Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Auction Is Live!!


We have seriously around 1000 books just in this second auction. Amazing how God has provided through the generosity of others!

Go take a look-we really do have something for everyone! Educational books, ballerinas, horse, Christmas, New & Signed, New York Times Bestsellers, board books, picture books, readers, chapter books, history, gardening, classics, character building, science, animals, art and music, parenting and inspirational.....the list goes on. You need to see it for yourself :-)

Bidding ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 7th so you have plenty of time to browse and place your bids. Outbid notifications are not working when others post but do when I do. I plan on commenting on every picture as the auction gets close to the end. That will allow you to defend your bids if you have been outbid but didn't realize it!

Happy shopping and thank you so much for helping to bring Esther home!!




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Updates-Books-Prayer Requests and No News...

I haven't blogged in a week because there isn't any news to report yet. Yesterday we got a message from our caseworker saying that we are still waiting for a signature from the MOJ and that we *should* be in the next pile that gets signed. We have heard that before so I'm not sure how excited to be about the possibility or when it might happen. Soon, and in God's timing, we know and believe and are resting in that!

Tomorrow will be three months since I said goodbye to Esther. It has gone by fast but feels longer since we have no idea when she will be home. I've resigned to the likelihood that it won't be until January again. I've been pretty patient and okay with the wait until just recently. I think seeing so many who traveled the same time or even after we did, receive court and travel dates for pickup has made it harder. I miss her and love her and can't wait to have her here with her siblings and to get to know her as our daughter. It helps to see her on Skype, even though she is very blurry. When another person is there with her, she is quite chatty and I love hearing her voice!



We are slowly preparing for bringing Esther home. We moved all the girls into our master bedroom to give them more space. It is working out very well so far. We still have lots of details to finish up, painting to do and other things to tie it all together but I think we have plenty of time left to do that so there is no rush.

We took a day off to visit the children's museum. A much needed break from the daily grind!


He found all the letters and put them in the right order himself!



I will be getting Benjamin's FINAL PPR scheduled soon! Looking forward to being done with those, only to start all over again, haha :)

Ben is doing very well. He is starting to outgrow his size 5 pants! He is still shorter than his 5 and 7yo sisters, despite turning 8 next month, but he is growing. He loves helicopters, airplanes, singing and birthday parties. He is learning very quickly and enjoys school. He loves to talk but we are still working on conversational speaking, and being quiet when necessary, lol. Unfortunately, we have seen a lot of regression and testing boundaries since he started school. We expected some of that with the change of routine and being away from home and family and everything/one he knew but not to this extent. We thought with time things would settle down and improve. He is very social and happy and isn't fearful of school at all. He has a great teacher and is the perfect class and arrangement, with OT and speech therapy weekly. Not much learning can happen if he isn't cooperative, though. Many kids who come from an orphanage background tend to have a hard time respecting and trusting other authority figures. A lot of it is attachment related and so we are trying to figure out what is the best for him right now to give him what he needs. We aren't quite sure how to help him understand that the rules at home are the same as they are at school.

Adoption is NOT for the faint of heart, both before and after they come home! Definitely a refining and character building process for myself!

~*~*~*~


We are gearing up for our FINAL BIG Bountiful Blessings & Books auction!! This one is looking to be even bigger than the last one, though not as many signed books. The books are coming from some very generous people and I'm just amazed at God's provision. 

Bidding starts on Friday, October 24th and ENDS at 11:59 EST November 7th. 

Due to the size of this fundraiser, it was impossible to put it all on our blog in an easy to manage way. This second auction will be located on the same FB page as the last one. Please be sure to "LIKE" the page and share the link. We have books for everyone!


Funds raised above and beyond what we need for our adoption expenses will be shared with other adoptive families bringing children home from the same country. 

~*~*~*~

So that is all I have as far as an update. Please keep praying for our precious Esther, that we will get news soon. For her health and safety, that her heart will be prepared to join our family. Also, please keep praying for our unspoken prayer requests. We are trusting in the outcome and God's perfect plan in those situations above everything that makes sense from a logical standpoint or even our own desires. Thank you!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Waiting...

2 1/2 months since I said goodbye to Esther.

We are waiting for news about the next step in our adoption (MOJ sig and then court). There is no consistent timeline for this step but I'm preparing that we won't be traveling for pickup until January. I remember well how hard it was to wait during this phase of Ben's adoption. It isn't any easier now, I miss Esther and want her home...but I have a peace and a patience while we wait, I just don't know where it is coming from! I know she will be home soon and this time will be a distant memory. It does help to see her weekly on Skype, though it is getting harder to come up with things to do during each session to hold her interest. I just want to hold her, rock her, care for her and get to know her in person.

We are keeping very busy finishing up the final fundraisers we had planned. Gearing up for round two of our Bountiful Blessings & Books Auction which we hope to start on October 24th!

We are praying for clear answers to an unspoken prayer request.  For this to be possible, it would take a miracle, which we know God can do IF it is His will. Sorry for being vague, but I can not share details now. We would appreciate prayers!

We decided to put the girls into our master bedroom so that took quite a bit of time rearranging this past week. Now I can finalize getting Esther's bed ready and clothes in the closet. Maybe it will feel real that she really is coming home once that is done. :)



Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Auction Total

The grand total raised through our book auction was:

$2,970!!

Isn't that amazing?

I can't thank everyone enough for their book donations, sharing and bids...
We could not have done it without you <3

We are knee deep in getting them all packaged up to send out. It took 7 hours to sort them alone. Then add in entering everything into Excel, packaging, weighing and then printing shipping labels. There are 120 different packages being mailed out!

All I can say is...

She is worth it!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Auction ends tomorrow!

Our book auction ends tomorrow!!

If you haven't had a chance yet, take a peek-something for everyone!

Already placed your bids? Check to be sure you weren't outbid!



Auction ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, October 3rd!



Friday, September 26, 2014

Quick Links to Different Sections of Our Auction!


(Clicking on the underlined words above will take you to the start of our auction album)

All of the following books were signed and generously donated by the authors or illustrators!!!

**The Pictures in this blog post are just a snapshot of some of the thumbnails in our auction. The pictures of the books do not take you to the books when you click on them.**


 
 

(The words above will take you to the start of this section)

New & Donated by Math-U-See, Memoria Press, Doorposts and Keepers of the Faith!

Plus lots more...

These books donated by Keepers of the Faith below are in different sections of our auction 
but I am going to spotlight them here:





Over 200...
Board books, picture books, hardcover, softcover, new, used, chapter books, comic books, 
classics, readers, adoption stories, Christmas books, animal books....



****

New & Used Adult Books!
(Click on the divider pictures below to take you to where each section begins)

Over 240 Adult Books....
*****
****
****
****
I am working on getting the books within each section better organized 
but hopefully these quick links will make it easier to navigate!

Thank you so much for your bids to help bring Esther home <3



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Auction is Live!!

Our Bountiful Blessings & Books auction got started a little early today due to some excited early bidders! That's ok :) There was no reason to wait until tomorrow except for the fact that the pictures are all a bit disorganized. I'm working on sorting them into categories and genres and then will be posting the quick links here on the blog.

Our first book auction will be on FB. It ends at 11:59 EST on October 3.

Here is the direct link to the album:



Go take a look at the over 500 books available!!


ALSO...

In a few weeks, we will be hosting a second book auction on our Raising The Ransom blog. I'm working on getting that set up now. We are doing two separate auctions so that those who are not on FB will still be able to participate and bid on some great books to help bring Esther home! 

Thank you all for your help, donations and prayers! 

<3 <3 <3

BTW...mini adoption update...we heard yesterday that we are not in the group that is expected to receive their MOJ sig next week. Praying it may be the week after but trusting in God's timing with each step. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Less than a week to go and Mini Update


Less than a week until our Bountiful Blessings & Books Auction starts!!

I will be posting the link here on our blog a few days before it starts so you can start looking at all the great books we have available to bid on.

As a reminder, the first big book auction will take place on Facebook starting next Friday, September 26th. Later in October, we will be having a second book auction here on our blog with the books leftover from the first one, plus signed duplicates I have put aside and any books that do not arrive in time for the first auction.

We have over 100 new signed-by-the-author books as well as some great NEW curriculum donated by the companies, all generously donated to help bring Esther home <3. Lots of used and new books, there is something for everyone. Over 400 books in our auction so far. Almost to our goal of 500 and halfway to our huge goal of 1000 books. Less than $2k left to be fully funded for our minimum expense estimate for the whole adoption.

Our Bring Them Home Auction did well-we raised almost $400 through that! Thank you so much for your bids and help to get us closer!

In two more days, it will be two months since I said goodbye to Esther. I miss her very much. So ready to have her home and be done with adoption stuff, to just live life and be a family. We weren't able to Skype this week due to the weather and I didn't realize how much I look forward to seeing and talking with her until we didn't get to. My children have been helping to come up with creative ideas to do during the sessions to keep them interesting and help her get to know her new family.

Currently, we are waiting for a signature from the Ministry of Justice in our daughter's country.We received our Article 5 on Aug 27th, it was picked up on Sept 2nd and then resubmitted to the MOJ to await signature the week of Sept 7th. Once we have that signature of approval, our paperwork will be sent to court, our case assigned to a judge and then we will be assigned a court date. I'm hopeful that will happen very quickly but truthfully, I have no idea what our timeline will look like.

PLEASE pray for our precious girl!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Group Auction and September Adoption Update

Just a quick update...

Skype with Esther is going well. She is so sweet and very attentive. We really look forward to talking with her. Well, we don't really talk, it's more us singing to her, and she copies the motions to the songs (any suggestions for very simple songs and lots of hand motions we can teach her?? Any easy B songs we can learn and sing??), letting her see and wave at all the kids, make faces and laughing...there isn't a translator there but I know just seeing us every week will help the transition to her coming home go smoother. For that we are so grateful!


Sadly, due to her beautiful thick hair and the heat over there right now, her hair got chopped off to keep her cool... Still beautiful and I understand the reason, I was just really looking forward to seeing how long it would grow and playing with it at pickup.


 (I taught her to sign 'I Love You')
 "How big is Esther? Sooo Big!"

We received our visa approval on August 27th! Unfortunately, due to an issue with USCIS not sending all our paperwork along with our approval, the Embassy wouldn't release our letter that day. We got to the bottom of it and got it taken care of immediately but due to the holiday weekend, it wasn't released until this past Tuesday, Sept 2nd. Praise the Lord that the interview went well and that the issues were resolved quickly.

Currently our stage 2 dossier is in the translation/authentication stage and should be submitted next week. The MOJ is busy reviewing and signing dossiers again after their August break!! Please pray that they will continue at the rate they signed them this week so our wait will be short. At this point, we are waiting for the MOJ sig and then it will be sent to court, assigned to a judge and then we receive our court date. These next steps could go very quickly or it could be very drawn out. There are supposed to be elections in October so we need to have our MOJ sig this month to avoid potentially major delays.



We are participating in a group auction with 3 other families, bringing home a combined total of 7 children from the same Eastern European country. The auction ends just before midnight tomorrow night, Friday Sept 5th. If you have Facebook, please take a look at all the great variety of items available!



Also, we are still looking for more books for our Bountiful Blessings & Books Auction!
This post tells all the details about it and what we are looking for! Our book count is up to around 300, minimum goal is 500! This is going to be a great auction...I can't wait to get it started :)

P.S. Guess which cute little guy started public school this week?? Ben has grown so much since he came home! He also had a great eye appt, and his vision is 20/20! I know it will be a great year and I can't wait to see the progress :)





See what a difference a family makes!!

Thank you all for for your prayers and support!! <3



Saturday, August 23, 2014

August Adoption Update

Time for an update :)

It has been a month since I said goodbye to Esther. I miss her, and can't wait for our family to be together for the first time and forever..for her to meet her daddy and siblings. The Skype sessions are going well. She is never close to the microphone so we can't really hear her but she loves to copy the hand motions to songs while I sing them and we've gotten some great smiles. What a blessing it is to see her for a few moments (between 11-16 minutes is how long our sessions last) each week and remind her that we love her and will see her again soon.

I'm starting to think about the things we still need to get to prepare...clothes her size, a carseat, a bunk bed to build so we can start to get the room ready, special activities to do during the trip... Then all the normal nesting and cleaning that needs to happen. Lots to keep busy! If anything it is helping the weeks and waiting to fly by. All those fun projects have to wait until our final fundraisers are complete, though. I do have her pickup outfit bought, as well as the matching outfit for her baby sister...it's a start!






As for paperwork progress...

* On August 11th, we received a letter in the mail saying our I800 has been approved!! That same day, we completed updating our medicals and on the 12th, I drove to the capital to get the medicals apostilled and mailed to our caseworker.

* On August 14th, we received an email from the National Visa Center saying they had received our approved I800 and had forwarded it onto the US Embassy in Esther's country.

* August 18th, we received both approved FBI clearances back from the channelor. I mailed them out the same day to Caring Hands, a courier, who hand carries it to be apostilled. From there it was being mailed directly to our agency caseworker who would forward it to our NGO in B.

* August 20th, we received an email from Rollstone foundation saying we had been awarded a 3k grant!! Speechless and humbled for sure. This brought the amount still needed to be fully funded down to under $2k...wow...Praise the Lord! It's hard to believe we are so close. We are hoping that with our final fundraisers coming up, we will have a little extra as a buffer just in case airline ticket prices go up with the holidays (we expect to travel some time around Thanksgiving-Christmas) or there are surprises during the trip. We also have to get big sister's passport and will use anything extra for gifts for the group home and caregivers. The thermometer on the right reflects the new amount needed to be fully funded with a $500 buffer.

* August 22nd, we received an email saying our Visa Interview has been scheduled for next Wednesday, August 27th!! We are hopeful that since all our documents for our stage 2 dossier are already in country, that we will be submitted to the MOJ the following week (first week of August) to wait for a signature. Unfortunately, there are a lot of families who have been waiting for that signature for many weeks, and some for months now, so things are a little backed up as that piles grows. We are praying that it will be signed quickly. Once that happens, the next step is for it to be sent to court, assigned to a judge and then a court date scheduled. We do not have to be present for court. We are still praying that the rest of the process goes quick and smooth and that Esther will be home this year.



* As of today we have 176  books for our Bountiful Blessings & Books Auction next month!! I have letters ready to send out on Monday to local churches to see if anyone has books they would like to donate. Our original goal was 1000 but 500 books would be amazing as well. I know there are many in the mail on their way to our house right now. We have had so many generous and caring people donating books, it's been wonderful to see. I'm working on getting the pictures uploaded and info added. We will be doing one book auction via a special FB page. I am setting aside all the duplicate signed books (and any books that do not go the first round) for a second book auction via our fundraising blog so those who are not on FB can still participate. Details will be posted as we get closer.

* We are participating in a group auction with some other families starting next week. The Bring Them Home auction is set to begin on August 29th and ends on September 5th, at 11:59 PM EST. We have lots of used children's clothes listed.

* We have one final fundraiser for after the auctions are complete. I'm excited about it but will save the details of that until later ;)




Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bountiful Blessings & Books ~ Bookdrive Info

You are invited to participate in an upcoming book drive to help bring Esther home!

We need your help...

~ We need you to look through your bookshelves (and ask your friends and family to do the same) to find books you no longer read to send to us!

~ We are looking for books for all ages and interests from baby to toddler and beginning readers to elementary level. Books for youth to adult. Books for ages 0-110!

~ Self help, educational, funny, crafty, history, adoption related, animals, books that belong to a series, old and new, fiction and nonfiction, chapter books, cookbooks, piano books, unused puzzle books, Bible study books, travel books, coffee table books, home school books, classics and favorites, gift gifts, board books, hardcover & softcover, holiday books....!

~ Homeschool Curriculum will be included as well so if you have any in great condition, send it our way!

~ We are going to have books signed by the authors!

~ Even audiobooks would be great!

~ Our goal is 1000 books!


Only requests:

1. Books need to be in great to new condition
2. Books need to be family friendly (my children will be helping to sort through them)
3. All books need to arrive at our house by September 20th


What to do....

~ After you gather all the books you want to donate to our book drive, please pack them safely into a sturdy box for shipping. 

~ Media mail is cheapest (you can send a 20lb box of books across the country for under $20...that's a lot of books!)

~ Please send us an email at: amsutton @ va.metrocast.net (remove the space before and after @) for our address to ship them to and to let us know a box is on it's way! Or just leave a comment on this post with your email (I won't post it publicly) and we will contact you back.

What happens next...

~ We will sort and organize all the books, take pictures and post them in preparation for our upcoming Bountiful Blessings & Books auction that will take place online at the end of September. 

~ When it is ready to begin, we will share all the details and you can go shopping via auction for some great books for gifts for every member of your family in preparation for the upcoming birthdays and holidays!

ALL proceeds will go to help bring Esther home! 


The pages of Esther's life book will be changing soon...
Your donation will help make that miracle possible and we can't thank you enough!

Any questions? Please ask!