Friday, May 27, 2011

Practice blog

My sister is going to take over blogging for me while I am in China.  Apparently China doesn’t allow blogger to work, so I’ll send an e-mail to Wendy whenever possible and she’ll post for me.  For our first practice I wanted to tell you about my son’s first bass tournament!  There were fourteen boats entered in the tournament and his boat came in fourth place!  Of course he was the only child entered in the contest! 

A good friend named Thanos has become Brennan’s fishing buddy.  He’s an amazing man that we met at the lake in the Fall.  He’s taken Brennan fishing about three times a month since then.  He LOVES fishing as much as Brennan does (which is hard to believe).  Thanos was a fishing guide and truly knows what he is doing- so they often catch fish!  They have gone in the pouring rain, the super hot days, the cold days, and everything in between.  They often go fishing for about six hours…. Although their record was about eleven hours!  It’s a win win for all of us!  Brennan is super happy and Thanos’ wife is happy she isn’t having to fish every weekend anymore. 

So Thanos called the director of the tournament to see if there was an age limit.  When he found out that there wasn’t, he signed them up right away!  They woke up the original scheduled date only to find out it was rained out. They practiced the weekend before the new date by getting up at 4:45 AM and going to the same lake to check it out.  They are pretty serious about this fishing business!  It’s amazing how easily Brennan wakes up at 4:45 AM to go fishing but has a hard time waking up at 7:00 AM to go to school.  J

They had so much fun, and we are so thankful for Thanos! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another Grant!!!

We received another grant from A Child Waits Foundation!  I started crying when they called to tell me that they will award us $3,500.00!   It truly is amazing- we keep getting what we need exactly when we need it.  I needed to order crisp $100.00 bills to pay the hotel and other China fees and so needed the money VERY soon.  I had faith that it was going to work, but I was getting a little nervous.  It is almost exactly the amount we needed!  We are blessed in so many ways!  I am counting down the days to travel and will sleep easier tonight because the final financial pieces are falling into place!

I truly hope I can pay it forward someday!  A Child Waits and Golden Dawn will always hold a special place in my heart!  This journey of faith has been amazing!  The amount of people who have helped us in so many ways truly makes me speechless!  Thank you EVERYONE!!! 

It means so much to me to make this trip with Brennan!  I wish I could put into words how much the grants, the fundraisers, the donations, the prayers, the toys and clothes, and the good wishes truly mean to us!  I am truly one of the luckiest people in the world! 

I can't wait to bring Kate home!  We leave in eight days!!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We have our plane tickets!

Brennan and I will be traveling to get Kate!  It truly is an answered prayer that Brennan can go with me!  We'll be leaving on June 3rd and will arrive home at 9:27 PM on Father's Day (June 19th).  We are so excited!  Kate will join us on June 6th... we plan on going to an aquarium, a zoo, several parks, and many walks along the Pearl River.  We also hope to spend a lot of time at the pool! 

A Shower For Kate


I have such amazing friends and had so much fun at the shower on June 15th!  My friend, Jennifer, had decorated her house with a garden theme.  She was hoping to have the party outside in her beautiful garden, but the weather wasn't looking too promising.

She hung lanterns and Chinese pictures, had printed labels for everything, and even had thoughtful party favors for everyone.  The food was delicious and there was so many choices!  The mimosas were a big hit and the day was truly festive! 

A special thank you to Jennifer, Jeannie, Jean, Lisa F, and Lisa G. for all of their help! A special thanks also goes to Kate, Laurel, and Megan for their help greeting everyone.  The day was magical!   

Thank you everyone!!!!  Because of your generosity we are going to have the best dressed little girl who has the most fun gifts!  We also were able to buy Brennan's plane ticket because of you!  That truly means the world to us!  Thank you so much!!!!

Brennan opened all the boxes and arranged Kate's new toys. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Grant Money!!!

We were so excited to find out that Golden Dawn awarded us a $2,000.00 grant!!!  This is truly an answered prayer!    Thank you Golden Dawn!
 Here is some information from their website:
We started Golden Dawn Adoption Assistance Inc. as a memorial to our daughter Karissa "Kari" Dawn who was adopted from Viet Nam in December of 1999. When Kari was two years old she was diagnosed with autism. Kari died in an accident on August 15, 2004 at age four. Kari is the Dawn of Golden Dawn.
Tilli Noel, our beautiful AKC registered Golden Retreiver, was born on Christmas Day 2006.  Tilli contributed eleven pups in the spring of 2008, which we sold to raise funds for our first grants.  To date Tilli has contributed 45 pups to help raise funds for grants.  Tilli is the Golden of Golden Dawn.
All of the grants we have applied to have sad stories that have been turned into something  beautiful.  Each message of faith and amazing strength is truly inspiring.  All of the stories have become part of our journey, and we will forever be thankful!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thank you

My sister had a fundraiser party for us the other night.  So many people made things to be sold and/or donated items to sell at the party.  My sister, Wendy, and her husband Dan worked hard to clean their house, display everything beautifully, design a gorgeous invitation, and invite many people to the party.  It was so touching and so sweet!  I can only imagine the many hours they put into this effort!  They didn't have a lot of people show up on the actual party day... but they certainly got the word out there and were VERY successful in their fundraising efforts!  We truly thank everyone who made items, baked treats, and donated things to the party!  Because of their efforts (and everyone who helped), they've raised over $600.00 so far!  THANK YOU!!!!

I want to thank my amazing church that surprised us with a VERY generous donation!  Thank you also goes to a wonderful family for sharing our story with Pastor Jay!  This family is truly looking out for us and sharing in our journey!  They are the most amazing, giving, caring, and loving family- a true inspiration for us!

I also have to thank my wonderful second grade families!  Several families have donated directly to our agency, and we are so thankful!  We've also been given the cutest clothes for Kate!  We had our end of year picnic last night, which was truly fun!  We have the most amazing parents in our class this year!  Throughout the year, Sue (my assistant) and I have been taken such great care of with lunches, snacks, and amazing support!  Last night, they presented us with a card that everyone signed and a cash gift that left us speechless!  My end of year gift is going to help bring home the most amazing gift of all- Kate!  Thank you second grade families!  Sharing this journey with them has been so much fun!

I also want to thank the grant foundations that I have heard back from- Show Hope, Gift of Adoption, and Caroline's Promise.  They were unable to grant us a gift at this time, but each of their letters gave so much hope.  Like one letter said, "It is our hope that you will not be discouraged by this letter, but rest in the knowledge that The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for Him".  We also appreciate the sincere prayers that were said for our adoption when they were making their decisions.  God is listening and He has other plans for bringing Kate home.  Of course we still have our fingers crossed that the other five foundations that we've applied to may be able to help.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Having Faith

I've written about this before... but I have to write about it again!  I had a few sleepless nights as I worried about how I was going to come up with the $6500.00 for the orphanage fee and a few other fees that need to be wired over to China in the next few weeks.  I filled out one more grant and loan application and prayed a lot.  I prayed to be patient and to trust that this was God's plan.  I am a planner and so having to wait is always hard for me!

On Thursday we received a VERY generous check from our church with the memo line that said "blessings".  I cried a few thankful tears and thanked God for giving me hope again. 

That night we were sitting on the deck talking about ways we could come up with the money.  We decided to check into my retirement account.  From my research, it seemed we could possibly take a hardship withdrawal because I had surgery in February and one of the reasons you can take a hardship withdrawal was to pay for medical expenses.  The amount that I could take was $5,800.00.  I checked with my head of school on Friday, filled out a few forms, and should know this week if it will work.  After the penalties, taxes, etc...  I should get about $5,000.00.  When I combine that with the very generous donations we've received so far, we'll have the amount needed! 

This is truly God's work and He is working through the most amazing people!  We are blessed and thankful and amazed and surprised and lucky and happy!  Katelyn's middle name is perfect- because we've had to have FAITH this entire journey!  God is at work in our life and we are truly thankful!

I am so lucky to be celebrating this Mother's Day as a mother of two!  I love you Brennan and Kate!

Busy Days

Busy Weekend!

My life seems to be on fast forward- but that's exactly how I like it! 
Monday- New Parent Meeting at school.
Wednesday- My head of school's retirement party at Brier Creek Country Club.
Thursday- tutoring
Friday- helped a friend start a blog, tutored and then went with a few friends to see the movie Water for Elephants.  We had read it a few years ago in book club and loved it!  The movie was truly amazing!  I'd definitely see it again!
And then the weekend...
On Saturday, I did a few things for school after catching up and watching American Idol.  We also took the last of our loan and grant applications to get notarized and sent them!  It's so nice to have all that paperwork behind me!  Saturday night I met seven fifth graders and another teacher/friend at school for the fourth annual Raleigh School Sleepover.  We volunteer our time and it is bid on at the silent auction during the carnival.  We meet at 6:00 PM and the kids get picked up at 8:00 AM the next morning.  We truly had fun and the girls were so sweet and enjoyable to be with.  I think the last girl finally fell asleep around 4:00 AM!  Needless to say, we were all a little tired on Mother's Day!

I met Dave and Brennan at church at 8:30 AM for an excellent service.  I finally got to catch up a little with Dave over our weekly coffee while Brennan was at Sunday School.  After we picked Brennan up, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Chili's.  I did a little shopping and then tackled the latest bit of paperwork for China.  Our agency is wonderful!  For each form I needed to fill out, they had a very detailed tip sheet to help. We have a few copies to make and a few more things to get notarized.... and then my attention will turn to starting the second grade progress reports.  I have to have them all completed and my room cleaned/organized before I leave on June 3rd.  I do like a challenge!
Dave was so helpful as he spent about eight hours fishing with Brennan this weekend.  Brennan caught  A LOT of fish!  I sure hope Kate enjoys fishing too!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Countdown Begins!

We have our consulate appointment confirmend in China for June 15th at 8:30 AM.  That will be our last appointment needed to bring Kate home! 

Now that we have the date, we can make flight arrangements!  We'll be leaving on June 3rd to travel to Guangzhou and will get Kate on June 6th.  We'll spend the next two weeks together bonding, sightseeing, swimming, and having fun (with a few appointments here and there).  We should be back in America on June 18th!

We don't know our flight details exactly because I'm still searching for the best deal!  I will post my itinerary as soon as I know it though!

The sad news is that I learned from work that I have to use five of my personal days since I'll be missing the "official work days at school".  I was truly hoping to work ahead of time (and will anyway) in order to make up for the days missed.  At least I have enough days accumulated and so they will still be paid days.  I was disappointed, but the thought of making Kate wait another week because I had to clean my classroom wasn't worth it to me.  The sooner we get her the better!

We'll meet Kate in 32 days!!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Travel Approval!

We just received notice that we received our Travel Approval today!  That was the last thing to fall into place... so it looks like I'll be traveling June 3rd to meet Kate in person.  As long as we get the consulate date we're trying to get, she'll be in my arms on June 6th!  I could travel a little earlier, but I'd like to finish the year with my second graders since the end of the year is so close.  It will be nice to have a little extra time to check out travel options, etc.  It's hard to believe that we will be a family of four in a little over a month!

We have to come up with the orphanage donation in the next ten days though- eek!  I should hear back from most of the grants that I've applied to in the next week or two.  We have our fingers crossed!  In my heart, I feel like everything will come together, but please say a prayer or two for us.  Kate is meant to be part of our family!

With that said, I will be posting several items that we have for sell including jewelry that my mom has made, amazing art work my brother has done, as well as a few other items.  The Flower Power fundraiser is still going on for two more days too.  We also have our china (Mikasa Wedding Band) for sale.

Happy and exciting days!  Thanks for sharing our journey!  xoxoxo