The Mom Quilt for Mercy House

Long time readers of my blog know that for a year, we dreamed of an African daughter. God had other plans, but Africa will always have a special place in our hearts. I have followed Kristen Welch’s blog for years, pre-ordered and then devoured her book, Rhinestone Jesus, and have closely followed the story of Mercy House‘s ministry in Kenya.

The staff and young women at Mercy House have had to spend an outrageous amount of time, money, and other resources to bring in water for drinking, cooking, washing, etc. I am so excited and honored to be a part of this project, The Mom Quilt, to raise money to build a well in the Mercy House property. It will be a blessing to the entire community.

My own story is included in the e-book, plus a story from one of my very best friends. It has been so fun to work on this project with her and all of the other amazing women! You can CLICK HERE to read more about the project, or click the image below to order your own copy. You’ll laugh, cry, and ultimately feel encouraged by the shared journeys in the book.

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Both Hands!

We were so blessed to be able to participate in a Both Hands fundraising project! We are within a few thousand dollars of being fully funded! One month ago, I sat with my sweet MOPS group, nearly in tears, telling them we were probably traveling in March,  but still had almost $20K to come up with. We all prayed together for miracle, and God has provided! So many of our family and friends have rallied around us, my husband got a raise and a bonus,  and we’re going to be able to use our tax return to help. We’re very close! We are so, so thankful.

Here are most of the members of our amazing Both Hands team. Love them!
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care package & update questions

We sent a care package to our girl!  You know, that crazy lady who started crying in the post office?  Yeah, that was me.  (And not just because I spent $90 on shipping and stamps!)

So, what was in our care package?  I searched a lot of sites and talked to a few friends, and here’s what I ended up with:

-toddler backpack, labeled with her picture and Chinese name
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-thumb drive, labeled with her picture and name
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-toddler chewable vitamins, labeled with her name and a “1 pill/day” label  (I had this translation checked with a native speaker, so if you want to copy and paste it, here it is: 1粒/天)
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-a couple of motor skill development toys (the little girl in the car is Fisher Price, I found it at Target)
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-some candy for the nannies (I didn’t verify this translation)
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-A photo book from Shutterfly that my mom’s sweet friend translated for us.  The translations are beautiful, and I’m frustrated with myself for not taking a picture!  Hopefully we will see it again and it will be well-read.  It was simple with few words and lots of pictures.  A page of pictures of my husband and me, a page for my oldest son, a page for my younger son, a page for my daughter, page for grandparents, page for cousins, page for house, page for pets, etc.

-A soft blanket and little lovey that I stuffed in my pillowcase for about a month to make it smell like me.  I know, that’s a little weird and probably won’t work, but I figured it was worth a try.  I have another of that same blanket and lovey to take with us when we go get her.  I read it’s great to send sleep-related things, if possible, to help ease the sleep transition.  (Again, I feel like we’re in, “I don’t know, but it’s worth a try,” territory here.  That’s all I have right now, so I’m going with it.)

-I also freaked out about how it’s cold in her province, but also not in a location where they would likely have heat in the orphanage.  My logical husband gently pointed out that people stayed warm for centuries without heat.  But, I sent two fleecy, warm outfits (in different sizes), mittens, a hat, and several pairs of thick socks to help her stay warm.  None of it is anything I’m madly in love with, so I won’t be heartbroken if we never see it again.

Time-wise, this may be the only time we get to send a care package (plus it’s really expensive), so I wanted to get the most bang for my buck.  I’ve heard it can’t be a very big box, or it won’t get through customs.  I tried hard to balance sending what I wanted to send and cramming it in the smallest box it would fit in (maybe just larger than a regular shoe box).  We are using Red Thread China for care package forwarding.  Ann is translating a letter for us and is going to try to get updated measurements and pictures.  Because I know I searched to find out what people ask, I will post our questions here.  I used a document on a message board that I’m on to help me come up with these.  Our agency told us that if we send too much, they probably won’t answer, so I tried to keep it brief.  I learned in college about how Asian languages tend to communicate in a much more polite and round-about way than we do in America, so I tried to sweeten it up a bit.  I have no idea if that is actually true, I just read it in a book at some point in college.  As my husband said last night, you catch more flies with honey.  (Worth a try?)

Here’s our letter:

Thank you for caring for [name]!  Please tell her that we love her and can’t wait to be her Mommy and Daddy!  We are so thankful for your time in reading this letter and opening the care package.
 
We would like to ask a few questions:
-Does she use a bottle?
-Does she drink formula?  (If so, what kind?)
-What are her favorite foods?
-What is her eating schedule?
-Does she sleep in a crib or a bed?
-What are her favorite toys?
-What songs does she like?
-Is she especially close to any caregiver?  Can we please get a picture of her with that person?
-Is she especially close with any other children?  Can we please get pictures of her with her close friends?
 

If anyone would like to communicate with us, we can be reached at [email address].  Thank you, again, for your dedicated care of [name] and the other children.

We did also send specific questions about her life prior to being in the orphanage and about her special needs.  I almost forgot to include those things in the letter, so I’m making a note here that I did include them, but did not want to share them on the blog.  You can email me if you want more information.

Have any of you sent a care package?  What did you send?  What did I forget to ask?

a non-update

Hello, everyone!  (Ha…I know there are only a few of you reading.  But thanks for checking on us!) I haven’t posted in a little while.  Sorry about that.  Things have been busy here – school/homework, church activities starting back up, visiting family, time with friends, etc.  I also started working part time (about 12 hours a week) to save up for our next adoption payment.  My job is really fun, but I miss my little ones a lot when I’m there. We did hear a mini-update from our agency that our wait may be a little shorter than previously anticipated.  We had originally been given a 12-18 month wait before referral.  (I cried to my steadfast husband that it felt just like Ethiopia, and he reminded me that 18 months and 5 years are really not that similar.)  Then we edited our special needs request a bit, and they said probably closer to the 12 months.  Just recently, our family coordinator said it’s probably looking like 6-12 months, and possibly even sooner!  I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic.  She also gave us some insight about which type of specific special need file she thinks we may receive.  I don’t want to give details about that yet, but it feels like a step forward and lets me focus some of my research and prep a little bit.

Since I don’t really have anything too exciting to post, I thought I’d share a few great blog posts I’ve read lately.  Check them out!

Hold On – from Mountains for Maggie & 4U Ruthie

Her First Day of Kindergarten – from My Overthinking

Fault Lines – at No Hands But Ours

One Lovely Blog Award

The end of last week and the weekend were crazy busy, so I hadn’t checked on anything in a few days.  Yesterday, I had a fun surprise in my inbox – Momto3Sugars from the blog What God Has Called Us To Do nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award!  Thank you!  She and I are at just about the same place in the adoption process, so it’s exciting to keep up with her stories about life and adoption.

As part of the award, I’m supposed to share 7 random tidbits about myself.  Here goes:

1. I met my husband when we were 14. (You can read more about that here!)
2. I kicked a field goal at halftime of a football game in college and won $500.
3. I really don’t like most cooked vegetables.
4. My favorite song right now is New Life Worship’s, “Great I Am.”
5. My favorite colors are turquoise and purple.
6. All of our kids have a Bible name (first and/or middle).
7. My favorite place on earth is Camp Riverbend, where I grew up going to church camp.  Our oldest will get to start going there in a couple of years, and I’m so excited!

I also get to nominate 7 other blogs for the award!  Here are some blogs I have really enjoyed reading on various topics (okay, mostly adoption):

The Anderson Way of Life
Kingdom Twindom +1
My Far Away Daughter
Another Adoption Blog
Pure & Lasting
An Obedient Journey
Chasing our Dream to Ethiopia and Back

You can choose to accept or not, but here are the guidelines for One Lovely Blog Award:
1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3. Share 7 random things about yourself.
4. Nominate 7 or more blogs with the award, a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

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