Friday, July 11, 2014

One More Day!!


We had $510 in donations since yesterday-wow!! So very thankful for everyone's generosity <3

Just $296 away from $6,000 and I then I can share Little G's new name :)

Can you help us get there before our plane takes off tomorrow?

Don't forget to check out our Norwex and Thirty-One Bag fundraisers and invite your sisters, mothers and friends! Links are in the previous post :)



Thursday, July 10, 2014

2 days!! Ways you can help :)


The bags are packed and we are all ready to go other than a few minor details, like charging all the electronics and getting some pictures printed up. Today I picked up a few outfits for Little G and some pretend jewelry for Esther...stickers for both and a pad of paper to use to put the stickers in and hopefully trace their hands and feet in. Those were the last of the items needed before closing the suitcase for the final time before we check it at the airport. 

I can't believe it is almost time!!

4 days from now, we will be asleep after our first full day of visits with Little G. We have been blessed to to get little updates on him from another family visiting their daughter there this week. No new pictures but just glimpses into his personality and interests. I'm thankful for that as I prepare to meet him. 

We will spend 5 days in Little G's region, and then drive to Esther's region and spend 5 days there before heading back to the capital and flying home again. 

BTW...I guess no one wants to know Little G's new name?? Still working on getting our adoption fund to $6k!

In the midst of packing, I also got the I800 forms completed for both children. That will be mailed out once we give the go ahead to our caseworker after we have met them and decided for sure to move forward with their adoption. That approval will be send directly to our children's country and be used for the visa interview/Article 5. Once we return from meeting the children, we will come home and update our medicals and redo our FBI clearance again. That is all part of the 'second stage dossier'. Our end of the paperwork part of this adoption is very close to being completed. 


*~*~*~*~*

We've had 7 grant denials, very discouraging of course, but trusting that God will provide just when it is needed! No response from our Mustard Seed letters yet. 

As for funding needs, we are still over $3k short to cover our final agency fees. Adoption fund goal number for our upcoming fee due at the end of July is $9,150. Right now it is at $5209. We currently have two fundraisers that you can participate in that will help get us closer while we are meeting the children. I won't be able to fund-raise easily while out of the country so I was very grateful some friends offered to set these up for us. 


Here is our Norwex Party info! 

I am new to using their products but they are great, chemical free and safe for kids! We were blessed with some of their items as baby gifts at Ruth's baby shower. Please take a look and invite your friends! It has already started and will end on the 19th of July 

FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/314727182019482/

When ordering please be sure to put my name, Amanda Sutton, (as your hostess) when you check out. www.jenniferwojcik.norwex.biz


Here is our Thirty-One Bag Party info!

40% of the proceeds benefits our adoption! This event has already started and ends on July 16th. 

FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1479912375586513/

SHOP: https://www.mythirtyone.com/djenkins/
CHOOSE under "Events": Thirty-One Fundraiser for the Sutton Family


Feel free to share the links and invite anyone else you know who may be interested! 
The more the merrier, our parties can't be too big :) m

Think ahead to birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts!


Please help get us closer to being fully funded for our adoption! 
We are only about $13k away!!

Thank you so much <3

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Single Digits!!

 Yesterday was:
 days until we go meet our starfish!

Today is just 9 days until our trip begins! 

9 days from right now we will be over the ocean heading towards Eastern Europe!!

My bags are about half packed, the house is about half ready and the freezer is full of about half the meals I was hoping to put away before I took off. Resisting the urge to eat from it now with everything that has to be done before I go.

We found out our translator for this trip, even though we didn't have him with our last adoption, has already met Ben and 'Little G'! He was the one who helped translate when we sent a birthday gift with another family to Ben in October before we brought him home. That same week he also met Little G...and a few moments of those visits were recorded by this other family and months later discovered to have Little G on them. Those videos were what was sent to us in July of the following year... Exactly a year ago from this week! Never imagined that exactly a year later we will be just a week away from completing one major step to bringing him home.

We now have "Little G's" name chosen!! 

I'm not going to share it until our adoption fund reads $6,000, though. Our prayer is to get it there in the next 9 days! We need your help, though...If those reading this would consider donating just $5 or $10 each, and then challenging a friend or two to match that amount, we would get there really quickly. It really does add up...no amount is too little to make a huge difference in the lives of two precious children. 

We received a couple generous donations to our Adopt Together fund, totaling $790! Now we are only $3500 away from having the funds needed to pay our final agency fees due right after we get home from this trip, at the end of July. I have nothing left to offer in return besides a very heartfelt and grateful thank you... I won't be able to fund-raise while I'm gone so we are just trusting in the Lord to provide right when it is needed!

Esther has been without a family for the entire first 5 years of her life. Little G has been without a family for the first 6 years of his life, and away from his brother for 1 1/2 years now. 

If you haven't already, please consider helping be a part of their miracle, a part of giving them a family! 


Thank you so much!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Getting closer! 16 days :)

16 days until our plane takes off! 

We have all our hotel information and the dates we will be visiting with each of the children. I'm working on getting the last of the kids stuff packed, and mine gathered together. Cooking meals for the family staying home and getting the house organized to run as smoothly as possible. Still have to decide on Little G's name. 

We got tiny updates on the kids.

Esther is very small for a 5yo at 26lbs and 37 inches. She is actually only 2 inches taller but 6lbs lighter than our two year old son :( She has only grown one inch and one lb since her fall update. 

"Gideon" is 6yo and is 41lbs and 42 inches. Ben right now at 7 1/2  is 43lbs and 44 inches...so they are going to look like twins! 

*****

We have not had much of a  response to our Mustard Seed gift as I had hoped....only 4 requests to receive one and to let us know they would be praying.. Over 190 left to be mailed out. If I can get my printer to cooperate, I'm going to start mailing them to churches in our state and praying that hearts may be touched to help us get over this mountain. I'm out of fundraising idea and energy to do them. Time is short and the pressure is on. A month to go (12 of those I will be out of the country) before it is due and we are $4,150 away from having the funds to pay our final agency fees. Our 6th grant denial request came this week. Always hard to see but I know God will provide the funds just when they are needed! There are still a handful we are waiting to hear back from....please pray!

******

In other news, Ben starts summer school next week! I am nervous about how it will go. I think he will enjoy it. My worry is that he is going to test them and whether they will abide by our wishes on different areas and how to handle different situations. It's only 4 hours a day and will be a good practice for going full time in the fall, which is what we are considering doing depending on how this goes. He will have OT and ST during summer school. As soon as these 3 weeks are over, we will be starting his neuro-psych evaluations to get a better idea of where he is at developmentally and what services he will qualify for in the fall. Everything we are doing for him now will also be laying the groundwork for Gideon and Esther once they come home.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How big are they?

Trying to patiently wait to receive our translated referral and updates on the children...

I've been wondering about how big they might be right now. I want to bring some outfits for them, partly to have to give them, but also to help determine clothing size I need to bring back on trip 2.

Here are the most recent stats we have:
Esther: 25 lbs and 36 inches at 4 1/2 years old (Oct 2013)
Little G: 37 lbs and 41 inches at 5 1/2 yrs old (Sept 2013)

To compare...

The update we got on Ben right before we met him on trip one, at age 5 1/2, he was: 30 1/2 lbs and 37 inches. When we met him, he was wearing size 2t clothing. 
Now, at  7 1/2 years old, he is 43lbs and 44 inches.
Little G is a lot bigger compared to his brother was at the same age and it wouldn't surprise me if he is bigger than him when he comes home also!

So...how big do you think they will be when we get their updates? What size clothing should I bring?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Surprise Gift!

After my update post today on our funding needs, it was such a wonderful surprise to check the mail and find a check for $1,000 from a family member! 

Our Mustard Seed is growing!! Praise the Lord :)

This check 'exactly' covers a bunch of our upcoming expenses...

* The last of what is needed for trip 1 expenses ($150)

* What is needed for our I-800 for child #2 ($720) 

* The fee to update our FBI clearance ($100) 

* Covers the copay ($30) to update our physicals for our stage 2 dossier! 

God goes before us, knows and meets our needs...He answers prayers and always provides!

Just had to share :)

BTW, I changed the thermometer on the right to reflect our next goal of raising the funds for our final agency fees due by the end of July, the week after we return from trip 1!

Update On Our Mountain!

We are only $151 away from being funded for the trip! Our goal is to get to $4,800 in our fund by the end of June, but the end of this week is even better! We can do it with your help :)

The week after we return from meeting our children, our final agency fee is due. We also have to submit the I800 form and fee for the second child. Lastly, we have to update our FBI clearance, once again.

Part 2 of Phase 3 Fees
$6,000 Final program fee- $1,500 funded so far with a grant
$720 USCIS for second child
$100 FBI Clearance Update


So in total, by the end of July, we need an additional $5,320. I will be a little preoccupied and unable to fundraise while I'm out of the country. ;)

Most of all, we need your prayers that some of the grants we have applied for, will come through to help knock down this mountain. We have raised/saved the funds for $21,000 of our adoption expenses so far. Less than $15,000 to go-wow! I believe it will happen, I just don't know how! 

*~*~*~*

Don't forget our Mustard Seeds! I need addresses to send them to...will you be a part of our journey? Would you be willing to invite a friend or family member to pray?








Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Then...Now!

Here is a picture comparison over the past few years:



One of the first pictures we saw of Ben from when we committed to him. I think it was taken fall of 2011, but we committed end of Feb 2012.

Next is from our first trip meeting him in July 2012.

Third is the second day after bringing him home in January 2013, fresh after a haircut.

Finally, the last one is from May 2014.

What a change!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day...and Grand Prize Winner!

Thank you to all who gave yesterday....we met our matching money!!

Thank you so much for giving the gift of a Father to two children! 

I'm so grateful for my own father and also the father of my children. They are both wonderful, hard-working, loving, Godly men <3

~Happy Father's Day~

*~*~*~*




The winner of our 50 States Game Grand Prize was Melissa T!!

We are only $219 away from being funded for trip 1, wow-that isn't much at all. Our Adoption Fund needs to read $4,800.

Once we meet that, then we can start working on the next big mountain ahead of us!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Matching Money!!

We have a $200 matching money offer!

Our fund needs to read $4510 to meet it.

Once we get the match, our 50 States Game will be complete and we will only need $290 more to be funded for trip 1.

Can you please help us reach that today??

Btw...did you see our countdown over to the right? Only 28 days until we get on the plane to meet our children!

28 days!

Our tickets are booked!!


We are flying out July 12th and coming home July 23rd!
(This is very close to the same timeline of Ben's adoption :) )

Lots to do to prepare between now and then so I know the time will pass very quickly!

We are still $350 away from finishing our 50 States Game. Really hoping to get there this weekend, can you please help?

Just $690 away from being funded for trip 1! We are still aiming for our adoption fund to read $5,000 before we leave.

 
 

Can you please help us get there today?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

We have travel dates!!

We are working on finalizing the details before I post them, but it will be July for sure! :-)

God has answered our prayers about weekend visits with one of the children so that our trip will be 1 1/2 weeks vs two whole weeks!

Please consider helping us raise the last of the funds needed for trip 1 so we can focus on getting ready to meet our children instead!

Our 50 states game ends this weekend and we still have 25 states to complete...



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

50 States Game Ends This Week...

We are in the final week of our 50 States Challenge Game fundraiser. 

Yesterday, 10 states were finished off and winners posted! 

25 more states to complete! 

We are only $848 away from being funded for trip 1!!

Our fund needs to read $4,960 to meet our goal :)

 Soon, very soon, I'll get to hold these two!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Anticipation!

Looking forward to seeing if this week is going to bring some exciting progress!

I will post again once we have travel dates, won't be long now :)

~*~*~*~

We received a letter in the mail yesterday with some wonderful news...

After receiving 5 almost identical letters in the past two weeks, it was hard to stay hopeful that this one might be a little different, but it was! We have been awarded a $1500 grant for our adoption-yay!! This will be applied towards the $6k agency fee that is due when we return from trip 1. 

Praying that this is just the beginning of these types of letters, as our mustard seed grows and moves the mountain ahead of us. Thank you so much for praying, and please continue to pray as we wait to hear back from all the other grants we applied for.  

We have only had one person give us an address to send our Mustard Seed gift to so far...

~*~*~*~

As of now...
~ We are only $1,120 away from being funded for trip 1! When our adoption fund reads $5,050, we will have made it. We have the funds for the plane tickets (unless our estimate skyrockets) and we have the funds for both children's visas. We are now working on the funds for the in-country expenses (food, lodging, etc). 

~ Our 50 States Game ends on Father's Day. We will draw a winner for the grand prize then. We still have 33 states that need to be completed first, but we are getting very close. 



Thursday, June 5, 2014

~Faith~

~ Faith~


This whole adoption so far has only been possible due to God moving mountains despite our doubts and little faith that it would be possible. We don't know God's plan for Esther and Little G and the part we are going to be playing as they join our family and become our children. It is humbling and has been a huge faith-growing process. With God, ALL things Are possible!

I've always heard that "God funds what He favors" and "If He brings you to it, He will see you through it". In other words, God provides...and I have seen that time and again throughout my life. Our adoption has not been an exception. He has provided $19k in the space of 6 months. I know in my heart and have faith that He will continue to provide the remaining $17k, just when it is needed. It is hard not to worry and wonder how it will happen because we can't see the bigger picture. 

I'm out of things to offer, out of ideas on how to make it happen. I realize that it never was in my power to make it happen...we are just God's children, obediently doing as He asks despite the sacrifices. God has blessed our efforts! 

He gets the glory!

I know He has also blessed those who have responded to God's urging in their hearts to join in our journey by giving what they could, sharing and praying. I feel sad for those who have looked the other way, ignored the need before them, missed out on the blessings they would receive. The blessing that these children are!
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

I don't have any fancy words. I can't express what my heart feels right now.

I do have this....

A heartfelt plea and the Faith of a Mustard Seed

We have a mountain ahead of us that we need moved. A man-sized mountain that is nothing to God because He owns the cattle on 1000 hills. We need God's people to come together to be His hands and feet. To help us carry the burden, to meet this need. To help us spread the word and give others the opportunity to serve. 

~PLEASE~
~If you have already (or plan to in the future) donated to our adoption, whether it is $1 or $100...
~If you have prayed for our family, prayed for our adoption process or prayed for the children we are bringing home and their adjustment into our family...
~If you know someone who would be interested in being a prayer warrior...
~If you know someone who has been touched by adoption...
~If you know someone who is looking for a ministry to support...
~If you know someone who loves children and would be interested in investing in the lives of two orphans to change their lives forever....

Please let me know by leaving a comment on this post or emailing us (amsutton@va.metrocast.net) with your address or a friends address (it won't be posted publicly) so we can send you this to thank you:

A letter about our adoption journey, a Faith magnet, a packet of mustard seeds, a double-sided bookmark and a prayer card picture of the two children we are in the process of adopting. 

I know it isn't much, just like the size of a mustard seed, but it's all we have at this point. We are praying and believing that God will grow our seed into a huge tree...that this little seed will move the mountain! 

We have 200 of these ready to be mailed out today. I need 200 addresses to mail them to!


 Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

If Abortion was Overturned, Would the Church be Ready?

An article worth reading...

P1000654

"If Abortion was Overturned, Would the Church be Ready?

Getting the kids packed!

It's always fun to start gathering items to take to do with the children during the visits on trip 1!

From our experience last time, we know anything with lights or noise/music will be a hit. Anything that you can play with to interact with your child is preferred, such as bubbles. Ben also loved to spin the wheels on cars so I am bringing some of those for Little G. I also want to bring some things to help assess their developmental levels and interests.

It's a guessing game at this point of what they might enjoy because we know so little about them. Anything that you can play with to interact with your child is preferred. Last time, I took a few 'new' toys during each visit to keep it fun. It's hard to spend a couple hours twice a day with someone who don't know, talking through a translator, while jetlagged, emotional, exhausted, nervous and excited!

We know Esther likes to play with toys and likes music, but no idea what kinds of toys. I found a little huggable brown skinned doll for her and a bunch of other little girly treasures that I hope she likes.

Here's what I have so far...



The items that are the same in both pictures, are shared and I will be taking to both orphanages for visits.

I have some other music toys plus coloring paper and crayons to include. I hope to trace their hands and feet, to get a better idea of shoe size.


I have picked up two of these little board books to leave behind. 
Thought it might be fun to see if we can name the pictures, 
and how quickly they might pick up English words by looking and talking through it together.

I also have a few outfits per child, so we can figure out what sizes to bring on pickup.
I will buy some snacks to take along to visits once we are in country as well.

Little Update and Mini Goal



We have raised $19,000 for our adoption expenses since December between our savings and fundraising, thanks to so many of you who have helped!

We are passed the halfway point but still have a ways to go so can't quit now...

Thanks to a generous friend, as well as our donor, our matching grant has been met and brought us $450 closer! Those funds are being mailed to us so they won't show up in our FSP. That is why I changed our goal number to $5,050 instead of the $5500.

Right now our adoption fund reads $3,610. We have just $1,440 to go to be funded for trip 1!!

We have only one mini goal for this week:

* Our adoption fund to read at least $4,000. Just under $400 to go!

If you donate this week to help us complete this goal, you will get a chance to win one of these two prizes (you have to let us know you donated, though!):


$25 Gift Card to Origami Owl
Custom Designed Jewelry!

OR

$20 Gift Card to Yankee Candle Factory

There are also mini prizes for each state that is completed in our 50 States Challenge Game-we need to wrap that up by next week so don't miss out on your chance to win the grand prize:



If you are not interested in the prizes, but still want to help make a difference in the lives of two sweet children, we can accept tax-deductible donations here:


 
 

We are getting so close to meeting these two...I'm excited and nervous all at once!


**Praying that next week, we will receive our written referral and travel dates!!**

Friday, May 30, 2014

Matching grant!

We have a $200 matching grant gifted to us today that we need to meet before the weekend is over! 

If you haven't already, would you consider helping bring two children home to their forever family with a tax-deductible gift that will be doubled!

Once this is met we will have only $1,553 to go to be funded for trip 1!



Our adoption fund currently reads: $3,546.05 and needs to read $3,746.05 to get the match 

Don't forget, all donations count towards our 50 States Challenge Game which ends in a couple weeks. You have a chance to win this:


Tshirts have arrived!

Our t-shirt order has arrived!

I am happy with how they turned out :)



If you didn't get a chance to order one, we have extras!

'Made in Bulgaria'-$20ppd each

(3) Blue XS Youth
(1) Red Small Youth
(2) Red Med Youth
(4) Blue Med Youth
(2) Blue Small Adult

'Made in America'. $20ppd each.

(2) Red Med Youth
(1) Blue Large Youth

Just let me know if you want one!