on May 12th. It took three long weeks to get the final copy of our home study because our social worker was on vacation. Then when our paperwork finally arrived there was a glaring “typo” on the first page. I became very impatient in my waiting! Once our home study arrives at USCIS, they should have our immigration papers back to us within eight weeks. That means that by July 8th, at the latest, we will have the last item for our dossier in our possession. At that point, we will have to have all of our documents certified at the county level and authenticated at the state level. Then we will have that sucker in the mail a.s.a.p. I can’t wait!

Our dossier will go to our adoption agency first, and they will send it to Ethiopia. Once it arrives in Ethiopia, our official waiting time for our referral will begin. The current wait is between 9 – 11 months. Unless something changes, we hope to receive the name and a photo of our son around April or May of 2010. It is surreal to imagine that that day will ever really arrive.

Since the flood of paperwork has subsided, we have put our focus on fundraising. We have now made about $2,000 on T-shirt and note card sales! We have shipped to fifteen different states and a foreign country. It’s so fun to imagine “Go. Seek. Love.” T-shirts floating around all across the country.

We are holding a ginormous yard sale on May 30th at the Pegram Church of Christ parking lot. We have received mountains of donations from our generous family and wonderful church family. My mom and I began this week to sort through and price everything. I’m not sure that we will ever finish. I guess we could always just put up a sign that says “Make an Offer.” A sweet co-worker of Daniel’s agreed to organize a bake sale for the day, as well. Come one, come all for homemade cookies, brownies, and muffins! In the morning we are planning to serve Gobena coffee (from Ethiopia) and cold lemonade in the afternoon. And, as if that’s not enough, we are going to offer DISCOUNT T-SHIRTS on the day of the yard sale. More details on that later.

Lately I have been focusing any extra time that I can find on applying for adoption grants. There are a number of wonderful Christian organizations out there, dedicated to helping families with the financial difficulties of international adoption. Most of them are matching grants, which means that they offer to double money donated by our friends and family. But there are a few that are outright gifts. I have been scouring the internet to find all that I can. I could make this a full-time job if I had the time. So far each of the three that I have worked on have required five or six hours to compose the requested essays, financial information, and other application materials. I hope and pray that we will qualify for one of them.

I had an extremely frustrating experience last week. After spending HOURS compiling the application materials for a grant from Our Creator’s Hope, I received an email from the director informing me that they are no longer accepting applications for grants. That was nowhere on their website! I was devastated by the waste of time. If you are an adoptive family, DO NOT apply for a grant from Our Creator’s Hope!

So that pretty much sums up what’s going on with our adoption these days. Life is crazy, but it is full of blessings. Please pray for us that:

  • We keep our eyes on Jesus throughout all the busyness of fundraising and paperwork.
  • We have beautiful weather and a great turnout at our yard sale on May 30th.
  • We don’t encounter any unexpected problems or delays with our paperwork.
  • God prepares us for the important task ahead of raising our son from Ethiopia.
  • Protection and blessings for our son and his mother (she is probably pregnant with him right now!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Friends

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Daniel and I were going to begin volunteering with World Relief, an organization that works with refugees during the first six months after arriving in the U.S. We have received our first assignment, and yesterday we got to meet them for the first time. We had a blast!

The family is from the country of Bhutan, but they have been living in a refugee camp in Nepal for 18 years. Can you even begin to imagine what it must be like to live for that long in a camp with no place to really call home? And now all of the camps are gradually being closed, and the 80,000 refugees are being relocated to different countries. I found a helpful website that concisely explains the situation of Bhutanese refugees here.

This family of five (husband and wife, two kids, and husband’s brother) have no other family here, and they know no one. Everyone that they have ever known will soon be scattered across the world. Can you even imagine?.... They have been here about a month, and this was their first chance to go out and do something fun.
The two-year-old little girl sat in a car seat beside Madeline. We had only been on the road for a couple of minutes when the little girl pointed at Madeline and said, “didi” – Sister. Before long they were passing toys between them. And before I knew it they were trading pacifiers. Oh dear. But it delighted me.

We went to a free concert of the Nashville Symphony on the Peabody lawn at Vanderbilt. We had a picnic supper, and there were lots of other kids there. We had such fun listening to the music, eating lots of cookies, going to the bathroom and teaching them about the automatic faucets and hand dryers, letting the five-year-old boy push the button to make the handicap door open automatically, and having a bubble blowing party with about a dozen other kids.


Daniel, Madeline, and I feel so blessed after our time with our new friends last night. I can’t wait to do it again!





"Didi"



Monday, May 18, 2009

Trashy Blessings

I’m too tired to write right now. I’m not sure how well I can express myself today, but I will give it a shot. Daniel and I had an exhausting weekend, chock full of blessings. Friday afternoon, we got a last minute phone call with an offer to make some money for our adoption fund over the weekend. My uncle was the chair of the grounds committee for the Bellevue Community Picnic on Saturday, and he needed two people to work as janitors at the picnic all day on Saturday. So Daniel and I arrived at 8 am with trash bags and brooms in tow and spent the day emptying trash cans and picking up litter. The day was very long (we worked until 11 pm), and we were absolutely exhausted at the end of the day (I don’t even remember driving home). But overall it was surprisingly pleasant. It was a beautiful day (well, except for the 45 minute monsoon at mid-day…); we got to be together all day; we enjoyed people watching at the picnic; and we got a break from being mom and day ALL day AND overnight. But the best thing of all is that we earned $500 for our adoption fund! Thank you Uncle Steve for helping us get a little closer to bringing our son home!

Sunday morning Daniel had to get up at 5:30 to work at a Habitat for Humanity building site. He chaired the committee at his work that was in charge of this project, and Sunday was the last day. He had to be there. I don’t know how he managed toget up so early! Meanwhile, my parents still had Madeline and so I got to enjoy actually being able to sit through the entire church service and listen to the whole sermon. Wow! I had some great conversations after church, and they were totally uninterrupted. It felt amazing! Then I went to lunch with a dear friend who was having a birthday, and I got to just enjoy being out with friends with no interruptions. What a rare blessing!

So it was a great weekend. I’m still recovering from the utter exhaustion of Saturday’s work, but it is such a good feeling to work hard with purpose. I will be posting an update soon on where we stand in the adoption process. Until then…

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cutie Pie

Here are a few sweet photos of Madeline that Daniel took last weekend.



Doesn't she look like a big girl?



Yes, we let her play out in the rain.... I know, I know... We went straight from the cold puddle to a warm bath and she was just fine. And she had so much fun!



Thumbs up, Dad!



Click here to see the rest of the photos.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shaky

Perhaps I was a little too confident last night in declaring my lack of fear. There was a knock at our door a little while ago and my heart nearly beat out of my chest. It was just a police officer dropping off a copy of the report from the break in yesterday, but it took me fifteen minutes to stop shaking.

Pray for me. I don’t want to live this way.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Treasure's In Heaven

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21

Madeline and I went to Community Bible Study this morning, as we always do on Wednesday morning. We rushed home as usual because she is hungry for lunch and ready for a nap. All the way home she was signing, “More, more, more” in the back seat, meaning, “Feed me!” As I pulled into the driveway, my mind was occupied with thoughts of what I was going to feed her for lunch and how I should spend the precious hours of her nap time. I pulled the emergency brake, turned off the car, and looked up at the back door. “Did white flower petals fall from a tree and cover the back sidewalk?”, I wondered. “No wait…..That’s….Glass……And the door is open!....The house has been broken into!”

As quickly as I could, I threw the car into reverse and fled the scene. I called Daniel to tell him what had happened, pulled into our church parking lot (just a mile away) and called the police from there. I kept praying over and over, “Thank you, Lord, that we weren’t home.”

The next hour dragged on for days. I went back to the house when the police came, Daniel arrived home, we went through the house to identify what was missing, we filed the police report…. Surprisingly only a few things are missing – a laptop, my jewelry box, and a few odds and ends. Many of our “valuables” (that I am acutely aware aren’t truly valuable) were unexplainably left behind.

Through the whirlwind of activity following the break in, three thoughts from scriptures surfaced in my jumbled up mind:

1- My treasure is safe in heaven. This stuff was not treasure, and it’s all going to burn someday anyway.
2- Pray for your enemies.
3- “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10)

My greatest fear was FEAR initially. I don’t care about the stuff we lost but I feel concerned that I will now spend my days and my nights living in fear that our home will be broken into again while we are home. I don’t want to live my life consumed with fear. I know that it is not God’s will for me.

I brought this before God, and he led me to Psalm 121:5-8:

The Lord watches over you….He will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life. He will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.

I realize that I have a choice. I can choose to hold onto fear of bodily harm to me and my family, or I can choose to trust God to watch over me. I can choose to take him at his word that he is watching over all of my comings and goings all of the time. I know that God was in charge today, and he was protecting me and Madeline. Who knows how many times a day he protects my life, and I’m never even aware of the danger? Today I was aware, and so that makes it seem scarier. But he was “watching over my life” today just as he is every day. I will trust him to do it again tomorrow.

Anyway, there were a few pieces of jewelry that I felt sad to lose. There were a couple of items I had contemplated selling so that we could put the money in our adoption fund. I held back and now it’s gone. If I had sold them to invest the money in the kingdom of God, it would have been mine forever. Lesson learned.

I am thankful for so many things: for God’s protection, for his reminder of what really matters, for Daniel being able to rush home to be with us, that more things weren’t stolen. More than anything I am thankful for the push that this gave me to cling to HIM more.

Here is Daniel installing our new back door this afternoon



Here is the old one....



I had this sign over the back door. It was on the floor covered with broken glass. Ironically the intruder had to step over it to enter our house.



Saturday, May 2, 2009

Messy


Why is it

that MESSY


is so much

more fun


than CLEAN???


???

Our Ethiopian Kitchen

I experimented with a couple of Ethiopian recipes for the first time last night. We had injera, a moist, crepe-like bread



and alecha, a vegetable stew with cabbage, green peppers, tomatoes, etc., and seasoned with ginger.



I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself! Madeline enjoyed the injera. I was thrilled that she was eating at all. She has had a bad ear infection this week, and she hasn't had much of an appetite.

video

Friday, May 1, 2009

Adoption Yard Sale

Announcing the next event on our fundraising agenda....... A Yard Sale! Yep, we are jumping on the bandwagon and doing what every other adoptive family is doing to raise money - having a huge yard sale.

The sale will be on Saturday May 30th, the weekend AFTER Memorial Day, in the parking lot of Pegram Church of Christ.

If you have been spring cleaning and have any items that you would like to donate for the sale, just email us at family @ duboisadoption . com (remove spaces). We have a pickup truck, and we will be happy to arrange a time to come and pick up your donations. The church is graciously allowing us to store things there. Donations of any size would make us very excited! We have already had several families to donate items, and we feel very hopeful that the yard sale could provide a big boost in our adoption account.

Please pray for us that God will continue to generously provide all the funds that we need to bring our son home from Ethiopia. He has been so good to us! Thank you and God bless you!