Monday, December 31, 2012

21 days!

We will meet our daughter in 21 days. As long as it has taken us to get to this point, I feel like we are on a high speed train to China right now. Prior to Christmas, it seemed so far away, but now it seems like the entire process just flew by.

Because she is not a baby and can probably speak  quite well, we are going to try to learn some Mandarin Chinese as well as encourage her to continue to speak Chinese.  The plan is for her to become bilingual and for the rest of the family to continue practicing Chinese for many years to come. One thing I plan on doing to encourage this is to play Mandarin videos for the children to watch often. Obviously with no native Chinese speaker in the house, this is going to be the best option for daily exposure to her native language and as the other children pick up some phrases and practice what they have learned.

Hopefully in China we will find dvds that can be played here in the US but for the time being, I am creating a playlist of Chinese Children's Shows on Youtube. We can just connect the laptop to the tv using the HDMI cord and watch  on a bigger screen. Just in case any of my friends in the adoption community would like to see the playlist, I am linking it here.

Many of the videos are Chow Hu, a really cute children's show. If you'd like to search for these on your own, the Chinese characters are below. Just copy and past it into the youtube search box and you'll find lots of videos.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lily, here we come!

We have TA! Also known as Travel Approval! This means that there is only one thing left to do and that is to go get Lily and bring her home.

Our consulate appointment is scheduled for January 29th, which means we will meet her on January 21. 24 days from now, my sweet girl will be in my arms.

It has been a long journey for us, filled with crazy delays and scary roadblocks. At times, I thought we'd never make it. It almost seems like a miracle that we were able to push through some of the insanity that happened during our process.

While we worked our tails off raising money, chasing papers, begging- yes begging God to move mountains, Lily grew.  Look at how much she has grown in the year we've loved her from afar.

Photo from her original file Sept 2011

Update from Agency January 2012

This was taken in June 2012 by another adoptive mom.

Taken in July by another adoptive mom friend.

Official update from China in October

It saddens me to think of all we missed during her first 4 years and I wonder who, if anyone, celebrated the first time she rolled over as a baby, or the first time she crawled, talked, walked. I wonder about her birth family and wish I knew their story.

I pray that we'll be the parents she needs us to be. We will try very hard to make up for what she has missed these past four years. Please pray for the Lord to give us what we need and for us to find the correct resources to help us along the way.  We know it may be challenging at times, but we also know it will be worth it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

American Girl Doll Winner!

Thank you  all for entering our last giveaway! We are so thankful for all of you and wish we could give everyone a doll! I put everyone's name on a spreadsheet and used to choose the number of the winner.

The winner is......

Karen Johnson!!

Thank you Karen! I will be mailing your Marie Grace doll today and you should have it on Saturday at the latest!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Road Trips, Visas, and Wishes for Snow

On the adoption front- we are now waiting on the very last step, Travel Approval (aka TA). After this arrives at our agency in WA, we will finally be able to begin making travel arrangements! I'm really hoping to be in China or on our way to China for my birthday on January 10th.

 Meanwhile, Christmas is keeping is nice and distracted. A few days ago I drove the kids from our home in Birmingham, AL to my mother's house in Monroe ville, PA. There are many reasons for this trip. The most important is that we get to spend some time with our oldest daughter Kayla before we bring Lily home and before she starts school in January. I am SO proud of her right now. She's working hard at her new job and is looking forward to starting school. Despite a challenging few years, she is all grown up and working towards independence. Of course she still needs her Mama. Mike will be joining us here tomorrow in Kayla's car, which will be left here for her to use to get to school and work.

The kids and I stayed in a hotel on the way to PA, which of course was an adventure. We stayed in Louisville, KY and had the best Chinese food ever. Normally I would not order in, but because of the time of day and location we really had no choice. I'm thankful for that because those dumplings were amazing. I swear I want to drive back through Louisville on my way home just for those. Thankfully, I think we'll find even better Chinese dumplings in China.  Check out my fortune cookie. I admit I'm a little challenged when it comes to housekeeping, so this was kind of funny.

We got to PA, settled in, went to bed and spent the next day enjoying each other.

We visited Kayla's workplace, which is a really cool store that sells things for $5 or less.

After that, we took her to her favorite yarn store here in Pittsburgh, Natural Stitches.

Then we went back to my mom's house to open presents. The kids were thrilled!

This was Kayla's gift to me. She's knows me quite well!

And after presents, we hopped in the car and went to Overly's Country Christmas.

Last night, Kayla and I went out on a little date to the mall, and today we just hung around the house, but then our Chinese visas came!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American Girl Doll Giveaway

One last giveaway before we travel! 

We are still at least $2500 short right now and we expect to leave within the next 4-5 weeks. We have not gotten our final travel bill yet, so that is just an estimate. 

If you are the winner, rest assured this WILL be shipped on December 19th via Priority Mail, so you will have this no later than 12/22 if you are within the continental US. 

Now, here are the details of the giveaway-

One winner will receive your choice of either the Mary Grace or Cecile American Girl Doll, along with the book and accessory package. The total retail value of this package is $124.  These dolls are brand new, never opened and ready to be shipped to the winner.  

From the American Girl Website-

Marie Grace and Cecile, 1853

Follow the unforgettable journey of Marie-Grace Gardner and Cécile Rey as they form an unlikely bond in their hometown of New Orleans. When sickness spreads through the city, these newfound friends learn to count on each other as they use courage and compassion to help those in need.


Marie Grace

To enter-

$10 for 1 entry

$15 for 3 entries
$20 for 5 entries

Donations should be sent to kathywiehl@

Share on Facebook for an additional entry, but please comment here so I know that you shared. 

When you make your donation, please tell me your choice of doll as well as your shipping address. I want to mail this to the winner right away after the name is drawn. I will be happy to ship this internationally, but if you are outside the US, you will not have this in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Sale

I have had a lot of books donated to me to sell for our adoption. I'm posting the link here in case anyone is interested. We are asking 80% off the original prices. You may pay us directly or deposit the funds into our FSP.

The Math Tutor's Handbook by Frank Schaffer Publications, original price 9.95, asking 1.99
Wipe Away Subtraction by Bob Schaffer Pub. original 3.95, asking   .79
Basic First Math by Bob Schaffer Pub, original price 4.95, asking .99
Wipe Away Addition by Bob Schaffer pub. orig. 3.95, asking .79
Homework Helper Addition grade 1 by Bob Schaffer orginal price 2.49, asking .50

Beyond The Science Fair by Teacher Created Materials (TCM), original 11.95, asking 2.39
Bridge To Home science grade k-1, bob schaffer , original price 6.95, asking 1.39

Social Studies-
Bridge to Home Social Studies K-1 by Bob Schaffer pub- original price 6.95  asking 1.39

Multi Subject-
Theme for a Day, grades 1-2 by TCM- original 14.95, asking 2.99
Thanksgiving Thematic Unit by Teacher Created Materials, original price 9.95 asking 1.99
Opening The Classroom Window, a calendar of multicultural activities PreK-K, original price 21.99, asking 4.40

The Tutors Handbook for Reading, grade 2 by Bob Schaffer pub, original price 9.95 asking 1.99

BAsic First Grammar by Bob Schaffer Publications, original 4.95, asking  .99
Basic First Grammar by Bob Schaffer, original  4.95, asking .99
Grammar Made Simple, grade 1, bob schaffer pub, original price 10.95 asking  2.19

A Guide for Using The Cricket in Times Square, TCM, original price 7.95, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using Miss Nelson Is Missing, TCM, original price 7.95, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using The Secret Garden, TCM, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using The Egypt Game , TCM, asking 1.59
Bridge To Home  Story Time, k-1, Bob Schaffer, original price 6.95, asking 1.39
A Guide for Using My Side of the mountain, TCM, original price 7.95, asking 1.39

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thank you

I have tried to think of a way to express our gratitude for all the help we have received through this process and I just can't come up with the words. A blog post is nowhere near enough, but it is all I can do for today.

Recently someone anonymously gave us some things to sell to help with our adoption funding. If that person is reading this- I want you to know that we are honored and will do our very best to use this gift wisely. If I knew who you are, I'd be harassing you to try to find a way to repay you. Since I can't do that, we'll just do our best to pay it forward and live by your example. Thank you so much. I really just don't know how to handle this kind of generosity without getting all weird. You probably know that and wanted to avoid my weirdness and that is why you chose to give the way you did, lol.

Of course, we have not forgotten the other very generous donations we have received during this process. You all have had to put up with my weirdness. Thank God you still love me.

So many people have stepped up to help in large and small ways. I cannot come up with the words to thank you all. It is just overwhelming. I wish I could do something big for each person who has helped us and it is so humbling to know that we really cannot repay any of you adequately. 

It is honestly too much. This is something I have struggled with during this entire process. I want to repay favors and gifts and I want to repay more than what we have been given and this time I just cannot do that.

I just hope that each person who has given to us or bought from us knows that we love you so much and will be thankful forever.

I hope that we are able to honor each of your gifts for the rest of our lives. We plan to always give to others in need of a family, shelter, food, clean water and education.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

6 weeks til Lily Day?

I am so happy to say that things seem to be moving along at a more normal pace! Of course, if you have been following our journey you know that nothing has really gone according to averages for us, so I hesitate to put too much weight on average timelines for China adoptions.

Other people who were on the same timeline as us a few months ago are now in China or have returned from China with their children, but I do trust God and know that every little delay or trial has been for a purpose.

I am expecting that we'll receive travel approval in about 4 weeks, then our agency will allow us to travel 2 weeks later. Of course, in 4 weeks when our TA comes, we'll be between Christmas and New Years holidays. I am not sure how that will affect our ability to coordinate travel with the US consulate in China, the travel agency, our agency, etc. It could be more like 3 weeks from TA to travel, but the important thing is that we are moving forward!

And just because she is so adorable, here is another photo from our update last month.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy News!!!

Our I800 was finally approved!!!!

If you are not or have not adopted, you have no idea what I am talking about and that is okay. What it really means is that we are down to our last few steps.

The details are really boring but it involves delivering approval letters to/from the US Embassy and the Chinese adoption officials in China.

The average time to obtain travel approval from this point is around 6 weeks. Our agency says we can travel around 2 weeks later.

Of course, anything can happen. Some people wait much longer for travel approval, while others receive it much quicker than average.

While we wait for TA (travel approval), we'll get through Thanksgiving and Christmas, drive to PA and back to visit my mom, Kayla and my niece and to deliver Kayla's car to her. We'll need to do all of the standard prepping for bringing home a newly adopted 4 year old.

My head is spinning a little. We have so much to do!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Calling All Prayer Warriors

We need you all to pray.

The easy way to explain the current situation is that there is a computer glitch that is holding up our paperwork and we are now delayed by more than a month. Again.

Remember back in June when our agency told me at the last minute that they were not allowed to send our paperwork to China because they were suspended and we had to scramble to find a quick $5,000 and rush to change agencies?

Let's just say this "roadblock" thing is getting old.

I know God has a plan. I do know this. I just don't know what it is and that is the part I am struggling with.

I suspect that part of His plan through this is to teach me to quit trying to control things and to relax and let Him handle it.  I am learning. I promise.

Maybe something is going on with Lily that makes it better for her family to come in January instead of November, or maybe something will happen here that will require us to be here. Maybe the money just won't come fast enough for us to go.

I don't know the reason, but I do trust that there IS a reason. There always is a reason and every time we experience a roadblock or a delay, we realize later that the timing was perfectly planned by God. I can't tell you how many times I have thanked God for His perfect timing even through the delays.

Maybe we'll never look back at this particular challenge and clearly see why it had to be this way, but I do trust that there is a reason for this for someone, somewhere.

In any case, please pray. If not for paperwork, for my patience.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Last Bit of Fundraising

I just checked our numbers and it looks like we only need about $7500 more to have this adoption fully funded.

I think I can do this but I need your help.

We need to sell LOTS of things to get there.

Thankfully, I have lots to offer! Really, anytime you buy anything other than groceries you can make a choice to make those purchases in a way to help us.

Here is a quick rundown on ways to help that do not involve just giving your money away.

1. Buy everything on Amazon! I do mean everything! Cereal, peanut butter,underwear, batteries, area rugs, toys, cleaning supplies.... you name it. They have it. Every purchase grows our adoption fund and you will save yourself a trip to the store. Use this banner to shop-

2. Buy Jewelry from us!

3. Let us bake your Thanksgiving pies!

4. Order Santa Letters!

Of course if you hate Amazon, think my jewelry is ugly, and do not like pie or fruit butter, and have plans the day of our photo shoots, then I guess you could make a small donation. If you'd like to throw a dollar in the pot to bring Lily home, here is the link to make a tax deductible donation.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We got an update from our agency a few days ago. I requested this update back in August, so we were more than ready to see these new photos of our beautiful girl. She seems to be doing well, so I am thankful for that. As far as our progress goes, we are still stalled on some paperwork but that should be approved within a few days so we can move onto the next step. \

In the meantime, we'll be sending her a care package that includes a photo album filled with photos of us and her new home, a letter to her and also a few small gifts.

Emotionally, I'm getting a little tired of worrying about money. So much of our time is spent trying to come up with new ideas for fundraising. I am willing to do almost anything that pays, so if anyone has ideas for ways to earn money I am all ears.

My friend Angela and I are working on a Thanksgiving fundraiser together. She is also adopting a little girl from China and we are on the same timeline and both still need to raise a few thousand dollars. We are selling apple butter, pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie and sweet potato pie. Please check it out here and let us know if you'd like to buy something.

Also, I'm asking people to please shop through Amazon so that we can earn a percentage of the sale. The link is below and also on the sidebar of the blog.

I'm still making jewelry and hoping to do well at an upcoming show.

Please pray for us to somehow find a way to earn the money we need to get to China.We are not asking for donations. We are very much willing to work hard to earn this money but time is running out and I am just at a loss right now and getting worried.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Letters From Santa Fundraiser

Since Christmas is just around the corner, we'll be doing several holiday themed fundraisers. I have seen other fundraising families use this idea, so I thought we'd try it as well.

Letters from Santa!

For $5/letter, your child will receive their own personal, handwritten letter from Santa. Your letter will arrive at your home on Christmas-themed paper and contain an individualized message to your child. To order, donate $5/letter to the paypal button on my blog. Once you have donated, send me an email (kathywiehl dot gmail dot com)with your children's names, ages, and address, as well as specific information about what each one wants for Christmas, likes and dislikes, or any other relevant information. Santa will hand write a beautiful letter to be delivered in early December. We'll take orders until December 10. All letters will be mailed after Thanksgiving, but before December 15.

 It is a great way to stretch out a few weeks of extra good behavior, but also lots of fun! No two letters will be the same. Letters can be mailed to any address, anywhere in the world and do not have to be local.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Designed For Hope

If you are new to this blog, you may not know that my mom and I work very hard to make jewelry to sell to fund my adoption. When you buy jewelry from us at our website, all of your purchase goes to fund our adoption . If you click through one of our fundraising families' blogs, they will get a commission as well.

As we near the end of the process, we are getting a little desperate for funding. Please consider making a purchase to help us. Your item will come in a gift box, ready to be used a a Christmas gift or as a treat for yourself.

You can see the link above or click on

We are participating in the Christmas Frenzy on another adoptive mama's blog. Please take a look at what other families are selling this Christmas. Wouldn't it be awesome to buy ALL  of your Christmas gifts from fundraising families?

The collage below shows a sampling of our work.


If you are a mom, you know that your time is valuable and limited, especially the daytime hours when the kids are awake and needing attention, instruction and quality time. I don't know about you, but running errands and shopping is not my idea of quality time. I prefer to buy as much as I can online and with Amazon Prime, it just makes sense to buy everything online. I buy grocery items, pencils, paper, books, socks, pants, craft supplies and other household items on after the kids go to bed or early in the morning to save time and allow myself to focus on more important things.

If you agree with me and shop regularly on Amazon, please consider using our link to make your purchases. I'll earn a small commission and we will use that commission to grow our adoption fund.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Putting on my big girl panties

I've been a grump a few weeks now. This is why-

My oldest daughter has moved out. I miss her.
We have this awful paperwork delay which means we may not actually get to travel in December as we'd been hoping all along. 

If we do travel in December, we need to come up with at least $3,000 more than we had expected due to the high travel costs that month. 

We don't even have what we need for normal travel costs.

I asked for an update on Lily back in August and we still do not have it.

People have basically stopped buying jewelry.

Well, guess what? As of today, the pity party is OVER. It's time to put on my big girl panties and make this happen, let God handle these problems. 

No, we do not have the money we need to travel in December even if God does give us the opportunity, but I also believe that through hard work and prayer, that can be remedied.

Even though this is not working out according to my timeline, God is in control. How can I be sad when I know His timing is perfect and right? I have been foolish in thinking I can control this.

Kayla is an adult and on her own. She will make it and I am proud of her. 

As for the jewelry sales- I'll just keep making it. If people don't buy, then at least I have a nice collection for myself. 

The update on Lily? It will come and when it does it will be at the perfect time. I am remembering Mother's Day of this year when I woke up to a photo and video with Lily in the background. Someone had seen her photo on our blog, then noticed that she was also in some photos that another family had taken while at the orphanage. 



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Please pray

We are working through a paperwork delay that could potentially set us back yet another 2-3 weeks. If this had not happened, we were looking at a likely travel date sometime in December. Now, since China is closed for the 2nd half of January, we may be traveling as late as February. This is upsetting to me. We need to get this child home. She needs to come home. Please pray with me that our paperwork issue will be resolved ASAP. 

My heart is just about broken right now. We have been waiting so long and we thought we were in the home stretch but it seems we are not.

LIfe Changes

Yesterday, I put my oldest daughter on a plane to Pittsburgh, PA where she will live with my mother, get a job and begin her higher education. She's always wanted to go back to Pittsburgh. She spent the first 5 years of her life there, then spent summers and every other holiday there until she was about 13 years old. I am so proud of her for making such a big move and thankful that my mom is there to give her a place to live and some help getting on her feet, but I miss her so much! Please say a prayer for her, that she'll be able to push herself to get out and meet some new friends, enroll in classes and get a job.

Meanwhile, we are stalled again while waiting for our social worker to do an update for our homestudy showing that Kayla no longer lives here. This must be done before we can move onto the next step, so please pray with me that this update will happen quickly and that it satisfies everyone who needs to be satisfied.

And, of course, we are still waiting for an update about Lily. I asked for this update in August and have not been able to find out anything more about her. Her file is over a year old, and I sent a list of questions regarding her likes/dislikes, size, medical history, etc. 

Now that we have LOA, we can send her a care package but I'd really like to have that update before we send anything to her. I want to make sure what we send will be appropriate.

As much as I dislike waiting and as much as I'm a control freak who wants everything to happen yesterday, I am learning to let go and let God handle it all. I have no choice but to hand it all over to Him.

It's funny because I have learned over and over again that His timing is always the best. Always. No matter what. Yet, every time something doesn't happen fast enough, I get all frustrated and bent out of shape. When will I learn?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lots of Big News!

My first bit of big news is that yesterday we received our Letter Seeking Confirmation, aka LSC or LOA! This is China's official approval to adopt Lily! She is ours! We can now move on to the final steps of completing the adoption process.

For those of you who have not adopted from China, this is a big deal!

We can probably still travel this year, but it will be most likely the end of December and that is only if the remaining steps happen quickly enough.

My second bit of news is that we have moved the jewelry sale to a real website and also changed the name to something a bit more professional. My goal is to continue selling to raise the rest of the funds we need for this adoption but also to help other families adopt by offering a percentage of our sales through a fundraising program.

The new online store is called Designed For Hope and you can visit by clicking the name.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Update on the Update

We heard from our agency yesterday and found out that China has requested one document to be resent. This is good! It means they are looking at our dossier! The document they requested was just proof of payment of the dossier processing fee that was wired to China before our dossier was sent and our agency has already sent that along. Hopefully this means our LOA will arrive soon. I doubt it will be this week but maybe next week? I guess I need to update the timeline again :)

Our agency also tells us that the orphanage to our request for an update on Lily. To make a long story short- our questions need to be routed through another agency so it will be a few weeks before we hear anything. 

While this is not the news we were hoping for this week, we are encouraged to know that someone is looking at our case and that now our update will be processed through the proper channels so we can expect to hear something soon.

We are also encouraged every time we take the time to remind ourselves that God is at work here. He has a plan. He might not have the same plan that I have, but He has a plan and He has gotten us this far. He will not let us down. Yes, we get frustrated and forget this at times but when we remember that God knows what he is doing, it helps us relax a bit and enjoy this crazy ride. 

Speaking of enjoying the ride, it is to be enjoyed. Yes, it is hard but it's not THAT hard. It is no harder than living in an orphanage, I'm sure. Yes, there is paperwork but so what? We are adults. We can handle some late night paperwork sessions.

Money? God will provide. For us that means we have had some very generous donations, plus a new-found love for jewelry making and customers to buy that jewelry. For some, that means the 401K money is really not going to be used for retirement and for others that means a whole lotta yard sales, ebay sales, giveaways and relying on help from strangers and friends.

What we have gained through this process is so much more than the hard work and the frustration that we have endured. We have learned to trust God. There is NOTHING like looking to HIM and just giving it all to HIM and then watching HIS plan unfold before your eyes. It feels like a miracle, but to God it is not a miracle. It is just His way of doing things. 

I want to go on and on about the other gifts we have been given through this process, but my time on the computer is over. I have three kids waiting on me to start our day so I will end here and write more later :) 

Friday, September 7, 2012


I feel stuck.

We are now on day 51 of our LOA wait, 5 weeks since we have been moved out of translation. 5 weeks ago, the agency said we'd wait 3-5 weeks for LOA. Maybe today is the day and I'll be able to write a new blog post later, rejoicing in our good news.

 It's been a month since we requested an update about Lily. I sent a list of questions to our agency and our agency sent them to the orphanage. We want to know how big she is now, what they call her in the orphanage,  how she falls asleep, what the nannies do to comfort her when she is sad, what are her favorite foods and toys.

We are getting a little tired. We miss her.

I had a dream about her the other night.

We were in the hotel in China. We had just gotten back from being out for a long day. I was helping her take her shoes and socks off. I untied her shoes, peeled off her little socks and tickled her toes. She giggled and then broke out into a belly laugh. And then I woke up.

Ever since that dream, I have felt like I should be looking for her. As if she is in another room playing with toys and I need to go check on her like I do with my other kids. It's weird.

But today I feel stuck. Stuck waiting for LOA, stuck waiting for updated information. Please continue to pray for us.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

More on Special Needs Adoption

Speaking of special needs, HIV is one special need that really is not a big deal, yet for some reason people are so afraid to raise a child who is HIV positive.  Children who are HIV positive need daily medication but that medication is so advanced that the virus does not really affect them in any negative way. They can live normal lives and will live as long as the rest of us. With medication the virus is undetectable in the blood stream. They can grow up to get married, have babies, and do all of the things the rest of us can do.

Because of the low maintenance of this special need, our goal when we began the adoption process was to adopt a child who is HIV positive.  HIV positive people need to take medication twice a day and visit the doctor every few months to make sure things are checking out okay.

God had other plans for us, but since we've had so many questions lately about special needs adoption, I thought I'd share that here. Also, this is a perfect time for me to share this news story about my dear friend Kate, who is in Eastern Europe right now adopting her daughter.

Please click on the link below to see a great video about Kate and her family.

ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Monday, September 3, 2012

Special Needs Adoption

We are often asked about the process for adopting a child from China. Typically, families wanting children with no known special needs wait several years for a referral, while families open to special needs can complete the process in about a year.

There are two ways to do a special needs adoption in China. If you are interested in a very young child with a very minor need, then in most cases you'll complete your homestudy, compile your dossier, and send it to China (aka DTC) to be logged in (aka LID) to the system. After you are logged in, your agency will put you on the waiting list for the special needs that you are willing to accept. If you are open to a wide range of needs, then you will probably obtain your referral quickly. If you have a narrow list of needs you will accept, then it may be a few months. It really all depends on what needs you are comfortable accepting. This process can take as little as 12 months but sometimes takes longer.

The other way to do it is to adopt a "Special Focus" child. You can be matched with a child on the special focus list at any time, even before your homestudy is complete, provided you are willing to share some basic family information with China and submit a letter of intent (LOI) In response to your letter of intent the authorities in China will grant you pending approval (aka PA) with a deadline to have your dossier in China in six months. This process usually takes about 12 months but in some cases when a child is in need of medical assistance, an agency may be able to expedite the process.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video about special needs adoption.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

And The Winners Are......

The Kindle Fire goes to Amy Carrier!

Michelle Enskat and Julie Choat each won a $100 gift certificates to our jewelry.

The $50 jewelry gift certificate goes to Mendi Jones!

 Thank you all SO MUCH for your donations, shares, prayers and words of encouragement! Your help means more to our family than I can ever express to you on this blog. 

Please continue to pray for us! This giveaway covered our current agency bill, but we still need about $10,000 before we travel. If you are considering giving jewelry as a Christmas gift this year, please check out our jewelry page.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Homeschool books for sale

I'm not selling these books for the purpose of adding to our adoption fund. The money from the sale of these books will be used to pay for Chinese curriculum so that our current children will be able to begin learning Mandarin Chinese as well as some Chinese DVDs for Lily. At 4.5, we feel like we might have a chance at keeping her fluent if we work hard to expose her to lots of Mandarin in songs, tv shows, movies, etc.

If you'd like to buy any of these, just post a comment here. Comments are moderated, so you won't see it show up, but I will see the comments. Leave your email address and tell me which books you want. I'll send you a paypal money request and get them in the mail as soon as I receive payment.

Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages
$12 including shipping to the US

Story of the World Volume 3: Early Modern Times
$16.00 including shipping

Story of the World 3- Activity Book
$27 including shipping

Writing with Ease 1
First 22 student pages are missing, but you don't need them at all. They are just sheets of lined paper.
$17 including shipping.

Writing With Ease 2
First 15 student pages are missing, but you really do not need them. They are just lined paper for the student to write on.
$17 including shipping

Writing With Ease 4
About 10 student pages are missing, but like the other grade levels, these are just lined paper anyway.
$17 including shipping.

First Language Lessons Level 4 Workbook
You will need to buy the teacher's manual to use this with your child
Brand new, never used.
$15 including shipping

NOEO Science
Chemistry 1: Bubbly, Sticky, Bouncy and Icky
Instructors Guide
Brand new, never used
$15 including shipping

Thursday, August 30, 2012

You did it! Thank you!

Today, we met our matching grant goal! Thanks to everyone who has donated! I will close the giveaway on Friday night at midnight, as planned but the delivery of the Kindle Fire will be delayed just a bit.

Amazon is all sold out of the Kindle Fire right now, so my plan to have it sent directly to the winner just will not work. Of course, right? I have ordered a brand new in the box Kindle Fire from a third party seller and I'm praying that it arrives very soon. Once it arrives, I'll send it to our winner.

In the meantime, my mom and I are working hard making more jewelry so that our jewelry winners will have lots to choose from.

Even though we've met our goal for the matching grant, please feel free to enter the giveaway. We still need to raise about $10,000 more in about 8 weeks. Every dollar helps, so if you only want to give $1, your donation is still very welcome!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Triple entries!

UPDATE---- I was planning on ordering the Kindle Fire on Amazon to be shipped directly to the winner. This has been the easiest way to do giveaways for most other adoptive families. I found out today that Amazon is out of stock. I have ordered a brand new in the box, never opened Kindle Fire from a third party seller, but I will not be able to have it sent overnight. Instead, I am having it sent here so that I can be sure it is brand new and never opened, then I'll mail to the winner.

SO I need some input- do I keep the giveaway open until I have this in my hands and know I can ship? Or do I end the giveaway as scheduled, choose the winner on Saturday, then wait for the Kindle Fire to arrive here?

We still have over $200 to raise to meet the matching grant and only a few days left of the giveaway so I have decided to triple the entries! This will apply to all of the donations received so far as well as any from now til Friday night.   I'll choose the winner via on Saturday morning (September 1) and email the winner right away.

1 winner will receive the Kindle Fire, shipped directly to his/her home from Amazon!

I'll be restocking the jewelry soon with some really great things!

Read more about the Kindle Fire here-

 To enter, please make a small donation to our adoption fund-
1 entry - $5
1  3 entries - $10
3 9 entries - $20
10 30 entries - $50

1 entry for each "share" on Facebook, Twitter, Blog or message board- just comment to let me know you shared. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

We have been "out of translation" and "in process" for 18 days now.

Our agency tells me it is typically 3-5 weeks from "in process" to LOA, but I know several families who have gotten LOA in 2 weeks. 

 Basically this means we are waiting on LOA any day now.

If we get LOA this week, there is a really great chance that we could travel over the Thanksgiving holiday and that would be wonderful for so many reasons!

I'm trying not to get my hopes up, because we are still early in the process and there are still many things that could delay us, even if we do get LOA today.

Meanwhile, I sent a list of questions to our agency so that we can get an update and more information about Lily.

We want to know her favorite toys, foods, nick name, height/weight/shoe size, medications, recent illness, what methods work well for comforting her, etc. This will help us a little during the first few days with her in China.

It will be so great to see new pictures of her and learn more about her. I've already picked out her outfits for our time in China. A sweet friend saved ALL of her size 4/4T clothing for us. We have enough clothing for all seasons to last until she grows into the next size. 

Two of my friends wanted to help us raise the money we need to complete the adoption. One friend covered the cost of  Kindle Fire for us to use in a giveaway and another friend offered us a $1,000 matching grant. Please consider donating $10 to help us bring Lily home. We're also giving away gift certificates as second chance prizes. As of right now, we have only $160, not even enough to cover the cost of the Kindle Fire ($199), so we are hoping for more entries. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kindle Fire Giveaway and a Matching GRANT!!!

UPDATE-  We have a $1000 matching grant!!

WOW!!! After I posted what you see below, I was contacted by another donor and we were offered a matching grant! I am floored. Shocked. Amazed at what has been given to us in one day. I'm making bracelets and crying this afternoon. We are so thankful and so touched.

If you ever thought about making a donation to help us bring Lily home, now is the time. You can win a great prize and double your donation.

A sweet friend has generously offered to help us cover our agency bills by donating a Kindle Fire for us to give away! This friend is such a blessing to me. Her generosity is overwhelming, especially when she could probably really use the money herself.

As of right now, we still have not gotten a refund from our old agency. They owe us $3000.

Our next bill for our new agency is $3800.  We have sold and saved about $1800 so far, so we need about $2000 to pay this next bill. Or we need our old agency to give our money back but that will not happen anytime son. 

The giveaway will begin right now and end on August 31. I'll use to draw winners on Sept 1. Here are the prize details-

1 winner will receive the Kindle Fire, shipped directly to his/her home from Amazon!

I'll be restocking the jewelry soon with some really great things!

Read more about the Kindle Fire here-

 To enter, please make a small donation to our adoption fund-

1 entry - $10
3 entries - $20
10 entries - $50

1 entry for each "share" on Facebook, Twitter, Blog or message board- just comment to let me know you shared. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cards for a Cause!

Your kids get invited to birthday parties, right? And you find yourself buying cards several times a year for these birthdays? Would you please consider buying a years supply of cards for only $1 each to help us with our adoption? The cards are beautiful and worth way more than $1 each. I've seen cards like this for over $4 in Target. They come in a box of 30 for $32.70 (including tax and shipping to me). We will get $13 from each box for our adoption fund and you'll get to save yourself the hassle of buying cards for the next year.

You can choose from two different boxes. Box 1 is contains a variety of cards, Box 2 comes with kids cards. 

Watch this video to see how beautiful the cards are and then email me at to order.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

This past week has been pretty amazing. 

First, we found out that our LOA should be coming within a few weeks instead of a few months.

Then, people began wanting to help us. It's almost as if God decided that he would cause our adoption to move faster so that I'd have no choice but to accept outside help. 

People I never knew cared, are now showing me that they care. And they want to help.

We sold lots of jewelry, became the Hope Suds family for August, a friend in another state is making cupcakes to help us, someone else I had never met (but now we are friends) is helping us with a Cards for a Cause fundraiser, another friend offered to help with a yard sale, someone donated $25 to our Reece's Rainbow account, and others have offered to help with various other fundraisers. I'll share about the other things soon.


You all have no idea how much I appreciate each and every person who has helped us. I hope I've done a good job of expressing this to each of you as you have helped. If not, please accept my apologies. 

We do NOT deserve this! Not at all, but Lily does and on her behalf I thank you. Every donation, purchase, prayer....all of that will help give her a family and parents who love her so much. Thank you for helping us bring her home. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Help us and win a FREE necklace!

We need your help desperately! No, I am not asking for donations. I want to give you a free necklace! Please keep reading!

LOA could come as early as 3 weeks. This is WONDERFUL and it means we'll get to bring Lily home about a month sooner than we had originally planned.

However, with this news we are also faced with having to come up with our fees about a month earlier than originally planned.

I'm learning that fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint! I can make this work if I sell jewelry every day, or list things on ebay every day, but at the moment we are still in the hole after switching agencies in June. You can read about that if you go to previous posts.

Right now we are trying to build traffic to the jewelry sale, so I am giving away this necklace for free! To enter, all you need to do is share our jewelry page (via facebook, twitter, or pinterest). This will help us sell more and help us pay our next set of agency fees. We need to raise about $3800 and so far this weekend I've sold about $250 in jewelry. I don't have enough jewelry to cover all of our fees, but if I can sell all of it, this will be a great start.

So, to win this necklace, just click on the link, then share our jewelry page (facebook, twitter, pinterest, or anywhere else). Let me know that you've shared. Maybe this will help us bring in enough sales to put a dent in that next agency bill. Thank you so much!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Jewelry Sale

I've added lots of jewelry to our Jewelry page on facebook! Please take a look and consider doing some early Christmas shopping. Thanks!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Breathe, Kathy, Breathe!!!!!

I am in a little bit of shock right now.  If you've been following our adoption process you know that we've had more than our share of hiccups in the process.

So, I was expecting our LOA wait (the longest wait in the process) to take longer than the 70 day average. Even if it happened on an average time frame, it would be sometime in October. Some families wait much much longer than this. 

Well. I guess God has other plans for us, because I heard from our agency today that we can expect our LOA in 3-5 weeks. That is about a month earlier than expected. Some people have even told me that theirs came in 2 weeks! We could have our LOA by the end of this month. That is insanely fast!

With this news comes our next agency bill and we need your help! There are ways to help us without making a donation! Please take a look at the How You Can Help page linked at the top of this blog. Thank you!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

LID and new photos!

I recieved an email from our agency today saying that our dossier has been logged in! The log in date (LID) marks the beginning of the longest part of the adoption process. Now we will wait about 2-4 months for our LOA. Wow. It is so hard to believe we are finally here.

Along with the great news about our LID, I want to share some news about Lily! My friend Shelley is in China right now adopting a little girl who, until 4 days ago, lived in the same orphanage as Lily. I am beyond grateful that she was able to take a few photos of our girl.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Timeline

People always say that adoption is hard for people who like to be in control. Um.....doesn't everyone like to be in control of their own lives? So, it is no surprise that I sometimes sit down and write out our projected timeline.

Here is what has happened so far-

10/25/11- Home study initiated (order paperwork, sign contract for home stud agency, etc).
1/8/12- Decide to adopt from China instead of Ukraine.
4/23/12- Home study arrives at our home! Mailed USCIS application!!!
6/1/12- USCIS approval arrives in the mail!
6/18/12- Old agency says we are DTC!!!
6/19/12- Old agency says we are NOT DTC and will not be until September!
6/26/12- Decided to switch to a new agency.
7/9/12- DTC! (Dossier To China)

Here is what still needs to happen, along with estimated dates based on current averages in China Adoption Land.

7/30/12- LID (dossier log in date)
10/10/12- LSC/LOA (Letter Seeking Confirmation, Letter of Acceptance)
10/24/12- I-800 approval
11/7/12- NVC
11/21/12- Article 5
12/12/12- Travel Approval!
 Early January or Early February- Go to China!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I found out yesterday that we cannot send a birthday cake to Lily on her birthday next month. That was upsetting to me. I know she has probably seen other kids have birthday celebrations and I wonder if she ever wonders why no one celebrates her birthday.

Our 4 year old son seems to think he is entitled to a party every time someone else has a birthday. With every party invitation sent to his siblings, he cries "Why don't I get to have a birthday? I want a birthday!" He just doesn't understand why he has to wait an entire year for his next. We have explained it several times, but either he doesn't care for the logic or he just doesn't get it.

So I wonder if Lily has seen other kids parties and gifts and if she has wondered why no cake has ever been served in her honor?

I know that in the big picture this is really not that big of a deal, but it still stings a little. I want to give her everything our other kids have had.

Today we were swimming at the local Y. I wondered if she has had the chance to swim and remembered last summer when my friend brought home her two children from an orphanage in Ukraine. I don't think either of them had ever been in a bath tub and they certainly had never been in a swimming pool. I'm guessing in an orphanage, it is doubtful Lily has ever been in water.

It's just these little things that hurt today. She needs to come home. She needs to have birthdays and go swimming and pick out pretty dresses to wear and have dolls and toys to call her own.

As much as this makes me sad, it also helps motivate me to push through and get to her. It also motivates me to be a better mom to my kids that are here.  Though I cannot provide the life we want for Lily just yet, we can allow our kids to experience the wonderful life God has given us.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We are selling things to raise the last of the agency fees we had to pay with the switch to Wacap. Our online auction is here and our jewelry sale is here, and of course the vacation auction is here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Happy Day!!!

Normally I don't enjoy Mondays but today has been a very special Monday!

If you've been reading our blog or know me in person, you know we had a major setback in our adoption.

Well, today we are finally back on track!

Two amazing things happened today!

The first awesome thing was that the very last document our new agency needed to add to our dossier arrived today!!!

The second is that our wonderful new agency, WACAP, was able to send our dossier to CHINA!!!!!

Yes, we are finally  DTC as they say in China adoption land!

Now, we need to wait for a log in date (LID) - 2 weeks
Then, we wait for LOA (60-80 days or more from LID)
After that there are a few more things that take a total of about 2 months.

Thank you for all the prayers, donations, purchases so far! Please take a look at the following fundraisers. We are not asking for donations, but we have some great deals for you that will help us bring Lily home!

Swedish Vacation Auction

Beautiful Handmade Jewelry

Online Silent Auction

Blog Template by Delicious Design Studio