Monday, April 21, 2014

The Next Steps

Now that our Dossier is DONE and the Dossier fees are all PAID (Still celebrating that here!!) we are going to continue working on raising the funds for Trip1!

As far as the next steps in our adoption...I described those briefly in the previous post. With our dossier out of our hands now, the next few steps don't involved us other than waiting and praying.

These are the fees coming up in a very short amount of time, approximately 6 weeks from now:

Phase 3
$3,500 Airline Tickets (two adults plus baby)
$1500 In Country Expenses (Hotel/food with a longer trip to two different regions, etc)
$460 Visas for 2 children

Once we return from the trip, these fees will be due:
$6,000 (final program fee)
$720 USCIS for second child
$100 FBI Clearance Update

Currently we have $1212.65 in our Reece's Rainbow fund.

We need the funds for the first half of Phase 3 to go to our RR fund because they are easier to access quickly when it is time to book our flights and before we leave on Trip 1. (Airfare and lodging estimates are subject to change as summer gets closer so anything above and beyond our current goal would be a buffer and a blessing. Unused travel funds will be saved and used towards next set of fees.) 

Based on the estimates above, that adds up to $5460 needed. So, to round it up, we are aiming for our RR Fund to read at least $5,500 by June 1st.

- 1212.65
$4287.35 still needed

(And then by the end of June, we will need an additional $6,820 for the remaining fees due then).

Looking back, I never imagined we would be able to raise over $15k in only 4 months. It has been hard, exhausting and time consuming but through all that, God has provided every $ and we are so grateful to everyone who has generously given to make it possible. Please keep sharing, praying and consider investing in the lives of two children!

PLEASE pray that the grants we have applied for come through. That would be a HUGE blessing!

12 days left to finish off 4 more states in our 50 States Challenge Game, (at which point we will draw for the Mother's Day Prize winner. Donations and entries into the game get us closer to traveling the 5000 miles to go meet our children!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mother's Day Grand Prize Giveaway

Here are the details of our Mother's Day Grand Prize:

$25 Gift Card to 1-800!
(Also redeemable at Fannie May Berries, 1-800 Baskets, The Popcorn Factory and
$20 Gift Card to Yankee Candle Factory

$25 Gift Card to Origami Owl
Custom Designed Jewelry!
$25 Gift Card to Restaurant of Winner's Choice
$25 Movie Ticket Gift Card
(Winner Choice of AMC, Regal, Fandango)
$10 Gift Card to Starbucks
Brand New Thirty One Onyx Medallion Mini Zipper Pouch
If you win, you can gift it to your mom, grandma, mother-in-law,
a mother -to-be or keep it for yourself to enjoy!
The deadline to get entries to win the Mother's Day Gift Package above is May 3rd!
If the state you donate to is one of the first 10 states to meet the goal of reaching $100,
your entries will be doubled!
If you donate before the Mother's Day prize deadline ends,
your entries will also count towards our Father's Day Grand Prize
that we will be drawing for in June when we wrap up our Challenge Game!
Details of that prize are coming soon!
Go support your state and help bring two children home
so they will know what having a mother and father mean!
Every dollar donated gets us one mile closer to going to meet them
 and one step closer to getting them home.
Thank you!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dossier is complete!!

Look what came!!!

Our dossier is complete!

Getting the cover letter notarized tomorrow and apostilled on Monday. Then overnighting everything to our caseworker who will send it to EE on Tuesday!!

Then we wait for it to be translated, authenticated and finally the whole dossier submitted. Verbal referral (acceptance of our application and petition to adopt the particular children we have committed to) usually comes within a couple weeks. A few weeks later typically is the written referral and travel dates are received. Still looking good that we may travel in June.

We have also been moved to the "Almost There" page on RR! :)

Please keep praying for our prayer requests:

1. Fundraising - I'm getting a little nervous about the airline ticket prices going up and being more than we've budgeted for. Please pray that we will be able to raise all of the funds needed to cover the trip fees before we leave.

2. Please pray for the grants we have applied for, that we may be awarded some to help with the final agency fees due when we return from the trip. We have been denied one so far and received emails that two will be reviewed soon. No word on the others yet.

3. Travel requests...both of our children's orphanages are in different regions a few hours apart. Typically that requires two full weeks in country. We are praying that somehow it will be possible to do visits for one of them over part of the weekend so the trip will be a little bit shorter. With so many little ones at home, they are going to have a very hard time with mama being gone for so long.

4. For Esther and Little G...for their hearts to be prepared to meet us, for their health and protection.

5. For our family as we prepare to bring them home. All the paperwork and fundraising has been very time consuming and it's not done yet, but it takes a toll and I'm working on keeping up with everything else at the same time.

Thank you!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Attachment as a Special Need

A fellow adoptive mom and friend is writing a series on Attachment as a Special Need that I think is well worth reading.

Attachment issues have a huge range of symptoms, are very common but seldom diagnosed before you bring your child home. We have and still are working through many of the things she touches on. It is challenging especially when people your family interacts with do not understand. I would recommend others prepare themselves before their children come home with how they will handle the situations that come up as they help their child adjust to their new lives and heal from their past.
Click on the picture and it will take you to the intro. 
The rest of the (still in process) series is linked at the bottom of that post.

4362 Miles To Go!

I wanted to update real quick on the progress with our 50 States challenge game!

We made some changes to it out of necessity, added prizes and upped the competition by allowing all states to play at the same time :)

Please share our game and invite your friends and family to participate!

Help us celebrate the life of a precious little girl and hopefully we will be able to be there in person for her 5th birthday in June!

We have raised $638.48 so far ($200 for two of the states was sent to us in the mail!), and 6 states have been completed! 46 states to go before we can travel the 5000 miles to meet our children.

Once 10 states have been completed,
we will share a picture of Esther from her 4th birthday.
Thank you!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

50 States Challenge Game ~ $5000 for 5000 Miles!

Want to play a game??
Esther is turning 5 in June!

Help us celebrate by raising the funds to go see her for her birthday!!
We expect to be traveling in June to meet Esther and Little G and what better gift than to be there to celebrate her 5th birthday with her! This should be Esther's last birthday without a family. The country she lives in is approximately 5000 miles away from where we live.  We are needing approximately $5000 more to cover all the trip 1 fees (plane tickets, hotel, food, etc).

We have created a fun challenge game to help us get there!

How it works:
We are going to be traveling around the country in this plane:
We will be collecting ‘Happy Birthday’s to help us travel the 5000 miles to go see Esther for her birthday. We need you to help us find enough people that live in, were born in or just love each of the 50 states to donate to our Adoption Fund to meet each state’s $100 goal. We need YOU to invite your friends to play along and give a gift to a little girl you’ve never met.

We do have some prizes, thanks to a generous anonymous donor (prizes described at the bottom of the post) but the ultimate prize is the satisfaction that you get by helping two children come home to a family!

Donations can be in any combination to add up to $100 per state. Our Reece’s Rainbow FSP needs to be at $5500 when the game is finished. For simplicity sake, we are starting at $500 to begin the game.
You can donate to ANY state at any time, but you need to let us know which state/amount you donated to so we can enter you in to win some prizes!!
(For those who are donating anonymously, we are so grateful for your gift! I'm counting it towards the states that have nothing/the lowest number. Thank you so much for all of you who love our children enough to give them a gift of a family!)

This chart here will keep track of each state's progress. Keep checking back to see which state is ahead:

First ten states to be completed get double entries
into our Mother's Day Grand Prize Giveaway!
Both of these pictures below will be kept updated
as our travel progresses and each state is completed:

Tax-deductible donations need to be made here to count towards the game:

Thank you so much!

For every $5 donated, you get one entry. For every state that reaches it's goal of $100, one winner out of the ones who donated to that particular state will be drawn to win one of the prizes below of their choosing.
**The first two prize options below are only available to the next ten states that are completed!**
Prize Option 1:
One $10 Giftcard to
or a different store/restaurant if preferred
 Prize Option 2:
$10 Donation to an Adoptive Family Fund (FSP on RR, AdoptTogether, etc)
OR $10 Donation to a Waiting Child Fund on RR
Prize Option 3:
One Large Play Silk OR Two Small Play Silks
(Winner chooses colors)
Larges are 35" x 35" and Smalls are 21.5" x 21.5"
Prize Option 4:
NEW in Shrinkwrap Focus On The Family Radio Theatre 3 CD Set ~ $35 Value
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis  (Audiobooks-over 9 hours of listening)
 *The Horse and His Boy    * The Silver Chair     * The Last Battle
 (Limited Number Available)

Prize Option 5:
NEW Sara and the Starfish DVD
(Limited Number Available)

We also have two grand prizes that ALL donations of $5 will get entries to win. One prize will be drawn on May 4th, just in time for Mother's Day, and the other on June 8th, just in time for Father's Day!
Details of Fathers Day Prize are coming soon!
Please feel free to invite your friends
and family to be a part of our journey!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Matching Grant Met!!

Praise the Lord!!

Our matching grant was met and we now have all the funds needed to submit our dossier!

Just over $7,750 raised in 6 weeks, wow!

Thank you to all who helped, gave, shared & prayed! We are humbled by the generosity and so thankful for each of you being a part of the journey to bring our children home.

Now onto Phase 3!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Getting Very Close and Prayer Request!!

I mailed our missing Hague oversight approval document to USCIS yesterday and it will be there tomorrow. Found out today that we have an officer assigned for our i800a clearance!!

When I called to check about our officer, they connected we with her and I let her know the document is on it's way so she will be sure to be watching for it and there should be no delays. From what I hear, it's a good officer who has a track record of quick approvals so we very well *may* have our approval by Friday and our approval letter should arrive in the mail by early next week. That is a huge, HUGE step...meaning our dossier will be complete once that letter is notarized and apostilled!!

Some new/updated prayer requests:

1. Our Matching Grant ends in two days and we have just over $350 to go. Our AdoptTogether Fund needs to read $4200 to get the match. Once the match is complete, we will have all the funds needed to pay for the fee due when our dossier is submitted.

2. Please pray for the grants we have applied for, that we may be awarded some to help with the upcoming fees due in June. I have two more to mail out next week.

3. Travel requests...both of our children's orphanages are in different regions a few hours apart. Typically that requires two full weeks in country. We are praying that somehow it will be possible to do visits for one of them over part of the weekend so the trip will be a little bit shorter. With so many little ones at home, they are going to have a very hard time with mama being gone for so long.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Auction Totals and Matching Grant Update!!

I have spent all day today doing this:

For a very good reason...
Our auction did much better than I had dreamed!
Total bids were $837!!
Thank you to everyone who shopped, donated items,
shared about the auction and
gave above & beyond to help make this a success!
My children and I have refreshed our AdoptTogether fund more times today than I can count, watching the number rise closer to the amount needed to match our matching grant.
Our best estimate of what is still needed after the proceeds from the auction have been donated, is approximately $600 in order to reach our goal of $4200 in our AdoptTogether fund by April 11th. 
If you would like to help us match our grant which will get us closer to being able to bring two precious children home, tax-deductible donations can be made here:
Thank you so much!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Shop, Share & Defend!

Just under 11 hours left until the auction ends!
Shop, Share & Defend your Bids!!
(Click on the picture above and it will take you to where our items start)
Don't see anything you want?
You can still help by donating to our adoption fund at the link below.
We have a $2500 matching grant that ends on April 11th
and we still need $1652 to match it.
(Our fund needs to read $4200)

Friday, April 4, 2014

7 families & 11 children!

I realize I forgot to introduce all the other wonderful families
who are participating in the huge group auction with us!

If you want to see thumbnails of all of the auction items click HERE

Below you will find quick links to take you directly to where each family's items start.
(Clicking on their picture will also take you there.)

The link to the CLAUS family's items.

The link to the RAY family items.
The link to the BAILEY family's items.
The link to the KIRK family's items.

Link to the SHOGER family's items.
Link to the VARGAS family's items.

The link to our family's items: SUTTON
Proceeds from our items help get us closer to meeting
our matching grant that ends on April 11th!
Please share the link and
take a look at all the great items up for bid!
There really is something for everyone!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Many Auction Items Without Bids

Just two more days until our auction ends and there are still many items without bids. I have posted the pictures of some of these items below and if you click on them, it will take you directly to where you can place a bid!

I am so happy to share that we are already up to $682 in bids!! I had a very ambitious goal when we started of reaching $1,000 raised with this auction and we aren't far off from that! That will bring us so much closer to meeting our matching grant, which is wonderful since we are running out of time!

Here is the auction link again (scroll to the bottom for our items):

Some of the items without bids:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Auction Pictures!

Here is a peek at all the great items available to benefit our adoption in the group auction!
For details about each item, and to place a bid go here:
(Our items are all at the end when you go to the link above)

If you aren't on FB but still want to place a bid, leave a comment on this blog post (I will not publish it) or send us an email: amsutton @
Thank you!!
Just $1760 left to raise in the next 10 days
to meet our matching grant!