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


Monday, April 30, 2012

Delicate Fortress Fundraiser-just 48 hrs. left!

This party fundraiser has ended!

Since I am a facts girl here are my Delicate Fortress Fundraiser totals:
Artisan groups helped: 12
Number of countries artisans live: 9
Number of states your orders came from: 6
Total amount after the Brittany's Hope grant match: $305!

Thank you everyone! You not only helped Talia but women all around the world that live in extreme poverty! This was a great fundraiser party and if anyone is interested in running one for your organization I would be more then happy to put you in touch with Delicate Fortress! She books out far so plan ahead!

We have been so fortunate to partner with Delicate Fortress this past week.  The party ends Tuesday night, May 1st (Talia's birthday!) 

The best part about this fundraiser, besides all the cool fair trade products, is that it benefits other families throughout the world. Your purchase not only brings Talia home, but saves the life of mothers and children in third world countries. 

We are so close to finalizing all the paperwork and with Talia's heart and blood disorder we don't want her to wait a minute longer for good health care and a forever family. Delicate Fortress sells pajamas, kids items, jewelry and home goods all made by artisans who have escaped human trafficking, slavery and extreme poverty. They would be perfect gifts for Mother's Day, a special friend's birthday, hostess gift or yourself. Help fight for these women, their children and Talia today! Their jewelry and children's backpacks are their top sellers! 

Enter code "Talia" at checkout! View all their great products here:
30% of all sales will go to our matching Brittany's Hope fund so every $1 and every purchase will get matched...whohoo!

Friday, April 20, 2012


What's a miracle? 
Well according to the dictionary:
mir·a·cle   [mir-uh-kuhl] noun
1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural  powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3. a wonder; marvel.
4. a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality: a miracle of modern acoustics.

What's my definition of a miracle? My two daughter's stories of survival.
     Just to refresh your memory or those new to my blog. Our first daughter home, Harper Lily, has an atrial septal defect,pulmonary stenosis, severe scoliosis, chiari brain malformation, a benign tumor on her forehead, milk and casein allergies and extensive dental decay. She was referred to us with just a moderate ASD. You can imagine our surprise and struggles last year as our first child, our baby, has medical test after medical test and doctor appointment after doctor appointment. We literally were at some specialist office 2-3 times a week for up to 7 months. Harper now wears a hard scoliosis brace 23/7, will need open heart surgery in the coming year and a valve replacement at some point in her life. In addition the chiari and benign tumor requires a brain MRI every year. She is a candidate for the brain decompression surgery but we are holding off to fix her heart and scoliosis first. She is scheduled to go in for dental surgery at the local children's hospital next Friday. You would think this child would be a sickly, frail little thing but she is anything but...she is truly a miracle! Left abandoned, by the only mother she ever knew on a busy intersection, in the middle of the night, she was found and just look at her here  

...she still had a smile on her face! She is our first miracle and is my daily reminder that through life's twists and turns to keep a smile on your face and to be thankful of each and every obstacle because it makes us stronger, more faithful and thankful for the time we all have with one another. 

Miracle #2
    Well My Talia girl! Everything about her story and this whole journey, in our eyes, has been a miracle. From receiving the file, to the red stamp dates being the same dates as Harper's and the death date of my closest cousin, to Todd's heart being open to accept another child into our home when we were reeling from all of Harper's conditions, to having God financially provide for us during this adoption. We are so blessed to have so many people from around the world support this adoption and we are continually blessed and humbled to know God hand picked us to be Talia's mommy and daddy! There are so many mini miracles that also occurred during this journey to Talia and God has been so faithful in revealing them to us on a day to day basis. Everyday there is another story, another connection, another life whose is made better by my Talia's past. Talia was also left abandoned in the middle of the night but Talia was found with the umbilical cord attached and only weighed 3.2 lbs. and was a blue baby. She was very sick and a few days old. She was left outside a switch plate factory outlet. I have the constant reminder of her few days and moments of life every time I turn a light switch on and off. It is almost haunting what occurs in the factories in China...thousands of children left abandoned outside of factories every year. Some aren't even left outside the factories -- they are left in the street gutters as if they are trash. Talia's mother wanted her to be found. So she was and brought to a police station. She spent her first 6 months in an orphange frequently getting pneumonia. She was barely holding on to life and then she got very sick. A wonderful nanny at the orphanage not only took her once to the hospital but twice for medicine (which itself is nothing short of a miracle in China for an orphan from a poor village)! She spent her first birthday and a whole month in that hospital for what I feel was to be used as a guinea pig since it was a teaching hospital. In China orphans are not typically seen as a high priority among society. They preformed cosmetic type surgeries on her -- things that never needed to be done! One of her referral pictures shows a 4 inch scar on her buttocks from a cute little blemish she had before! They did all this after she suffered a heart attack, turned blue on the table and almost died. They also gave her a drug that caused her whole body to react and realized that she had another condition called G6PD, a rare blood disorder. Talia or how she is known in China "KeKe" must have been so scared and upset to not have any caretakers around her that she knew. However, from this tragic strand of events came something wonderful. A Christian foster care foundation, called Grace & Hope,  found her a sponsor in the Unites States. This sponor's monthly donations helped Talia find a loving foster family. Talk about a miracle! She was then released from the hospital and has been there for two years and seems to be thriving! She is still very slow on speech and apprehensive of strangers (I would be too)! As for her heart we don't really know what the condition is, but when we asked for an update they described it as a tumor, then a mass...nothing sounded good but we think much of it got lost in translation from Chinese to English. We hope and pray and feel that she has a hole in her heart like Harper's but we think the extra tissue in heart found on the Echo is just that extra tissue that has closed the hole. We don't know for sure but we know this child is a miracle and we firmly believe God has great things planned for these two little girls! 

So tell me, Who or What is your miracle in your life? Maybe it is your mother, wife, sister, friend, teacher, neighbor, grandmother, niece, daughter. Maybe you are your own miracle for taking on something challenging. Who or what is it? Who do you want to honor? Take a moment today and tell them. Seriously -- send a private message on Facebook, an e-mail, a phone call and tell them. Or give yourself a pat on the back for overcoming something challenging in your life. So many times we don't tell people how great they are yet we have no problem telling them where they fall short! Let my girls be an example to live each day to its fullest and never take anyone or anything for granted. We never know what tomorrow will bring but everyday is a new day to brighten someone else's. This past week a friend of mine in the adoption world found out her child waiting in China is passing away from a brain tumor. This lady also lost her husband last year right after she received the referral information of her child. It is a tragic, sad, inconceivable story but out of it there is hope. There is another day. There is light out of darkness and her family's story will without a doubt turn into a miracle. Their strength as a family is nothing short of a miracle!

In the spirit of Mother's Day, year end teacher gifts, adoptive parent gifts, maybe a friend's birthday or a gift for your new child, I have designed with artist Stacey Richards from the amazing blog,, a beautiful necklace. This might be my favorite tribute to my girl's yet and I am so honored to partner with Stacey on this necklace. I just adore it! So much thought from her and I went into it making it perfect for anyone -- even those outside of the adoption community. There are three different options: A women's necklace, a child's necklace or a mother and daughter set! You can view them all here on her website Jubilee Jewels website below.  If you would like to purchase one just add the item to your cart on her site and best of all you can have it engraved for free with a child's name or a friend's name or for a teacher you can leave it blank with just the word "miracle". Maybe you have a friend that is battling a horrible illness what better way then to reach out to them and let them know their life is a miracle? Every child born is a miracle... how cute would it be for each daughter to have one with their name! If  this necklace is for you what a better way to shine your light to others with this daily reminder of miracles happen everyday! If you need ideas on how to personalize it just e-mail me I would be more then happy to help. Oh and by the way, 50% of the proceeds of each necklace bring home our sweet 2nd miracle, Talia Mei. These will be offered from now until June 1st! 

Ours are listed under "Miracle daughter, Miracle set or Miracle mother"  I hope you love them as much as I do! You can even include a note to a special friend or secret pal with the gift! And men, yes, your wife would love one of these for Mother's Day from her children...ha! 

"The marvelous richness of human experience 
would lose something of rewarding joy if there 
were no limitations to overcome." - Helen Keller

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Sparrow Fund and Kenyan Jewelry Fundraiser

This fundraiser is now closed! Thank you all so much. We raised money for the women of Kenya and for Talia! Should you want to purchase more jewelry please visit the Sparrow Fund's Etsy Shop.

The Sparrow Fund ( is an amazing and compassionate organization that helps couples just starting the adoption process with grants for medical reviews. Their most recent venture is to help fundraising families while helping women in Kenya adopting children as well.

Their motto: ONE MORE child with a forever family and ONE LESS orphan in the world.

We are so lucky to partner with this organization and this week every item that sells on my blog, Talia's fund gets 50% of the amount. I will only have this listed until Thursday, May 10th so if you would like to purchase please e-mail me at with the item or items you want and I will then give you options on how to pay. We are still working towards our matching Brittany's Hope grant where you will receive a tax deductible receipt You can also leave a comment with your e-mail address and order should you choose instead of e-mailing me.

The super lightweight bags are perfect for the beach, pool and any summer excursion! And the jewelry -- well the pictures speak for themselves...beautiful and fun! Plus how cool is that it benefits women in Kenya as well as Talia?! These are perfect gifts for Mother's Day, friend's birthday, end of school year gifts or a treat for yourself this summer. They even come with a little card about how the item was made.  Let me know if you have any questions! Sorry no returns as each item is handmade.

Price List
Earrings: $6
Bracelets: $15
Necklaces: $15
3 piece sets: Necklace, bracelet and earrings: $36
2 piece set: Necklace and earrings: $21
Bags: $20
Shipping and handling is additional : $2.50 for total up to $18
                                                          $3.50 for total up to $49
                                                          $5.50 for any amount beyond $50

The beads seen in the jewelry were created by refugee women currently living in Kenya, women broken from war and HIV, caring for orphans in their community, but made whole together. The individual hand-rolled paper beads made from recycled magazine and calendar pages and take approximately 15 minutes each to roll and varnish to make a unique bead that no one believes started as paper. The varnish makes them durable and water resistant. However, keep them away from water as much as you can, and they will stay in perfect condition for a long, long time.

Your purchase not only gives you a beautiful and unique piece of jewelry, you can wear it with joy knowing that the total proceeds from your purchase supports Talia and women like, Mary, mentioned below.

Pictures will be labeled with numbers! Just e-mail me with which number or numbers you would like to purchase! Remember every piece is unique, one of a kind and special just like each child that waits for a family. I will put the word "sold" for things that have already been purchased! 

Wrap Bracelets-$15 each

Piece #1-SOLD
Piece #2
Piece #3
Piece #4-SOLD
Piece #5-SOLD
Piece #6-SOLD
Earrings-$6 each
Piece #7
Piece #8
Piece #9
Piece #10
Piece #11
Piece #12
Piece #13
Necklaces-$15 each
Piece $14
Piece #15
2 piece sets (earrings and necklace: $21 a set (I can break up a set)

Piece #16-SOLD
Piece #17-SOLD
3 piece sets (earrings and necklace: $36 a set (I can break up a set)
Piece #18-SOLD
Piece #19-SOLD-earrings still available
Piece #20
Bags: $20 each
Bag #1

Bag #2-SOLD

Bag #3-SOLD

Bag #4

Bag #5

Bag #6-SOLD

Bag #7

Bag #8

Bag #9

Bag #10

And just to see the size of a few of the big bags here is my cutie pie model, Harper Lily!

Monday, April 16, 2012

And the winner is....

     If you were on Facebook you witnessed an incredible rally today! We really just can not believe this week! We have been once again blessed by people's extreme generosity and support, and more then that, we are deeply humbled for your help to bring our daughter home! Thanks to all of you in just a couple of months there will be one less orphan in the world!

    The winner was Joel Wachter and he is also adopting a China princess this summer as well. He is part of our DTC facebook group and we all just love Joel for his comments. He keeps us laughing when we all need to unwind from the daily stress of paper chasing and waiting for all our "A"'s! Please check out his wife's blog as they have a current fundraiser for a brand new IPad!!!
and just in case you would like to read something from a man's perspective check out Joel's blog

    An anonymous writer once wrote, "I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart but my heart has no bottom"! We could not say it any better! God Bless! 

    We are in the home stretch with our baby girl in sight now! Stay tuned for an action packed 2  months! The grand total of this giveaway was $1270!!! How awesome is our God? And how awesome are all of you?! Truly beyond awesome!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kindle Fire and 2 year warranty Giveaway! 1 day left!

$1175 God is so great and can imagine more for us then we ever could! Thank you everyone for the big rally today! 
Hang on Talia- Mama and Baba are coming! 

      Just under 30 hrs. left until our Kindle Fire winner is picked!  All entries have to be in by 8:00 pm, tomorrow night, Monday, April 16th!  Our goal for this giveaway was $850 and we are only $250 away now!  How amazing is that?  Thanks for sharing our blog!  What a great week this has been.  We are so appreciative of each and every donation!  Remember my last two giveaway winners were last day entries!

Here are all the details! Just click on the donate button and you can enter via paypal or with a credit card.

•$10 for 3 entries
•$20 for 7 entries
•$35 for 14 entries
•1 additional entry for posting on facebook
•1 additional entry for posting on your blog

     You can also enter here via our Brittany's Hope grant. If you don't want the Kindle or just want to help join our cause Brittany's Hope Foundation is matching donations received through them.

    All donations help to bring our little Talia Mei home! Just a few more steps and she is ours forever!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

JSC Grant!!! More good news!

     Literally about an hour after I wrote Thursdays post I received an e-mail from the JSC Foundation. Here is the e-mail:

Dear Todd and Mary Jane,

Congratulations! You have received a grant in the amount of $5,000 from JSC Foundation for your upcoming adoption! The check has been sent to Madison and should arrive shortly. If there are fees that you have paid so that your balance with your agency is less than $5,000, you can use the excess to use for travel by having your agency reimburse you for travel fees. It has been a pleasure to learn about your heart for adoption. We would love to have a picture of your family after you bring Talia home. God Bless!

     Can you imagine my reaction?  I nearly passed out!  I think it was one of the best days of my life. We could hardly handle all this good news in one day.  Luckily, Todd was not on a business call as I was shrieking with delight!  Harper did not know what was going on and said, "Mommy are you okay"?"  I had tears steaming down my face. I ran upstairs and we all were jumping up and down as a family! We felt like with hit the lottery. We are so thankful to the JSC Foundation and God. He surely is providing for us, financially and opening up people's hearts and minds,  and has made it clear that he does not want Talia to wait a day longer as an orphan then she has to. We can not wait to wrap our arms around our Talia Mei and give her a sweet kiss that is filled with everlasting love.  We knew our friends, family, acquaintances and those walking this journey with us would be joyful as well with our wonderful news.  Now we are about $6000 away from our goal and we have about 2 1/2 months until travel.  So if you have been following my vine and you saw it jump $5000 you know why!  I was ecstatic and shaking when I changed the amount!!!!  We are finally passed the ladybug on that little leaf! 

One of my favorite Third Day song lyrics puts it all in perspective: 

Even though the journey’s long 
And I know the road is hard 
Well, the One who’s gone before me 
He will help me carry on 
After all that I’ve been through 
Now I realize the truth 
That I must go through the valley 
To stand upon the mountain of God 

     I spend countless weekends missing time with Harper and my husband working on these grants and this one paid off huge.  We are honored to be a recipient of the the JSC grant and are so thankful for their dedication in helping bring orphans home to their forever families. Every month they give grants to deserving families.  How cool would that job be?!  I wish I was super wealthy to just hand out grants to families saving children's lives.  God bless their work! Keep it up JSC and if you are an adoptive parent start that application for them today!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

LOA-Check, I-800 Check, Halfway to our Kindle Giveaway Goal, Check!

       This might be a first in all of China adoption history but our LOA and our I-800 approval came the same day.  Due to the mix-up with our LOA the I800 was still being processed and I guess they don't care about a misspelled name so when I called the USCIS office today they happily informed me that I was approved.  The USCIS office typically  does not like to be bothered so I always hold my breath and say a prayer before I call.  I hate to tell them they are on my speed dial from this past fall when we waited 3 months for our I800A.  They might just think I am a stalker and have nothing better to do with my time! So off we go to the next step NVC.  Okay and if you aren't part of the China adoption world you might wonder what all this lingo means well the LOA is the big letter of acceptance that China feels we are qualified to make Talia our daughter and the I800 certifies that the United States feels the same way!  Thank goodness...ha!
      In addition to all of this great news we are halfway to our current giveaway goal today! So if you haven't entered and would like to just click on the donate button to the right. The giveaway ends on Monday night, April 16th at 8:00 pm.

  • $10 for 3 entries
  • $20 for 7 entries
  • $35 for 14 entries
  • 1 additional entry for posting on facebook
  • 1 additional entry for posting on your blog

     This tablet is the latest model for Kindle and we are also including a two year warranty for this giveaway. If you don't want a new Kindle Fire or don't have the funds to enter can you please help spread the word and pray for us. We need this giveaway to be a huge success....thank you so much! You can also donate via our Brittany's Hope grant here

     Little Miss Talia Mei is coming home soon:) I told Harper the good news when she woke up from her nap!

      And just in case you forgot how cute Talia is! Here is a picture of Talia with her foster family in China. We are so grateful to them for their dedication and love they have shown our daughter as she waited for her forever family. We are eternally grateful to them and Grace & Hope-the foster care organization that sponsors Talia in Yulin, Guangxi. (This picture was taken last May-She is the child on the right.)

    On a spiritual journey note I have been listening to a series, entitled, "Rubble to Rejoicing" by Dr. Michael Youseff. Here is his webpage I love his sermons! He talks about suffering, timing, challenges and ultimately finding gratitude for our circumstances. Oh how thankful we are for everything surrounding our little girls lives, no matter how devastating, it seemed it was part of God's perfect plan and in His perfect timing we will meet our newest daughter. Today was an all day happy crying fest for me from my over the top emotional high! I am sure the passengers in their cars at stop lights were probably wondering what I was listening to on the radio...ha! Little did they know all of my good news today! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter, yes it was happy!

     I was actually able to enjoy Easter even with our new LOA wait. Everyone asks, "How is the wait"?, "How are you doing it"? or the sweet sentiments of  "I would be crying everyday if it was me"! Quite honestly I don't have time to cry and there are always much bigger things to cry over in my opinion. So although we are waiting, once again, I treasure the moments I have with my only child right now. Pretty soon her little world is going to be rocked in a big way!

Just look at my sweet chick (compliments of the grandparents!)

                ...and she was so sweet when she  colored eggs she wanted Talia's name to be with hers!

       So do I have my moments of seriously how much longer is this wait and seriously will any grants come through. Sure, I am only human but I really only think about it now for a split second and then go on about my day and planning out the rest of our fundraisers. I have to say I also cling to this verse and if you don't know it memorize it!  "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me"! (Philippians 4:13)  So although we are a big ways away from our financial goal and a big ways away (probably July) from traveling to Talia I am at peace and worry free.  I know through Him all things are possible and I know through Him every detail and every dollar is orchestrated.  He knows how this is all going to turn out and that is our 2nd baby girl from China in our arms this summer.  I am not sure how it will happen, or when it will happen but I believe firmly it will happen. 

Happy Easter from our family and our sweet 1st child home, Harper Lily!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

LOA wait, again! What?

     Yes you heard me right we are waiting for our beloved LOA (Letter of Acceptance) once again! I guess China thought 101 days was not long enough to wait for our LOA! I think my adoptive friends thought I was playing a cruel April Fool's Day joke when I told them the news!  It seems the Chinese government liked Todd's last name better without the "u"!

....and 2nd mistake we forgot to check the box that "We accept" which we just noticed on our copy tonight!

        My agency caught the typo mistake today before it got sent back to China.  They explained that although this will delay us it is much better to catch this now then when we are waiting for Travel Approval (TA).  So they put a positive spin on this mistake...ha! At this point I might as well too!  This wait to Talia has been beyond long and we are tired, delirious and going a bit loco! (Just ask my parents who have been down here visiting us for the past couple of weeks) We just want to hold our little girl and give those sweet cheeks some much needed kisses! 

So when will the new LOA come? That is the million dollar question. They said it would get reissued next week but we all know China and their time frames. Please pray that this does get expedited and handled immediately!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kindle Fire Giveaway

Let's set this giveaway on fire!

With our LOA in hands we need to come up with approximately $10,000 in 3 1/2 months! We sent off two grant applications last week and are anxiously awaiting for a response. We are getting so close to our baby girl and have lots of great fundraisers coming up these final months! Thank so you so much to all of you for your prayers and donations. We have come so far!

The Kindle Fire has been donated to us so every $1 of this giveaway goes to Talia! Here are the details!

All entries for the the drawing need to be in by Monday, April 16th at 8:00 pm.

Just click on the donate button to the right. Please specify "donation" on paypal. You can also pay by credit card on the donate button. For those that rather not pay via the website but want to enter please contact me at for other payment options. 
  • $10 for 3 entries
  • $20 for 7 entries
  • $35 for 14 entries
  • 1 additional entry for posting on facebook
  • 1 additional entry for posting on your blog
This tablet is the latest model for Kindle and we are also including a two year warranty for this giveaway. Total value: $250

Good luck! Harper will be picking the winner once again:) Here is a picture of her getting ready to pick the winner when we had our last giveaway! She takes her "job" very seriously! She folded each entry so carefully and then shook that container as hard as she could!