Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Matching Grant

We have some great news to share....

We were chosen as a recipient for a Brittany's Hope Foundation Seedling Gift matching grant!  If we can raise or get donations of up to $3,000, they will match it!   This is so wonderful, but it is going to take some work on our part. 

Luckily, we can put all money that has been donated for the orphanage via the M&M fundraiser towards the matching grant goal.  THANK YOU so much to everyone who has taken and returned a tube.  If you are wondering what I am talking about, read this post:
We have some left so if you'd like one, just let us know!

We can even put the money we raised selling Christmas play dough towards this grant as well!  THANK YOU to our dear friends who purchased some.

We also have a family friend who sells Premier Designs jewelry, a Christian company.  She has graciously offered to do a catalog show for us and give us her 45% commission.   This money can also be put towards the matching grant, so it would be like 90% of your order going towards helping bring our son home!  If you are into jewelry, need to buy a nice gift for someone, or know someone who would be interested, email me at or call me and I'll get you a catalog.  Unfortunately, they do not have an online site to order from, but they do have a FB page:
Orders are due by March 8th.  There is also a March special- spend $75, get one item up to a $50 value for $10.   

And we have an awesome fundraiser for our local friends and family coming up on St. Patrick's Day:  Sunday, March 17th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (you can come and go as you please) we will be having a bowling event at Delavan Lanes.   The cost is $10 per person and includes 2 games of bowling, shoe rental, and a hot dog and lemonade/water on us.  $6 of every $10 will go towards our adoption and can also go towards the matching grant- so it will be $12 per person that we get for every $10 you give....doesn't get any better than that!  We plan on having a raffle there as well and are currently looking for donations- they can be home-made, store bought, items you have no use for that others may, services offered, local business donations, etc.  If you or someone you know might be interested, please email me at, send me a message on FB, or call me!  Feel free to wear your green- we'd love to see you and look forward to a fun family day. 

And for people who are wondering- can we just make a donation.  Yep!  You can and it can be tax deductible.   Brittany's Hope said: The fast, safe and secure way for family members and friends to make a donation towards your Seedling Gift grant would be on your family’s fundraising webpage:
If they prefer not to make a donation online, there is a printable form on your family’s fundraising webpage as well.  As long as checks are made payable to “Brittany’s Hope Foundation” they will receive a thank you letter from us which they will be able to use for their tax purposes.  They can send the checks to your family and you can mail them in together or they can be mailed directly to us at:  1160 North Market Street, Elizabethtown, PA 17022.  And if they can note your family’s last name on the memo line of the check, that will ensure their donation will be properly recorded with your family’s Seedling Gift grant.
We cannot thank you enough for your support of our adoption, our family, and for caring enough about he orphans of the world to help us bring our son home to his forever family....making one less orphan in this world!

Fingerprint Walk-in Was a Success!

Rick and I went to the Milwaukee office Tuesday afternoon to be fingerprinted. This was by far our best experience.  It was not busy and they let us right in and we were out of there within 10-15 minutes.  Praise God- answered prayers!  I called our officer that day and left a message for her that we walked in early and reminded her of the need to expedite.  I will call tomorrow to check in.  :)   Hoping they have been approved and that we will receive our I-800A approval in the mail possibly next week or so. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

We Have a Name

Who knew it would be this difficult to pick a name for our waiting son?   Well, when you have 5 boys already and a child who has a Chinese name and an English name for the Sunshine School he attends, it is a major challenge. Add to that meanings of names, your favorite list (that has gotten quite small for boys names I might add), and the fact that you currently have 2 'J' names, 2 'E' names, and 2 'L' names....that's a lot to think about.   I am still tossing over it as I write this, but we had to make a decision.   He could have pulled off any of the top three  names we narrowed it down to, but, we have decided to go with the name:
Reid Sterling ShaHao Henningfeld

Reid means red, which signifies luck in China
Sterling means bright and shining star or little star- love how that goes along with the blog theme too!
ShaHao is part of his Chinese name and Hao means good.

This was what we chose to do for Lena as well- give her a first and middle name and then use part of the Chinese name as a 2nd middle name.  Now what about 'Jack?'  Well we have been affectionately referring to him as 'Jack' in this house for a long time.  It will be hard to change that at first, I'm sure.  But, Jack Reid or Reid Jack just didn't jive and though Sterling Jack was one of our top three options, I let Rick have the final say on this one.  We have decided 'Jack' can be a nickname and if he wants to be referred to as 'Jack', we'll be fine with that too. :)

Time to get Fingerprinted!

It's here!  My fingerprint appt. letter that is. 
Two issues- it came on a Saturday- can't walk-in tomorrow.  And, Monday is yet another holiday- President's Day this time.  Looks like we'll be going in on Tuesday.  Rick's appt. was for Monday the 25th and mine was not until March 7th.  Please pray that they let us walk-in early.  They should considering our son's needs and their errors with my appointment, but you never know.  One step closer!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Update on the Paper Trail

There have been a lot of bumps in the road so far. It's been so different compared to Lena's adoption.  But, this quote says it all and is a good reminder for me and for all of us:

"My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him." -Derek Loux 

POWERFUL and oh so TRUE!

So backing up a bit...our home study social worker came mid-December to update our home study.  That went well and she worked hard to get it done quickly.  However, it was just horrible timing.  She got it to our agency right before Christmas, but our agency was closed from Christmas Day through New Year's Eve.   I checked in on it the week after New Year's, thinking that it would be approved pretty quickly since it had already been approved by China once and just had a few updates.  The social worker who approves home studies for our placing agency was backed up from the holiday break and then had a sick child.  It ended up being a couple weeks later and then we had some things that needed to be added.  We took care of that in one day and our local social worker got it turned around immediately.   Finally, on Jan. 16th, our home study was approved.  The next day, our local social worker had our home study to us in the mail.  However, because it wasn't coming from Madison, WI, but instead from the home office in Illinois, it did not get to us as quickly as I had hoped.  I checked the mail on Friday and was disappointed to not see it.  Saturday- nothing.  Then it dawned on me that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and there would be no mail. I cried.   Tuesday, I knew it had to be coming, but our wonderful mail lady (who happens to go to church with us) usually comes when the kids are napping.  I didn't want to feel rushed getting it back to the post office so it could go out with our supplement 3 form for USCIS- Immigration.   After picking Lena up at school, I drove around the blocks near our home and found the mail truck.  I hope I didn't scare sweet Cindy.  She did some digging and found it for me!  YAY!  Love her and gotta love a mama's heart for her kiddos...anything to save a day of waiting.    We went straight to the post office and mailed the home study out with our immigration documents.  I made sure they would get them the next day. :)

Immigration received our documents the next day- Jan. 23rd.  On Friday, Jan. 25th, we got an email from USCIS.   Then we got a receipt notice in the mail.  Rick go this appt. notice for finger-printing on Wednesday, February 6th.  And here I am still waiting for mine.  This is not typical- usually they come together or very close, though I do have a few friends who had this happen to them. The husband got one appt. and the wife didn't get hers for a week or two later and some even had different appointment dates!  Our system is so wrong and messed up- this takes entirely way too long for what it is.  Today- something inside me's been a week- CALL!  Thank God I did.  It took almost all day to hear back from someone, but our officer (who thankfully I have heard is one of the better ones) called and said it was an over site and I didn't have an appt. scheduled.  Sigh.   She said the notice would be going out in the mail and that I'd get it in 2-3 days.  So that's where we are.  Hoping it comes Friday or Saturday and we will be walking in early next week to get our finger prints.  Please pray they let us in early!  I will do about whatever it takes, even if it means crying (that actually comes very easy for me   The good news is that our officer told us to let her know when we get them if we go in early. I think she will approve them pretty quickly based on our son's circumstances.

So that's where we are at.  I am just dying to make an announcement that we are Dossier to China (DTC).  Oh that will be the day! :)    We have one step after immigration- authentication.  We have to send three documents to our state and to to the US consulate in Chicago to get authenticated.  Hoping we can get that done very quickly.  

Based on Lena's adoption timeline, that would put us traveling around mid-late August.  Hoping we get to expedite some steps so that it will be quicker.  We still have a goal to get there before his 6th birthday, July 1st.  Not sure how realistic that is, but we can hope.