Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dear 2011...

Dear 2011,

You haven't even started and you are already doing a great job of being suspenseful. You may be trying to upstage 2010, which was a great year, by blowing our adoption news out of the water with even more surprises.

With hubby's pending grad school graduation, the unknowns of our future job(s)/ location / residence/ church/ etc, you sure have us scratching our heads already. And if THAT weren't enough, we sure can't even make guesses as to the timing of first-time parenthood. So congrats, 2011, you are doing a great job of keeping us on our toes. Which is EXACTLY where we need to be, I guess, because on January 1, 2010 we had NO clue that we would have had the year we did, especially since adoption was barely on our radar. And although 2010 had many challenges, growing pains, and stretches of faith and finances, boy oh boy was the Lord faithful and the road worth it. We needed the challenges of 2010 to shape us and make us more like the Father so that we could glorify Him better, and that doesn't come easy!

So I'm not begging for trials and I'm not asking for the path-well-traveled, but I'm just saying this: bring it! Bring on the laughs, the second anniversary, the new nephews, good times with family, investment in my husband and our marriage, the growth of our church and our love for Jesus... and bring on the pruning that makes us more refined like Christ.

We know there are some tough times ahead- decisions about the "right job" post-graduation, having to move from our seminary apartment, hopefully getting a referral and making quick travel plans to Ethiopia, meeting our child and then leaving him/her in Ethiopia while we painstakingly return & wait to bring our baby home. We expect an adjustment period as we learn to be parents and learn how to balance our new life; we know that we won't be perfect and will make mistakes throughout the year, but also know that we have a source of unending grace through salvation in Jesus Christ!

So 2011, although you are hiding your secrets right now, we can't wait to see how you unfold!

Here's to hoping for a fruitful new year,

Rebekah :)

“I (Jesus) am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.     “I (Jesus) am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
 John 15: 1-8

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Three Stockings

Praying that we have three stockings next year... and a little one to share the season with. 


For now, we soak up our family-of-two stage and wait in hope for what this next year may bring. 


But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:4-7

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

AGCI New Program!

AGCI sent out this update on Facebook- and I HAD to pass it along. First of all, that baby looks too cute. Second, this statistic just chills my bones: "the yearly abortion rate exceeds the birthrate"- wow that is heartbreaking.


Will you consider giving hope to a child? Or commit to praying for this pilot program?

Taiwan Now Accepting Applications!

AGCI is happy to announce that we are now accepting applications for our pilot adoption program in Taiwan! As this is still in the pilot stage, interested families must have complete flexibility as elements of the program are subject to change.
Behind the breathtaking landscapes and modern cities of Taiwan hides the fact that up to 50% of all Taiwanese women have had an abortion, due to the stigma associated with being an unwed mother. Experts now say the yearly abortion rate exceeds the birthrate. To provide hope for these unborn babies, AGCI has launched a pilot adoption and birth mother program, reaching out to bring a beacon of light and life to this majestic island.

Children Available

Children ages two months and older are available for adoption.

Care In-Country

All God's Children International has partnered with Deana Pan, a dedicated American citizen living in Taiwan, to help women and children in crisis. With a shared vision, AGCI and Deana have developed Morning Light Home, a safe haven for birth mothers to live during their pregnancy, offering pre- and post-natal care, counseling, job training, and the opportunity to choose and meet the adoptive families.
AGCI has also opened a Hannah's Hope home for children as they wait to be united with their forever families. Hannah's Hope is one-of-a-kind, providing love, shelter, and safety to orphans who are waiting to be placed in loving homes. Hannah's Hope focuses on giving each child personalized attention by providing a "special mother" for every three to four children.

Time Frame

The approximate time frame of our Pilot Taiwan Birth Mother program, from application through finalization of an adoption, is 12 to 28 months.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Adoption Fundraising Ideas

**I don't mind if you pin this post on Pinterest or tweet about it, etc, but please do not post or pin images of my family. Please choose the image below with the blog link.** 


One of the big questions most families have when it comes to adoption is "how will we pay for it?" We've already blogged about our story about affording the first half of our adoption (read here) but I know every family's story is different! Our church hosted an Orphan Care Meeting in 2010 and the President of the Abba Fund came and spoke about possible ideas to raise/make/save money for an adoption process. And he worded it correctly: there is NO price on saving a child's life and bringing a child into a home where the gospel can be taught. Amen! So start saving your pennies (literally, one family asked their social circles to save their pennies for a few months in jars, and made a good bit of money that way!) and here are some ideas:

1. Host Online Auction. Have people and local businesses donate goods and services and have an online auction through Ebay or on your blog with a deadline. In the blogs people can leave their bids in the comment section and have a limited number of days until the auction closes. (Families who have done this are here and here.) Another friend recently started doing a group auction for her items each month, combining new items into a basket and people could enter the giveaway for $5 per entry (see here). My friend Lauren recommended that after you ask around for donors, you should invest about $200-400 in the auction, including a big ticket item like an Ipad or Kindle or gift cards. The higher the investment, the more traffic you will get in the giveaway and people will be more likely to invest into that giveaway.

2. FFM. If traveling internationally ask people to donate Frequent Flyer Miles. Check with your travel agent before committing to them.

3. Fund raising Events. Host a ticketed event with a theme and a meal (Valentines, Crazy 80s night, Mexican Fiesta, 3 on 3 basketball tournament, poker night, concert, spaghetti dinner, etc.) Consider hosting this at a community center, church or restaurant, etc. You can also give people options for their ticket prices and hold a silent/live auction as part of the evening (get local businesses to donate gift certificates, gift baskets, products or services and local artists to donate photography and artwork).

4. Online Networking. Set up a blog, website, or Facebook Group to journal about your adoption journey and include a DONATE link through paypal for people wanting to give to your adoption fund.

5. Fundraising Sales. Do a fundraiser similar to what youth groups or schools do to raise funds for a mission trip, band trip, senior trips (ie. car wash, bake sale, etc).

6. Yard sales. Have friends and church family donate items and have a huge yard sale with all the proceeds going to your adoption ( we did 3 and raised over $5K! for tips check here).

7. Donate your old cell phones and print cartridges. Every print cartridge is worth $1 and cell phones can be redeemed for a few dollars all the way up to a couple hundred dollars each.(Check it here or here or just a google search will show you several local options for companies who buy cells and cartridges, and while you're at it read this article).

8. Baby Bottle Campaign. Buy bottles in bulk and design a paper flyer to go in each bottle telling about your adoption. Then distribute them to friends, family, businesses, churches, schools, daycares- whoever is willing to put their spare change in the baby bottle. Give them one month to see if they can fill the bottle and then collect them. One crisis pregnancy center that does this averages $20-25 per bottle so this idea can really add up. It's also a great way to get kids involved.

9. Support Letters. Mail letters to friends and family telling them to about your plans to adopt. Send it out like a birth announcement. Share with them the estimated costs and ask them to consider helping.

10. Get Crafty. Use a skill or hobby and sell items online or through your community network. Examples are paintings, crafts, photography, music, greeting cards, etc. Make crafts specific to the country you are adopting from. Lots of families do ornaments, handmade t-shirts or bags. - (Adoption families that set up craft sites look here and here)

11. Independent Consulting/Sales. Sign up with a cosmetics, tupperware, or other company where all sales you make through hosting parties, etc will go toward your adoption. Get the whole family involved! I have seen this a few times with Tastefully Simple, Thirty One, Pampered Chef, Usborne Books, or other consultant type shops. Ask around in your community to see who is a rep that can help you with this. If you don't want to be a consultant, ask a consultant friend to throw you a party and let your "host" perks be donations to your adoption fund.

12. Puzzle piece donations. Buy a puzzle and let people donate a certain amount for each  piece and they can write their name on the back of the puzzle. (To see families who have done this click here, here, or here).

13. Just Love Coffee. This website is AMAZING! Not only was it started by an adoptive family, but it is fair-trade coffee and it is delicious AND! every bag of coffee that is sold $5 goes to the adoptive family. We love this website! It is super easy to set up. Check out our page!

14. Personal Savings. This one may seem obvious, but if you are in the situation where you don't yet qualify for adoption for some reason, start saving NOW! Cut back on spending, go on a cash-only budget, get rid of cable and extra frills, don't eat out, get creative with free date nights, have fun seeing what you can cut out and remember that every dollar saved is a dollar for a baby to have a home and learn about Jesus. It is worth it!

15. T-shirts. Sometimes you can get these for discounted if you know somebody! Or have a designer friend make up a design! Most adoptive families charge around $20-25 for t-shirts so they can make good profit on tshirt sales. You can see a list of t-shirts here. Be creative and don't copy someone else's design! There are several options for creating t-shirts, from doing it yourself to partnering with an organization such as adoption tees.

16. Partner with Lifesong for Orphans for the Both Hands Project! This is an incredible, unique opportunity where you can work with your church or community to serve a local widow, as you fundraise for your adoption.

17. Interest Free Loans or Grants. Check out companies like Abba Fund, Lifesong for Orphans, Show Hope, Southern Baptist Convention (has grants for SBC pastors).

18. Tukula sales. Tukula is a special organization from Uganda in which artisans sew beautiful items. You can partner with Tukula by purchasing a fundraising kit (price ranges $80 or $150) and sell the items at whatever price you can for your adoption. We did this, several families I know did this and let me tell you, those items sold FAST!

19. Rebekah Blocher Jewelry. This small business partners with adoptive families to sell unique jewelry. Check out their website here for more details. With a very small investment (just a few dollars for shipping), she will send adoptive families jewelry to sell- and you only pay her for what you do sell (half of what you make). 

20. Become an Amazon Affiliate. This may be the easiest fundraiser ever! Just put a link on your blog or other social media outlet, and people shop Amazon through it for you to receive 10% of their purchase cost! EASY EASY! Click here to sign up.

21. Partner with Olive Tree Promise. This is an online business started by adoptive families, for adoptive families! If you are an adoptive family OR a vendor looking to support adoptive families, check out the website here.

22. Parner with Chrome Buffalo. This is a 10-day partnership where you choose one of their t-shirt designs to promote, and for every shirt that is bought under your link, you get $11. It seems really easy! Website here.

So don't get discouraged, there are MANY MANY MANY ways to make/save some money and even though you may not start out the process with $30K in the bank, you will be surprised at how faithful God is when he calls you to adopt.

Remember this:
"God will generously provide all you need." 2 Corinthians 9:8
"This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:19
"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32.

And as always, if you have ANY questions or if there is any way we can encourage you, please don't hesitate to email! Yestoadoption (at) gmail (dot) com. We are so blessed to journey beside adoptive families and celebrate God's faithfulness together. I don't have the answer to everything but I can pray for you. :)

Also, check out (and contribute to) the comments section- there may be helpful information there too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ornament Giveaway Winner!

Thanks for participating in the giveaway! (and for buying coffee, you guys rock!)

The winner is #15, Lauren Dyson!


dysons said...
My favorite part of Christmas is the week between Christmas and New Years when most everyone is off of work and we can relax


Lauren, let me know the best way to get this to you! (and PS you could totally make this, girl!)


Judging by the comments, there are many great things to be excited about this Christmas, especially the birth of Jesus and our salvation because he came to the earth and died on the cross! 



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Coffee!!!!!!!

Will and I are coffee people. We are pretty good at taking turns at making it. In our morning routine, whoever brews the coffee, the other person will pour it and fix the cups for our morning fix.

This fall we picked up some fun creamers in fall tastes- I love the Caramel Apple but Will loves the Pumpkin Spice! But do you know what is even BETTER than the holiday creamers??

HOLIDAY COFFEE!!!!!!!

We may have a new addiction. "Fa la la la la" coffee by justlovecoffee. Just a drop of half & half creamer and a sprinkle of sugar (for me) and its the most delicious holiday mix in your mouth!!!!!!

And it can be yours, too!

Just log on to www.justlovecoffee.com/themcgees and order yourself some! Or buy some for family. Because its amazing, and since its a holiday kind it may not be in stock too much longer!! I don't know about you, but our family will be sipping on some holiday coffee on Christmas morning!

And just to let you know, it is fair-trade coffee AND it supports our adoption. So you will have a win-win-win situation!

AND! if you're still looking for "stocking stuffer" ideas- a very worthy $3 investment is this amazing coffee scooper. It has totally made it easier for us to measure out coffee when we fix it in the mornings!

Thanks friends! And don't forget to enter in the ornament giveaway - I'll draw a winner tomorrow at noon EST!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Numbers and GIVEAWAY!

This month I have been very slow to post our December numbers because there wasn't much movement, and we've actually seen these numbers before so I didn't want to have to search for new number pictures.

So here we go... #51 girl (moved 4) and #30 boy (no movement).

This has been a tough few weeks for me. I've really struggled with "baby fever" and can totally relate to Tina Fey in "Baby Mama" where she is surrounded by cute babies! Seriously, I can't step out of my house without seeing little ones and my heart just aches for our baby!

Another reason why this month is tough is that we are on the 6th month of being on the waitlist. Honestly, I thought we'd be farther along at this point but I know that the timing will be perfect and I shouldn't get hung up on numbers.

So instead of focusing on the slow movement or uncertainties of time, I want to do something FUN! So here is my second giveaway!

This year I made Africa ornaments for a few people... would you like one? They are very imperfect and homemade, but surely someone out there would like one?? (and no, I'm NOT selling them!)
"You can't tell from this terrible lighting, but I'm actually green with brown ribbon & a brown heart"- says the imperfect ornament!

All you need to do is comment on this post with your favorite part of the Christmas holiday! I'll draw a winner using random.org on Wednesday, December 15 at 12 Noon :) Make sure to leave your email address if you don't have a blogger account- that way I can contact you to mail it!

Pssst- if you're still looking for a homemade Christmas gift idea, check out the comments on my first giveaway! There are LOTS of creative ideas there!

Psst- there's another SUPER CUTE Africa ornament giveaway here!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Summit Church Orphan Care Updates!

We are super blessed to be a part of an awesome, gospel-centered church here in Raleigh/Durham NC. This summer our church started an Orphan Care ministry, and it has been really neat to see it get off the ground.

If you are also a NC local, PLEASE read and consider becoming involved in this ministry!

Here is an update from the Summit Church Orphan Care Team:

"Since this past June when Pastor JD and Trevor Atwood preached on orphan care in the Fatherless series, God has been moving in huge ways at the Summit. We had about 250 people come to our initial interest meeting in July, and many of you have begun the process of adopting or fostering!


We’d first like to let you know that we have another church-wide meeting coming up in less than two weeks! The meeting will be on December 14th at 7:00pm at the Brier Creek Campus. Childcare will be available. The topic will be “Funding Your Adoption” but this meeting is for everyone, no matter your level of interest or where you are in the process. We’ll also be giving general updates on the ministry as well as a very short, general re-introduction to the ministry for anyone who was not able to attend the first meeting.

We are excited to announce that Dwain Gullion, President of the Abba Fund, will be on hand to discuss grants, interest-free loans, the tax credit, and creative fundraising ideas. There will be a question and answer time as well.


We will have info tables set up at all campuses the weekend of December 11-12 for people to sign up for the listserv, RSVP for our next meeting, buy a copy of Adopted For Life, or get other information.

Please RSVP for the meeting by emailing us at this address { summitorphancare (at) gmail (dot) com}. Let us know if you plan to use childcare and include your child/children’s ages.


We’ve also got several new things in place to keep you updated with what’s going on with the ministry and help you network with others in the church who are interested in orphan care.

First, we now have a Facebook page. It is the best way for Summit families to network with each other. You can express needs, share helpful info, organize socials, connect with other families in similar stages of the process, etc. Feel free to post on the wall. For example, if you know someone in the church who is having a fundraiser, let others know by posting it. Go to www.facebook.com/summitorphancare and don’t forget to “like” it.

The new website is also up and running, and we will be keeping it up to date with the latest information. There you’ll find lots of specifics on the ministry, ranging from the adoption fund to the mentoring program.


Check it out at http://www.summitrdu.com/orphancare

The Summit adoption fund is established and ready to dispense matching grants in partnership with Lifesong for Orphans. Please email this address if you are interested in applying. Please remember that you need to have completed your homestudy before applying for matching grants. This also provides an avenue for family and friends to give to you in a tax-deductible way."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Yardsale for Adopting Friends!

Well yardsales seem to be the moneymaker for lots of adopting families (we had two, one in AL and one in NC). Our friends, the Coalsons, are having a yard sale tomorrow morning in Wake Forest, NC. They live in Highgate Park (near downtown WF) and you won't want to miss it! The Coalsons are fellow Seminary/Summit Church/AGCI- Ethiopia friends, and you should totally check them out, because they're awesome :)

Also, don't miss out on the opportunity to win an awesome getaway to the Tennesee mountains (click here) by donating $20 or more on their blog! Enter by SUNDAY for your chance to win!

Check out the Coalson's adoption blog for more details.

Pssst- are you doing an adoption yard sale? Check out our tips we learned from our two yard sales this summer! Click here for the breakdown!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Exposed

The other day I was chatting with a dear adoptive mama-to-be about how adoption really exposes your heart. Our adoption story seems like a cakewalk compared to their family's issues, but we each have seen the areas of our heart that need to be cleaned out! We talked about how working through the paperchase makes you realize your need to be in control, or how little grace you give to others (especially when people aren't working on your timeline, or people aren't prioritizing your case).

This summer our church studied through the ten commandments, and I remember really grasping the fact that this adoption can become an idol in my life. Then, it was the paperwork being finished, but now it can be that our numbers become lower and that we inch our way to our baby. On the AGCI listserve lots of us can get way too into overthinking the numbers, and possible timelines for bringing babies home based on trends or how many babies we think are at Hannah's Hope. Are we (myself included) missing out on what God is doing in our hearts each day because we are focused on what blessings lay ahead?

I recently heard that God's will is not a place or position but a relationship with Christ. That would mean that God's will for our lives isn't just that we will finally be parents to a little Ethiopian baby, but that we will know Him more each day. And this baby can aide in the Knowing Him process, or it can be a giant distraction and an idol in my life.

So as I sit with many months ahead in the waiting process- I must decide how I will use this time. Will I grow in my knowledge and love for the word of God, which will better prepare me as a wife and mama? Will I consistently give my heart to the Lord, willing for HIS TIMING and not my own? Will I give grace to those who don't understand our process, and point them to Jesus? Will I take every opportunity to give credit to the Lord and not to us for this adoption? Will I soak in the days with my husband, as we are a family of two? Will I take advantage of the flexibility I have now, and minister to those around me, or will I let this time pass by?

What about you? What is the Lord exposing in you these days?
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