Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Today is the LAST DAY to participate in our fundraiser, "Pieced Together by Love!" If you would like to add your name to our puzzle and be entered into our giftcard/iPod giveaway you have until 11:59 pm tonight to do so! We still haven't met our goal, but we are SO close, so help us spread the word! We will be leaving for Bulgaria in just 3.5 weeks and your support means SO much to us!

We will draw our giveaway winners tomorrow evening (July 1st)!

There's a light at the end of this tunnel. . . .

. . . .and we can FINALLY see it! A LOT has happened since my last update, so much that I'm not even going to attempt to include it all in one post. But here are the highlights:

On June 4th, we received the official referral of our third little Ladybug! We also received our travel dates to visit Ladybug #3 and to bring Lily and Alayna home!! We have since booked our tickets and will be boarding a plane to Bulgaria on July 23rd!

We will spend our first week (July 26-30) visiting with Ladybug #3 in Stara Zagora. At the conclusion of our visits we will spring Lily from the orphanage (same orphange, same group, as Ladybug #3) and return to Sofia for the weekend. On Monday (August 2nd) we will travel to Lukovit and Alayna will leave her orphanage for the very last time! From there we will head back to Sofia where we will get passports, medicals and visa's and, on August 7th, the four of us (Richard, Alayna, Lily and I) will board another plane. Our final destination. . . HOME!!!!

There is so much more to tell. We have seen our Heavenly Father's guiding hand in this process SO many times over the past few weeks and I look forward to sharing those experiences with you, so stay tuned!! After 16+ months we are finally nearing the end of our journey and we are so anxious to finally have our girls home!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Pieced Together By Love" UPDATE

Over the years we have done many fundraisers to help raise money to grow our family through adoption. I have been humbled by each and every one of them as I have watched the outpouring of love and support from family, friends and even strangers, but none moreso than our current fundraiser. There is just something about writing your names down on the back of a puzzle of Christ and the children that literally brings tears to my eyes with every name that I write.

In just 2 weeks, we have over 100 names on our puzzle (many of people we have never even met!) and have raised $770! WOW! We have always known that many, many people were standing behind us in love and support, but there is something about seeing a visual representation of that support that really brings you to your knees in humility and gratitude. I hope that each and every one of you who has donated, shared our fundraiser with family and friends or offered prayers or words of encouragement know what a difference you are making in the lives of these three precious girls and in our family! We are SO grateful for ALL of you!

As many of you know, in addition to getting your name on a piece of the puzzle, every $5 donation enters your name into a giftcard giveaway which will be held at the end of our fundraiser. There are 5 giftcards that will be given away (Amazon, Toys R Us, iTunes, Target and Visa). In addition to those giftcards, we will also be giving away a brand new, 4GB 4th Generation iPod Shuffle (green)! Also, please remember that, even if you are unable to make a monetary donation, just helping us get the word out (by blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) also gets your name on the puzzle and entered into our giveaway (so be sure to let us know if you are helping us to get the word out)!

We appreciate every single donation, prayer and word of encouragement and support. We could not do this without YOU!

Officially Official

Yesterday marked the end of our 14-day waiting period and our adoptions of Alayna and Lily became officially official! The court decrees have been issued and our attorney has filed for the new birth certificates (which should be ready within the next two weeks). In addition to this news, we also learned that our dossier for Little Lady #3 was filed with the Ministry of Justice yesterday and the MOJ feels confident that our official (verbal) referral of our little ladybug will be issued on Friday! Once we have her official referral we can begin making firm travel plans!

At this point it seems fairly certain that we will travel the last two weeks of July. While this is a bit further out than we expected, we are content knowing that the reason we must wait is because there are so many other Bulgarian children who have been matched with their forever families and our facilitator must somehow manage to fit us all into the schedule (Toni is truly a "God-powered" superwoman and I am still trying to figure out when she actually sleeps)!

One of those other families is my good friend, Kelly, who is also adopting two beautiful little girls, Yana (who has Down Syndrome) and Tavi (who is blind). Kelly and I started the process to adopt from Bulgaria around the same time last year and have remained "neck-in-neck" for most of the process. We have become good friends, especially during the "home stretch" of this process which has proven to be the most difficult, I think, for both of us. I am SO grateful to Kelly for her friendship, support, encouragement and empathy! This morning, in a courtroom in Sofia, Bulgaria, Kelly and John officially became the parents of these two, beautiful souls and there are now two less orphans in the world! Although Kelly and I have never met in person, I felt this victory just as deeply as I did the day our own little girls were declared ours and I am grateful to my Father in Heaven for all of the mighty miracles He has worked to bring these two precious girls into a loving, Christ-centered home!

The "gift of adoption" is so much more than simply welcoming a child into your home and providing them with a life that they might not otherwise have had. The journey also brings with it an indescribable increase in faith as you witness the Lord's hand in your life DAILY, lifelong bonds of friendship, support and love with people you may not otherwise have met, and deep humility as you realize that NONE of this would be possible without the help and support of others, especially the Lord. What a blessing and a privilege it is to have this opportunity and experience in my life!