First Friday Funding Figures- Update #11, August 2015

Hi y’all! I have your August FFFF post, but it’s going to be very short, because we are about to pack up and head to visit family. There’s just never enough time! So… in July we wrapped up our restaurant.com fundraiser, had another Moe’s event, had another yard sale, a Mary Kay party (or two), and sold more puzzle pieces. I didn’t have time to make the pretty cost/fundraising breakdowns that I normally use, but guys. GUYS. You have helped us get to 91% Funded. I could scream! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! We are almost there!

And speaking of “almost there”…. Did you notice that it’s already August? August. Where has the summer gone? If we travel in September, we could be leaving in a short 5 weeks! If we don’t make September (and yes, we’re still in danger of missing those dates), we’d be leaving in less than 9 weeks. We’ve got a lot to do in that short period of time! We’ve still got $3,660 to raise, and have a wine and canvas party, another Moe’s event, a bedsheet fundraiser, and finishing out our puzzle to help us get there. We have to finish decorating the boys’ room (which includes refinishing a dresser and nightstand), look for stuff (a high chair and car seat for grandma’s house, diapers, etc.), and get our adoption education completed, as well as preparing ourselves for travel.

We’re so excited, but I tell ya, not knowing when we are actually going is hard! If we go in October, our hotel and flights could be much more expensive due to a huge trade fair going on in China at the time. But, it would give us those extra 4 weeks to save, fundraise, and get ready. And the weather between the months is very different too, so we can’t even think about what to pack until we know when we’re going. Gah. I know we’ve been praying, and asking you to pray for September, and believe me, I want to get my boy home as quickly as possible. But now, I just ask you to pray for peace for our hearts no matter when we end up going. It’s so easy for me to get anxious and worried, and you know what? Ultimately, the end result is the same, whether we travel in September or October- Our family of three becomes a family of four!

Correction- 74% funded!

I realized that I was missing a line item for the grant we received a couple of months ago. Once I added that in, it bumped us from 72% to 74% of our goal!

image001 (2)So, even though we still have quite a bit left to raise, things are looking better than they did just yesterday! And, just a reminder, we are having our second fundraising dinner at Moe’s tonight! Please grab your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or whomever, and stop by for dinner! You can even get your food to go, give me a hug, and go on about your evening! We’d appreciate your support! Thanks!

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Numbers and Letters

I completely overlooked posting a First Friday update last week, as we were heading down to Myrtle Beach for the weekend, and I had a ton on my mind. I was hoping for a phone call, an email, something to tell us that our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) had been issued. I was also working for the majority of the day, and had to help Chris with some Tobu stuff before we could get on the road. I also braided my whole head to try and have some beachy waves for the weekend. Oh, and I had to drop something off at my parents’ house. So… I just completely forgot.IMG_20150703_114953491_HDR The beach was a great trip. We stayed Friday through Monday, and the long weekend was just what we all needed. It was full of family, friends, great weather, love music, fireworks, and food. What more could we ask for? Oh, and on Monday we finally got word that our LSC/ Letter Of Approval (LOA) is on it’s way! Yes! It only took 41 days. 41 very quick, but equally long days, if that’s possible.

Austin built his first sand castle, and loved holding sparklers. He brought his football and basketball everywhere we went, and asked to go to the beach every single day. I think he loved having lots of time with us, and he was not a happy camper come Tuesday when he had to go back to “school.”

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So, as for adoption updates. Lots of things happened last week. We were moved from “in review” to “to be matched”. And on Monday we found out se have soft LOA, which means our approval is heading to our agency right now! It should be on US soil this week! Next for us, is US immigration stuff. Visas, and getting our boy approved to be adopted here. From the timeframes we’re seeing of those going before us, it looks like we can expect to travel in 8-12 weeks! Yes, that’s white a range, but it just depends on if there are any hold ups, typos, holidays, etc. But, September is looking very likely, now, and we are so excited! And just to secure a September date, we went and bought ourselves some concert tickets for our anniversary. The concert is on 9/23, so, I’m willing to bet we will be given dates that overlap it! I think a little China trip is worth missing the concert, though! 😉 We can see the light at the end of this long tunnel. Please be praying that things move smoothly and quickly as we progress! To celebrate (and hopefully help our nannies prepare our son for travel), we had a toy airplane sent to the orphanage.

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So in the next 8-12 weeks, we have to finish some education, figure out our travel stuff, finish (we’ve barely started) the boys’ new room, and do our best to prepare our little family for the big change that’s coming. That, and raise about $10,000. That’s, like $1000 a week, y’all. Holy guacamole. Where do we even start? Well, tomorrow we are having another Moe’s dinner, so hopefully that helps a bit. I have this weird feeling that we won’t have nearly the turnout that we got last time, but I am hopeful that I’m wrong. If you’re in the Charlotte area and would like to come eat with us, please stop by! You don’t even have to bring the flyer this time. And we’ll do another Moe’s dinner next month, and one in September if we’re still here.  We are not doing a yard sale this weekend, but the next few weekends we definitely will be. We’re still selling puzzle pieces, hoping and praying for a grant, and you will soon see us asking if anyone has hotel and airline miles they can donate to us. We’ve also been selling random things here and there, and I am working a wedding in August. But we’re running out of ideas… and time, for that matter. Not that we’re complaining. The sooner we can bring our little guy home, the better!

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Here are our First Friday Funding Figures, on this second Tuesday of July. We’re 72% there, folks. It’s hard not to stress about that remaining 28%, but honestly I know we will be fine. The Lord will provide a way for our little family to be together, I have no doubt!

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image009 (1)image008On a completely different note, Chris’ disc golf store is open for business! Please check it out! We’ve got two birthday parties this Saturday, and some of our favorite folks are in town, so we’ll visit with them on Sunday. I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting to mention…. Guess it will have to wait until the next post!

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Google Font’s “Give You Glory”

Yard Sale #3, and OOT!

So next stop on our acronym parade- OOT! OOT stands for out of translation, which means our dossier is done being translated by the CCCWA (Chinese adoption officials), and is now being reviewed! After review, which seems to be taking just a few days, then our file is matched with our son’s file, and we get LSC/LOA which means Letter Seeking Confirmation/Letter Of Approval. So we’re really close to being done with this part of the process! We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, folks! And if there are no hold-ups, (prayers please!) we should be on track to go get our kiddo in September!! SEPTEMBER! Please, please continue to pray that September is the month we leave to get our boy!

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So… if we were to leave the very last week of September, that gives us just over 13 weeks before our life changes forever!

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*Google Font’s “Give You Glory”

Depending on how you look at it, that can seem like a very short or pretty long time. I’m thankful to know that summertime usually flies by, and that September will be here in a blink of an eye! We have a lot to do during that time. A last batch of education, preparing the boys’ new room, and fundraising. A lot of fundraising. We still have about $10k to raise, and only 13ish weeks, so we know that we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us. How can we raise almost a thousand dollars a week??

Well, the good folks at Moe’s have offered to host a monthly fundraiser dinner for us until we leave for China. How awesome are they? They are even going to put a poster in the window a week ahead of the planned events to help us draw more folks! We had such a wonderful time last time, and were taken such good care of. How could we turn them down? If we have turnouts like the last time, we’ll probably make $1000 between all 4 of the events combined. That would help us a lot! So if you are in the Ballantyne area, please plan to be with us the second Thursday of every month for the next few months! We’d appreciate it!

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In addition to that, we’ve been so blessed by family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers who have donated to our yard sales. We had the big one in may, another one about 2 weeks ago, and had one this morning, despite impending thunderstorms. The rain held out today, and we made $815!! Last time we made $805, and at the big one we made almost $2,000.  We have so much stuff to sell, that we will continue to have yard sales every two to three weeks until we can clear most of it out. I can’t imagine we’ll make these large amounts every time, but man, we are so thankful that we have thus far! Yard sales are a lot of work, but these numbers make it so worth it! And God kept the rain at bay until 5 minutes after we got everything back in the garage!

There are a few items I’m selling online, that are bringing in some cash, too, so we might make our $1000/week goal for this week. We’ll see if we can keep up the momentum! We’re still selling restaurant.com gift certificates, so please buy one for yourself, one for a friend, and share the link with anyone else that might be interested! And of course, we’re still “selling” puzzle pieces for $15 each, and we will write your name on the back of your pieces! Our puzzle is almost 3/4 of the way complete. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to it thus far! We can’t wait to complete it, frame it, and hang it on our wall!

So that’s our update! Our dossier’s moving along, and we are plugging away at the fundraising. We know that the Lord will provide the funds we need, and in His timing, so we are not really to anxious about the money. Not yet, anyway…! We appreciate your prayers and support more than you know!

Last week

We’ve been busy. I know you are thinking that we’re always busy, and I guess that’s true. But the last 10 days or so have been really busy for us.

My parents closed on their new house today! I’m so excited for them to move into their beautiful new home that is only two minutes away from our house! Because they were downsizing from a big house, we’ve been with them pretty much every day for the last two weeks, helping them pack, taking stuff to keep for them, and also taking items they no longer want so that we could add them to our yard sale collection. I’m not sure I’ve ever handled so much bubble wrap in my life. But they are all moved in, and now unpacking. I sold my childhood bed for my parents, and got to keep the $100 from the sale to go towards our adoption.

Thursday night we had our fundraising night at Moe’s, and it was a huge success! We had so many people there to support us that the line was almost to the door! It was a lot of fun, and really cool to see so many different people come out to support us. We saw neighbors, Austin’s classmates, our bible study groups, coworkers, and old friends. The Moe’s staff worked incredibly hard, despite the fact that they were short staffed and working without air conditioning. (It had broken earlier that day). The manager told us this was the busiest fundraiser he’s ever done, and invited us to do it monthly until we bring our son home! How awesome is that? They took such good care of us, and everyone had a great time. It was pretty easy for us, considering all we had to do was get people to come. I didn’t have to cook or clean, and just got to mingle and eat! And we not only raised $250 that night, we also received $155 in donations! And to top it off, one of our dear friends matched that $155, so that night we brought in more than $550 towards our adoption! We were amazed by people’s generosity, good spirits, and in the Lord’s provision.
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Saturday morning, we had a yard sale. It was the start of a scorching heat wave, but that didn’t keep people away. Other than the big yard sale we had in May, this was the best yard sale we’ve ever had. It was neat to connect with different folks and share our adoption story with them. When the day was over, we had made $800! Unbelievable! We have so much stuff left over, (and being added,) that we will have another one in a couple of weeks, and then continue to have them every few weeks thereafter, just to keep raising money and clearing room in the garage. I know I can’t expect each yard sale to be as lucrative as this last one, but even if we make a hundred dollars or two at each one, it would really help!
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We sold a bedroom set this week, too! Now the big guest bedroom is a clean slate so we can get to work on readying our boys’ new room! I don’t know if I ‘m more excited that the old furniture is gone (I’ve wanted to get rid of it forever!) or that we’re working on the boys’ room. Oh who am I kidding? I’m very much looking forward to readying that space to welcome our newest boy home. Plus, it will give me something to do while we wait for our approvals to come in….

So all of that, plus about $100 that we are waiting on from some other sales that haven’t been paid for yet, and we raised about $1850 last week towards our adoption! I also sold a few bracelets, and we got a big donation, so in the past two weeks, we’ve raised about $2,000. It’s simply amazing! It’s a big push, and I think we’re at about 70% of our estimated costs having been raised/saved.

Right now, we are running a very cool fundraiser that anyone can participate in, whether you are local to Charlotte or not! If you buy a restaurant.com certificate at our fundraising link, half of what you spend goes towards our adoption! And for every $25 you spend, you get a $50 certificate. So please buy certificates for your family and friends, and help us raise the money we need to get to our boy in September!

Oh, and a care package was sent out to the orphanage this week. A backpack for our cutie to keep his possessions in, and lots of treats for his nannies and friends.
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We are just amazed and grateful for all of the support we’ve been shown recently. It really helps keep us going when we are busy, busy, busy. It’s exciting and motivating. Not to mention encouraging. We are thankful  beyond measure for how blessed we have been. The Lord provides in ways we never could have imagined.

We’d appreciate your continued prayer that our paperwork in China is being handled carefully, and is approved swiftly. September! September! Please pray we get there in September. Thank you!

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First Friday Funding Figures- Update #9, June 2015

You know what day it is! I can’t believe this is update number nine! What a long time it’s been already… But it’s getting closer to the finish! Things have been crazy busy for me, but I was determined to get this post published. I mean, it’s just a few images, really! I will not give you an excuse today!

So last month was a good one as far as fundraising goes. We had our huge yard sale, which made us almost $2000, and we were awarded a $1000 grant! We got a tax refund that went straight into our account, and managed to save a bit, too! I really need to do a good audit of our accounts and our fees, but as the numbers stand today, it looks like we are 63% funded! With (hopefully) 4 months to go, and $13,846 (ish) left to raise, we are going to kick it into high gear! Please pray that we hear from the other grants we applied to, and that we would have successful fundraising over the summer. Next week we have our Moe’s fundraising dinner, which should be a lot of fun! I hope we get a huge turnout and make a lot that night. I’m looking forward to it, just because it’s like a big party with a bunch of friends where I don’t have to do the cooking. Ha!

In addition to the Post Adoption Credits chart I added last month, I also included a Post Placement Expenses chart. Looks like those credits are going to end up going back out in one way or another. I didn’t even include the possible medical trips we could be taking, because I just don’t know how many, and how long the trips will be… so it’s hard to estimate. Here’s how the numbers are looking:

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image008 We still have a ton of stuff from the yard sale, so I think next weekend, or really any weekend this month, we will be having another one. We’re looking into different rewards credit cards, trying to see how we can rack up airline and hotel miles to save us some of those costs. If you have any you’d like to donate to us, let us know! I have one more fundraiser in mind, that we might do in July, but other than that… I’m just praying we find the funds! We are scrimping and saving, and doing everything we can think of, but if you have any ideas, please share them!

Yesterday we got an update on our boy. It had pictures of him in the Hornets hat that we sent him, which made me so happy! I know it made my parents happy, too, as the hat was their contribution! He’s got a little piece of our home with him, now! The update said that he knows he is being adopted, and that the nannies read the picture book we sent and tell him who everyone is. I wonder what he thinks when they read it to him… is he anxious? Confused? Happy? I wonder how much he really understands about what a family even is…

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When I showed Austin these pictures, he asked about their hats, and then he picked out his own “bed” in the picture of the cribs. He’s starting to get it. Somehow, he’s starting to get it.

Folks, we appreciate you keeping up with us. We appreciate your support and prayer. Please keep praying for things to move along without issue, and that we would be traveling to China in September. Thank you!

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Raisin’ “Moe” Money

Next Thursday, June 11 (side note – how is it already June?!) We are having another fundraiser to raise money for our adoption. Thus one is easy. You don’t have to buy things, make online payments, write checks, or anything like that. All you have to do is eat! You already do that multiple times a day! Not only that, but it saves you from having to cook!

So if you are in the Charlotte area, please join us at Moe’s Southwest Grill in Ballantyne any time from 5-8. 20% of all sales from our supporters will go towards our adoption! Moe’s is good food, and a fun environment. It’s not expensive, and not fried fast food! Won’t you join us?

Just print out this flyer and be sure to bring it with you. Share the flyer with your coworkers, friends, and family, too! The more supporters we bring in, the more money we raise to bring our son home! Thank you!!

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