Friday, November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes - "Abraham's" Birthday Week

Abraham turned 4 this week! On his next birthday, God willing, he will be surrounded by his loving family. His big brothers and sister have already picked out a bright sparkly green "5" candle to put on his cake next year.

We went to Mass and lit 4 candles for our Birthday Boy half a world away.  His birthday "coincidentally" is the same day as my First Holy Communion anniversary!  My heart skipped a couple of beats when I first saw his birth date in the paperwork when we committed to him in June.  Another "coincidence," if I believed in coincidences, is that his birthday falls during National Adoption Month!

We started making him a blue, white, and brown Rosary that we will get blessed in his country and then again when he is baptized here. All of the big kids helped at least a little bit.  The centerpiece is a beautiful depiction of Mary holding Baby Jesus.  He won't be without a mother's loving arms for long.

We ended the day with a delicious banana birthday cake (decorated with help from his big siblings) and sang "Happy Birthday" to him.  Hope he had a happy day!  The Weather Channel said his village got up to 68 degrees and was sunny on his birthday, so I'm sure he got a chance to play outside.  That makes me happy!

We watched the little 3-minute video we have of him playing with some keys (the only video we have) before bed.  I had the most amazing dream that night that we went to the orphanage and met him for the first time.  What a gift!

To help us raise the money we need for the next big agency fee, we launched our Little House on the Prairie giveaway. Each donation of $15 gets you one of the 30 entries to win the entire Little House series on DVD. That includes all 9 seasons plus the pilot--170+ hours of family entertainment you can enjoy for years to come.  When all 30 spots are taken, we'll draw for the Little House grand prize as well as for a secondary prize of a $20 Amazon gift card.  Only 15 spots left!

We got our fingerprinting appointments for the I800-A (form asking USCIS for permission to adopt internationally) and plan to go next week. The USCIS office we are assigned to is in Charleston, 2 hours away. We're planning on making a day out of it, enjoying that beautiful city while we're there. So happy that things on this front are moving along. We've been told the turnaround for I800-A approval is 90 days. We filed last month and don't expect final approval until January. That way, if things move more quickly, we'll be pleasantly surprised!

Also to help on the fundraising front, I will be launching an Etsy store just as soon as I can get everything listed. Stay tuned...

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Birthday Week Giveaway

**Update: This giveaway has been completed!  Thank you so very much to all those kind and generous people who helped make this fundraiser a great success!!  Our grand prize winner is Chelsea C. and the runner-up is Hannah W.!**

This week we celebrate "Abraham's" 4th birthday!  I wish we could be with him and celebrate with him in person, but my heart feels such joy that God willing, this will be his very last birthday as an orphan.  Abraham will be surrounded by family, friends, and love on his birthdays from here on out.

BUT we need to do some serious fundraising to get our next big agency fee together so that we can bring our little one home as soon as possible.  In a couple of months we'll need to pay a fee of $5,500, and as of today, we've saved $2,122 towards it.  That leaves $3,378 to be raised.  Time for a giveaway to give our savings a little boost!

The grand prize of Abraham's Birthday Giveaway is our family's entire 9-season collection of Little House on the Prairie DVD boxed sets (individually boxed by season) plus the pilot movie.  This was an awesome gift to us from Abraham's grandparents-to-be.  It is in like-new condition because we only watched through everything once and have kept the discs where the kids can't get to them.  Each season is available for purchase on Amazon for around $20 per season and $10 for the pilot, so this is approximately a $190 value.

There will also be a second place prize of a $20 Amazon gift card, just in time for Christmas shopping!

How to enter:

Send $15 via PayPal to baileyak @ or through the donation button at the bottom of this post for each entry you wish to have.  There will only be 30 chances/entries to win.  Once all 30 entries are taken, we will draw a winner for the DVD set and a runner-up for the Amazon gift card.  People can also earn one additional free bonus entry per person by sharing this giveaway.  Just let me know if you share so that I can enter you accordingly.

This running total of the paid entries still available will be kept up to date.
Total entries still available: 0

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Quick Update

We've filed our I-800A form, the application for permission from the US government to adopt internationally.  This form cost $890 in total to file (not counting shipping costs), $720 for the application fee, and $85 each for Sean and me to get fingerprinted.  The check we sent with our application has been cashed and we received a receipt from USCIS in the mail.  Soon they will give us an appointment to come in for fingerprinting.  It is good to know that things are moving along in that regard!  We can't submit our dossier to "Abraham's" country until we get approval of our I-800A form.  Right now, people are being told it takes roughly 90 days to process the application.

But this unfortunate wait has its silver lining.  Right now we have $2,000 in savings.  When we submit our dossier, we need to pay a fee of $5,500.  Time is an asset when it comes to raising so much money.  We know that God is in control and that He will provide what is needed.  This money isn't ours, it's His!  As of today, we've either paid or saved almost $11,000 out of pocket.  Considering we're a single-income family of 6 on a modest salary and weathered 11 months of unemployment ending just less than a year ago, this is miraculous!  God has taken our loaves and fishes and multiplied them many times over.

If you would like to help us financially, take a look at our page of fundraising efforts, including our Amazon Affiliate link (a percentage of each item purchased through the Amazon link gets deposited into our adoption savings account).  Each dollar raised brings our boy closer!

Visiting Andrew Jackson's childhood home and enjoying the beautiful autumn weather last week. 
I am working on making more ponchos like these to help raise the rest of that big agency fee that we'll need to pay soon.