Monday, April 15, 2013

How You can Help Us Make the Most of our Matching Grant!

Sorry I'm only blogging about our adoption lately.  I promise to do some more of our happenings around the home very soon!  I have much to blog about, it's just with this matching grant ending soon, it's kind of keeping me busy - that and we are refinancing our home in the middle of all of this too!  Today we are preparing for our home appraisal - due to the spaghetti feed last week, and then this weekend we were all so incredibly tired, our Monday is more of a Monday than usual.

So here is a cross post from our adoption blog (once again) 8)

We have 14 days left until our Matching Grant expires.  So far we have raised approximately $6,500 since the matching grant started.  That means that with the matching grant, $13,000 of the $21,000 in future adoption expenses have been provided for!  Praise The Lord!

That leaves $8,000 in future adoption expenses yet to be covered.  So IF we can get $4000 in donations by the end of April, all our projected expenses will be provided for!

Here's how you can help us make the $4,000 in 14 days:

1. Pray!
- for expediency in the process
- for Priscilla’s health
- for money in place when needed

2. Spread the Word!
- Share A Seventh Sister Blog, especially this blog post, through facebook, twitter etc
- If you own a blog, blog about our adoption

3. Donate to our Reece's Rainbow Grant
                     (tax deductible)

4. Donate to our Paypal Account
                 (click on link and you'll see our paypal email address)
5. Donate via check
                  - email me for our mailing address and payment info~

6. Buy Card - $50 gift card for just $20, we get $10 for our adoption!

7. Shop Amazon via Our Search
                      Use the boxin the right hand column to start Your Amazon Shopping!
                      We’ll earn a commission on everything You purchase after entering Amazon
                      through this box!

8. Place an order for our Tupperware and/or Pampered Chef Parties:
           (email me for details on how to place the orders)

Thank you to all who have donated so far this month - it has been amazing!

Thank you to all who share this blog
post or donated in these last two weeks!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spaghetti Feed Report, plus Matching Grant Update!

This is a copy post from my adoption blog, but the news is so big, I just had to share it here too!

Yesterday was our BIG fundraising event!  We hosted a Spaghetti Feed Date Night that included a silent auction and raffles as well as a movie too!

While we didn't have as many people attend as I had hoped, the evening was a smashing success!  Those attended had a great time, the food was delicious, all the planning made for a smooth evening and best of all, we brought in more that I had hoped for!

So here are the numbers:
$2100 in donations before the event - food, money for food, items for the silent auction
$2800 in cash donations at the event (including winning bids on auction items)
$4900 will be matched in with our matching grant!

So we now have $7700 to use for our adoption that we didn't have yesterday morning!

I worked feverishly all week making posters for the event as well as all the papers needed for the event (bidding sheets, directional sheets, thank you notices etc).

Here'a photos of the events as well as some of the images I used to create the posters.  If you are interested in using my posters at an adoption awareness or adoption fundraising event, please contact me and I'll tell you how you can get access to the larger files!

So here is where we stand as far as getting the most out of our matching grants after last night's huge success!

We still need to raise a total of over $8,000 yet in order to have all the funds to pay for all future events for our adoption, including projected travel costs.

We also need $3000 in readily available cash in order to submit our dossier around the end of May.  Our Reece's Rainbow Grant funds will not be available for our use until after our dossier has been submitted and approved.
So if we raise around $4,000 before the end of April, we will no longer need to do any fundraising as all our future expenses will be covered!  If $3,000 of that is money donated outside our RR account, then everything is all set for the dossier as well.

So there it is - $4,000 in donations in 2 weeks.  That will make the most of our matching grant!  If we bring in more than that, it's OK as the traveling expenses are just approximate.  If we raise more than we need, then we will consider helping out another adoptive family with the fund once we are home with Priscilla!

That could be 80 people giving $50, or or 100 people giving $40, or 200 people giving $20, or 800 people giving $5!  Every dollar counts double with our matching grant>

Here are a few of the posters I made for the event - I'll post the rest on my next blog post as they are on my external hard drive...and I have no idea where that is right now (we had to use it to get the HUGE poster files to my husband's workplace to get the HUGE posters printed - the biggest one was 4 ft by 5 feet!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tomorrow's A Big Day + What We Have Yet To Raise

Tomorrow we will be holding our Priscilla's Ransom Spaghetti Feed/Silent Auction Date Night!

Amazing things have been happening - here's a few of the unbelievable providences straight from the hand of my Heavenly Father:

Food Donated plus money donated means that this event will cost our family NOTHING!
        Right Down to the last Dollar!!!  This included the fact that garlic bread just happens to be on sale THIS WEEK ONLY!  

Over $1500 in merchandise/gift cards/services have been donated!
             And more items are still coming in!!!

A Sheet Cake with over 90 servings was donated, as well as all the spaghetti!

Decorations were obtained just hours before the person who had them left to go out of town!

And just because He can, I got word from two different people that they were each sending in checks to our Reece's Rainbow FSP for $500 - That means $2000 when our matching grant come into the picture!

Here's a list of some of the items that we will be auctioning/raffling off tomorrow. along with their approximate value:

$30.00 Willow Tree gift basket
$55.00  Custom Modest Swim Suit
$220.00 professional matted photographs
$50.00 sports car rental - Mustang!
$25.00   Vision Plus Gift vouncher
$25.00 Wee Ones children's consignment shop
$20.00 personalized Tee from Bellingham Baby Company
$12.00 Hobbit Posters ($3 ea)
$60.00 Complete Custom Scrapbook Album, baby boy
$150.00 Cornerstone Auto Care Gift Certificates
$20.00 Grace Cafe Pie
$38.00 quilting gift set from Fabric Etc
$65.00 Pain Relief Clinic GC for consulation and adjustment
$13.00 violin lesson
$28.00 hand knit wool socks
$20.00 hand knit toddler hat
$60.00 Carl's Mower GC
$75.00 Hannegan Farm & Garden
$25.00 Jonathan Park's CDs
$25.00 Child of God framed print from Surroundings, 
$25.00 tackle box/hat/fishing tackle-Dave's Sporting Good
$35.00 Family Bookstore – CD/ DVD/devotional books

$400.00 Little Earthling Photo session + prints $84.00 Tupperware FridgeSmart 4 Piece Set

So Here we are...I've crunched the numbers, and in order to cover all remaining expenses that we expect to encounter, including all travel, legal fees and document preparation and we "only" need to raise $7000 if we can raise it before the end of April!  This will only work if we raise all $7000 while the matching grant is in here is my thermometer to help track our progress!  You can also see it in the right hand column!  I'll update it as we get donations!  This accounting for all donations that I am aware of as being made, or is in the mail as of this moment!

Edited to add that I found that I missed a number in my calculations, so right now we are down to $6,335 needed to raise if we are to have all funds in place by the end of April.

We don't need to have the money by the end of April...this is just showing what it would take to raise enough so that with the matching grant all our projected expenses would be covered by donations + matching grant! We would no long have to do any fundraising if that happens!!!

Orphan No More!!!!!

I am here to share the story of a little girl who crawled into my heart back in July.  I blogged about the photos that I had received of her.  I advocated for her, I raised funds for her.  She was 6 years old and the size of a toddler!

We even considered adopting her...but a child with brittle bone disease didn't sound like the best fit for our big family, for obvious reasons!

So I prayer.  We prayed.  Her fund grew and grew...until she was nearly fully funded even!

And then it happened - her family found her! In November I was able to make contact with "Alexandra"s new family.  They were adoptive parents already and were going to work to adopt her as quickly as possible.

Her new mother and one of her brothers traveled to Ukr@ine a few weeks ago, and this morning I got word that the adoption is final!

Let me introduce to you....Nastia Kate Frye and her new mommy, Tammy Frye!

So amazing to see God work in all the details to ransom this precious jewel and give her a hope for a life in a loving family and receiving the medical care she so desperately needs!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How Prolife Are You?

If you are like me, you will tell anyone who asks, that you are wholeheartedly pro-life   Since I was young the thought of abortion sickened me.  Beyond that I really did nothing to promote life.  That is what "PRO LIFE" means - that we promote life.  But I didn't.  Maybe I thought I did, but I didn't.

OK, so I always voted for pro-life candidates.  That was what it meant to be pro-life, right?  That was enough, right?

Then about 8 years ago I started going to the Walk For Life event locally here that supported our local pregnancy center.  Then a few years ago we began to regularly contribute to that pregnancy center.  Then in 2011 we attended the Whatcom County Pregnancy Clinic's annual dinner.  It was a wonderful event where I got to learn more about what they do to serve the women of our county.  Last year, we heard about a town (not our town), where the pregnancy clinic got serious about defending the life of the unborn, and used media to get the word out that abortion was not the only choice for women facing a crisis pregnancy.  You know what happened?  Nearly all the abortion facilities in that county closed - they were no longer needed.  Supporting your local crisis pregnancy center/clinic is the best way to stop abortion.  Governmental laws come and go, but the law of supply and demand will always win.  If there is a demand for abortion, abortionists will be in business to supply that service.  For them, it's all about the money.  So please, support your local pregnancy clinic and reduce/eliminate the demand for abortion in your community.  We support our clinic on a monthly basis, as well as attending their events - it's not that hard,and even $5 a month can help pay for a few pregnancy tests!

Also, did you know that some forms of chemical birth control allow for fertilization of the egg, but create a hostile environment in the womb, preventing implantation?  If you, like me, believe that life begins at fertilization (egg + sperm), then using these types of birth control should be unacceptable.  We need to get the word out about this!

So I'm good right?  I fight the good fight against abortion, right? I don't use birth control that can cause abortions. I can now be content with my stance of being pro-life, right?

Girl, born Feb 2009
Down syndrome,Postoperative CHD
(VSD after repair)
Sweet little Tina! 
In 2008 I gave birth to a little girl with Down Syndrome.  We had refused all prenatal genetic testing with every pregnancy as we knew that we would not do anything different if we knew that the baby I was carrying had a genetic disorder.  But I think I always thought that it would never happen to me.  As I got older, I would have some nights of lost sleep thinking about the possibility that the baby would have a genetic disorder, but they were few and far between.  When Esther was born, we were plunged into a new world.  One of the most startling pieces of information that I read in those early days was that 92% of unborn babies diagnosed as having Down Syndrome are aborted.  I just couldn't believe it.  I checked the facts and found that they are true.  Then I also read that there is a waiting list of families in the USA who WANT to adopt babies who are born with Down Syndrome.  At that time the list had over 200 families on it!  Incredible - 90% aborted while over 200 families wait to adopt those babies.  TRAGIC!   I did what I could and blogged about this situation, trying to get the word out about this situation, but I think my impact was small, to say the least.  Chask is a US agency that matches adoptive families with children born with birth defects.

Brandon, Born November 2005
Sweet little boy who was born with CP.  
When Esther was in the hospital in Seattle I had an amazing encounter with a lady that was just plain shocking to me.  I met her in the cafeteria.  She was sitting with what looked like two young adults with Down Syndrome. As I talked with her I found out that she was a single woman (looked to be in her 50s or 60s), and that she had adopted both of them!  She also shared with me that she had adopted a third baby boy with Down Syndrome, but that he had died due to his congenital heart defect at age 11/2.  She shared with me that she had adopted the son that was with her that day when he was a baby, that he had been rejected by his birth parents due to his having Down Syndrome.  She then went on to tell me a story that I will never forget.  She share with me that her daughter was now 52 years old (just 7 years older than me at that time), and that she had adopted her when her daughter was 26 years old.  She said that her daughter had been put in an "institution" for "people like her" when she was born.  This place was a place that I was aware of when I was growing up - if you thought someone was acting stupid, you would make fun of them  and tell them that they belonged at "Fircrest."  I really had no idea what that place was about, but I knew that it was a place for "dummies" and "retards."  Man, I hate that word, but that's another blog post!  Anyway, I found out from her that this woman that she adopted had spent her first 26 years in a crib.  She had always been fed with a bottle.  She could not feed herself, walk or talk when she was adopted.  People, do you realize that this means that this was going on right here in our country as late as 1982?  That is the year I graduated from high school.  This means that we were joking around about real people my age who were rejected by their families and put in an institution, living their lives out in cribs.  I was SHOCKED!  This "young" lady was politely eating her lunch and occasionally smiling in my direction.  Her mother shared that she still had no speech, but that she had learned to communicate with signs and gestures.  This mother deserves a medal, but she'll get her reward from her Lord and Savior, I know it!  She was so sweet that the next day I got word that I had a visitor - that same lady had gone out and purchased and stuffed animal for my Esther, and she sat and talked with me and encouraged me that day.

Aubrey - Girl, born Aug. 1999
Diagnoses: arthrogryposis; mental delay
Last year, my belief that I was doing "enough" in my pro-life activities was challenged more than ever before.  I came face to face with the reality of children who were not aborted, but had been abandoned or rejected by their parents at birth, or who had been removed from their families to protect them from a dangerous situation.  God has been relentless in His convicting me of the value of all life. Even lives that have been abandoned and rejected after birth.  Here I was reading about children in terrible orphanages, many were in situations like the one I had learned about that day back in 2008.  What used to happen here in the USA is still going on in Eastern European countries.  But I also read that there was hope - that there was a movement happening in the US and Canadian. Families were stepping up to the plate and working hard to either adopt these children  or help find them families.  This was happening on Reece's Rainbow.  You know this if you've been reading my blog for any length of time. This ministry is amazing, connecting orphans to families who can adopt, and connecting families who can't adopt but can help financially with those adoptive families who need financial help to facilitate these expensive adoptions.  It's a win, win situation!

But here is where this blog post came from.  God has sent his Hounds after me.  Relentlessly bringing to mind this concept of pro-life in action.  Over and over again these thoughts run through my brain.  Can we say we are pro-life, and yet do nothing to help these little ones?  Can we say we are pro-life and yet turn away when we see a child or adult with a disability?  Can we say we are pro-life and yet stop reading about these lost children because it's too hard to read?  God keeps asking me to think about what it would be like to be that person.  Think with me about this.  These children did nothing and yet they were born with some defect that is unacceptable in their culture, or their medical care is too expensive for their family to deal with.  So, on top of dealing with health issues, they have no one.  Their hospital stays for surgeries or illnesses do not include being rocked by their mommy or visits from siblings or new toys to play with.  Their days are not spent in colorful rooms or in therapies to help them overcome their disabilities.  They lay in cribs in stark rooms with no toys, pillow, or even blankets.  Some of them only get one bottle a day, and many of them only get their gigantic diapers changed once a day.  Many of them are drugged continuously to keep them docile and quiet.  Newborn babies are left in a "crying room" until they learn that their needs will not be met, that they should be quiet and just wait for their scheduled bottles and diaper changes.
Boy, born May 2000
Frank is listed with a moderate mental delay.
He could use a family to help
him reach his full potential!

I KNOW!  You don't want to read that. I didn't want to read that.  I don't want to picture those babies crying without consolation.   So many times I have had to turn away or my heart would crumble.  Sometimes I felt like I might even be physically sick when I read about the situation these children were in.

I felt so useless.

But there was more - the stories coming out of these orphanage sound like something from Nazi Germany in WWII.  Sometimes I would find myself shutting down - I just couldn't take anymore.  But then later, God would show me more.  I would read about these children being transferred to adult mental institutions and that 90% of those die in the first year.


Children who had adoptive families, whose blogs I had read, were getting word that their child, in adult mental institutions at the ripe old age of 4, 6, 8 were dead.  They had become that statistic.  I had seen their faces, I had seen the love that these families had to their children, and yet they died before ever knowing that love. Oh, Lord God, this is killing me - I just checked the memorial page of Reece's Rainbow and  I KNOW the first three shown there - Sasha, Stacy and Declan.  Each of them precious, each of them being adopted, yet leaving this life never knowing the love of a family.  It is still too hard for me.  Please, God, preserve Priscilla until we can come and ransom her!

I still feel so useless.

BUT there's more.

It's not just the "defective" that are left to rot in orphanages over there.  There are children in orphanages that have no physical, mental or developmental delays.  They end up in orphanages for many reasons - alcoholism,  poverty, child abuse, death of their parents etc.  But once a child is no longer a baby, they become practically un-adoptable.  And the longer they live in an orphanage the more damaged they become.  But they are not ir-repairable.  You might think, "They'll be OK.  When they grow up they'll get out of the orphanage and go on to lead normal lives."


When these children "age out" of the orphanage, they are turned out of the orphanage the day they turn 16, with about $50 in their pocket and the clothes on their back. Most of them have had NO school.  They are not skilled in any type of work.  Over 10% of them commit suicide by the time they turn 18.  Over 60% of the girls end up in the sex trade and over 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.  But this doesn't have to happen.

At least,if you think as I did, children in the USA are better cared for.  That is true in many cases, but so many children experience the hardships of the foster care system their entire life.  I read recently that 70% of the prison population today are people that grew up in the foster care system.  Granted, the foster care system has improved a lot, but foster care will always lack the permanence that only an adoptive family can give to an orphan.  Do an internet search for US orphans, or check out Rainbow Kids or Adopt US Kids to see the children available for adoption right here in our country!

OK, so the "system" is broken beyond repair, at least it seems this way.  What can be done?

How can adopting one child make any difference when there are thousands in those places.

Well, for starters, adopting one child will change that child's world.

We can't all pick up and move to a foreign country to lobby for change.

 Not everyone is called to adopt either.  God doesn't work that way.  God calls each of His children in different ways.

But I think everyone should consider what they can do.  What God is asking them to do.  God's word shows us over and over again that He cares what happens to orphans.  Click on that link and you will read God's heart towards orphans and fatherless children.

There are so many ways that we can help.

for the Joss family — WA
Some are so easy - share the plight of these children.  Share an orphan on your Facebook page and help their "forever family" find them.  Blog about an orphan.  Share the needs of a family who is in the process of adoption.  Pray for these children and these families.  Get the word out about these children and their situations.

Some take a little more work - commit to being an advocate for an orphan or adoptive family.  Donate some of your hard earned money to help these adoptions.  Create items that you can donate to auctions that benefit these adoptive families and orphans.

You will be blessed as you see God work in these lives.  I have!

Have you even thought about helping a family who does foster care, of a family who has adopted a child out of the foster care system?  I hadn't even thought about it until this week.

Maybe God is calling you to adopt, or maybe just asking you to consider it.  Please do not ignore that still small voice.

Remember, adoption is not about you and it's not about me.  It's not about getting that child you wanted.  The boy you never had.  The girl you wanted when you only got boys.

I always thought that adoption was for couples who had trouble having children of their own.  But now I see it so differently.

Adoption is about the children.

I am not adopting because I want another baby.  That may or may not be obvious ;)  I am not adopting because I want a girl, or I want a boy.  I am not adopting because I need to do this to feel good about myself.  I'm not even doing this so others will think more highly of me.

I am doing this because God has called us to adopt Priscilla.

I am doing this to expose these acts of Satan on the least of these, so that God's people will stand up against the face of evil and DO SOMETHING for these children whom God loves.

Remember that Sunday School song - "Jesus love the little children, all the children of the world...'?  It is true.  He loves them.  He wants to see every orphan experience the love of a family.

Last Sunday, our pastor preached about the gift of salvation.  All that Christ did for us.  He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could be made righteous.  He was preaching from I Corinthians 15.  His sermon ended with this thought - Since Christ has done so much for us, how then shall we live?  He challenged us that when we follow God's leading, we might be/will be required to do something that requires getting out of our comfort zone.  He listed losing sleep, giving up our comfort zone, using our free time, spending money (I think he said "all your money), being criticized and more. He said that it might hurt, and then reminded us that it hurt when Jesus died for us, A LOT.  Today we are not usually called to die a horrendous death for our faith, but are we willing to follow God's call when it means sacrificing something?   I took this to heart and applied it to our adoption.

You know, adoption has taken on a whole new look to me.  No longer do I see adoption as an option for couples struggling with fertility (although there is nothing wrong with this), but I see adoption as a calling.  I see it as an earthly representation of what our Heavenly Father has done for us.  We did not know Him. We did absolutely nothing to deserve His love.  He sacrificed everything to make us His child.  He loved us before we even knew He existed.  He loved us even when we were broken, defective, unlovable.  By following God's call to adopt Priscilla, I see His love working in us.  I can see His love for us in a small way in our love for Priscilla.

God says in His word that Children Are A Blessing.  He doesn't say that biological children are a blessing.  He doesn't say that perfect children are a blessing.  He says ALL CHILDREN are a blessing.

What is God calling you to do to aid orphans?  What blessing is He calling you to sacrifice for?

How Pro-Life are you?

A video I found on Rainbow Kids:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ahem...and now for public release!

A video to tell our story - our journey to adoption

Feel free to share this as I think this could be a tool used to get the word out that these children need homes and families to love them!

Here are the blogs of the families represent in our journey:

Prolife means more than just preventing abortion, it means promoting all life, even those who are abandoned or rejected at birth!  Not all are called to adopt, but anyone can support an adoptive family or advocate for these children who are hidden away from the world and left to die.

And don't forget - we have 31 days left to build up our funds to make the most of our matching grant!