Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Simply Love Fundraiser!!!! *Updated & Extended*

We have a new fundraiser to share with yall! Thanks to Kari at we are selling Simply Love T-Shirts to help bring our child home! Because I have to buy these shirts in bulk, we are going to do a 2 week selling blitz. A selling blitz means these shirts will be available to purchase for 2 weeks and after the deadline I will order them. You should receive the shirts about 7-12 days after the deadline. Wait, we aren't just offering shirts, we are offering hats and bags! Just click the "buy now" buttons on the right side bar! Proceeds from each shirt will go toward our adoption! Let me know is you have any questions! Here are the Simply Love items.

*Women's shirts can be ordered in Unisex or Junior Fit! Junior fit run small so we advise that you order ONE size UP from your regular t-shirt size! Leave a note telling me which fit you would prefer when you checkout!*

Simply Love 2 Week Blitz June 29 - July 28 (EXTENDED)

Brown Unisex or Junior Fit Shirt with Pink and White Pattern - $25 + $2 Shipping

S, M, L, XL and XXL (+ $1.50)

Black Unisex or Junior Fit Shirt with Blue and White Pattern - $25 + $2 for Shipping
S, M, L, XL and XXL (+ $1.50)

Grey, Black or Blue Unisex Men's shirt with Red and White Pattern - $25 + $2 for Shipping

S, M, L, XL and XXL (+ $1.50)

Kids Grey Shirt - $20 + $2 for shipping

YXS (2-4), YS (6-8), YM (10-12), YL (14-16), YXL (18-20)

Simply Love Purse Tote in Blue, Brown, Pink or Black - $30 + $2 for Shipping

Brown Distressed Hat with Cream Wording - $22 + $2 for Shipping

Women's Military Style Hat in Brown, Khaki or Black - $22 + $2 for Shipping

*Buy Now Buttons are up! *

We are diving in!

We received emails from both our family coordinator AND our AWAA social worker (in Texas AWAA does the home study) and WOW I'm overwhelmed!! There is soooo much paperwork! To give you an idea, we received 10 attachments from our social worker and 16 from our FC! Ive always heard that the paper chase for the dossier was long and hard but so far I think its much worse for the home study!! And we need to get this stuff in ASAP because it could take 3-4 months to finish the home study AFTER we submit all the paperwork! We've only been at this for 2 days and I'm already tired and do people do this??? OK sorry had to vent a little! One of our biggest issues right now is that Chris and I are not very organized. We have a habit of leaving important documents in random places instead of in the fire safe at home. For example I can not seem to find my birth certificate or Chris' social security card...wtheck?? It make no sense that they would be missing but they are! Ive already had 2 panic attacks about it but I have to keep reminding myself its no biggie and an easy fix (um I'm kind of dramatic!). So today I went ahead and ordered the certified copies of our birth certs which we will need for the dossier anyway and Chris is going to deal with the social security card tomorrow. Tonight after group we are going to organize every piece of paper we can find in our house!

Ok sorry I got a little side tracked but hey I'm a little less stressed now that I got that off my chest. Eventually I will write a blog with all the items we have to have for the home study and dossier but right now I will just tell you that there are 27 items on the checklist for the home study and so far we have finished 6 of them. Thankfully half of the items are in the HUGE packet that we received via email and really only require us to fill them out and sign. The items left that we actually have to go and get are copies of social security cards, medical exams,copies of all 3 birth certs (oh yeah did I mention I can't seem to find Jacob's either!!), financial statement, floor plan sketch (Chris is actually pretty excited about this), pics of our house/yard areas and employment verification. Most of that list is actually pretty easy I just have to get to work!

I can already tell that I am going to love our social worker. In the attachments she gave us there is a tip sheet with tips about some of the items on the list of documents and in the last tip she reminds that "If God brings me to it, He will bring me through it!" and I couldn't agree more! In the last 24 hours I have let the stress get to me and I forgot that this is not about us, its about HIM. He WILL help us with all this. I just have to keep remembering that this is ALL in His timing not mine. Now if we can just get through the medical exam next week without Chris fainting :)!


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” -Luke 12:22-24

Friday, June 24, 2011

I thank Him

I have to admit that I have a lot to be thankful for on a regular basis. I'm thankful for my family, my job, my friends, etc. But lately I'm REALLY thankful for God changing me. I keep remembering where I was a year ago, or even worse six months ago, and I am so thankful that I'm not there anymore. A year ago I was depressed and bitter. Even though I didn't want to admit it, I knew God was saying "not yet" and I refused to listen. I wanted another child so bad (and selfishly what I thought our family should look like) that I just ignored Him. Thankfully my God is much more stubborn than I am and He saved me from myself. I am so thankful that now I can rejoice when a friend finds out she is pregnant instead of cringing in jealousy. I can look at ultrasounds and little babies without pain and bitterness. Sure there is still longing for another child but now my longing is more in line with God's longing. Now I don't just want another child to add to our family, but also another child to add to God's kingdom. I don't just dream about our kids growing up, but also about orphans all around the world getting fed and loved on. God took my pain and my longing and turned it into something beautiful. He freed me from my selfishness and broke my heart for what broke His. I'm not perfect but I am changed!

Something else I have to thank God for is freeing me from my stubbornness about my weight. Its pretty obvious that I need to get healthy, not just for myself but for my family too. But I am VERY stubborn and if I can find a reason not to do something then I am pretty set in my ways. Thats how I have been about my weight since we first started trying for kids. I have always known that losing weight would make it easier to get pregnant, but my stubbornness would kick in and I figured, whats the point? Im going to get pregnant soon and just gain it all back. Ok I admit this logic was stupid but I was so stuck in my ways that I couldnt find a way out. Well, now what the heck is my excuse?? NOTHING! For the first time since we have been married, I am actually hoping to not get pregnant (yeah yall that know me knew I pushed Chris into having kids, thankfully he loves being a daddy and forgave me ;) so I have NOTHING standing in my way! So, Im gonna do it! I feel that God is asking me to fix a lot of areas of my life and this is one of them! I am a goal oriented person so I am going to set a goal for myself to lose 100lbs in 1 year! Yep, Im crazy. That means 2lbs a week! But Im tired of living with excuses, like "I can't because its too hard" or "I don't have enough time". I CAN do this and I CAN make time. I NEED to do this. I owe this to my husband, to Jacob, our future kids and to my family! So its been 2 weeks since Ive started this goal and Im not doing so great with only losing 2.5lbs, but I figure I need a week or 2 get used to our new lifestyle. No more excuses and no more laziness. Im looking forward to the "new me" that God is creating inside and out.
So, is God asking you to "stop making excuses and start making changes"? Don't ignore it!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Common Objections to Adoption

Ok sorry for posting 3 posts in one day but I just saw this video and HAD to share it! I think God for putting a line through my reasons to not adopt now!

Agreement Sent Off!!

We mailed our signed AWA agreement (and other forms) and Initial Program Fee today!! We are soooo blessed because without the garage sale, we wouldn't have been able to do this for a few weeks!! We were so excited about taking this BIG step that I wanted to document it with some pics...

So now we wait for AWA to receive our packet and assign us a family coordinator who will give us a list of documents to get for our dossier and our home study social worker. Also we need to complete our 8 hour online training course for adoptive parents. Yay for moving faster than we thought!


Adoption Fundraising Garage Sale = SUCCESS!!

Our adoption fundraising garage sale was a success!! We had our garage sale June 17 and 18 and my goal was $500 for the whole weekend and we received $900!!!!! Enough (added with our savings) to send in the first fee!! Wow and praise God! In the first hour we made $120 and we made more on Friday then we did Saturday(which really surprised me!). We had a lot of fun, even in the 100 degree weather and even got a few donations. The most awesome part was getting to meet 3 adoptive families that stopped by because of our signs. We still have a lot of stuff left so we are planning to do a few more garage sales in the next few months but we need more donations, so if you have anything you don't want/need, just email me and I will pick it up! Here are some pics from our garage sale (2nd day):

Thanks again for everyone helped out, we really could not have done this without yall!!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who are we??

So I realized the other day that we are probably going to have a lot of random people viewing this blog from the garage sale, AWA yahoo group (well when we get the info from our FC), etc. and I thought it would be a good idea to give yall an idea of who we are. I’m Abbey and I am married to one of my best friends, Chris. We live in Houston, TX and have been married for 4.5yrs. We have a 2yr old, Jacob and he has truly changed our lives. We love soccer and the Houston Dynamo, hanging out with friends and family, and we try to put God as the center of our family. Jacob is outgoing, social, talkative and goofy. He is rarely shy and will hug a stranger (seriously he has hugged a waitress or 2!). He calms us with his sweet nature and reminds us to laugh with his goofy tendencies (he got that from his daddy!). I am head over heels in love with my husband and I really don’t know how I keep him! He is gentle, loving and selfless but also is my rock and keeps me grounded when my dreams try to float me away. And who am I? Well I’m not that good at describing myself but I think you will learn soon that I am stubborn and a dreamer. I let very few things stand in my way, as long as someone is rooting for me! Ok enough talking; instead I will share some recent pictures of us instead!

Well I hope that gave you a little idea of who we are! Welcome, I hope that this blog helps you where ever you are in you life! More than anything I hope that this blog is not about us but about God and His mercy and His faithfulness. Now who are YOU? Leave me a comment so i can get to know you a little better!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We got accepted!!! Our paper pregnancy begins!

Yesterday we got the call from America World saying we got accepted into their Ethiopia program!! Yay!!! We applied Friday June 3 and I planned to write a huge blog about the experience and how I felt so moved by God and how I just knew things were going to work out..blah blah blah, etc. But after we clicked "send application" I didn't feel excited or moved, I felt deflated! When we started the application it seemed like one thing after another kept going wrong. My computer was having issues, then the internet suddenly stopped working and once the internet started working again, the picture that we needed to send AWAA was too large and I couldn't find one to fit except one that was over 6 months old (ok not that big of a deal I know but at that time it was!) AND we were running really late for our weekly dinner out with our friends. But really those weren't the main reasons for my deflated was once again our finances! There is a part of the application that asks for our Net worth, not good when you factor in our debt! At this point I was defeated and done! I suddenly started to worry that maybe I was all wrong in this, maybe I heard God wrong (as one person keeps telling me). Thankfully God is awesome and led me to marry an awesome man that is stronger than me! When I was ready to just give up, Chris reminded me that this IS what God wants us to do and that if the financial stuff is an issue then we will just work on it, but we needed to move forward. So, while still a little deflated, we filled out the rest of the application, paid our money and left for dinner. Tuesday (June 6) we received an email from the AWA intake coordinator asking us to explain our financial situation. Again I felt deflated. Thankfully again, I was reassured by my wonderful husband and my awesome God that we were going to be ok and just needed to keep going forward. Thanks to, I was able to show her our budget for the rest of the year and explain our debt (and how we aren’t ever using credit cards again!!). Again I couldn’t help but feel a little defeated. Thursday morning we received an email saying that they ask for more information from most families and that we should hear from her by the end of the week! When no call came Friday I was disappointed but my sweet husband reminded me that in this case, no news really is good news. Fast forward to yesterday, I had finally given up for the day around 3pm (4Est) and forced myself to work on actual work. At 3:34pm we got the call and the lady informed me that this was our call to congratulate us into the Ethiopia program!!! I immediately started saying “thank you thank you” and tried not to cry! According to Hannah, I was giggling a lot too! I wanted to update our blog immediately but we had to leave work right after work to work out on the soccer field with some friends and then drive to Pearland and Pasadena to get donations for our garage sale this weekend!

So what now? Well first we have to return the signed AWAA agreement packet and the first installment of the program fee ($1500) and then we will be assigned a Family Coordinator who will help us start building our dossier! We think we will be able to send in the agreement packet and the fee in about 2 weeks (unless we do really well on the garage sale!). We are Paper Pregnant!!

What the heck is a dossier?? A dossier (Doss-e-a) is huge packet of paperwork that will basically contain our life story! It will contain the home study report, Homeland Security forms, legal documents and more. I will post a list when we get the list from our FC. We will send it to Ethiopia for review and they will basically make their decision on whether we are fit enough to adopt or not from it. This process will take about 4-6 months and I am hoping that we will send it off by Jan 1st!

I wanted to get a cute picture of us filling out the application but I was too bummed and forgot, but I did get this pic...

Thank you everyone for your support we have received A LOT of donations for our garage sale this weekend and I am pretty encouraged by it all. I can’t wait to have our new little one home! Oh and by the way, we are asking for a girl or boy age 0-2yrs old, Jacob is going to be so excited!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Depraved Indifference

I hope you watch this video and I hope it challenges you like it is challenging us.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Adoption Costs

I've been hearing a few comments lately about the cost of adoption and even someone (who I love very much and know she was just kidding) sarcasticly saying that we are "buying a baby". Though I agree with everyone that its sad that it costs so much, at the same time I kind of understand. We aren't paying someone to get a child for us and bring them here, we are paying for medical checks, home studies, government forms, etc. Also, if you really think about it we would be paying A LOT for a biological child too! From the prenatal care, to the birth (c-section with a $5k deductable!), to medical checkups and of course the cost it takes to care for a newborn for the first few months of life. If you put it in perspective, $30k isn't that bad! To give you an idea of where the money is going, here is a price breakdown that I took from our adoption agency

Application Fee - $250
1st Installment of Program Fee - $1,500
Home Study (varies by state) - $1,200 - $2,500
Additional Home Study Documentation Prep. Fee (varies by process) - $0 - $100
Home Study Visit Travel Fees(could include mileage, etc. based on current federal mileage rates) - $0 - $200
Adoptive Parent Training (2 adults) - $175
Documents/Background Checks/Passports(varies by state and number of states previously lived in) - $100 - $500
USCIS Fee & Update Fee + Fingerprinting - $890 (this could be a little less if Chris' USAF fingerprints qualify)
Notarization, Certification & Authentication - $400

SUBTOTAL: $4,515 - $6,515

Courier Service - $150
2nd Installment of Program Fee - $2,000
Post Adoption Report Deposit(fully refundable if all post-adoption reports are returned on time - YAY!) - $1,000
Dossier Service & Translation - $800
1/2 International Program Fee (1 child) *** - $3,750

*** Includes the following:

America World Development Project program fee
Child's medical exam(s)
Orphanage donation
Transitional child-rearing fee

SUBTOTAL: $7,700

International Specialist Consultation (varies by specialist) - $100 - $400
3rd Installment of Program Fee - $1,500
Post Adoption Administrative Fee - $385
1/2 International Program Fee (1 child) *** - $3,750
Trip 1 - Airfare (2 adults; prices will vary by season and location) - $2,400 - $4,000
Trip 1 - In-Country Travel Package (2 adults) **** - $1,400 - $2,500
Trip 1 - Visas (2 adults) - $40
Trip 2 - Airfare (2 adults; prices will vary by season and location) - $2,400 - $4,000
Trip 2 - Airfare(1 child; prices will vary by season, location and ticket - ie: lap pass or child seat) - $250 - $1,000
Trip 2 - In-Country Travel Package (2 adults) **** - $1,000 - $2,000
Trip 2 - Visas (2 adults) - $40
Visa/Embassy Fee (1 child) - $404

**** Includes the following:

Travel Coordination and Processing
Housing accomodations
Some Meals
Tour guides/Translators
In-country transportation
Gratuity to Ethiopian staff and guides

SUBTOTAL: $13,669 - $20,019

Post Adoption Visits varies by state) - $600 - $1,200
Post Adoption Visit Travel Fees(varies by state and location from social worker) - $0 - $300
Post Adoption Report Refund(refunded in installments as, and only if, each report is returned on time) - ($1,000)
Other Costs(include doctor visit and related co-pays, social security card, passport cost, postage, long distance phone calls) - $100 - $1,000

SUBTOTAL: $(300) - $1,500

TOTAL $25,584 - $35,734

We are happy to say that we should have enough to apply next week and the amount to accept should we get approved by July (the first 2 fees). I know some (understandably) wonder why we don't have more saved up if we knew we were going to adopt and to that I say, well, financially we didn't obey. Instead of saving up, we threw our money into paying off debt. This isn't a bad thing and will help us in the long run but right now it leaves our adoption fund thin. But I truly believe that this is what God wants us to do and I believe that He will help us. Last week I was reminded of this passage from Crazy Love:

‎"God calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through." - Francis Chan "Crazy Love"

Yeah you could pretty much say that we are in trouble if God doesn't come through! Thankfully I believe that God will come through! Now if only I could be "unafraid"! I'm working on it and thanks to my gracious God, my loving supportive husband who are both my rocks and my strengths and our awesome support system, I am getting there.

Last night I was getting really anxious about all the costs and thinking "there is no way we can afford this!" when I suddenly remembered our Adoption Fund Coin Jar. For about a year Chris has been collecting change from his pockets. I didn't even notice that he was doing this until a few months ago I saw a coffee mug sitting on the countertop filled halfway with coins. A few weeks ago I noticed that it was full and decided to start our Adoption Fund Coin Jar and poured the coins in that and forgot about it. Last night I decided to count it...

I counted $38.50!! I know it seems small but to me it was huge! It was God's way of telling me that we will find the money in ways well can't even think of! This makes a grand total of $101.50 from fundraising so far! Praise God!

- Abbey

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." ~ Proverbs 24:12

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Waiting Child

The Waiting Child – An Adoption Poem (stole this from here:
By Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with him
I played pretend you’d chosen me.

I’m happy for the baby, yet
Inside I’m aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
“Does no-one want a child of three?”

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn’t my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I’d seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe
.Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I’m almost six!
And there are infants here, you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you picked this time was me.

The first time I read this (earlier this week) I cried, a lot. Tuesday on our date night, I read this to Chris and couldn't even finish it I was crying too hard. Even he had tears in his eyes! The sad thing is that a few months ago I would have read it and been sad for a minute but then would have gone about my life as if I never saw the words. Now these words are eating away at me, burning a hole in my heart that I can't ignore. I don't go a day (heck even a minute) without thinking about these sweet children that have no one to love them, no one to hold them and rock them to sleep. No one to kiss their owies (as we call them in our house) or just to pray over them. I read on another blog that Unicef is now estimating that there are 163MILLION orphans in the world. 163MILLION!! I can't even wrap my head around that! Ive been asking God to break my heart for orphans a lot lately and I have to admit that He is (more on that in another post) but He is also opening doors to opportunities that I never even considered. Just now I got a "tip" about a possible opportunity to go to another country (a country that I prayed for God to lead me to if He wanted us there) and help and an orphan ministry there...this is HUGE, not because of us but because of HIM! Ive never had a heart for missions or for going to other countries for anything less than a vacation, yet God has taken my brokenness and given me a heart for Him and His children. My prayer is that you will read the poem above and it "gets" you in some form or fashion. Not everyone is called to adopt or to mission to other countries, but we are called to "love the least of these" and to pray for them.


"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" John 14:18

I should add that when I say "go to" that country I do not mean live there, I mean visit there. Had to add that because when I told someone that they kinda freaked out thinking that we were moving! I can say with a lot of certainty that we are meant to stay in Houston and I don't see that changing!