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!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Second Stage Dossier

If feels so weird to be so close to the end of the paperwork, but we are almost there!!

We received a notice in the mail August 1st, dated July 29th, saying our receipt date for our i800 (USCIS approval from homeland security) was July 24th! We've heard approval dates are taking about two weeks so hopefully that means we should be hearing something any day now about our approval and article 5/visa interview date. 

We finished up the referral acceptance letter for Esther and the referral denial letter for Little G...Those were notarized last week, apostilled Monday and our caseworker should have received them today. 

My FBI prints are done and my husbands will be done tomorrow. Its been challenging coordinating a time for these final steps around his work schedule and the few hours the local police station is available to get prints done. Those will be on its way to the courier by Friday and hopefully a quick turnaround to get this clearance updated. 

Medical appts are scheduled on Monday to get those updated! I will drive to the capital on Tues to apostille them and send them to our caseworker that day. She will send everything onto our agency in B, who will get everything translated and authenticated and ready to submit to the MOJ for a signature. There have been some changes recently with the government resigning and new people taking office. We aren't yet sure how or if this will affect the next steps in our adoption process. Many of the officials there also take a vacation for the month of August, and again, I'm not sure on if the timing of where we are at will be impacted or delayed at all. Often by the time everyone is back to work, there is a bit of a backlog of files waiting to be processed.

*~*~*~*

It's been 15 days since I said goodbye to Esther...The past few days I've gone back to rewatch the videos and look at pictures from our visits. Did you know she has a dimple in her cheek when she smiles? So do half her siblings!



We look forward to our weekly Skype sessions quite a bit, even though they are quite short. Yesterday she was very animated and chatty, copying raspberry noises and sound patterns I made with my mouth and words I said in English. She calls me 'Mamo'; said 'Hewo' and 'How are you' (with prompting from the person with her).  I think she's going to learn quickly. I saw smiles and she cooed at her sister when she saw baby Ruth. She clapped and said 'Bravo' (with prompting) after I sang her a song. Time to say 'chow' and wave/blow kisses comes way too soon each time... It's such a comfort to see her, hear her and know she's okay. I imagine these weekly moments will help the transition to bringing her home go much smoother because we won't be strangers quite so much. I pray they are preparing her to join our family, that her little heart will be prepared for all the changes to come, to accept our love. 

We are praying hard that we can bring her home in November! Her Uncle (my older brother) and his family are missionaries and have been out of the country for two years...they will be home for the month of December only and we don't want to miss that time with him if possible. Trusting in God's timing above everything!

*~*~*~*

Please keep Little G in prayer! We are waiting for his file to be relisted with the MOJ so that our agency can request it again. At that point we can start advocating to find a family for him. Selfishly, I'd love them to live close enough that we can visit but above everything, I'm praying he doesn't have to wait long for his family to see and fall in love with him and know he is their son and to work to bring him home. I'm writing down all the details I can remember, gathering all the pictures and videos I took while visiting with him, to share with his future family. He deserves to be loved, and will be a wonderful son to the right family. 

*~*~*~*

We were hopeful to have our adoption fund reach $6k before we left on the trip...or at least before July ended...but a week into August and we are still $83 away from reaching that number. If you haven't already, would you consider investing in the life of a precious little girl? Her life is worth it! Even $5 will make a difference. We are only $5,083 away from being fully funded for our adoption!! That is such a little number, so doable. 7 months ago we were looking at $33k needing to be raised. God has and is providing and it's amazing to see! Please join us on our journey and be a part of Esther's miracle!  If you have considering donating but haven't yet and instead want to pool together funds with friends and family to offer a matching grant, that would be wonderful also :-)

I'm trying to come up with some ideas to help raise the funds for the last amount needed but so far my mind is blank...other than another auction, possibly. Would love creative ideas! Keep in mind that our local network is very small, and most of our friends and family are tapped out after back to back adoptions and generous support thus far. That kinda limits some of the ideas we could try. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Unexpected Blessings

It has been a very hard past few weeks with all the events and emotions of traveling, meeting and saying goodbye...and then seeing our adoption fund barely move in that time period... I wasn't sure where to even start with fundraising again but knew we had a big fee due ASAP. After 7 grant denials in the past few months, I was loosing hope that any of them would come through...

We received an unexpected blessing yesterday that brought tears and just amazement at God's reminder that He always provides. The timing couldn't have been better and it was a huge encouragement to our family in the midst of our sadness of  having to say no to bringing Little G home.

We've been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Christian Orphan Fund!! If anyone is looking for an organization to donate to that makes a huge difference in the lives of orphans by lessening the financial burden to families stepping up to make them sons and daughters, I would suggest the Christian Orphan Fund They are short on funding but would love to bless other families who have followed the call and said "Yes" to growing their families in this way. We are humbled to be chosen and awarded this grant and can not thank them enough for their support for our family and their help in bringing our daughter home.

*~*~*~*~*

We are a huge step closer to being fully funded for our adoption!! We are waiting for the final totals of the proceeds from our Norwex and Thirty-One parties to be deposited into our adoption fund. We are also still waiting for the funds from the first adoption grant of $1500 we were awarded over a month ago to be received by our agency.

Once all that goes through...we should be only $5,000 away from being fully funded!!

The number we need to reach to be fully funded is $11,000 in our adoption fund!!

We can't thank you all enough for your prayers and support on our journey <3


Monday, July 28, 2014

All About Esther

I can't think of a better word to describe Esther than SWEET!

She's beautiful and quiet and cautious and serious and adorable and tiny and just precious.

And her smile...worth the wait! She makes you work for it but her face lights up!

The visits with her went well. From the moment they walked her down the stairs of the group home and she just ran right into my arms and melted in for a long hug until the absolute joy at her meeting her baby sister for the first time, there was no doubt that she was ours. Esther was just enthralled with baby Ruth and I'm so glad I brought her on the trip and was able to see how she interacted with her. We have the sweetest pictures of her nose to nose with her. Most of our visits were of Esther watching and inspecting her, or else wanting to do everything Ruth was doing...from playing with the same toys and sitting in her stroller to eating her baby food. She loved being pushed in the stroller or helping to push Ruth in it. 

They said she chooses who she likes and has chosen to like her new mama <3 She was accepting of me holding and loving on her. I was glad to see she wasn't crawling into the laps of everyone there though. She was accepting of my touch and liked being sung to while looking right into my eyes. She liked being tossed into the air and spun around...so thankful she was light or my arms would have fallen off! She's observant and copied what I did whether it was how to operate a toy or the sound pattern I made with the nesting cups on the stones. If I used a specific color cup, on her own she would find the other cup that was the same color to copy what I was doing with it. She liked the music box and the necklaces. She has to hold something in her hand at all times, usually a piece of plastic bag or the beaded necklace or a duplo type block or a leaf that she will twist in her fingers. They said she won't go to sleep without something in her hand. They said she likes balls and we learned quickly that she loves to blow bubbles and is very good at it. She wasn't as interested in the baby doll I brought, though who could blame her when there is a live baby doll to play with. She kept sharing all her toys with Ruth, which was sweet, though Ruth wasn't so sure about the large pile in her lap. She is not potty trained. She liked having her hair brushed and brushing mine, but wasn't as interested in all the hair things being put in her hair. They agreed to let her hair grow out until we come back to get her. 


When she was 3, Esther was moved to the group home that she currently lives at. It couldn't have been a better preparation for what she is coming home to! Family environment with multiple aged children who treat her and love her like their own baby sister. There are about 8-10 children in the group home and ages 5-12, Esther being the youngest and only one of two girls. She shares a room with a 10 yo girl who is just precious and gentle with her. Good preparation for all the big sisters waiting for her at home. They have 5 caregivers that alternate shifts caring for the children. The group home is connected to an orphanage that holds approximately 25 children (that we counted) ages 3-6. All the kids were so well behaved and so cute! Other than strabismus, it did not appear any of the orphanage kids had SN. The other kids in the group home were on the balcony when we arrived and were more than happy to tell us all about Esther. Every day they went for a walk while we were having our visits and returned towards the end of our 3 hrs and would come over to talk with her, us and our translator. 

Esther appears completely healthy and we are so thankful for that. She has delays, how much are due to her premature birth or just growing up in an orphanage in her early years, I don't yet know. She has something going on in her mouth, similar to the issues Ben had, but thankfully her teeth are not ground down to the gumline bleeding and infected. She does grind her teeth and makes a noise with them. They said she does it most when she is concentrating but I noticed her doing it less with each visit as she was more relaxed. Ben had awful reflux symptoms, and she may have similar to a point but does not drool like he did. They said she doesn't like her teeth brushed, and the smell in her mouth gave that away. She is small and whatever is going on is affecting her ability to eat. The kids told us she eats a lot but yet she only weighs 26lbs at 5yo? She will only eat mushy foods that don't require chewing, same as Ben when he came home. We were able to see her eat her snack one day...a large bowl of yogurt with mushed fruit. She has a good appetite and eats very quickly. It was cute when she stopped to blow on one bite as if it was hot. They said she loves ice cream and I'm looking forward to getting her some on the pickup trip!


Esther doesn't have the same fine motor skill delays Ben has. She was able to color on the paper and hold the pencil and spoon correctly. We went through about 100 stickers, I would hand them to her to stick on a piece of paper. She still has a very slight unstableness when walking down the stairs and running, despite starting to walk at 2yo. She doesn't have near as many orphanage behaviors Ben had. 

She doesn't talk a lot but she was able to repeat things I said in English clearly. She said all the names of her siblings, learned and said "round and round a garden' while drawing circles on our palm (a little rhyme I taught her that ends with tickles). There were some hand games she did with the caretaker. 

When a few of the orphanage kids escaped and came over to play with her toys, she handled it well and didn't get upset, just more stared them down. 

I don't know if it's her age or what, but I saw spunk as well. She has an opinion and has her own facial expressions she will make when she isn't happy about something. Reminds me so much of her sister at home, also 5yo! They are going to be quite a pair, haha. 


I brought this dress and they put it on for her visa picture and it fit her perfectly! Size is 3T. The shoes she was wearing were too big but were a European 25, which is equivelent to 8 1/2-9 US. 

We got to tour the group home and see her bed. She sleeps on a twin bed, no pillow and there is a shelf with a couple dolls and her shoes on it.. There is a wardrobe with her clothes in it. The home is simple but clean. Bathroom, living room, tv with shelves on either side holding stuffed animals, balcony where they hang clothes to dry. Table to eat meals on and tiny kitchen. 

The whole experience of Ben's orphanage and adoption and Esther's is so different from each other. As hard as it was to leave her there, it was very comforting to know they are taking good care of her. It was exciting to learn we would be able to Skype weekly with her and would be able to get occasional pictures via FB. Never so thankful for technology! It will be so nice for her to get to meet her siblings before she comes home and to help make the time easier to bare until she is officially ours forever. 

We appreciate continued prayers for Esther during the wait. That we'll be able to build bonds during our weekly sessions and her heart will be prepared to join our family when the time comes. Prayers that the wait to bring our beautiful daughter home will be short! 

Heartbreaking Decision

I want to thank everyone who prayed for our family, for our trip and for the children we went to meet. This journey really began a year ago when we received confirmation that Little G was Ben’s brother and our hearts knew we had to step out in faith to bring him home as well. Never imagined the ending would be any different than him becoming our son in the near future, especially after fighting for him so long. We wanted this to work out in the worst way.

After spending time visiting and getting to know Little G and learning more about what his needs are, lots of prayer for clarity and peace, lots of tears….we confirmed what our hearts knew, that we wouldn't be bringing him home. One of the hardest decisions we've ever had to make…I’m heartbroken and grieving. We aren't the right family for him. I do believe he will thrive in a family but he needs a family without younger children that need protection, he needs and deserves a family with lots of experience and time/attention to devote to him. That’s just not possible in our large family and little support system. God has given us complete peace that we've made the right decision but it doesn't take the heartache away for how we thought he would be our son, the sadness that he is stuck there waiting until his family finds him.

We may never know why God led us down this road only for it to end this way. We may never know the role our part has impacted his future. Our prayer is that what we have learned about him will be helpful in finding his forever family and that he won’t be waiting long. Even though I’m sure the boys didn't have a brotherly bond, I’m hopeful to keep in touch with Little G's family once he is home. I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet Little G, to show him love and pray for him. He’s a child of God, worthy of love and deserving of a family. Just wish it could have been our family :’(

Trying to find the blessings that came out of all this…we wouldn't have even been thinking of adopting again if it weren't for Little G, and waiting for his file to be found….we would have completely missed seeing our daughter, Esther, listed. I’m thankful for the memories made with Little G, the videos and pictures I have to show Ben when he asks about his brother someday. I hope that our fighting for Little G's file to become available was the push needed to help him be seen and for his forever family to find him.

We are asking for you to keep our family and Little G in your prayers. I ask for no judgment about our decision as only my husband and I could make this decision, knowing our family dynamics, what we can handle and keeping in mind our ability to meet the needs of all the children already in our home at the same time. It would be wrong to bring him home if we couldn't fully meet his needs and love him as he deserves. Every family is not the right fit for every child but I know his family is out there waiting and I’m happy to share more with anyone seriously interested in adopting him.

Thank you friends for your support, prayers and understanding 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Home...and updates



I have returned from trip 1 and meeting both children! Feeling rather jet-lagged but will blog more about the trip and the children once I get a free moment. Some very sweet moments, some surprises and decisions...it's been a blessed, eventful and prayerful two weeks. So thankful for the experience to visit their birth country and learn more about the beautiful people and culture there once again. So thankful to be able to take this journey with my sister there for support and baby Ruth there to cuddle with, get us to the front of the lines and help break through the language barrier among young and old everywhere we went with her big smiles.

One huge step in the process complete, now we just finish the last of the paperwork, wait for the final stages...court and the pickup trip. Praying that will happen before the year is over! Our i800 paperwork was mailed out the same day we met Esther so hopefully our approval letter will arrive next week or shortly there after. Our Visa interview likely won't happen until September due to the August shutdown but hopefully by the time that is done, we will have the last of our stage 2 dossier in hand and ready to be submitted once it is all translated. Our part of the stage 2 dossier includes redoing our FBI clearance and updating our medical exams.

~*~*~*~

As for finances, we are trying to get our adoption fund to $6,000 by the end of the month. Only $194 to go to get there!

Once our fund reads $8,000 we will have enough to pay the last of our agency fees due ASAP!

Once our fund reads $16,000 we will be fully funded!!

We've had no response from our Mustard Seed letters that were mailed out to over 75 churches across the country.

Still about 5 grants we are waiting to hear back from...

Our Thirty-One bag fundraiser has ended and we raised just over $100 through that. Thank you all so much for your orders!


Our Norwex party ends tomorrow so you still have a little longer to get your order in and get some great products while helping with our adoption. When ordering please be sure to put my name, Amanda Sutton, (as your hostess) when you check out. www.jenniferwojcik.norwex.biz

~Thank you so very much for your prayers and support~

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?