Thursday, June 21, 2012

Double Digits...

Last weekend we were excited to celebrate Matthew’s 10th Birthday – I say it every year, but I can’t believe that he is already TEN!!  What a tremendous blessing to watch him grow from this adorable baby…

Into such an awesome “big kid”! 

We celebrated Matt’s actual birthday last Friday with a night at the Movie Tavern to see “Madagascar III” – we had so much fun!  It was our first time at the Movie Tavern and we will definitely be back.  If you haven’t been there – check out their website here.

On Saturday (after our physicals for our Home Study and Dossier) it was time to get ready for the family to come to our house to help us celebrate.  Matthew wanted me to make him an “Angry Birds Space” birthday cake… When I agreed to make his birthday cake, I was thinking a nice simple traditional birthday cake… somehow it ended up becoming a two layer domed shape cake covered in fondant with fondant angry bird characters (thanks to the creative efforts of the birthday boy and his big sister!).  It became quite a stressful project, but I’m really happy with the results (and so was Matthew – so that made my day!)

I think you can tell from the look on his face that Matthew had a great birthday! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our Sweet Megan

Megan is just the sweetest girl... she has a heart of gold, loves everyone and always tries to do the right thing.  In so many ways, I wish that I was more like her!  From the time she was a little girl, we have known that she had a faith much deeper than we could imagine, she trusts with everything she has, and loves everyone as Jesus taught.  Megan also has a wonderful way of working with children - whether it's her brother, younger cousins, children of friends, or the Sunday School class she volunteers in each month at church - and the kids all love her!  She is fun, but firm - she's a natural teacher!  It was no surprise to us when she wanted to get right on board with our fundraising efforts to bring home her little sister.  It took us a little while to come up with the perfect fundraiser for Megan to do.  So... it's with great honor I introduce to you...

Megan's Jars for Makenna!

Megan wanted to so much to be a part of each effort to bring Makenna home - she really can't wait to have her little sister here!  So, we came up with these jars that Megan has decorated as a way to collect spare change from anyone who wants to be part of this story.  If you are interested in taking a jar into your home or office to collect spare money, please let us know and we will make sure we get one to you!  When the jar is full, you can either drop it off at our home or let us know and we will pick it up - it's that easy!  Feel free to post a comment below this post if you're interested, and we will get a jar to you shortly!

Megan would certainly appreciate your help in filling her jars for Makenna!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Saturday like no other...

How do I begin to tell everyone about the amazing yard sale that we had yesterday?  The experience of planning this fundraiser was exciting from the very beginning - and it wouldn't have been such a HUGE success without the help and support of so many of you!  Most importantly, we recognize that none of this would not have happened without the blessing of God and HIS control of our adoption journey.  Now for the details...

Over the past month we have gathered donations from co-workers, friends, family members and strangers.  We gathered clothes, household items, furniture, baby items, sporting equipment, and much, much more.  We had friends and family members donate their home baked goods for our bake sale!  Everyone worked together to help us bring home our daughter.

Saturday morning started for our family at 4:20 when our alarm clocks went off!  I woke up excited and ready to see what God had planned for us.  By 5:00 AM, the kids were up, too!  Megan was making frosting to ice her home made cupcakes for the bake sale.  At 4:45 we began pulling all the tables out of the garage and laying out all the wonderful donations from all of you!  The first customer arrived at 5:30 - yeah, seriously!  We couldn't believe it when a car pulled up at that time of the morning!

I can honestly say that this yard sale was so different - God brought so many wonderful people for us to meet.  We met families that have been foster parents, families that have adopted domestically, families that have adopted internationally from Columbia, China, India, Korea and many other countries, families who plan to adopt.  We met a woman and her children who were home on vacation - they live in China!  It was so interesting to talk to her about the travel, the culture - she gave us some very practical advice!  She looked at my fair skin and told me to make sure I take sunscreen with me - I am so grateful for this advice (I certainly don't want to suffer from sun burn when we are meeting our daughter!). 

I also can't tell you who many times people found out what our yard sale was for and told us to "keep the change" - I have witnessed the generosity and compassion of so many people this weekend, and I will forever be changed!

Jason and I have been very honest with all of you about the financial concerns surrounding  our adoption.  I will also be completely honest with you about our fundraising efforts.  I want everyone that feels led to support us to understand that we are not raising funds for ourselves, every dollar is going directly towards the adoption of our daughter.  I also want you all to know that we are also funding the process through our own finances.  We have discussed many options about how to raise these funds - we have discussed taking out loans and trying to do this on our own, but this is not how God continues to lead us on this journey.  I have said it before and I will say it again - God is writing this story and we are so grateful that many have decided to be part of this with us.  The two fundraisers that we have already held are evidence to us that God will provide every dollar we need to bring Makenna home. 

Megan and Matthew ran the "food tent" selling baked goods, bottled water, soft pretzels and hot dogs.  Megan is a natural salesperson and wonderful communicator - every person she spoke with knew that she had a sister in China waiting to come home to our family!  Thanks to all the bakers out there - the food tent raised $179!!

I am humbled and honored to let all of you that yesterday was a HUGE financial success for Makenna.  Around 3:30 yesterday we decided it was time to see how we did, so I sat in the middle of the driveway with my parents, and my mom started pulling the money out.  It was like eating a bowl of angel hair pasta - it felt like the money kept growing as we took it out of the bag!  She started counting... when she got to $1000 in twenty dollar bills, I couldn't keep the tears back any longer.  We called Jason at work on speaker phone and told him that we raised $1550 - like all of us, he was shocked!  But... the story actually gets better!  This morning, Jason pulled the money out to organize it to take to the bank.  We counted wrong...  we actually raised $1700!  Can you believe that?  I could start crying again just typing that number!  My mom and I set a goal of $1000 on Friday night with a "stretch" of $1500... God blew both those numbers out of the ballpark.  We have been waiting to send in the check for our home study - praying that we would have enough after the yard sale to write that check for $1850.  We now have enough to pay for the the home study, our training course, passports and the rest of our clearances!  This is everything we need in order to get our home study and dossier completed. 

Thank you seems so simple... but with all of our hearts, our whole family is so grateful to all of you that have helped us.

With grateful loving hearts,
Jessica and family

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sweet Surprise

Do you like surprises?  I do - actually, I love surprises!  Unfortunately, I've come to learn that when you LOVE surprises you become very difficult to surprise.  Inevitably, one way or another, I ruin most surprises... bridal showers, baby showers, Christmas and Birthday gifts.  I always stumble upon the evidence and just like that the surprise is ruined.  For someone who actually enjoys the thrill of the surprise - that's so disappointing!

Well... I have to share with all of you the WONDERFUL surprise our family received in the mail last week.  When I got home from work that evening, Jason and the kids were all sitting in the kitchen waiting for me - there sitting on the kitchen counter was a card from an unknown friend.  The card had a beautiful message about wanting to help us bring home our baby girl from China and included a cash donation towards our adoption expenses.  All four of us were in shock - we have heard stories about this exact thing happening to others, but to actually be the recipient of such a gift is truly an amazing feeling.

From our whole family we would like to thank our anonymous Friend from the bottom of our hearts for helping us along this journey. Your act of kindness is not only helping us bring home Makenna, it brightened our spirits and gave us a sense of encouragement! THANK YOU!!