Psalm: 90:09- We spend our years as a tale that is told


Monday, January 16, 2012

Letter of The Month: G-Gold parties, Goat Soap, Grants and a Girly Dress!

     As we continue our next phase in reaching our fundraiser goals we ask that you continue to pass our blog along and pray for us.  We are amazed at how far we have come in such a short period of time! I hope you are just as excited as we are for these new opportunities and I have some more coming up in February that are in the works (so to speak)! Thank you in advance for your support. Every time we look at our new picture of Talia we are given the strength to persevere. We know she needs us and we can not wait to have her in our arms at home.

1. Gold, Gold!

       Yes you heard me! Gold parties! Have a credit card bill to pay down from the holidays? Or an adoption bill due? Some extra money for a vacation or a new purse that you have had your eye on? Everyone can surely use just a little bit more in their wallets these days. Do you know how much gold is going for? A lot and I mean a lot! Even broken jewelery, old high school or college rings, broken chains etc. can be sold.  So this is the perfect time to go through your  drawers and do some early spring cleaning. There will be a few ways that people can help us with the gold parties. My father a licensed, certified jeweler for 44  years and pays the highest possible for your old broken or unwanted gold. He uses a Delaware County certified scale. My dad was so kind to offer his help and time to bring home his 2nd granddaughter. Here are some options to get involved in the gold rush!

1. Host a gold party fundraising event in Talia's honor at your house. As an incentive, receive 10% of the total amount sold that evening. The difference between the hostess and the amount paid out goes to Talia's fund.

Here are the following locations where the parties can be hosted.
  • North Carolina: Charlotte or surrounding areas
  • Pennsylvania: Delaware, Chester or Montgomery County
  • New Jersey: Southern New Jersey
  • Delaware: New Castle County
2. If you live close to Boothwyn, Pennsylvania you can take your gold in to my father's store, Morris Jewelers on your own time Tuesday-Friday 11:00 am-4:00 pm.  Just mention my name or blog. You can also e-mail me at and I can set you up with a time if you need to meet later.

3. Attend one of the gold parties being hosted in the Charlotte, NJ or Philly area and get money for your gold!

4. If you live out of state and want to be a part of the gold rush for Talia e-mail me as my dad has helped people out of state as well!

So you get money for your gold and we get the amount that my dad would receive at no cost to you. You help bring Talia home by selling your gold! If you have any questions please contact me. FYI -- gold prices change daily.

If you would like further information about how to host a gold party, please e-mail me and I will then provide you with a document that includes ideas to make your party successful! It is super easy: invite some friends, pick a date and have fun! We are so excited about these parties! This is a great opportunity for anyone but also fundraising families of course!

2. Goat Soap.,.not just any goat soap but the one featured in "O" magazine and the 'Today Show". We still have soap..order some today!

   Thank you to the Jones family for letting us sell their amazing soap for a fundraiser. The scents are divine and you will notice such a difference in your skin. I sold them at a few fundraising parties and they were a hit! Here are the ones I currently have in stock.

Scents-$6 per bar (50% goes to Talia)
Oatmeal, milk & honey-One word, "yummy" and yes it smells like cookies!
Lavender-nothing more relaxing then the smell of lavender. This is one of their best sellers!
Purity (Unscented)-Great for the tiniest of babies and especially those with eczema or sensitive skin. 
Ocean-Bring back those memories of sunny days at the seashore
Black Raspberry-with one smell you will feel like you just picked a basket of berries. A favorite of  little girls!
Honeysuckle-Smells just like the vine in your backyard with a hint of Jasmine
Luv Spell-Very feminine and smells just like Victoria Secret scent
Pink Sugary-Sweet and looks like a treat! Since I am a sugar addict this is my favorite! It looks like a brownie!

Nautical-Soap for the man in your life!
Clean cotton-Perfect to keep in your drawers and use when needed or keep in your guest bathroom!

Ingredients: Raw goat milk; Saponified natural fats, coconut oil, soy bean oil; Natural color, Fragrance (phthalate and paraben free)

These handmade creamy bars of soap are 6 ounces and made from goats on the Jones farm. If giving as a gift they even come with an environmental friendly bag  hand stamped with the scent! I have 100 in stock!

Free shipping if you live close to me in the Charlotte area or Delaware County, Pa. Otherwise here are the additional S & H charges by USPS. They are super heavy!

1-5 bars- $5.35
6-12 bars-$10.95
Over 12 bars-free shipping

Just $6 a bar!

E-mail me first at with your order, # of soaps and scents with your name, mailing address and e-mail address and I will then give you payment instructions.

This video showcases the Jones family and their hard work to make these incredible long lasting soaps.  (In order to hear it you will have to put my playlist at the bottom of my blog on pause)

3. Grants

      We are in the process of applying  for adoption grants and the paperwork is grueling (I thought compiling an international dossier was hard!) Besides all the paperwork the process is very thought provoking and has brought up a lot of emotions and beliefs that I held true for many years. The Christian grant applications encompass your thoughts on Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, reasons for adopting and family life. It really has us delving into the bible for answers and the truth. Please pray for the Holy spirit to guide us through this process.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

4. A Little Girl's dress
      Just in time for Valentine's Day! My dear friend Robin is making a dress (size 2/3) for me to auction off. I will be posting more details in the coming week. I am so excited to see the dress as know it will be absolutely beautiful and the donation from the silent auction will go directly to Talia's adoption fund. Thank you Robin! Now get sewing...haha!

     This past week was a hard one for us as we received some devastating news on Harper's teeth and the expenses are great.  Since Harper has a heart condition we need to do the dental surgeries as soon as possible which coincides with our adoption expenses. She will go under general anesthesia for the work which of course makes us even more nervous. We know through God all things are possible but this was the first time where I was really worried that I might have to chose one daughter over another. There is a big chance that even if we receive all our paperwork from China by April we would have to delay travel to Talia until we come up with the funds. Obviously, this makes our stomach turn but there is a reason for everything and we trust God's plan. But just when I started to get down He picked me up with some great ideas and new fundraising opportunities!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thank You

      After our first giveaway and beginning steps of fundraising it seems appropriate to simply say, "Thank You". There are so many touching stories from the past 6 weeks since we started this website but here are just a few of the "Thank You's" that can't go unnoticed! Of course every prayer and donation brings us one step closer to our angel and we are eternally grateful to each and everyone of you that took time out of your day to donate, pass along our blog or pray.

-Thank you to the little boy that asked his mom for $20 from his piggy bank to help bring Talia home
-Thank you to the silent angel that listed our website as a fundraising family to support us during the holidays
-Thank you to my "artificial sister" and husband for being our sender (more to come on what a sender means!)
-Thank you to the woman who said a Novena for us. I don't know who it was but someone did and it surely calmed us and brought the Blessed Mother Mary into Talia's life to watch over her.
-Thank you to the strangers that supported our 1st giveaway and gave us the inspiration to strive to reach our goal
-Thank you to a wonderful friend that taught me to trust in God's plan
-Thank you to the doctors and dentist offices that have raised money on our behalf. It is amazing for you not only to be healers but also to support God's work and to not look for anything in return.
-Thank you to the childhood friend that I haven't seen in years for your extremely generous donation and prayers. It means more then you ever will know!
-Thank you for the support of my online adoption family. You truly understand what it means to grow a family out of love and not genes!
-Thank you to the dance teacher that initiated a beautiful prayer for Talia's health and safety in the middle of a parking lot
-Thank you to a dear aunt, uncle and cousin for their donation that brought our journey to Talia for circle
-Thank you to my parents for being our Santa this year and supporting every one of our fundraisers even though you didn't need a single thing!
-Thank you to the kindness of an acquaintance for her selfless donation.
-Thank you for the prayers and positive thoughts on our journey so far as they have always come at a time when we need our spirits lifted from negativity surrounding us.
-Thank you to everyone that has tirelessly tried to network for us and e-mailed our blog address to their family members, co-workers and friends.
-Thank you to the donor that donated in their child's name that passed away way to young
-Thank you to God almighty for putting my husband and I in the financial circumstances we are in this year. Otherwise we would not see your hand at work and how our fundraising and website is touching so many lives. We are honored that you chose us to be Talia's mommy and daddy. Additionally, we are more humbled to be doing what you intended all of us to do to and care for the fatherless.

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. Psalms 68:5-6

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17

 When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do. Deuteronomy 24:19
      Finally this week I must share a tale with you and that is the story about our Tiffany "Joy" bracelet winner. I know so many people that wanted to win this rare and beautiful bracelet. We had a lot of entries (some people had over 100!) However, the story that is about to unfold was all in God's plan. For the winner entered the contest just a night before the contest ended. She found my blog via our adoption agency, Madison. I was just as anxious as everyone else to see who the winner was going to be! I wish I had a ton of them to give out and I felt bad (just like me) for those that weren't going to win. This bracelet just seemed so meaningful to so many people.

      I had Harper put her little hand in our container of entries and out she picked one name, Bradley Arnold. I had no clue who the winner was and when I searched for them on facebook and my message boards they didn't appear.  Todd knew I felt bad for the people that didn't win. Right after I said the name he said, "Mary Jane the right person won".  I e-mailed the winner with the good news.  In a million years I never would have guessed the e-mail I would receive back as I didn't think the winner was part of the adoption community.  It read something like this, "I happened upon your blog through Madison. When I saw the bracelet I was excited for two reasons. First, I thought it was a great idea for a fundraiser.  Second, the word JOY engraved on the bracelet meant so much to me. Our journey to adoption was birthed our of JOY in so many ways.  One of those ways was a little foster daughter who lived with us for 18 glorious months!  We loved her deeply and now deeply grieve her.  If it had not been for the gift of her in our lives we would have never added our 2 daughters to our family, and be in the process for a third.  She awakened much JOY in our home and lives and birthed it into full measure through what she began.  Her name was Ari JOY! 
Please know this bracelet holds so much meaning to me and I will wear it with great JOY in my heart!  Thank you, and we pray success and blessing to you as you continue your journey to your beautiful baby girl!"

      I wrote back to Amy, our winner, and explained to her the rareness of the bracelet and how amazing it was that she won, just based alone on the sheer volume of entries we had. My e-mail back went something like this,"Amy I believe God did design this especially for you. The interesting thing is Tiffany's doesn't make this anymore and there were only a few that they did make. A very rare piece of "joy" just like your "joy" that will always be in your heart and mind! If you think about it three three cherubs represent the three daughters (two already home and one to come) in your life, the joy on the back is your Ari Joy and the links of the bracelet represent your sons and husband all forming the family unit!" Of course this is the short form of our correspondence.

    Let me explain a little bit more as my e-mails continued with Amy on New Year's day. I felt more joy in her story then I can put into words. She clearly loved this little girl, "Ari Joy", that she fostered which then led her to bring home two daughters from China. It's amazing how one little being can inspire and change your whole world!  There is no doubt that this family heavily grieves for this child as "Ari Joy" was taken back to Mexico with her biological mother.  They have not heard from her in 3 years.  Can you imagine not knowing anything about a child that you loved and cared for like a daughter? You do not know if she is hurt or hungry or alive.  Moreover, since she is another country there is nothing they can do but live on faith and hope that she is being cared for by her mother and God.  I imagine, like most of us that have adopted, we think of the birth mothers of our children and at what point do they stop grieving or if they ever do stop? I imagine they never do.  We grieve with them and for our adopted children to have such a huge loss.  So you may be thinking how is this story joyous? How Did Mary Jane feel joy when reading this sad story. Well that's the faith part.  At a time when we need God most there He is. This family, still very much feeling the loss, supported our giveaway to help bring home an orphan. The night that Amy found our blog she very well could of just checked out our blog, read a few posts, maybe just looked at my YouTube videos or my cute pictures of my girls. Instead she was led to enter our giveaway and for that God rewarded her with what she needed most...closure and a reminder that He is in charge always watching over us and never forsaking us. Could God have showed us His amazing power anymore then this story?  Unbelievable and all through Him! Even as my husband said after hearing this story there is no way this is a coincidence. Someone e-mailed me this week after donating and wrote the following line, "One thing I've learned as we have struggled to raise funds to finance our adoption,  is that God loves it when we give to others. He loves it even more when we give in faith not out of our own abundance, so I am happy to make these small contributions to help you bring your beautiful girl home. I truly feel led to help you in this journey".

       Isn't is amazing to feel led to do something? Two different stories, two different people all part of our adoption story. All teaching us what it means to give from the heart, not the mind and what it means to let God take control of our lives. Think about it for a few minutes when were you last led to do something not out of fear, not out of hardship, not for pride sake, not because your boss asked you, but led. Something beyond your self leading you to do something.  I fear many of us have never been led because we want to take control over everything.  Maybe this year and these stories found on my blog will help lead you to where you are truly suppose to be and that can be a multitude of things.  Only you know where and what you have been saying "no" to for so many years.

      We didn't have a single shred of doubt after accepting Talia's file.  Nothing mattered but that she was our daughter and we needed to find a way to bring her home. We knew He would led us on the right path but what we never would have guessed is that Talia would touch so many lives so far away and that we would meet new lifelong friends! Even more then that we get to glorify Him through all of these efforts to bring Talia home! It blows our mind how He is working through us all and doing more then I could ever imagine!

     May this new year bring you as much joy as the way 2011 ended for us...filled with hope for the future, love for one another, faith that keeps us sustained, and joy in living each day to the fullest.

     If you would like to see pictures of 'Ari Joy" and marvel at this wonderful family you can view their old blog. This post documents their final visits with her. They didn't realize at the time of the following post that she would be leaving our country.

    Before ending this post, let me provide you with one more link that I just read (and gave me goose bumps) which are Amy's words that are found on her latest blog post about the bracelet. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as they prepare again to bring home a 3rd daughter from China. You can also see pictures and their life with Ari. She truly was a blessing to this family and may God continue to lift them up and hold their hand when they need it most. I am so glad God led us to them and I look forward to the day we can meet in person! Please take time out to read her blog post.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Xiaoyun's 1st Surgery Update & Card Request

     If you scroll down my blog you will see a post and a You Tube video about Xiaoyun. She was adopted last spring from China right before she was about to age out of the system and suffers from severe scoliosis. If you haven't looked at the video go watch it. She will melt your heart! Xiaoyun is in the hospital now and is recovering from  her 1st surgery. Would you be so kind to add her to your prayer list this month and possibly have your children even send her a card? Let's try our hardest to brighten up her life right now as she is in immense pain. We can also learn a thing or two about life from Xiaoyun in giving all our physical pain and emotional worries to God!

     Below is the e-mail from her mother that she sent out on an adoption board that I frequent.
     Xiaoyun's first surgery went well. They were able to place the halo under general anesthesia, and it went very quickly. Unfortunately, nausea has been a problem since she got into her room and both nausea meds they've given her have proven somewhat unsuccessful. They had to start giving her some fluids via IV and right now she's sleeping peacefully. They have started her out with 5 pounds of traction and will increase a pound every few hours. The goal is 10 - 12 pounds. A major praise is that Xiaoyun gave her life to the Lord last night!!!!! She also told us she wasn't scared because she knew God was taking care of her, people were praying for her, and Baba and Mama would be right here with her.We are at the beginning of a long six week hospital stay. The goal is 4 surgeries to happen during that time. The second surgery will be to remove ribs that have grown up into her spine and to insert temporary rods. They think that may take place next Wednesday. Xiaoyun's curvature is 150* and her lung function is only 33% so every surgery carries a great deal of risk. They do hope to bring her curvature down to 80* and give the lungs room to expand. We thank each of you for your prayers and concern! 

This is the address to send cards to:  

 Evelyn (Xiaoyun) Willoughby
c/o Kosairs Children's Hospital

231 E. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202