Thursday, June 18, 2015

One Year Later: More Big News

So much can happen in a year.

12 months ago on June 19th, 2014 we received some amazing news from China.  We were given Preapproval, or preliminary permission, to adopt our Frannie Joy.  Also on that day, our little boy (that we wouldn't commit to adopt until September) turned two.  We celebrated like crazy that day and shared our excitement with our 5 biological children.  I'll never forget how that news felt.  After 10 years of following our hearts, we were finally going to adopt!

This has been probably the second most stressful year of my life.  The year Myra was born with a brain injury and collected so many scary diagnoses still ranks #1.  But, that hard year is what led us to this hard year.  God never promises that we won't have to go through tough times, He just promises He will be there with us.  And, no doubt, He has been here every step from Myra's birth in 2009 to the year of crazy adoption stuff!  And also helped provide $52,000 for this adoption!  We only need a few thousand more!!

Well, a year later, we have good news again!


After a 32 day wait, which normally takes only 7 days, we finally have that piece of paper that gives us a GO to plan our trip to China!  And I hope to travel there with my mom in as little as a WEEK!

It's happening, people!!  I cannot believe it's really going to happen!  Soon I'll be snuggling these two hurting little people that I've been dreaming about for a year now.  I.cannot.wait!!

I'm coming Frannie and Finn!  I'm really truly coming!!
Happy 3rd Birthday Finton!  Enjoy time with your foster family.
We should know travel dates and details next week!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Waiting STINKS

We are now 15 days into our Travel Approval wait.  Average wait times are 7-10 days.


The first week I checked my email hourly.  Last week I woke up in the mornings anxiously hoping to find good news, but was disappointed each day.  This week...I haven't even asked my agency whether there is news at all.

Anytime you get a date in your head, it's often hard to let it go.  Kind of like my pregnancies I talked about in my previous blog.  I'm feeling like I'm about to pass my due date (June 4th was my original travel date) and go waaaay overdue.  Usually there is nesting involved up until that point, but after my due dates my motivation always took a nose dive.  And I was just stuck waiting.

That's where I am.

Waiting stinks.

But, I know in my heart that God's timing is best and I can hold onto that.  He has planned this for longer than I could fathom and I can trust His judgement.

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him.
Ecclesiastes 8:6

So, that's my depressing update.  No news.

I hope next time I blog I'll have an awesome itinerary to share!!

Until then, I'm praying for peace for myself and continuing to pray for Frannie and Finton and all the changes they are about to experience.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 
John 14:27

Sunday, May 24, 2015

1 Year Ago Today

One year ago today we submitted paperwork to our agency asking China to adopt 'Yulia' on Reece's Rainbow.  We had just been through a whirlwind spring after being denied the adoption of sisters from the Philippines....twice.  (You can read more about that HERE.)

But, I couldn't deny what I felt when I watched 'Yulia's' videos.  Over and over and over.  And watched THIS adoption day video over and over and over.  And cried.  The ugly cry you cry when no one is looking.

We submitted paperwork knowing we could be denied adoption from China based on our number of kids and/or our income.  We had to request waivers from China for these things.  After being denied the sisters, I wasn't sure I could take more rejection.  It had been 10 years pursuing our love of children and I was so, so tired of waiting.  I truly felt this was a calling on our lives, but I did not have the patience of Abraham for God's promises.

We waited 3 loooong weeks to hear from China.  I can say, I truly had a peace, no matter the outcome, by the end of those 3 weeks.  I wanted God to confirm this decision for us and it needed to be out of our hands.

We got Preapproval to adopt 'Yulia' on June 19.  We had already named her Frances "Frannie" Joy after her great grandmother, whom she shares a birthday with, on Memorial Day 2014.

Which, by the way, is when our son turned 2 in China.  The son we had never even seen a photo of at this point.  The son we wouldn't see and pursue until September.  The son we wouldn't get Preapproval for until late October.   The son we would eventually name Finton 'Finn' Scott.

God knew the whole time.

One year.  It's been such a long year.  Probably the most stressful year of my life.  Adoption paperwork (for me) completely trumps having 5 kids under the age of 6.  You just have no idea unless you've been through the waiting, pressure, notaries, post office visits kissing package as they leave, checking email more times a day than you can count.  It's emotionally exhausting.

But, here we are.  One year later.  And we are almost there!

My 'dream adoption' was of two kids under the age of five who were of a different culture.  I really wanted a multicultural family.  And I really wanted young kids.  I let that dream go a number of times when considering foster care.  And when we found the girls from the Philippines who were 9 and 6, I was totally on board.  But, that was my original dream in my heart from early in our marriage.  I thought we would adopt mixed children from America.  Mr. Prince would have loved little Hispanic children.  Never in a million years would I have guessed our children would be Asian.  I have always thought Asian children were some of the most beautiful children with their slanted eyes and dark hair, but I never imagined I would have the opportunity to raise one of these beautiful children, let alone TWO!

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

I am loving this song right now, as is sings my heart....

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

God gave me those desires in my heart.  He gave me the blessing of Myra, which opened my eyes to the plight of orphans with special needs all over the world.  He gave me this secret love for people with Down Sydrome since I was a little girl. 

I am standing on a mountain top for sure!  My dreams have come true and they are perfect for our family.  Because God knows us better than we do.  He is so very faithful.  Why do I ever doubt?

We are not perfect parents.  I am not supermom.  I make mistakes daily.  But, I am willing to go only because I know God has gone before us. He has hand chosen these children for our family.  It is His strength I will pull from and His grace I will need to forgive me when I mess things up.  

And so I'll sing....
Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Countdown Has Begun

I remember making count downs for all my pregnancies. 

My first one I drew little Winnie-the-Poohs on note cards and put them on a metal ring to flip each day.  I used that for a few kids, until it got lost in the shuffle of little kid stuff, and I had to create a new one for my last two kids.  But, every single time I got down to ZERO DAYS, I still had to flip that darn countdown!  I ended up writing "1 day overdue, 2 days overdue, etc" on the back of each of the note cards.  I was late with every child.  6 days, 3 days, 10 days, 14 days and 3 days.  I expected it by #4, but I can tell you...that still didn't make it any easier to flip that countdown!

Well, being 2015, my countdown has been upgraded to a digital version.  Duh.

Well, I just have to say...I don't want to get past the ZERO DAYS mark this time!!  (commence kicking and screaming)  I think it's only fair that I get a break this time around.  That I have the opportunity to 'get my baby' on the day I was originally planning to.  Right?  It seems a reasonable request after waiting extra for the 5 others....

Ok, my pity party is over.

Well, I am still planning to leave on June 4th.  We still have not received our Travel Approval.  I think we need it by early next week to still be able to travel at that time.  And, the Chinese government will have to award us our first request for the Consulate Appointment or the whole trip gets pushed back 3 weeks. 

I've been overdue for FOURTEEN DAYS and it was excruciating. 

I'm not sure I can last 3 weeks without a mental breakdown.

So, PLEASE PRAY we get this Travel Approval SOON!!

Look at me!  I've been packed for over a week now!  It isn't making my wait any easier, though.  I've packed...and repacked...and repacked....and repacked more times than I can count now.  When my girls find me in the office shuffling stuff around they just roll their eyes now and say, "Mom!  You can't possibly fit anything else in there!  Stop messing with it!"  LOL!  They will admit, though, it's fun to shuffle through Frannie and Finn's backpacks and look at their cute, tiny outfits. 

There are days I wish so badly I could take them with me...all my kids.  And Paul, of course.  But, I know in my heart going alone (with my mom) is the best option.  My bio kids need a parent at home.  And my new kids need a parent with undivided attention.  And if I took my girls, Frannie and Finn would think they had 3 mommies, no doubt! 

These attachment techniques we plan to implement, things such as no one comforting them or rocking them on their lap besides mom and dad, will be hard for my kids to follow.  They will have to fight their instinct with every breath.  But, they do understand.  At least understand enough for their little 7, 9, 10 and 12 year old minds.  It will be hard for me to give these toddlers as much attention as they will need between housekeeping, meals and Myra's needs.  I remember bouncing between my little kids often, reading one a story, building blocks with another and nursing another on my lap.  It was easy back then.  I feel like with  my bio kids being older, possibly struggling to respect our bonding time, watching mom and dad drop everything to attach to these kids, they are going to need even more quality time and reassurance than they do now!  Sounds emotionally draining already.

But, we will survive!  I know we were called to this but I also know we cannot do it without God's strength and grace.  

I watched a video of a little girl tonight meet her parents for the first time.  I really cannot watch too many of these videos or I'll just start crying and never stop.  But, she was also Asian and had Down Syndrome and they gave her the same little Asian doll we plan to give Frannie on the day we meet her.  And I lost it.  I have no idea how our kids will react when I meet them, but I still cannot wait to touch her tiny little ears, hold her pudgy little hands, run my fingers through Finn's clear white hair or watch their beautiful Asian eyes as they sleep.  

We are so close.  But two weeks feels like an eternity every day.  

Please continue to pray for our process to go smoothly and for these two kids, who may have no idea we are coming for them.  My world is about to become a whole lot brighter, and their world is about to be shattered.  Adoption is beautiful, but it's also born out of tremendous loss and trauma.  I can't fix my children's past, but we are so, so, SO blessed to be a part of their future!

Financial update:  We received a matching grant from Lifesong today!  And it has already been matched!  We had a family member planning to send us a generous donation, so they were able to send that donation to Lifesong for them to match it!  We are still around $6000 short for all our adoption expenses, $3000 of that is for travel costs.  If you wish to donate to our adoption, you can use the Reece's Rainbow link on the top right corner of our blog! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Blessings Abound

I can't recall if I had posted about this previously, but I have another huge praise report!

A very long story short, we had a very loved nurse leave our home to take another job recently.  This left 3 days of nursing care not covered for our daughter with cerebral palsy, Miracle.  This nurse had been with us for over 3 years, so it was an emotional change for all of us, and left me stressing about how these hours would get covered while I'm in China and Mr. Prince is working.  Since I homeschool, I only have a nurse here 3-6 hours a day.

See, I don't just let anyone in my home.  Since we are home all day, our nurses need to be tolerant of lots of kid chatter, tolerant of our faith and really mesh well with me.  They have to snuggle with my baby and treat her like a precious little girl, not just a patient.  I'm pretty picky and have some pretty high expectations for these nurses.  Because of this, when our beloved nurse left, I flat out told my husband, "There is absolutely no way I will get used to a nurse in just a few weeks and feel comfortable enough with them to leave them full-time with my baby!"

I've seen the YouTube clips of caregivers throwing children across the room, force feeding them and many other horrific things nanny-cams have caught.  I.ain't.goin'.there.  I'm with my nurses most of the time and I get to know them well.  I need time.

But, apparently I haven't yet learned that I really shouldn't give absolutes when God is involved...

We had a nurse train in our home last week.  When she arrived I gave her Miracle's paperwork and told her the training nurse would arrive soon.  I wasn't very friendly.  I don't want a new nurse, can you tell?  Throughout the day I didn't say much, but she overheard me talk about my concerns regarding new nurses with the agency staff.

About halfway through the day, she said she had something she wanted to share with me.  She told me she knows both sides to home care.  She's a nurse, but she's also a foster mom who hires an agency to care for her foster son while she works.  She said she understood my concerns with new nurses and is very picky herself.

That meant the world to me and I turned by back to work on my computer so she wouldn't see the tears forming.

Later in the day she shared with me that she had been a NICU nurse and how much she loved working there.  I could hear in her voice her love for fragile kids and I knew that day I could trust this nurse with my Miracle.  

Only God.  Seriously.

And then I found out today that all my hours are covered for June with both of my 2 main nurses (one of which is my SIL)!  I can't believe it!

Now, July's coverage is a different story, so we are praying hard I travel in June!!
Regardless, I'm sure God has it all worked out already...

We are currently waiting to get our Travel Approval!  We expect to see it some time after 5/18 and hope to get it by 5/21 in order to travel in early June!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Another Way to Help: Our Adoption Wish List

We are a little more than a month away from travel.  I cannot believe it!

It has been suggested to us to make a public Amazon Wish List.  This allows others to see what is still needed for our trip.

If you want to help us prepare, you can either:
1) purchase items for us through Amazon and ship them to us
2) find these items at another store
3) gift us with used items
4) donate to help us cover the cost of these needed items

We have been blessed with so many that have helped us so far and we are so grateful!

Donations can be made to our Reece's Rainbow FUND  or Paypal at

You can see our Amazon Adoption Wish List HERE!  There are two pages

This will be available until around May 10, when I'll have to purchase the items so I get them in time to travel in early June!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We are Almost There!!


So, here is a fairly confusing flow chart of the China adoption program. I remember looking at it at the beginning of our process and not having any clue what all the abbreviations stood for.

What you can get from it is, this process is NOT easy and there are many steps I've had to follow these past 11 months.

But guess what?!

I just completed steps 9-12 in the last week!!  We only have 5 more steps to go!  And actually, those all go really fast!  We expect to get our official Travel Approval in the next 3-4 weeks!

Time is ticking and I have so much to do!
Please continue to pray for our family!! 

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him. 
Ecclesiastes 8:6

Cheat sheet for flow chart:
DTC: Dossier to China (paperwork that proves who we are that takes months to collect)
LOA: Letter of Acceptance (official paperwork that matches you to your specific child in China)
TA: Travel Approval (needed to book flights, hotels and CA)
CA: Consulate Appointment in Guangzhou, China (to make the adoption official)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Provisions of the Best Kind, the GOD Kind

I truly wish I could share every single blessing God has orchestrated throughout this journey.  I've tried along the way, but I feel like I haven't done God justice in this department!  I had to share a few of the most recent ones, though...

I think it's safe to say, first of all, that money is tight.  We are saving every penny we can for this adoption.  We already basically lived paycheck to paycheck, but now it's pretty much day to day.  It's life.  We've accepted it for this season.  But, it's been difficult for sure.

First, a group of ladies at my church who do a bible study together were praying about what kind of ministry project they could do together this spring, and ended up choosing to bless our family!  They planned an Adoption Celebration and shared a list of needs for our upcoming trip with our family and friends.

 Visiting with family and friends

The celebration was this past weekend and it was A-MAZ-ING!  We had over 50 guests, fabulous home-cooked Chinese food, and we were blessed with many needed travel items, along with enough cash to get most of the rest of what we need!

We still have people contacting us saying that they weren't able to come, but still want to help.  It was a fun celebration with like-minded friends and family, and I am very grateful this group of women blessed us like they did.  I know how much time, energy and money went into this celebration!  We are so thankful for them.

 We asked guests to fill out 'good wishes' or prayers for Frannie and Finn.
My mother-in-law plans to make a 100 Good Wishes Quilt for each of them.

Look at all the fabulous stuff we were blessed with!!

Another story comes out of my last blog post #AdoptiveMomFailure.  I had mentioned that I hadn't been able to buy my kids new sheets.  Seems like a silly thing to be bothered by, but I remember buying a new Winnie the Pooh crib sheet for each of my new babies.  It was a mini, unplanned tradition.  Now, my kids each have one set of sheet from Grandmama from a few years ago, and my sheets from when I was  little girl.  This includes Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, Pocahontas, and yes..... 90210 sheets!  Amusing, but after 20+ years they are quite tattered.  Sheets are just low on the priority list after underwear, shoes and coats!

Anyway, I had three different women contact me about sheets after my post!  One was an adoptive family who had switched to bunks and had two sets of full sheets.  We have two full/twin bunks and expect to co-sleep on them with Frannie and Finn!  She had a girl set and boy set, pillow covers and quilts included!  And guess what....the girls sets matches our entire girls room!  Only God.  She said she had been holding onto them wondering what she would do with them and decided she must have been hanging on to them for us! 

Another lady is a local mom of a number of little ones who had a few sets of twin sheets she was holding onto.  She, too, thought we must be the reason she had hung onto the sheets so long.  So, now we have nicer sheets to put on the kids' beds!  Such a silly thing, but God cares, and it was neat how it all came together.

Another cool story...  I saw on Facebook that a church family was doing a garage sale  She has a son a little older than Finton.  I messaged her to see if she had any 3T/4T boys clothes in the sale so I could come by.  She said she did but she happened to leave those boxes of clothes accidentally at home.  What are the chances?  She generously gifted us those clothes stating she must have left them behind for a reason.  We are really short on 3T stuff and the clothes were perfect!  Just a few months ago another church family had gifted us with a ton of 4T clothes, too!  God has taken care of us even in all these little details!

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 
Philippines 4:19

I seriously could keep typing all night!

I'll end with one more story.

One of my daughter's best friends dances with her weekly.  The dance program is a good 30 minute drive away, and since I had two girls in class on two different days, this friend's mom offered to take my daughter weekly to save me gas money.  She did this for about half the year and then her job changed, and I started taking her girls to dance every other week for her.  It's rehearsal week and we are tag-teaming taking the girls almost every day.  Tonight she gave me a little note to thank me for taking her girls to and from dance.  She also gifted us with a gas card.  She had no idea that this week we had planned out our meals, spent the rest of our money and truly didn't have enough gas to drive to and from dance this week.  But, God did.  Such a small, small detail in our every day lives.  But, He knew and He cared and He provided.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 
John 14:1

I know He's trying to teach me.  Teach me to let go.  Trust.  Give it all to Him.  Lay my burdens down.  The enemy knows my weaknesses and He's putting up a good battle in my heart.  I am so stressed over finding Miracle nursing care and figuring out this last $12,000.  I honestly can say I haven't let it all go yet.  I am trying to balance trusting God while still doing my part.  And I'm walking all over His toes in the process.  But, I'm trying.

Funny thing is, in the midst of this nursing chase, Miracle's bouts of seizures, fundraising and travel plans that are all stressing me out, we've been contacted by three different grant agencies.  We were awarded a $2000 grant already, had an interview for a $4000 matching grant today and have an interview scheduled for a $3000 grant on Monday!

God is just reminding me over and over that He has gone before me.  He has this taken care of.  He knew our deadlines for funds before we did.  He knew our nurse's schedule before they did.  It's so hard to let go in my humanity.  But when I think of how big He is, I feel so silly for holding on so tightly.  I'm trying, I really am.

 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, 
because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 
1 John 4:4

Thank you for your continued prayers for our family!  
They are so appreciated and needed at this time. 

Monday, April 13, 2015


I feel like I live out this hashtag daily.  Seriously.  No joke.

I'm going to be very vulnerable in this post.

I had so many ideas on how glorious adopting would be.  The ideas have definitely changed over the course of our 10 year journey.  I always thought we would work in a group home or do foster care for years.  That our kids would just become one of us before it was ever 'official.'  I never imagined I'd be looking to beautiful Asian eyes or traveling half way around the world.  But, all those are exciting differences and welcomed changes!

It's the others I wasn't prepared for.

I thought the months leading up to our adoption our family would be so close knit.  The kids are super excited and we talk often about how life will be different soon.  But, my kids are going through a mean streak right now.  Between arguing with each other, being lazy about chores and mama's extra stress...let's just say this isn't the heavenly realm I had envisioned our new kids would be walking into.  I am so thankful Mr. Prince and I have been close and in tune through this last year, though.  I might have had a mental break down by now if we hadn't!  And we are tackling the attitudes with our kids and praying things will turn around here soon.

(The Empowered to Connect Adoption Conference we just attended this past weekend gave us so much to work on.  And we've already seen changes in our kids in just 3 DAYS!  Praising God for that!)

I started a bible study in the summer and I still have yet to really pick it up again.  I thought I would be seeking and growing so much through all this, but it just looks so different than I had imagined.  My closest moments with Christ right now are the secret tears I shed every few hours as I think about and pray for my kids across the world, see a beautiful Asian child, watch my kids fighting, look at my to-do list, worship in the car or reflect on this journey.  I feel like an emotional basket-case.  And I spend my days thanking God for his provisions, begging him for mercy during our transition and constantly giving this journey back to him.  Because, truthfully, I want to control it.  And I know I can't.  But, I still catch myself trying.  I feel like a child asking over and over again for a puppy from mom and dad.  And I feel him reminding me that He's here and He has gone before me.  He is my comforter more than anything these days.  My friends might be worried about me if I shared all my thoughts with them daily!  So glad God is there for my in my secret moments.  My faith and trust have been deepened even more through this journey.  I may not be doing some in-depth study, but I'm growing more than ever before in much more life altering ways!

I also had all these great ideas for handmaking a backpack for Frannie (fabric already purchased), crocheting a nesting bowl set for Finn (yarn purchased), making fun t-shirts that say big brother/sister and little brother/sister in Mandarin, and making cloth books of our family to send to both kids.  None of these projects are even started and there is no way they will be completed.  I also wanted to paint my living room and put up some collages of the kids, include Frannie and Finn.  Ugh.  I did make some cloth fortune cookie ornaments for family with their title (aunt, uncle, grandma, etc) on the 'fortune' for Christmas this last year, BUT...I got the flu and never even finished the ones for the kids or me!  I just has all these things I wanted to DO.  And since I'm drowning in bills, paperwork, flight schedules, homeschool, grading and's just not gonna get done.

I had actually planned to induce lactation for my kids to give them breastmilk (not nurse them).  It's really important to me that they get something I wasn't able to provide them as infants, and I think it will help with immunity, gut health and the transition into a new country with new foods.  With less than two months left and already feeling too busy, I can't add pumping 6x a day into my schedule.  (I didn't originally include this in my blog post, but I know that others need to hear this as well.)  This has been a very emotional decision for me.  I am thankful that a few people have offered to donate some breastmilk this summer so I can still offer them an awesome immunity boost.  But, this was a huge let down for me.

I thought I could afford new sheets for the kids.....I can't.

I thought we would be done fundraising by now.....we aren't.

I thought the wait would be easier considering I've already been 'waiting' for's harder.

I thought I would be so organized with all this crazy paperwork.....I'm not.

I thought we would finish homeschool early.....we won't.  We may not even finish all I had planned...

This journey looks so different from what I had imagined.  And all the details I'm stressing over now will be forgotten in 3 months time.  But, that doesn't mean they don't weigh on me now.

Adoption is hard.  And I haven't even DONE it yet!!

I told my little brother-in-law the other night to just consider me 7 months pregnant, because that's how I feel.  Uncomfortable, about ready to burst with emotions at any moment, stressed, nesting, planning, preparing...  Watch out!

Not sure I had anything really important to share.  I know those other adoptive families out there will get where I'm coming from!

Please continue to pray for us.  Pray for the funds to come in, for our children's attitudes to continue to change for the better, for traveling to China, for Frannie and Finn's transition.  We really appreciate the prayers, thoughts, encouragement and scripture that has come in over the last few months!

I could meet my babies in less than 60 days.  It's surreal!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Process Continues...and things are about to get REAL, people!!

So, here we are at another huge step!

We just got our official MATCHED paperwork (LOSC/LOA) from China and we just submitted some paperwork (i800) to immigration (USCIS) for permission to bring home Frannie and Finn.

The process moves quickly from here!!

1.    i800 Approval will come around 4/20 and we will get it by snail mail

2.    We will receive a GUZ number a week later (4/27) which just means our case has been assigned to Guangzhou, China

3.    With this number we can contact the National Visa Center and request a PDF showing that our file has been forwarded to the Embassy in Guangzhou around 4/28 or 4/29

4.    My agency will then send the PDF to their in country staff.  This allows them to drop off our offical documents at the US Consulate and our Art 5 process begins.

5.    The Art 5 process always takes 10 business days, so drop off would be on 5/4 and pick up on 5/18 ideally.

6.    Once our Art 5 is picked up, our paperwork is sent to the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) in Beijing and our Travel Approval (TA) wait begins!  This wait is currently around 7-14 days, average being 10-11.  So, we are hoping to receive it on May 27th or 28th at the latest.

7.  Our travel dates will be either June 4th-27th or June 25th-July 16th.  Finton's turns THREE on June 19th, so I would love to make it there while he's still two!  But, there is a slim chance that will happen.  The Dragon Boat Festival is the week of the 22nd, so that's right in the middle of our original travel plans.  They will not allow you to meet your children that week, so we have to get our kids either before that week or after.  I'm going to do my best to get there as soon as I can, and ultimately leave the timing up to God.  He knows what's best for everyone.

And all this mumbo-jumbo means is....I'm going to meet my babies in 64-85 DAYS!!!!  

We still have around $10,000-12,000 to raise.  We are still waiting for our grant applications to be processed, but many of those we may not hear about until June!

Soooo....  I'm going to start begging.  :)

We still have 66 pieces of our puzzle to be sponsored.  So far we have 33 pieces sponsored for a total of $776!  This is awesome!  But if the 66 pieces left were to be sponsored, it would raise us $4274 MORE!

We are going to double frame this puzzle for Frannie and Finn.  On one side they will search for many traditional Chinese items for fun, and on the other will be a list of names of sponsors who helped us get them home!  It will be such an awesome keepsake!

We need help and we are nearing the end of this part of our journey.  A journey that has brought me to my knees more times than I can count.  I am in such a vulnerable position asking others to help us adopt, but I know that I know that I know that I know this is God's Will for these kids and our family.  So, I hope our friends and family see this as helping God's plans and not just our own agenda.  I will be forever grateful for all those who have helped us thus far, and all those I know will step up to help us reach the finish line!  THANK YOU!!!!

Pieces range from #1 to #100 and pieces already sponsored are #1-21, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 33, 35, 40, 42, 50, 60, 76 and 100.  Payments can be made to or a tax-deductible donation can be made HERE (sending a check avoids the 3% fee).  Please comment or message me on Facebook to let me know you have donated!!

Thank you for following our journey!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to Raise $44,000 in 10 Months

I'm excited to get this post down and just stare at God's faithfulness!

This has been an amazing year of watching God so intimately involved in our lives, down to the smallest details.  It's been a year of faith testing and a bold year for my personal walk with God.  See, if you don't know our story, you should go back and read THIS post.  It's been a long journey.  10 years from its very beginning.  And we are here...almost ready to bring home two beautiful children.  It's way beyond the dreams we built 10 years ago!

We never expected to have to raise money for an adoption.  We planned to adopt through the foster care system, which is virtually free.  Well, God had other plans.  And when he started leading us toward China last spring, we were both pretty overwhelmed.  Mr. Prince makes less than $50,000/year teaching.  An adoption from China is around $35,000.  We stepped out in faith when we sent our Letter of Intent for Frannie in May...and when we received our PreApproval, we both had a peace.  We knew God would take care of the finances.  But, that didn't mean we had any clue how!

Prior to starting our homestudy, we had a little money set aside....
$2500 saved from our tax refund
$4500 collected from an accident settlement
--------TOTAL: $7000

While we were waiting for our PreApproval, we did a huge garage sale that many of our friends and neighbors donated to.  It was very successful, so we did it again in September at a friend's house.  We raised $2400 between the two sales!  Once we received PreApproval, we were told we would get the $5025 that Reece's Rainbow had raised for Frannie's adoption!  Our adoption agency also had a $2000 grant for Frannie!

$2400 Garage sales
$5025 Reece's Rainbow
$2000 Adoption Agency
--------TOTAL $16,425

We had HALF of our adoption expenses laid out within a few months of our PreApproval!

Our homestudy took much longer than expected, but God had a plan.  You can read more about why that was delayed HERE.

I tried hard to organize a dinner auction last fall, but it was very stressful and I had little help.  Between midwifery school, paperwork and planning this auction, it was easily the most stressful time of my life.  I was starting to get sick, my hormones were all over the place and I just needed a break.  I quit midwifery school and put aside the dinner/auction for a few months.  October and November were pretty quite and I was grappling for fundraising ideas with no luck.

We decided this would be the perfect time to add another child to our adoption!  :)  Our estimated expenses went from raising $35,000 to $50,000+.  Thankfully God made it very clear this was His plan, or our humanity might have talked ourselves out of it!

Mr. Prince got a $1700 bonus from work in November we put toward the adoption.

In early December I remember we had purchased an extra Ivy Asian American Girl Doll when she was being discontinued last summer to be used for a fundraiser.  So, we launched a give-away for Christmas.  Two little girls had a wonderful surprise on Christmas morning and we had raised another $420 for our adoption!

We launched a puzzle fundraiser in December as well, but only a few close friends purchased pieces.  We quickly raised $500, but knowing the puzzle could potentially raise us $5050, it was slightly disappointing.

On Christmas Eve we were contacted by a family who had found our family profile on Reece's Rainbow, an advocacy site for children with special needs (LINK HERE).  Their children had chosen our family to receive the money they raised all year long for an orphan on Reece's Rainbow!  They donated $1000 on Christmas Day!!

A few days later, a church family contacted us and donated $1260 from their family business profits.  It was a very overwhelming week with the holidays!!

$1700 Work Bonus
$420 American Girl Doll give-away
$500 Puzzle Fundraiser
$1000 Reece's Rainbow donation
$1260 Church family donation
--------TOTAL $21,305

After a few more people donated to our auction I had put off, I realized in January that we had winter items that really needed to be auctioned soon, or no one would want them.  I still didn't have the help I needed to plan a big dinner/auction, so I hesitantly launched an online auction and planned to have it running for 20 days.  We had about 20 items, mostly coupons and a few handmade items, but I didn't expect a lot of profit from it.

Well, in that 20 days I collected over 80 more donations!!  It was a crazy 20 days of living on Facebook (my poor kids), but that auction raised us over $4000!  It was the most amazing experience having that many people, most of whom didn't know us, be so generous.  We raised another $400 for our puzzle during that auction, as well. 

$4400 Online Auction
$400 Puzzle Fundraiser
--------TOTAL $26,105

8 months after we started this process, we had raised HALF the funds to bring home two children from China!  It was quite shocking when we talked about it.  And we had such a peace that God was going to take care of the rest at this point.

It was February, so when we did our taxes we allotted some money from our tax refund for the adoption: $6900.

I had found these amazing kantha quilts from India and sold those in our auction.  There was more interest in them, so I ordered more and we made an additional $350 from those.

I also did another give-away for a Keurig and Kantha quilt and made another $220.

$6900 Taxes
$220 Keurig/Kantha quilt give-aways
$350 Kantha quilts
--------TOTAL $33,375

In March, a college friend and fellow church member donated $2000 to us.  It was the largest, most generous gift we have been given and it came from the most unlikely source.  It was such a blessing to us.

Mr. Prince got an accident settlement in the amount of $750.  I promise neither of these accidents were our fault!  LOL!  But, God turns the bad into good, right?  ;)

We got a deposit back from a therapy company of $1000 in March, as well.

I had been babysitting full time during the day and in the evenings for many families since December.  I even babysat for 8 kids on Valentine's Day!  All my babysitting so far has earned us around $3000.

I've also had 8 doula clients since last June, with two more due in May, and that has raised us $3300. 

A co-worker of Mr. Prince also has been running an ongoing Thirty One fundraiser for us for a number of months now.  Any orders that come in on behalf of us, she gives her percentage to us.  We have raise $525 from that and $100 from a Mary Kay fundraiser, too.

$2000 College friend
$750 Accident settlement
$1000 Deposit refund
$3000 Babysitting
$3300 Doula clients
$525 Thirty One
$100 Mary Kay
--------TOTAL $44,050

Now, I've found out recently that we need to budget more for flights in June and July, so $56,000 is a more reasonable estimation.

BUT....we have somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000 left to raise!  And almost half of the amount was raised in just a few months!

Isn't God so amazing?!  He has helped us RAISE almost as much as what my husband earns in a year!

We also recently applied for 14 grants.  I am secretly hoping the rest of the funds come in these grants because frankly, I'm exhausted.  And I don't like asking people for money, even if it is for a good cause.  Will you pray with us?  We should hear back from all of them by the end of June.

We do have lots of puzzle pieces still left, too!  So, if those are all sponsored, we would have an additional $4100!  Please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring a puzzle piece!

(Pieces range from #1-100 and pieces already sponsored are #1-21, 24, 27, 28, 30, 33, 35, 40, 42, 50, 60, 76 &100)

So, there ya go.  How to raise $44,000 in 10 months!

(Tip: Do not attempt to do this alone.  God's involvement is the key to your success!)

Updates, Updates, here they come!!

So, I've been advised to update my blog often for the benefit of those following our story.  It's really hard to find time right now, but I'm going to do my best!  I really enjoy blogging and look forward to sharing it with our children when they are older, too.

So, I'll be updating on our adoption process, financial status and the preparations for our children.

We are coming around the last bend of the process now!  We submitted our Letter of Intent (LOI) to adopt Frannie Joy in late May 2014 and received PreApproval (PA) 6.19.14 to adopt her and PA to adopt Finton 10.23.14.  We will likely be in China exactly a year after PA!

It's been a whirlwind of a year, yet still seemed like a looooong year.  To have children half a world away from you is just... emotional.  I love these children I only have a handful of photos and 30 second video clips of.  Yet, I really have no idea how they act on a regular basis, what their interests are, how they will react to our family or... anything. It's an odd place to be right now, but my focus is so much on paperwork and's hard to even focus on some of the emotional part.  It just sneaks up on you when you see an Asian mom kissing her toddler.... or a little girl with Down Syndrome... or a 2 year old little boy playing with a ball.  Then, it rips your heart out.  And all you can do it pull up a photo or video and... wait a little longer.  Sigh.

We will be getting our official Letter of Approval (Letter Seeking Confirmation/LOSC/LOA) in the next day or so.  That is basically a letter from China that is officially MATCHING us with Frannie and Finn. They PreApproved us before, but now that we have proven who we are and they have accepted our dossier, they are officially matching us.  It's one of the most exciting steps in the process!!  We had been specifically praying since December that we would receive this letter BY April 1st so that we could travel in June.  I had also planned to have our dossier to China in late December, but that didn't happen until late January.  It was a long shot to still get LOA by April 1st, BUT...God!

We should receive our LOA in the mail tomorrow, April 1st!!!

So now the process gets a little confusing and overwhelming for me from here on out.  There are lots of steps every 2 weeks or so until travel.  Travel plans are entirely up to me, so I have lots to research. I hope to book flights soon because travel in China is super expensive in June/July due to the Dragon Boat Festival and summer.  My mom is going with me and thankfully her schedule is flexible.  Mr. Prince will stay home with the other 5 kiddos.  I'm thankful I have many adoptive friends on Facebook and tons of China Adoption groups, but the information is still overwhelming to process, honestly.

But, it looks like right now my travel options are June 4th-26th or June 25th-July 17th.  We are trying to decide if me coming home while Mr. Prince and 3 of 5 kids are at summer school for 2.5 weeks is better or worse than me coming home the day after summer school is over.  I'm a little concerned the two littles might be overwhelmed with all the kids home, all the time, from the day they come home.  But, I also don't want Mr. Prince to work for so many weeks before he's off for the summer.  I think my older 4 kids will have a very hard time allowing us to cocoon them, so maybe it's best they are at school for a few weeks...?  I just don't know yet.  We homeschool all year, so summer school is only a summer thing for us.  But, it might be a good tool to use as a buffer to help the kids bond to me as Mom first.  Still thinking on this...

I think I'll post another blog about our finances and preparations later this week.....

I'll leave you with photos of my babies.....

Check out our Adoption Timeline on the right side of our page and read more about our family!  

You can also donate to our adoption by using the donate tab at the top of the blog!

Many Blessings!!