Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for us...

As some of you might know we started this process to adopt Hannah Ershu at the beginning of the year.  We had some savings (savings from the tax return a few years ago that we were planning on using for our Ethiopian adoption that we held onto because we felt like God was telling us it was for an adoption- ours or someone else's; dividends from last year that we were saving for a trip to Guatemala that we were planning on taking this fall, and our tax return this year) we knew we would put toward the 26K+ that it would cost.  Even with all of these savings God had already provided, we were trusting that He would provide a way for the rest.  From the beginning, our good, sweet friends (Jesse and Elena Carpenter that we met at church a couple of years ago) ask if they could help us fundraise!  Really? This was one of the sweetest things you could hear when you are sharing your news with someone!  OF COURSE!!! THANK YOU!!  :)  We were so blessed by this offer to help us in this challenging part of adoption! What a blessing it would be if every family who wanted to adopt would have friends offer to stand with them and help them fundraise!  What a burden shared!

This spring, we did 2 major garage sales that our family, friends, and church helped by donating things to sell, along with a family letting us use their nice home and garage during a huge annual neighborhood garage sale.  We raised a total of $5,023.27 when you combined the 2 garage sales and the sales of large or leftover items on craigslist!  WOW!  I am still so amazed, as I am writing this and remembering, how God worked through so many people to make it happen and help bring our special girl home!  

Then we decided to take a little break from the garage sales and work on applying for grants and to begin planning another fundraiser for the fall.  During this time, we also took Mateo back to Seattle Children's to decide if it was time to do another detethering surgery on his split-spinal cord, and the neurosurgeon said he though it would need to be done soon, no waiting 6 months.  So needless to say we have been busy and preoccupied (and sometimes very overwhelmed) with Mateo's surgery down in Seattle and recovery, and juggling the adoption! :) Though, we can see how God worked the timing out to be just right!  He has healed Mateo very quickly (much to the surprise and amazement of the doctors and nurses) and Mateo has been such a trooper!  As a family we have made it through this tough time, but with no time or energy left to plan a big fundraiser!  We didn't have to!  Jesse and Elena contacted us and told us they would like to put on a Breakfast or Lunch Fundraiser for us!  

It is really hard to put into words the relief and gratitude we felt, as we have been so overwhelmed by life recently!! And this was such a blessing to us!  The best part was, though we were allowed to have some input if we wanted to, they planned everything!!  They called some other friends and put a small team together!  They got approval to hold the meal in our church's fellowship hall, and they settled on Chinese-themed lunch after church.  Kat Kalli, Kim Mondeel, and Melody Haakenson along with the Carpenters, all donated their time, food, music, games and decorations!  We also had more friends jump in at the last minute and serve, welcome, set-up, take pictures, bring a pot of rice and clean up!  I don't think we could have ever dreamed of such a wonderful event/fundraiser, that was so beautiful and centered around bringing Hannah home, and in the end we didn't have to do anything to make it happen!! The feeling of being loved and blessed was so overwhelming, that it still brings tears to my eyes!  
On top of all of that... people came and ate lunch with us!  The food was delicious, we ended up with just the right amount, and we probably fed at least 150 people!  And our friends and family and church family were SO GENEROUS!!  In the end, we raised exactly what we needed!  I am not joking...it started off being a little more than what we had left to raise, and then the next week we got a surprise $1100 fee for travel (they are charging Hannah Ershu as an adult because she just turned 12).  Still, God, worked it out and knew how much we needed!  A few travel rates were lower than we expected, and with people's generosity, it all worked out to us having just what we needed for this trip!  :)  We are not sure what we will exactly need for food (breakfast is included in our hotel fees) or spending money (shoes for Hannah Ershu etc..) but we are not too worried about that! :) We will always remember this blessing from our friends (and God) as one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for us!  And we can't wait to share with Hannah Ershu the story of how God worked through so many loving and supportive people to bring her home to her forever family! Thank you!

   Beautifully Decorated by Kim Mondeel! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beautiful Family Pictures taken by Aunt Mindy

We (actually Aunt Mindy Kritchen) took these pictures this summer to send to Hannah Ershu when we were allowed to contact her and let her know she had a family!!  We are so excited to bring her home and have her be a wonderful addition to our family!  We got to see her reaction to recognizing herself in the frame we were all holding, when she first saw the picture we sent!  It was priceless!  Less than 2 weeks!

Hannah turns 12!

Our sweet daughter turned 12 on Saturday!  Her last birthday without her forever family!  We were able to send her a cake and a small gift, and we were blessed with pictures of her sharing her cake with some of the other older kids in the orphanage.  What an amazing cake!  And we love her smiles and excitement!  We are going to have to find some of those candles while we are there and stock up!! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Setting up Blog

The start of our blog for our travel to China to bring Hannah Ershu home.