Thursday, October 30, 2014

We Need YOU!

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'  
Acts 20:35

I know everybody is asked to donate towards a ton of fundraisers each year, so I personally am being challenged by being in the position to ask people for money.  I seriously hate it.


Here we are.  We are bringing home two gorgeous children from China next summer and need to raise around what my husband makes in a year.  It's slightly overwhelming, but we are sure this is God's plan for these children to be a part of our family.  And because of that, I'm asking YOU to help.

Frannie and Finn

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

The neat thing about this fundraiser, is it allows everyone to give what they are able.  $1?  Great!  That's one less dollar I have to ask for!  $2?  You just sacrificed your evening Pepsi for an orphan!  $5 is a Starbucks coffee sacrificed.  $20 for our family would be eating PBJ for dinner instead of Little Caesars.  Others are able to give $50+ because they have the extra income or God's tugging on their heart.

Regardless, ANYTHING helps.  Seriously.  I've said this before, but if every one of our Facebook friends gave even just $1, we would have over $1000 and no one would be out more than $1!

The reason why I've launched this Puzzle Fundraiser is to help us get our dossier paperwork to China (there is a large fee to send it) and to give my biological children something to do and look forward to. 
If 100 people would sponsor each puzzle piece, we would have $5000!
We have puzzle pieces labeled between $1 and $100.  If you sponsor a piece, your name gets written on the back of the puzzle and you donate that amount toward our adoption (PayPal button at the top of the blog or tax deductible donations can be done at  Just be sure to tell them it's for the Kelloggs!).  The few who have donated so far named a part of the puzzle, and we told them the dollar amount because each piece is already labeled.  You can donate with a friend or group as well!

We plan to frame this for Frannie and Finn, and it will be a special reminder of the many, many people who have helped them come home!

Of course, you can donate any amount...this is just for fun!

I know there is a general thought out there that "If you can't pay for an adoption, you shouldn't be adopting."  Well, it's a lot different caring for and affording children on a day to day basis.  But, coming up with an extra $45,000-50,000 in a year is hard for anyone to do.  Even those families who make twice what we do, are doing fundraisers for their adoption because they live on their income.  We have made several adjustments to our income to save money, like getting rid of cable and our house phone to name a few.  As a family of 7 living on one income, we already live pretty frugally.

Then, there's God.  And since He told us to do this knowing what income we have, we are trusting Him to move hearts to support two orphans to find a forever family.

And you'll be happy to know, even on our modest income, we ourselves have around $22,500 (including a $7000 grant) to put toward this adoption already!  That was ALL God.

We thank everyone who steps forward to help us bring our babies home.  And everyone who continues to pray for this process. And everyone who has supported our family this far.  We have an amazing group of friends and church family!

And because we don't want to continue to ask the same people, please share this blog to your friends and family!  We know there are so many others out there who would love to donate toward orphan adoption.  And we will have more fundraisers coming!

Just post a comment below or email me at to tell me what piece you want to sponsor!  

Thank you!

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 
Psalm 68:5

Friday, October 24, 2014

And then there were....SEVEN?

Kids, that is!

Let me explain...

I probably will make little sense considering my emotional state right now...

But, I can't stay quiet about God's faithfulness in leading us!

If you want the short version...we just got the approval to adopt a second child from China!  If you don't already know, we had previously been approved to adopt a 4 year old little girl from China.  Now we are adopting both her and a 2 year old little boy!

If you want the very looooooong version.....keep reading.  :)

Let me start back on September 6th.  I was scrolling through some China Adoption sites on Facebook and came across a photo.  Generally, I love just looking at these sites, praying for these kids and watching their parents step forward one by one.  This little boy's eyes just drew me in.  I was actually confused because he was in a pink coat, yet the name read TEDDY.  Come to find out, an adoption advocate was looking for him, but thought he might be locked with a family interested in him at the time.  Apparently a few families has asked the agency that had his file a few weeks before to release it, but no one could find him since then. I asked my agency to look for him on the shared waiting child list, but they had no luck.  They said they would keep their eyes out.  The little boy had just turned two and had albinism.  Besides the color of his skin, he was a typical toddler!  We probably didn't have enough identifying information to search for him effectively.

Fast forward a week and I'm doing an Adoption Fundraising Garage sale at the home of some very generous friends of ours.  An older couple just about fell over when they saw my posters about Frannie, the little girl we have already been match with, being from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.  Their son-in-law grew up there for 7 years and his grandparents still lived there.  They were so excited to share their daughter and son-in-law's contact information with us.  The next day their daughter came by to meet me!  She was so incredibly sweet!  They had a 4 year old boy born in Taiyuan City, lived there for 4 years, visited Hohhot many times and were also in the process of adopting from China!  She offered to translate paperwork or videos any time we needed it during the process.  She was so encouraging and too kind.

Fast forward another week.  On September 19th I get a message from my agency contact that they found TEDDY and we would have 72 hours to decided if we wanted to ask China to adopt him.  Someone had posted they saw him on the shared list and my agency responded right away to get the information needed!  

Whoa.  Heavy.  

I had asked for his file, but I really wasn't prepared to actually have the option to move forward with him.  I was a little shocked, yet excited.  Though, my initial instinct was that Mr. Prince would say no and I've just wasted my agency's time.

I looked up a ton of information about albinism, added myself to Facebook pages for parents of children with albinism, emailed a few parents and learned all I could before Mr. Prince got home.  We talked a lot throughout the night about fees, adjustments, finances, etc.  It was after 11PM when an adoption friend of mine was messaging me who is adopting two children from China.  She had named her kids Eden and Ezra and were were talking about their special needs.  I love both those names and thought the matching 'E' is sweet.  All of a sudden "Frannie and Finn" popped into my head.  Finn, or Finton, was the name we would have named Miracle, our 5 year old, had she been a boy.  While Paul and I talked, I looked up the name meaning for kicks... and stopped in my tracks.

Finton: Irish meaning "fair-haired” or could mean “white fire"

I just laughed.
And then I looked at Mr. Prince in shock. 
Then I covered my mouth.
Then I asked him if he wanted to know what I just read.  He said yes, hesitantly...
But, a smile grew across his face, too.

Of course I'm battling the "Is this a sign from God" thought.  I kept wondering HOW we would know in 72 hours whether or not to move forward with this little boy.   Was this it?  If not, it was kinda freaky!!

We actually sent TEDDY's file to the Chinese couple who offered to translate videos and paperwork that night.  We knew they may not be available, but it was worth a shot!  We were curious what these nannies were saying to him in the video and how he was responding.

I asked many friends to pray the next day.  A couple who had adopted two siblings from another country dropped off some bunk beds for us that morning.  Who better to pray for us than someone who has been in this exact situation, right?  They were happy to pray for us.

Then I ran into another lady picking my kids up from a program for kids with siblings with special needs.  We had met these two Chinese girls at a park earlier in the summer.  My kids got along well with them and wanted me to meet their dad.  I gave him my number for his wife to call me.  She did mid-summer, but I was so busy I forgot to return her call!  Oops!  Well, one of her daughters was at the program and Angelica Pickles, my 8 year old, had given her daughter my number again!  We chatted for a while and I asked her to pray for us as well.  She had adopted an infant 10 years ago and a 7 year old two years ago from China.  She was very happy to pray for us and asked for me to keep in touch.  Very cool.

I also talked to my mother-in-law that afternoon.  See, my mother-in-law had 4 siblings with albinism.  They had a rare recessive condition called Chediak-Higashi Syndrome, which included partial albinism and immune suppression.  They all died young, by the age of 8, from infections.  She told me they all wore glasses and they used a petroleum-like salve to protect their skin 50+ years ago.  One had photophobia, another shook his head to focus.  It was neat to hear more about her experiences with her siblings.  Part of the reason I felt an immediate connection to this little boy was because albinism was in Mr. Prince's family.

Later, I got a voice message from the Chinese couple that they had reviewed the files and were excited to share with us what they heard.  In fact, TEDDY was in the exact city their son was born and the city they lived in for 4 years in China!  What are the chances the two cities they were familiar with were the two cities the two Chinese children we had chosen were from?!  She called me and told me TEDDY seemed to follow his nanny's commands well, had good fine motor skills and didn't seem to have some of the typical orphanage behaviors.  The paperwork didn't have anything hidden in the Chinese that wasn't in the English.  They said there is a fast train between the two kids' provinces, therefore a cheaper mode of transportation if we ended up adopting them both.  She even said she had seen TEDDY on an advocacy site and thought he was adorable and prayed for his family!  She asked to pray with us right on the phone and prayed for clear confirmation or walls so that only God's Will would stand firm.  My heart was full when we got off the phone.

I had been talking to Mr. Prince through percentages all along: 0% means not submitting paperwork, 100% means submitting paperwork to try to adopt TEDDY.  I was pretty much 100% by midday, but I was set that Mr. Prince had to be on board as well.  I wasn't gonna steer this boat alone!  He had been a 55% the night before.  It wasn't long after our phone conversation with this couple that he told me he wanted to submit our Letter of Intent for TEDDY!

Then, I got another email from the Chinese couple that night.  TEDDY's Chinese name pronunciation and meaning! 

Get this...  His name means 'Healthy' and 'Exceptional or Unique'!

I LOVE it!! 

Well, Happy 33rd Birthday to ME.... the next day we submitted our Letter of Intent on September 21st!

On my birthday at church, God truly blessed me.  It was a baptismal service.  I love spending an entire morning singing praise as we watch people profess their love for God and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice!  But today, I watched two little girls who were adopted internationally when they were toddlers, along with their older brothers, be baptized together.  Oh, my heart!  The gravity of the opportunity to bring home a child (or children) and teach them about the love of Jesus that they may not have had to opportunity to learn about in their home country, was heavy on my heart.  And honestly, I just cried.  Not only did those girls get baptized, but another little girl my daughter's age, who is the grandchild of a domestic adoptive family, was baptized that day as well.  The generations that are affected by one couple's willingness to bring in an orphan just broke my heart that day.

We have been called to something much greater than just providing shelter or even love to an orphan.  We have been given the opportunity to lead these children to a Savior and eternal life!

There is nothing more important in this world.

We have been called.  And we have said YES to that calling.  That doesn't make us saints.  In fact, sometimes I think God is crazy for choosing us.  But, if He calls us, I believe He will equip us. 

I talked with a number of families who had adopted or birthed children with albinism over the next few days.  They had nothing but encouragement for us!  Their children all seemed to be doing great with very few adaptions for every day life.

We were peaceful and expectant.  In my heart I could truly say that I was willing to accept, with gratefulness, both a yes and a no.  Obviously a yes would be the step we needed to bring this little boy home, and God would just need to have our paperwork accepted and provide the extra adoption funds.  A no would tell us that this was not the child for us, possibly that we aren't supposed to adopt another child from China (right now).  But, above all, I would know early in the process that I was just bringing home one child so I could let that hope go in my own heart.  As long as there was a possibility, I wasn't going to stop looking and praying for that second child.  My heart had been, for a long time, to adopt a boy/girl sibling group through foster care.  So, the prospect of bringing home two from China was so exciting to me.  But, ultimately, no matter my heart and desires, I wanted God's Will for our family.  I have no desire to bring home a child not intended for our family and try to raise him on my own strength.  So, I was happy to allow God to make this final decision.

The evening of my birthday I asked Mr. Prince how he was feeling about our decision and his only reply was "100%."  :)  He then shared that, although he still had some concerns about finances, mostly long-term, his concerns didn't really matter because if God is calling us, we have to respond with a YES!

Our hearts were united completely.

Less than two weeks later, our homestudy draft was ready to review.  On the paperwork they approved us for one child, a girl under the age of 5.  I was a little confused, so I called the social worker.  The agency had decided, internally, that they weren't comfortable approving us to adopt two kids at the same time.  They said they knew we could likely handle it, thought we were great parents and were happy to support us in an adoption after Frannie had adjusted.  They just weren't positive the transition with two with special needs into a family of 5 biological children, one having special needs, was going to go well.  They needed to be confident, but weren't.  We asked for a reconsideration, but we got a 'No.'

I was crushed.  We felt so sure!  What does all this mean?

Tears, lots of tears.

About 20 minutes after I got off the phone with my homestudy agency, my adoption agency called me.  In so many words, they said they didn't think our homestudy agency made the right decision.  They said they have the unique perspective of seeing these children in Chinese orphanages and they were confident we could do this well.  They said families like ours with lots of experience with special needs are like gold, and they think these two children's needs fit in well with our current family.  They said they could pull our Letter of Intent for this little boy, or we could wait and see what China says.  They said I have the option of obtaining a second homestudy that states we are approved for two kids if we get Chinese Preapproval.  I thanked them for their kinds words and got off the phone.... and cried some more. 

I was really confused for most of that evening.  But then I started to think about, had we gotten this news of only being approved for one kid prior to finding this little boy, I would have simply succumb to the circumstances.   But, we fell in love with this little boy before I knew there would be a road block!  And because of that, I almost felt more confident that God could, and would, work around this obstacle.  We decided over the next few days that if China gives us Preapproval, we would pursue another homestudy to get approved to adopt two kids.

While we continued to wait, I made some phone calls to find another homestudy agency that might approve us for two kids.  The social worker I spoke with was so king and encouraging.  He said because we had a stay-at-home parent, he didn't feel the fact that we had 5 kids, one with special needs and were adopting two at once sounded unreasonable.  He seemed to understand the perspective of an orphanage and seemed to hear my heart in our short conversation.  He couldn't promise an approval for two, but he didn't see any red flags at the time.  We had a back-up plan.

And then we waited.

Our last Preapproval for Frannie came 25 days after we submitted our Letter of Intent.  25 days came.  26...27...28.  It was a long, hard wait.  29...30...31...

Day 32, October 23rd, yesterday, we got an email from our agency....we received Preapproval to adopt TEDDY....or as he'll be known to us...

Finton 'Finn' Scott Kang Te Kellogg, 2 years old
(Don't let the pink coat confuse you!)
You can see a video of him HERE!

You know where the name "Finton" came from, but his middle name "Scott" is from his great uncle who also had albinism (and it's a family name on both sides)!

Needless to say, we are so excited to bring this little boy home along with Frannie Joy!  And the circumstances and confirmations received were more than enough to PUSH us to step out in faith!  And we know God will be faithful in bringing in the finances because this is His plan!

 Frances "Frannie" Joy Yu Tang Kellogg, 4 years old
You can see 3 videos of her HERE!

After weeks of waiting for our Preapproval and our homestudy, being frustrated in the long wait, God spoke clearly about how His job works.  He knows best.  He is the Great Organizer of our lives.  I got the message this time...

That same day we received Preapproval, I also got a phone call from our homestudy agency.  Our homestudy was ready!  It was to be notarized in 24 hours and they were confirming how many copies I needed.  I debating telling them about our Preapproval while we were on the phone, but I do much better with such confrontations through writing.  I decided I would write them one last petition letter later that day for reconsideration considering our Preapproval.  It would save us $2100 and a number of month in the process. 

Well, before I got a chance to write that letter, our adoption agency called us to say that they had petitioned our homestudy agency themselves!  They thought it was in everybody's best interest for us to be approved for 2 and continue to work with this agency that knows us and loves us.  The social worker agreed to continue a 'discussion' prior to the notarization the following day.  My adoption agency asked us to write a letter about our plans to provide for these two children and include the resources we have to support us.  We sent it later that night, and we waited....again.  Thankfully it was less than 24 hours this time! 

Well, we were told today that our agency is willing to work with us throughout this adoption process to it's completion, and is going to approve us for 2 children!  Only God could have orchestrated our Preapproval from CHINA and our homestudy from INDIANA to culminate into this discussion!  And it's just one more of MANY obvious confirmations that we are following God's plan to grow our family!

Needless to say, this is going to be an expensive endeavor.  But, our God owns a cattle on a thousands hills, right?! (Psalm 50:10)  We know he will use other people, fundraisers and organizations to bring these two children home to us!

If you feel prompted to support our family to adopt these two adorable children, we are launching our next fundraiser today!!

We have puzzle pieces you can purchase to help us make a Chinese puzzle for these two kids to play with.  It's an I SPY type puzzle where they look for traditional Chinese items within the puzzle.  We think they will LOVE it and it gives a little excitement and fun to our fundraising (especially for our bio kids!).

Each puzzle piece is numbered between 1 and 100.  You choose the piece you want and donate that dollar amount, or we can randomly draw one or more pieces for you!  When the puzzle is complete, we will have raised $5000!  You can combine your donation with a friend, as well.  We will be writing names on the back of the puzzle pieces so we have a keepsake of those who donated toward our adoption in this way.

To donate, locate the Paypal donation button on the top right corner of our blog.  You do not need to have a Paypal account to donate.  Tax deductible donations can be made at  Just be sure to tell them it's for the Kelloggs!  You can email me at if you have further questions.  If you want to donate any amount, feel free!

I'll update this blog regularly to show which puzzle pieces are still available!

Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to support us as we venture out into this crazy adoption journey!  It has been a ride, for sure!!

(If you want to hear our whole adoption story, you can read it HERE and HERE.)

Please, PLEASE share our story on YOUR Facebook page or blog!!  If everyone who reads this gives just even $1, we will have thousands immediately!!  

God is good, ALL THE TIME!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bulk Cooking, Not for the Faint of Heart

A number of people asked me to share my "24 meals in one day" I posted about on Facebook this week.  I thought I would take the opportunity to give you a good laugh reading my post and maybe share some helpful tips if you, too, choose to try this crazy feat!

Here is my #1 tip of the day:  Plan ahead.

I can say honestly, we had no plan.  My good friend Dana called me around lunch time and asked if I wanted to cook a bunch of meals with her.  We had talked about doing this some time this summer and it sounded fun at the I said yes!  We met around 2:00 and searched the internet for ideas.  We found a number of recipes (no, they didn't match up as far as ingredients) and printed them.  We made a master grocery list, taking into account the things we had on hand, and were off to shop!

Actually, we didn't leave until around 5:45PM (we were waiting for my husband to get home), ran a few errands and THEN went shopping.

Shopping took around 2.5hrs.  We stopped by the Dollar Store (foil pans/zipper bags are cheaper here), Aldi's and Kroger (meat was on sale) for the rest.  I thought that was pretty good since we had two kids with us!  We each spent right around $200 for all the meals.  We were very pleased with that.

Then, the cooking began!  It was 10:15 by the time we had unpacked our over-stuffed van into my kitchen!!

Yes, we are crazy!

My groceries

Dana's groceries

My kitchen!  It pretty much was a mess of bags, boxes and food by the time we were done.  We would just rummage and grab and we weren't very organized.  At 10PM we didn't have time to organize the stuff to access easier.  

Tip #2: Organize your groceries before starting

You can see here it's around 10:30 and we had 3 whole chickens cooking and rice water preparing.  This was really helpful since this stuff had to cook  However, we couldn't use the stove for over an hour for anything else.  That brings me to my next tip...

Tip #3:  Cook your meat the day/night before.

I really think prepping the meat for these meals could take you a whole day.  And it would be worth it!   Boil a few whole chickens or put them in a crock pot over night.  Marinade your meats to prepare them for your zipper bags.  Cut chicken into cubes or strips.  Shred the cooked chicken.  Cook the ground beef and add seasoning.  Seriously, do it all the day before and your freezer bags will come together SO quickly!  And, since we needed chicken broth for a number of recipes we had to wait for it to cool.  And that took forever!  And another tip...

Tip #4:  Have a number of canning jars ready for storing broth, sauces and other ingredients

I didn't have very many handy, so we ran out of bowls quickly.  (My kids like to put bugs in the them and leave them around my yard...grrr!)  But, having more handy would be great!  I also have at least 3 sets of cup measures and an additional 12 1-cup glass bowls that were very handy!  Between the two of us we kept misplacing the actual cup measures, so I was glad to have the extras around.

 Chicken broth

 Tips #5:  You need a food processor and blender.

These will save you HOURS.  So, borrow one if you don't have one!

Carrots, onions, celery, cilantro and parsley in the food processor

Tip #6: If you are cooking with someone else, label your things!
We had no issues during clean up trying to figure out whose stuff was whose.
We also had our groceries on a specific side of the kitchen, too.

Tip #7: Employ help
Mr. Prince was on clean-up duty, and he wasn't super happy about that at 3AM.  But, he also helped flip chickens, open cans and other 'manly' cooking things.  I'm sure your kids may be helpful, but I was actually happy that mine were a state away while I took on this adventure.  :)

This wasn't even the worse moment...

And if you are messy cooks like Dana and me, your stove will look like this when you are done!  Poor Mr. Prince...

Tip #8: Label your zipper bags

We labeled them with the meal, date, family name (this is important if you are cooking with someone) and instructions.  Not all needed instructions, but some needed the whole recipe, so we taped it on with packing tape.  A few recipes we were short something (like 1C sugar), so we just added it to the zipper bag.

Tip #9:  Have a large table in addition to your kitchen counters

The table was where we put together the bags, organized ingredients, set aside half-recipes and where I did most of my meat preparation.  We also used the piano and another desk that were near by.  So, in other words, you need LOTS of table space!   And if you don't follow Tip #9, you'll need more because you'll run out of bowls, pans, pots and spatulas!

3 incomplete recipes waiting for the next step

Yes, it says 1:17AM.  Our fist 6 meals completely done after 3 hours!  

2:31AM, just 1hr 15m later we had 30 meals done!
If your meat is prepped, it will come together much faster than ours!

Tip #10:  Pick recipes YOU will like, not just the easiest 'cook 50 meals in a day' post off Pinterest

So, the actual recipes.  I have to say, I've tried many-a-crockpot-meals and more have flopped in our home than stuck.  We have very few crockpot meals in our rotation.  I'm not sure if I'm just picky or if I just keep finding bad ones, but I seem to have bad luck with them.  So, I wasn't really up for making 20+ meals we may end up hating.  So, we found meals that looked good.  They weren't necessarily 'easy' either.  They were meals that we likely wouldn't bother spending the time to cook on any given day.  Meals that required multiple steps or ingredients.  I know many do this for the quick and easy meals, but that wasn't my plan.  So, another good reason to plan ahead and plan a few different days!  

I found THIS site and really liked her meals.  She didn't have a master list made up or anything, but that was fine since we didn't want to make all her meals.  (That would be a nightmare trying to omit certain ingredients from a master list and a reason why I haven't provided that on this blog post.)  All the meals were 'freezer friendly' so I was happy with that.

Here were the meals we made from this site and how much for we prepared for each individual family:
Here were some other meals from other sites or my own collection:
So, we ended up preparing 30 meals along with 20 breakfasts for my hubby and granola bars!  We cooked around 4 hours the first day and then maybe 6-8 the next day (on and off).  I still had two meals to throw together a few days later, but all my food processing and meat prep was done, I just had to throw it all into bags.  Again, refer to tip #1.  :)

I know you are now distracted with searching these recipes to see if you like them...  But let me give you little tips on some of them to help you...

Homemade Pot Pie
I did not blanch my veggies.  I bought all frozen and I'm not going to sweat it!  We bought the mixed veggies that include carrots, green beans, peas and corn.  We did use the homemade broth from our boiled chickens.  It was delicious!  I haven't made the crust yet and am debating buying them verses making them...

I stored all my freezer meals flat so eventually I can stand them up in the freezer and easily flip through them like a file drawer.

Fried Rice
We made so.much.rice.  Your rice will rise as far as your water, so beware when filling a pot to the top!  We doubled this recipe and it was a LOT!  We stored this in zipper bags instead of a pan like the recipe suggested.  You MUST have a food processor!  There really is no other way to make this.

Slow Cooker Broccoli Chicken Alfredo
For many recipes we bought chicken on sale for $1.89/lb because we had to prepare it a certain way, but for recipes like this we bought frozen chicken for $1.99/lb.  It made preparing these super fast!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
This was one recipe that took a long time.  Cutting chicken, browning it....  If your chicken is prepped the day before, this one will come together a lot easier than it did for me.

Chicken Parmesan Pesto Shells
We bought already-made pesto for this recipe.  We also purchased a can of miced garlic to use for all our recipes to make things fast and simple.  We did not put our filling in the shells.  Mostly because our stove was always too busy to cook the shells!  This will still be simple to pull out of the fridge after cooking the shells.  Should take less than an hour to cook shells, stuff and bake!

Beef Barley Stew
If your meat is prepped the day before, the next thing I suggest you do is prepare your veggies.  Whether that's using the processor for something like Fried Rice or chopping veggies for Beef Barley Stew, it will make things move faster.  These bags came together quickly after all our veggies were done!

 We even kept a bag in the sink for compost collection!
Look at us being all earth-friendly and stuff!

And THIS is what happens when you peel and cut 15 onions!
Can you see my mascara running...LOL!
Cooking isn't always pretty....

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
We did make this pesto from scratch.  Don't forget to clean your cilantro - ours was DIRTY!  We actually cooked up this chicken completely before freezing and stored the pesto in a different zipper bag until ready to make.  Should only take a few minutes to warm up and throw in tacos!

Cafe Rio Pulled Pork
I don't know what Cafe Rio is, but this looked good.  A pretty simple crockpot recipe but requires you to marinade over night, cook 3-4 hours, mix with a blended sauce and then cook 2 more hours.  So, I would never have the time to do this on a school day!   This is all done so it's ready to just warm for sandwiches!

Soft, Simple and Chewy Granola Bars
These are THE best granola bars and they don't take hardly any time to make!  We were making them weekly this past spring.  Way healthier than store bought!  We omit the almonds most of the time (it really changes the flavor) and the dried fruit (none of us care for dried fruit) and add in 3T heaping with peanut butter.  We've played with the recipe, but that is our favorite!  What's nice is you can add in anything you like and make it work for your family!

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos
I saute onions and then cook my sausage with them.  Then I scramble 20 eggs in a different pan.  I chopped it up pretty good and mix it all together.  I put a heaping 1/3C of egg mixture and a pinch of shredded cheese into each tortilla and roll them in a napkin first and then foil.  When they are pulled out of the freezer we just leave the paper towel around it and cook it for 1-1.5minutes and they are awesome!  We've used ham and bacon as well.  If you use more than one meat, be sure to label them!  I've made that mistake before...

Chicken Tortilla Soup
This came together quickly and I used frozen chicken pieces to make it easy.  This was our first meal we tried!  My son used the tortillas for his lunch that I had set aside for dinner, so I only had one tortilla!  I toasted it in the toaster oven to save time and they all tried it.  We added shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips as well.  It wasn't a *favorite* but my kids are pretty picky and they all ate it.  I think it will join the lists of meals they really like over time.  :)

Crock-Pot Cheesy Potatoes and Ham
We bought a small ham chuck that was already cut in slices and that saved some chopping time.  This is a quick prep crock-pot meal!  I used a 2-gallon bag for this and will add the water later.

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
This is a quick crock pot recipe if you have a food processor.  It helped that we had a number of recipes that needed carrot, celery and onions, so we only had to process them all once.

Chicken cleaned, prepped and frozen
It's so much nicer to grab thawed chicken that is already prepped!  I hate rinsing, trimming and getting all slimy.  Plus, it cuts 20 minutes off my meal prep time since I don't have to do all that plus scour the counters to avoid contamination!

Chicken Enchilada
I had some left over shredded chicken, rice and enchilada sauce that I threw into tortillas and baked up for dinner tonight!  Wouldn't feed all 6 of us, but fed Mr. Prince and me since our kids are out of town!

All in all, it was crazy but fun!  I will do it again, but not sure when.  Maybe if I get adventurous over Christmas break?  Here is my beautiful freezer!  Since I'm in school and on-call for births (doula/student midwife) my husband can cook a REAL, HEALTHY meal while I'm gone!  I hope my tips will help you be more efficient than we were!  I'm sure there are many more helpful site/blogs, but I wanted to share some of my awesome recipes! 

Enjoy your cooking!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Adoption: The World of Papers, Lists, Anxiety and Blessing

Ok, not really anxiety.  At least it shouldn't be!  I'm trying really hard to stay organized and stress-free during this process, but I'm failing...often.  That's ok - I'm pressing on!  She is worth it!

I've been thinking a lot about bring Frances home this past week.  I know, I'm a little ahead of myself considering we are still waiting for our homestudy approval...ha!  I just can't help it.

4 girls' hair to fix in the morning
6 kids,which means only using the 12 passenger van for family trips from now on
2 preschoolers, both with special needs and specialized lesson plans
Asian eyes, oh those eyes!
My last Fourth of July with only five kids
2 big girl helper-mommies for two little girls
2 big brothers to protect and spoil 4 sisters
Chubby little 4 year old hands
A best friend for Miracle

I am so beyond excited!

But, adoption is hard because you live in this world of hope and waiting while you drown in paperwork, numbers, fundraising, phone calls, planning, budgeting, notaries and STRESS.

I have so many lists:
  • Tips for traveling to China
  • Suggested foundations and grants
  • Grants for special needs
  • Grants for Down Syndrome
  • Grants for China
  • Credit cards that give rewards
  • Fundraising ideas
  • People who have donated to us
  • People who have offered to help in numerous ways
  • People whose tables I still have from our garage sale
  • Tips for filling out paperwork
  • Books about adoption
  • Books about Down Syndrome
  • Books about Down Syndrome adoption
It's nuts!  I'm not complaining.  I am SO happy to be here after our long journey.  I'm gonna fill out this paperwork jammin' to my For King & Country and take it in stride.  But, I can't say it's not hard.  It is.  For many reasons.

It's hard to know your little girl is being tucked in bed by the only mama she knows as I wake in the morning.  And that someday our roles will be reversed and she'll be thinking of the memories of tucking Frannie in bed as she wakes in the morning.

It's hard to know there is another mama out there that delivered a baby on Sept 22, 2010 that is about to come upon the forth year of her mourning.  No matter what reason her mama had for abandoning her, I know that every mama loves their baby.  Four years of not knowing, four years of tears, four years of guessing and hoping.  Four long years of sadness that will never, ever end.

"The first gave you a need for love, The second was there to give it."

Adoption is heartbreaking.  For every ounce of joy I have in adoption, there is still a heaviness of sadness.

But, I also believe that for all the hardships families endure throughout the process, there are so many blessings.  All these things are shaping me, my family, my children.  We are working together to raise money, budget and be creative.  Our goal is unified in love.  I hope some day Frannie's biological mama will know how much she is loved and wanted.

My 8 year old told me this weekend that she wants to have a child with special needs.  She wants to BIRTH a child with special needs.  (Though she also wants to 'make' her Asian husband be a pilot some day so he can fly them to China to work at an orphanage and adopt all the little Asian babies, LOL!) We talked a little bit about why we love people with special needs so much and then I told her that if I had a choice to heal Myra and Frannie, I would.  I told her that they aren't living how God created them to live.  They can't enjoy creation to it's fullest.  They may or may not be able to understand a God that loves them dearly on this side of Heaven.  I would choose 'better' for them.

You know what this little girl said?

She said she would keep them 'that way' because she LOVES them 'that way' and she also wouldn't change them because she KNOWS they would go to Heaven because God wouldn't punish someone who didn't understand sin.

Jaw drop.  Speechless.

I'm not sure I can come up with an argument against that!  Oh how I love that little spunky girl's heart!

 Angelica Pickles (8), Miracle and Princess Pea, Easter 2014

I know some friends and family (mostly those who don't live near) think we are crazy and are negatively affecting our 'neurologically typical' biological children by adopting another child with special needs (thanks Uncle Isaac for the coined term!).  It's not a conversation that ends in a high five or fist bump.  It usually starts with a wide-eyed stare and stutter, and ends with a high-pitched 'Good Luck' accompanied by an insincere eye-brow raise.  That's ok with me, though.  It truly doesn't bother me.

#1 I'm following my God's lead for my life, not the world's
#2 I see the benefits of having a sibling with special needs daily in my children's life
#3 I know the difference we can make in the life of an orphan
#4 I'm stubborn and enjoy going against the grain  :)
#5 I get my fist bumps from my friends who have children with special needs, nurses, therapists, etc.

And I'm not Super Mom, as so many have told me over the years.  I fail at my plans, yell at my kids, watch Call the Midwife instead of clean my kitchen, argue with my peacemaking husband, skip Miracle's therapy, make cereal for dinner, skim Facebook instead of playing a game with my kids, wait until I have 10 loads of laundry to do.... all the things other 'normal' moms do.  I'm a work in progress, too.  I can say, I do work very hard to accomplish my goals of trying to be the best mom.  That's all I've ever wanted - to be THE best mom.  I'm not.  By far!  But, I can accept grace where it's needed and move forward, trying even harder.  That doesn't make me Super, that makes me FORGIVEN.  God looks through the blood of Jesus at my face and smiles.  Not because I did it all right, but because Christ did.  He's the Super Hero!  No cape under my shirt!

This is sort of a random post of my thoughts, so I thought I would share something silly...

A few weeks ago I realized the colors that represent Down Syndrome awareness were blue and yellow.  These colors are special to Mr. Prince and me because they were BOTH our favorite colors in college.  I thought that was pretty cool when I found out.  We will be rockin' happily in Down Syndrome awareness attire!

Today I read about why World Down Syndrome Awareness Day is March 21st.  This date represents the 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, which is Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21.  My FAVORITE numbers since I was a little girl were 3 and 21!  My birthday is on the 21st, so that's part of it.  But, I thought that was cool as well.  Corny but Cool!  :P

I have some other great news to share...

We are coming SO close to our Fundraising goals!  $35,000 is a LOT of money.  And we hadn't considered international adoption prior to 2013 because of this.  Where is our one-income family going to come up with that kind of money?  I know, I know....God can do anything.  But, it just didn't sink in that way back then.  It was a burden to even consider.

Check these numbers out:

$2500 saved for the homestudy and application fee
$7000 grant Frannie already had on Reece's Rainbow
$1600 raised at our Adoption Garage Sale in June
$300 cash donations
$5000 allotted out of our taxes for 2015
$2000 saved from only MommyK traveling to China
$3000 *estimated* savings from budgeting in 2014
$1500 *estimated* to be raise at another Garage Sale
$4500 pain and suffering settlement from an accident in May *JUST RECEIVED*

So...that puts us at an *estimated* $7,600 left to be raised!  The ONLY way those numbers have added up is because we have a God that can do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine!  Only $15,000 more and we can bring home TWO kids from China!  We are going to keep plugging along fundraising and applying for grants and see what God does!  The agency said it's a long shot that we would get a waiver for another child, but don't forget....our God can do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine!

I can't wait to see the end of our story.  In the mean time, I'm going to keep learning and listening and allowing God to chip away at me, refining me to be the mom he's created for all SIX of my current children...and any other children that may come our way by birth or adoption.  :)

Join me!

MommyK and Miracle

If you feel called to donate to our adoption, there is a PayPal tab at the top right corner of this blog just above Frannie's photo.  You do not need a PayPal account to donate.  May your blessing to us come back to you ten-fold!

Sunday, June 22, 2014


We are NOT pregnant....we are FINALLY adopting!!

Mr. Prince and I have talked about adopting for years.  It's fairly long, but here's how we've finally come to where we are now...

Back in 2004 (right after Princess Pea was born and Sid was 2) we applied to be house parents for underprivileged children near Chicago.  We had visited the facility because friends of ours from college worked there and really loved what they were doing there.  Both of us could stay home or either of us could teach at the school there.  The process took over six months.  They didn't like that we had two kids, nor that we planned to have more, so we stepped out of that process after declining a high school group home in 2005.  Our training and love was for elementary kids, but they didn't think we could manage two young children as well as a house full of elementary girls.  We disagreed.  And knew God wanted to bless us with more children.  In fact, just weeks after declining the position, we found out we were pregnant with Angelica Pickles!

Over the next few years we started to hear more and more about Foster care and the hurting children taken away from their parents during rough times.  We started the process to be Foster parents in 2007, officially applying in 2009.  There were some delays in the process as we birthed Boo Boo in 2008 and unexpectedly were pregnant with Miracle as our application awaited approval.  Our desire was to be emergency Foster parents for infants and toddlers, hoping one day that would lead to an adoption.  I had babysat children out of my home for over five years and we had four cribs/playpens set up throughout the house.  We were eventually denied a license due to the ages of our children.  They said the state rule was no more than three children under the age of three in a given home or four children under the age of six.  We had both.

It was incredibly disappointing news for us.  But, we contended to apply again in a few years when Angelica Pickles would be over the age of three.

Then, Fall 2009 we were blessed with Miracle.  With her doctor appointments, seizures, therapy for cerebral palsy and such, it took me over two years to really get a handle on Myra's care in addition to my daily responsibilities of being a homemaker, homeschool mom and wife.  Adoption had never left my heart, but I knew it was something that would have to wait even longer.

(If you wanna learn more about Miracle, start with THIS post and there are more links there, also.) 

(Funny, I started following THIS blog after reading THIS post about another little girl with special needs that was born months after Miracle.  This mother was such an encouragement to me and left me wondering why God hadn't given Miracle her daughter's diagnosis instead of the ones Miracle had been given.  Come back and look at this after you read the rest of my blog!)  

God knew the entire time.

In early 2012 I contacted the local Foster care agency and inquired about starting the process again.  I was then told that the state of Indiana had changed their requirements so that no more than five children could be in a Foster care home, including biological children.  The previous requirement had been eight.

It honestly felt like another punch in the gut.  I knew God had called us and had given us hearts for children and adoption.  I didn't understand why we kept hitting walls.  But, God made it clear to me we were to adopt before we were going to have more biological children.

I started looking into domestic adoption, despite the cost.  I called some reputable Christian adoption agencies and one told me that no mother would ever choose our family due to having five kids.  In her 30 years, only one mother had chosen a family with more than two children, and that was because they had previously adopted.  Even children with Down Syndrome had so many parents waiting, homestudy ready, that it would likely take us a number of years to adopt.

Another punch.

After more months of research, I found out we could apply to adopt through the state of Indiana, we just couldn't Foster.  By then our Foster care classes had expired, so we had to start the process from scratch.  So, in late 2012 we started the process in the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP).  Our second homestudy was done in May 2013 and we were approved on Mr. Prince's birthday in September 2013!

I began immediately looking for our children.  We were open to special needs, sibling groups, boys or girls.  We sent in for information for many, many, MANY children.  Some we got back and knew we couldn't handle their needs, and others we never heard about.  Our homestudy was requested for a few children and we were never chosen.  For three months I spent HOURS searching.  It was emotionally exhausting.  But, I thought this was finally our open door.

Then the Foster to Adopt agency contacted me and told me that if I planned to make more inquiries, we would need to get a domestic homestudy to do so.  They didn't want to help us any longer.  

So, we contacted a highly recommended local homestudy agency.  We sat down with Jan for free and discussed with her why we wanted a domestic homestudy.  We were hoping their agency could be prompt in sending out our homestudy to Foster care agencies across the nation since our Foster care agency no longer wanted to support us in this.  Jan was very compassionate, but was very straightforward in saying she really thought we would just wait forever in the SNAP program.  She had experience in the Foster to Adopt world and she said they would likely never find our large, one-income family a desirable adoptive family.

Another punch.

Jan went on to tell us how many children were currently waiting for families around the world and, with our openness to special needs, we could likely adopt fairly quickly through a Waiting Child program.  We had told her we were open to special needs children and had been drawn to the idea of a child that was deaf or had Down Syndrome.  The problem was, I didn't want to adopt internationally.  My thought has always been that there are children HERE in America that need parents, too.  And the outrageous cost we could never afford.  And the travel that would take us away from our other children.  I had made this little picture in my head of what I wanted.  We desired a multicultural family, but just wasn't desirable.

But, God calls us to the hard and undesirable sometimes.

Over the next month, I gave up.  I stopped looking for children.  I stopped talking about adoption.  I was beaten down.  I looked briefly at the countries Jan had suggested, but with no gusto or ambition.  I read about many other hang ups we might run into with international adoption.  Every site was discouraging.

Too many kids
Too young of kids
Too little income

I told God I was done and really just wanted to birth another child.  I wrestled with him the entire month of December 2013.  I got an email from Jan on Christmas Eve (why was she working on Christmas Eve?).  It was about an additional agency that was not on my original list.  They had waiting children from the Philippines.  Something drew me to contact the agency and I stated to look at their waiting children in early January.

January brought about many changes, as I started full-time midwifery school.  In my journal on January 4th I wrote, "I have been prompted to leave the uncomfortable to follow God into the unknown.  Adoption.  Cerebral palsy.  Doula.  Midwife.  Moving.  Some exciting.  Others daunting.  Many teaching patience and trust."  A major change in my heart.

We found two little girls from the Philippines that were 9 and 6 just days into January.  Sisters.  They were absolutely gorgeous.  Our girls were currently 9 and 7.  We got their complete profiles and I just cried reading them.  Their personalities sounded so much like my girls.  Their father had left their mother and she had started in the 'dancing' industry to make money.  The girls had been in custody of the country for only 2 years and had just become available for international adoption in December 2013.  They seemed perfect.  We fell in love.  So did our kids, especially our girls.  We sent in our application to the Philippines in January 14, 2014.  We were told we would wait around a month.  

On January 29th we got an email that another family had been identified for the girls.

Biggest punch yet.

I was shocked.  We didn't know we were even being considered alongside other families.  My kids' reaction was the hardest.  Angelica Pickles cried and cried.  She named her favorite stuffed animal after the little girl her age.  She talked about what it would be like to live with them all the time.  She was upset her older sister wasn't crying, too.  It was a hard, hard week.  I had no idea where to go from here.  But, I felt God showed me that week that He could make His Will happen whenever He wanted to.  That the situation was wholly in his hands.  That He can help us find our child through the heart of an adoption agent on Christmas Eve, or He would help us find them another way.  But, our hearts were broken between here and the Philippines.  And I never stopped praying for those girls.  And praying their family would be better than ours.  And perfect for them.  Yet, I still wondered if this door was completely closed...

I didn't look for kids outside of the Philippines for a while.  Each month the Philippines sent out a list of the hard to adopt kids (where we found the girls) and I waited expectantly for that list in February, March and April.  We asked about a little girl that was 6.  She wasn't likely to make it through to us.  A family with a current dossier in the Philippines was inquiring about her, and if they declined, she would be offered to all 20+ families currently waiting with dossiers.  THEN, she would be offered to us.

So, I continued to wait and pray.  Pray and wait.  I contacted a few other agencies and expanded my search to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand.  I just didn't see my child/ren anywhere.  And my heart still hurt for the girls.

Some time in March I viewed THIS video.  It rocked my world.  I had seen many Gotcha videos but this one made me bawl and bawl and watch it over and over.  (Get some tissue if you plan to watch it!)  I attempted to hold back my tears as I showed Mr. Prince.  I had heard of Reece's Rainbow before, but never looked at their site in any detail.  I mulled over this site for hours reading profiles and falling in love with these children.  Reece's Rainbow is a site committed to advocating for special needs children, especially children with Down Syndrome.  We had talked about the idea of adopting a child with DS, but we hadn't talked about what exactly that would look like for us.  I had so many questions.  Could we really do this?

I feel in love with THIS profile (don't miss the videos!).  'Yulia' is a three year old girl from China with Down Syndrome and possible hearing impairment.  We didn't think China was even an option for us due to our income and family size, but we were told by 'Yulia's' agency that we could ask for waivers since she had special needs.  We had a long, hard conversation about finances, the future, Down Syndrome and all the other things swimming through my head.  And in mid-April we began to pray and fast about this little girl.  Is this who God wanted us to adopt?  My plan was to finish out my semester of school and we would possibly proceed in mid-May if we felt that was where God was leading.

Days later, on April 21st, we received an email from the Philippines agency that the two girls had become available again and they were reviewing our file!  I literally couldn't stop crying for hours and just paced, praying, up and down my street.  My kids thought I was nuts and really wanted to know what was wrong.  I called Mr. Prince at work and we decided it was best to not tell them.  We didn't want the same heartache for them.  I told them there was a possibility of good news or bad news and asked them to pray for good news. They weren't exactly satisfied with that answer, but they stopped asking.    

All I could think of was that God wanted me to trust, wait and understand that all of this was part if HIS plan.  I couldn't stop thinking about traveling to bring these girls home and what that meant for our family.  I had never given up hope that they would come back to us if it was God's plan.  My friends even got goosebumps when I called them and asked them to pray.  It seemed like the 'end' to the beginning of our adoption story.

The Philippines asked for additional information about Miracle's special needs.  I thought this was odd, and was possibly a little offended by it.  Why does this affect how we would parent these two girls?  We were currently raising four other 'neurologically typical' children and they were doing great.  We sent a positive response about how much we love Miracle and include her in everything that we do despite the fact that she doesn't talk or walk.  And then we waited.

On Mother's Day I had the privilege of watching one of my best friend's babies (#4) assimilate into his family immediately following his birth through Skype.  (I missed the birth by moments!)  She never knew, but I cried and cried with my camera off (they thought I had technical difficulties and honestly weren't paying attention that much for obvious reasons).  I wanted to birth another child.  And all I could see was having not three, but now FIVE little girls being a part of my next birth experience and being little mommies to another little Kellogg baby some day.  I had waited to have children for almost 5 years now awaiting an adoption.  So, it was just a little emotional for me. 

The day after Mother's Day, May 11th, I got the news that another family had been identified for the girls....again.

There are no words for my feelings.  I felt peaceful, yet hurt.  Accepting, yet torn.  I still pray for them and think of them often.  But, I guess they were never mine.  And I had been praying that God would give me peace either way.  See, as I was waiting I started to question whether I really could take in two older girls.  Could I really parent them well?  This wasn't my original plan either.  I had succumb to the fact that this decision was not mine.  And I was peaceful.  I was glad that I couldn't mess up God's plan as long as I searched for His Will.  That peace beyond understanding - that is what I claim for that day.  

I also found out that while we were waiting on these girls, the six year old girl we had inquired about (also from the Philippines) had become available to us.  But, since we were waiting to hear back about the girls, we were not given the opportunity to look at her profile and she had been accepted by another family.  My heart immediate sunk, but I quickly accepted that as God's way of assuring we would eventually adopt who He wanted us to adopt.

We had been majorly distracted from praying about 'Yulia' from Reece's Rainbow through these few weeks.  I still had her photo on my iPhone screen and still thought about her, but I truly thought the girls would be ours.  But, as I prayed about these girls while we waited, God kept assuring me that I could parent who He places in our arms.  That His grace is sufficient.  That it would be His strength that would allow us to adopt and parent this child or children He had planned for us.  At the time I was thinking about the girls and the difficulties I knew they could bring to our family.  The sacrifices that would have to be made, the prayer that would be required, the money that would have to be raised.  But, my heart immediately turned toward 'Yulia' after we found out we were not chosen for the girls and these promises from God still rang true.

I struggled for a few weeks wondering what I would do if we moved forward with 'Yulia' and the girls become available again.  I prayed over and over, that if these girls were going to come back again, that they would come back to us before the end of May, not 6 months down the road.  I prayed for direction and leading from God and begged for peace.  Begged.  I read about Down Syndrome and Mr. Prince and I had many conversations.  My heart grew for this little girl, yet I was somewhat reserved because of the hurt I had already been through with the girls.

It took a few weeks to get all my questions answered about the process.  In that time a few families started to inquire about 'Yulia'.  I was told that no one had ever pursued her in the 3 years she had been waiting.  We sent in our application for them to review our information to assess if we would be able to adopt from China.

On May 24th the director of Across the World Adoptions contacted me and told me she didn't see any reason why China would not allow us to adopt 'Yulia'.  I was still in denial, but wanted to believe her.

We began to work on our Letter of Intent and started to get more excited.  We announced that we 'hoped' to adopt a little girl from China to Mr. Prince's family on Memorial Day.  We were reminded that day that 'Yulia's' birthday was the same as Mr. Prince's maternal grandmother, Helen Frances Plasterer.  We had always wanted to name a baby after Helen, but nothing ever stuck with our other kids.  Helen raised four children with a rare disorder and all four died by the age of eight.  This was in addition to the other four babies she lost by miscarriage/stillbirth and the five she raised into adulthood.  She was an amazing women who only met our first two children.  But, I have said since Miracle was born, she was the one person I wish I could talk to about raising a child with special needs - she did it four times with grace!  My appreciation grew for Helen ten-fold after Miracle was born.  Mr. Prince and I went home and quickly decided without much discussion that 'Yulia's' name would be Frances Joy Yutang Kellogg.

Frances from Helen Frances 
Joy describes Down Syndrome perfectly
Yutang is her given Chinese name

She would be known as Frannie Joy!  Our attachment grew.

May 28, 2014 we sent our Letter of Intent (LOI) to adopt Frannie Joy.  And we waited....again.  We held a fundraising garage sale in early June and raised a little under $1600.00!  We posted photos of Frannie at the sale, but I was still a little nervous because I wasn't SURE she was mine yet.

Well.... we just received our Pre-Approval to adopt Frannie Joy on June 19th!!  She is ours!!  Well, not officially...but a promise has been made from China that we can come get her next year!

Frannie Joy will be four on September 22 - the day after my birthday, two days before Miracle turns five and the day Helen Frances would have been 93.  We are waiting for our home visit for our homestudy, but all our paperwork is done.  We are starting our I800A application for USCIS and our dossier paperwork.  We hope to bring her home early 2015.

We are beyond excited to finally be bringing home the little girl God had planned for us long ago!  And the events that shaped our love and opened our hearts to adopting her is quite obvious to us now.

God has shown me through raising Miracle that life isn't always easy and life isn't always fair but His plan is perfect, His grace is sufficient and His love is unconditional.  I have struggled throughout the last number of years waiting for answers, waiting for direction, waiting for healing and waiting for adoption.  I still have things I'm waiting on.  And though I know in my heart that God's timing is perfect, my head still yearns for my own timing.

I want Myra to be healed NOW.  
I want Frannie to be here NOW.  
I want to move NOW.
I want to be a midwife NOW.

I'm still running into road blocks for many of these things.  But, I just have to keep reminding myself that those blockers are there to slow me down and point me to my Savior and Redeemer.  That Christ is my strength and God is my path.  This story sums up much of the last 10 years of my life.  It's kind of odd to see it on a blog in just a few number of paragraphs.

If you feel drawn to help fund our adoption, there is a PayPal DONATION button on the top right corner of our blog (you don't need to have a PayPal account to donate).  We need to raise approximately $35,000 to bring Frannie home.  The process goes quickly for waiting children and they will expect that we move quickly to raise this money.  We have some fundraisers in the works and plan to apply to grants.  Currently, we are $1800 short to pay China the $3500  'acceptance' fee for Frannie.  When we turn in our dossier in three months or so (my goal is her birthday), we will need an additional $6260 to send our dossier to China.  And, we are praying about possibly bringing home an additional child if God provides the funds quickly for Frannie, if China and USCIS would approve us and if we raise an additional $15,000 on top of Frannie's $35,000!! 

I understand not everyone is in a position to donate money, but we also need some people who could commit to pray for this process.  I would love to know if any of you are willing to do this for us!

We have always felt love and support from our friends and family and I have no doubt the support will blow us away again!  I know there are already people who have asked when and how they can donate.  Here you go!  Please feel free to link your blog or Facebook to this post and spread the word on how others who haven't (yet) been called to adoption can help bring an orphan home.

Kellogg Family (2014)
Princess Pea, Mr. Prince, Boo Boo, Sid the Science Kid, MommyK, Miracle, Angelica Pickles

I'm thinking Frannie's blog name will be Kai-Lan.  
Seems appropriate considering the cartoon names our other kids have adopted.  :) 

I know many of you are blog browsers....
Please stop and say HI!  
Leave a comment so I know you visited and I can come follow your family story or adoption journey!  
Over 700 people have already visited this post, but I only know one of you!  ;)