Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Story

It finally dawned on me this morning that many people reading this blog don't know us in person, so I'll tell you a bit about us. Bear with me though, insomnia and early morning blog posting don't mix. I'll come back and edit later.

Mike and I met on April 10, 1999 and quickly knew we were meant for each other. We fell in love and got engaged the night before Thanksgiving of that year and were married on July 1, 2000. At the time, my first daughter, Kayla was just about to turn 6 years old. We had just moved from Pittsburgh, PA to Coplay, PA.

After losing my work at home job, I got my real estate license and began working while Kayla was at school. Within a few months, I became pregnant with our youngest daughter, Madelyn who was born in March of 2003, about a full year after I began working again. I've been a stay at home mom ever since.

We moved to Birmingham, AL in 2004 had two more children- Nicholas was born in June 2005 and Benjamin was born in February 2008.

Nicholas, Christmas 2005

Mike and I have both grown during our 11 years of marriage. Our focus has gone from ourselves to God and our children, our friends and family. We've had ups and downs and we certainly aren't perfect but we all love each other very much.

A little over a year ago, friends of ours announced they were planning on adopting two children in Eastern Europe. I'll never forget the day my friend texted me the pictures of the children we now know as Grace and Malachi. We went out for coffee the night she made the announcement and she patiently answered many of my questions about the children and the process. I think I stayed up until around 2am the next morning, reading about the orphan crisis. Something hit me and it changed me forever.

CLICK HERE to share Reece's Rainbow on Your Blog! Thank you!

Looking at the faces of the children, reading about their potential futures, Mike and I decided then that for us, no charity would be more important than helping these children find homes. We both spent several sleepless nights crying and praying for the children we saw, hoping families would find them and bring them home. We committed to donating to our friends adoption funds and then continuing to donate to other families adoption funds. We decided that if we weren't going to adopt, we should do all we can do help others who were in the process.

For some reason it never occurred to us that we could be one of those families until October 2011. During that month, God began speaking to my husband. He began to look at the profiles of the children on Reece's Rainbow daily. He stayed up late thinking about them and on more than one occasion, attempted to keep me up late talking about them.

Then, one day he showed me a picture of a little boy that had been on his heart. It appeared as if our son was staring back at us from the other side of the world. We both felt we needed to bring him home and make him our son. We began praying and researching home study agencies and finally agreed that we definitely needed to move forward. So we did.

Just a few days after mailing our initial paperwork, we found out that he had already been adopted by a couple in his own country. Although we felt as if we lost a member of our own family, we couldn't help but be happy for him. At his age and with his medical condition, the chances of him finding a family in his own country were slim. We were glad that he was able to join a family without the culture shock of moving to our country.

To make a long story short, we ended up trying to commit to two other children who were not available so we've decided to move ahead without an official match. We may decide to commit to a child at some point before we travel, but we also may wait until we get to our country.

Before you decide that we are completely insane, you should know that our home study will specify age, gender, medical needs, and other criteria. We will not be able to adopt or be asked to adopt a child whose needs we cannot meet, but we are definitely planning on adopting a child with special needs.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Winner :)

Jill Grindberg is the winner of the All About Learning Press gift credit. Jill, I've sent you an email with details on cashing in your prize. Thank you again for your donations.

There are still a few days left to win the $25 credit to 3 Little Monkeys Studio. Read this blog post for details on how to enter:

3 Little Monkeys Studio

Excellent blog post

My friend Kate is amazing and this post is perfect-

The messy part of adoption

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Adoption Resources

Although we are at the very beginning of the adoption process, still wading through the homestudy, it is time for us to begin preparing ourselves and our children for our new family members. Thankfully, several books have been written that seem to be helpful to friends who have adopted and we also have a few local resources that offer classes and support services to adoptive families. We know it's going to be difficult at first. We also know it may always be difficult, but we are going to do as much as we can to help all of our children adjust and bond with each other and with us.


National Resources:

Coming Soon :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Heartbreak

Until about a year ago,  I was clueless about the severity of the orphan crisis.

After a conversation with a friend, I turned on the computer and began reading adoption blogs, advocacy websites and Reece's Rainbow. I stayed up until around 2am, crying and praying for all the sweet faces I saw. My heart broke into a million pieces imagining what it must be like to be one of the children I read about that night. It hurt to not be able to just reach through my computer screen and hug, feed, clothe, and LOVE the children I read about.

When I realized the truth of what is happening, I began to  talk about it as often as I can. If you know me in real life, you've seen my tears as I go on and on about orphanages. You probably have wondered more than once if I am crazy, but that's okay. As long as you listen to me talk, you can think whatever you want about me.

We must talk about these children. We must ask people to help them. We must tell those (like me) who don't have a clue. We must get fired up and scream for these kids.

I love that you all contribute financially to adoption funds, and advocacy groups, but it's just not enough.

Please, friends, I am sitting here at my computer with tears in my eyes as I ask for your help. Tell people about the children, talk about them. Show their pictures. Be loud and passionate for them. They are real people. They desperately need families and they need all of us to help.

If you don't know any orphans, let me introduce you to a few that could really use your help today:

This is Tony. He is 12 years old and weighs 26 lbs. His low weight is due to lack of proper care.

This is Ansastasia, who will most likely be bedridden for the rest of her life (bedridden means she'll literally stay in her crib all day every day, with little or no stimulation)

Both Tony and Anastasia  need families who are experienced with major health issues, and their adoptive families are going to work hard caring for them. It won't be easy for them, but it will be worth it.

They NEED a mother and a father or they will not survive much longer. Please talk to people about these kids. Maybe you don't know someone who can handle their needs, but maybe if we talk about them enough, and their stories will eventually land in the lap of someone who can and will go get them and care for them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We love Reece's Rainbow!

The wonderful team at Reece's Rainbow has agreed to walk us through the adoption process and has set up a family sponsorship page for us. I have heard wonderful things about this team from friends who have worked with them, so I am thrilled that they will be on our side. You can see our family page here:


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where we are in the process

Several people have asked where we are in the process of adoption.  Right now we are in the middle of our homestudy. Hopefully that will be finished by the end of January and we can begin compiling our dossier to be sent off to our child's country. Ideally, we'll travel shortly after Kayla's high school graduation in May.

So far, we've tried three times to commit to children in Eastern Europe. All three times there has been a miscommunication between the people who advocate for the children and the people who facilitate the adoptions. All three children are not available for one reason or another. We've decided to avoid further heartbreak by planning on a blind referral. This means that when we arrive in our child's country, we'll get to look through pictures and medical history of several children and then decide who we'd like to meet, then we will meet the child and begin the adoption process.

As of right now, we are not working with an agency, since adoptions in our chosen country are not handled by agencies. All adoptions in this particular country are independent and  most families pay facilitators to walk them through the process.


Since we have two giveaways going right now, I decided to combine them into one post.

$25 credit to Three Little Monkeys Studio on Etsy. 

You can use this to buy anything in her store, including these adorable DIY party packs-


Deadline to enter this one is November 30. The winner's name will be drawn on December 1.

1 entry - $3
2 entries- $5


The other giveaway is  $25 credit to All About Learning Press, publishers of All About Spelling and All About Reading.

The giveaway will run from now until November 22. The winner's name will be drawn on November 23.

1 entry -    $2
3 entries -  $5
Additional entry for tweeting or sharing on facebook (post in the comments to let me know)

Non-tax deductible donations for our upfront costs can be sent to kathywiehl@gmail.com

Tax deductible donations can be made directly to Reece's Rainbow. If you donate through Reece's Rainbow, please comment or email me to let me know which drawing and how many entries you bought.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Shopping!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

3 Little Monkeys Studio

When we announced our plan to adopt, the Etsy community really stepped up. Several crafters have already mailed items to be used in our fundraising efforts. You can see the links to these wonderful ladies' stores on the right hand side bar under "sponsors." Please check out their stores and support them.

Our second giveaway is a $25 credit to Three Little Monkeys Studio on Etsy. 

This adorable shop offers a unique product that you may not have seen.. She sells customizable, printable birthday party packs. They are just the cutest thing ever, aren't they?

A $25 credit to this shop is enough to buy a DIY party package that includes:

 - a custom invitation
- custom fill-in-the-blank thank you card
- custom "Happy Birthday" banner
- custom straw flags
- tent cards (you can fill them out directly into the PDF)
- cupcake wrappers
- custom party circles (use your party circles for cupcake toppers, favors tags ... your options are limitless!)
- custom "Happy Birthday" door sign
- custom crayon favor box
- party hat
- custom beverage/water bottle labels

This giveaway will run for 3 weeks. I'll take donations for this entry until November 30. The winner's name will be drawn on December 1.

Donations will earn entries into the drawing as follows:

$3 for 1 ticket
$5 for 2 tickets

Share on facebook, twitter, or on a message board for an additional entry, but please leave a comment here to tell me.

Donations can be made in person or via paypal. My paypal address is kathywiehl@gmail.com or you can use the "donate" button on the right side bar. You can click on the banner below to see all of the items in Gretchen's shop.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Here we go!

I've always heard international adoption is a roller coaster and only a few weeks into the process I am realizing how true that is. But it is so worth it.

I can't look into the face of a parentless child, living in an institution and tell him he is not worth the effort to bring him home and love him. And yes, I do know it's way more complicated than just bringing him home to and loving him.

So, we have begun our homestudy. Today I will head out to gather some important documents that we'll need, get a new passport, and start fundraising. We will be bringing our child home in the spring/summer and we have at least $30,000 to raise. That is so scary to think about, but we're going on faith that the Lord will provide all that is needed to rescue our child.

We need prayer. First and foremost, pray for us and for our waiting child. Secondly, encourage us. When things get tough, tell us to keep moving forward, not to give up, and that our child is waiting and needs us.

Third, help us raise money. We have lots and lots of money to raise and I have hundreds of sewing patterns here. Really nice ones. Many are collectible, lots are vintage. If I sell a good portion of these, it would help so much.

So, if you have friends who sew or friends with friends who sew, will you please share my blog with them? I know sewing patterns are not the most popular thing to buy, but for now, it's what I have.

Edge Of Oz

And of course if anyone would like to make a donation, I will not object. The donate button is on the upper right side of the blog here. All donations will be put into a savings account to be used for our fees and travel expenses.
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