Saturday, May 31, 2014

Everyone loves Avon!

I'm on the road (or in the sky, I guess would be a better description).  
The final step has officially begun. 
Here I come Josie bunny!

As I am beginning the final stage of this LONG journey, a friend that I've met during the process, is putting together a final fundraiser for my sweet girl.

Natalie brought her daughter, Sara, home from the same country just over a year ago.  It was on Natalie's blog ( that I first 'noticed' Josie.  Natalie was the first non-agency person, to actually learn about my sweet girl.  She was shown Josie's file while still in country, as a 'cheer up' of sorts while waiting for some paperwork.  (You can read all about her process on her blog and she's shouted for so many other families and waiting children!)  Natalie blogged about my girl and as I was following the final steps in her adoption, I also caught the post about ''Seraphina".  And the rest is history!

Natalie recently became an Avon representative to help support families in the process.  She uses her commission to help raise some funds for families in need.  

I am leaving the country on a tight budget.  As in, no problems, no extra days, no 'oops' allowed.
 I am so blessed to have been able to raise the funds that have been used up to this point and to be able to be leaving the country, even if the budget it a little stretched. 
I can't thank everyone enough for helping bring this darling girl home.
But, Natalie has offered to host a final fundraiser for me, while I'm in C for the first two weeks, to help with any incidentals that are likely to pop up!

So, here you go.  
I was so happy to get some Bug Guard from another fundraiser that Natalie hosted for a family.
(and it is packed!)
Who can pass up sunscreen and bug repellent in one!?!
(and it smells good and works SO well!)

The sale will run from Sunday, June 1 until Sunday June, 15.
There is a Facebook page set up to help share the event.
You can check that out here...

Please check it out.  Shop.

 And share with all of your friends.  
I bet you all have at least one friend who already uses Avon and will want to replenish their stock
 and you also probably have one friend who's never used Avon and wants to give it a try.
But they'll never know about the fundraiser if we don't share the event!!
There are a variety of codes throughout the sale to give you different discounts (sometimes sale items, sometimes free shipping, sometimes % off items)...don't miss it!!

(I'll be adding some bathtub paint to our tub fun stash!)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Incredible things ahead..

As soon as finish this post, I'm walking out the door. 
(Well, packing my laptop into my carry-on, and then walking out the door.) 
This is it.
I'm about to get on a plane to fly to Colombia and a mere two days later, meet my daughter.
My daughter.
I have dared to believe in incredible things.

My bags are packed...

After some last minute shopping trip(s), additions and subtractions to the lists, a few loads of laundry,
(I LOVE all of the little pink things that have gone through the wash in the past few days!)

and some packing, unpacking, rearranging and repacking....

the suitcases are full!!

I have stocked up on little toys and fun things for J to do during our stay in her country.  Some snacks for the bunny (a variety of things since I really don't know what she eats!!) and for country, new foods.  I'm excited to get to try some of the local cuisine but wanted to be sure that I had a little something that I knew I liked before I got a chance to hit the grocery store.
I've got the camera, kindle, laptop and phone (electronics covered) and a little crafty stuff. 
(We'll see if I actually get to touch anything that I brought!)
  Our clothes are sorted.  A variety of sizes for Josie and outfits to cover all the seasons.  I've read (and been told) that C almost covers every season in a day.  Cool mornings, warmer afternoons, cool evenings and cold nights.  The hairbows are stowed away.  Everything coordinating and adorable....of course!
 I did toss a swimsuit in, just in case some of those afternoons get a little hot but also have hooded sweatshirts and long pj's.  If I am desperately in need of something I can pick it up but would rather avoid   expensive clothes while in country!

And the girl apparently has some chunky feet.  Though I'm not surprised.  I've seen the pics and video.  They are some pretty adorable squishy feet.  I have the fingernail polish packed.  Those little toes will be getting painted pink at some point during our stay.

I have a few goodies for the staff at J's orphanage.  A little thanks for taking care of my girl for the first three years of her life.  And a few goodies for the other kids. There are a variety of groups at La Casa.  Some, like J, have special needs and some do not.  I've loaded up on colored pencils, paper, crayons, stickers and little party favors.  The staff will distribute as they see fit but I've been assured it will all get put to good use!

Her stroller is ready for gate check.  
Her little backpack loaded for her to use and carry-on for the trip home.

I'm getting on a plane in less than 24 hours!!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Airport adventures

 I am leaving the country in 14 days.
14 days.

I am terrified to fly.  
As in...I start to feel nauseous and shaky when I just get close to the airport with the knowledge that I am going to have to get on one of those giant machines, that will somehow go from 'driving' extremely fast down a long road to 'flying' 35,000 feet in the air. 
 I do understand the physics. I know the statistics of accidents in a car versus accidents while flying.  I can logically think through all of the reasons that flying is safe and should be fun. But I have an illogical fear of flying.  It's illogical...there is no reasoning with it.  
(And trust me, I've tried!)
That doesn't mean I don't fly.  It just means that there is A LOT of pacing, maybe some deep breathing and some leg wiggling and a well planned playlist on my Ipod.  (which stays OFF, with all other electronics, until the pilot okays it! and only one ear piece in so I can still hear the speakers in case of emergency.)
I am glad that there is no requirement to be okay with flying while taking the psychological evaluation during this adoption process.  I certainly would have failed!
This being said.  
I am going to get on a plane in two weeks.  
I am going to fly to Colombia and spend about 8 weeks bonding with my daughter.  
Then we are both getting on a plane and flying home.

I'm getting an adoption fare with Delta.  My ticket is round trip and J's, one way for the trip home. The downside to booking a round trip ticket or a ticket one way to the US, is that I'm not really sure when I'll be coming home.  So, I'll have to make a best guess and then will most likely end up needing to change the flight home.  With the adoption fare, you pay a tad more upfront but then all of those airline fees are waived when I need make the changes later on.
I talked to a few different airlines directly and also a couple of travel agencies that specialize in adoption and missions.  Delta had the best deal so, they win.
Crazy, God thing about my Delta phone calls....
On the first try, after waiting on hold for about 20 minutes, I was connected to a woman who was clueless about adoption fares, she put me back on hold while she attempted to 'read the manual' to find out what to do.  Thankfully, I was disconnected. (I can say thankfully now!) The second time, I waited for about 40 minutes before eventually giving up.  I was trying to run around and get things done and just couldn't keep the phone on hold going in and out of offices and stores. 
 Finally I had time to wait so I called again.
The woman who answered knew exactly what I was talking about, took all of my information and went to work finding the best rates.  She also cried when I told her about Josie and shared her own adoption story, from 9 years ago of her now 10 year old daughter.  She laughed when I gave her my birth was the same as hers.  She was working hard to get the best deal and genuinely cared about making things work to get the dates and times I was wanting.  God knew I needed to get the right person.
The tickets were placed on hold so I could go purchase them directly at the airport with my proof of adoption paperwork.

I drove the hour to the airport..and spent another hour while a pleasant man behind the counter (and his co-worker at the second computer station) worked to find my pre-confirmed tickets, double check that our flight home was correct  and there would be no fees for any changes.
He asked for my 'adoption paperwork' that I had to provide to receive this adoption fare.  Haha...I put my bag full of binders and folders on the little counter and said, "which paper?"  After showing him a couple of things (from the US and from C) he made a phone call, hit a few keys and voila.... E-tickets printed. 

I have two tickets in my possession.  Two tickets to fly on a plane.
My ticket - round trip - Jacksonville to Bogota and back.
Josie's ticket - with Josie's name - one way.
Bogota to the US.
Bogota --- Home.
 I am leaving this country in 14 days.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Show Hope

My brain is still on overload after getting news of travel dates yesterday!!
 I've spent part of the day attempting to apply for my visa...gathering the documents needed
 (forgetting my passport in the copier)
and spending a couple of hours....yes, hours...on the phone getting quotes for flights. 

I'll fill you in tomorrow on the craziness of getting the tickets, after I actually!!

I made lists of everything that needs to be done and, oh my the lists are long!
I feel like I've done so much but yet, there is still SO.MUCH left to get done.  I know it'll happen
(and I'm sure I won't sleep much again tonight which makes for good little clothes folding/hanging time!)

Among the lists were a couple of fundraisers I wanted to hold to be able to officially call myself..fully funded.
But it occurred to me that I have tomorrow and next Saturday and that's it.  TWO SATURDAYS!!!
So the car wash was scratched, as was a last minute garage sale.
This made me panic a little.  I don't know how I can raise funds while I'm out of the country?

Then, I went and checked my mailbox.
Inside was a little envelope, thin, from an organization called...
Show Hope.
The last grant I had out...
(of the about 20 that I'd applied for)
I had been trying not to stress or worry.  I know God's got this...and somehow it'll all work out.  I have a little pile I can sell online before I go.  My brother offered to hold the car wash without me. It'd all work out.
It's funny how you can tell yourself those words over and over, but worry still creeps in.

I was a little turned off by the thin, small envelope.  Rejections come in thin, small envelopes.  Approvals come in big envelopes with extra stuff.  I didn't really want to open it, because I still wanted to 'Hope' that I might could get some funds from this last grant I was waiting to hear about.

The anxiety of not opening the envelope and so, not knowing,
was almost worse than the thought of reading a rejection.
So, I opened it.
Sometimes, big things come in small envelopes.
They have approved me for a grant.

I will still have to budget closely and there can be NO incidentals or extra things 'coming up' while I'm traveling (ha..yeah right!!!) but I feel so much better about leaving the country (in TWO WEEKS!!!) and being without a paycheck for the many weeks that I'll be gone and covering the final costs due while in country.  Will it still be tight, yep.  Will I still have to budget, yep.
If my brother still wants to hold that car was while I'm gone, will I let him, you bet!
But I can worry a tad bit less now as I go drop a pretty chunk of change on some airplane tickets tomorrow!
(And maybe do a little puking in the airport bathroom, just for good measure...)
(Have I mentioned that I HATE flying!!!!)

You can find out more about Show Hope, here.

The organization was created by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife after adopting their first daughter from China.  Show Hope is a movement to care for orphans, restoring the hope of a family to orphans in distress around the world.  It really is an amazing organization and they also rely on donors to be able to provide families (LIKE ME) with grants to assist in the adoption process.  There are multiple ways to get involved, by praying, advocating, sponsoring, donating, many options available.  You should definitely check out their website and see if something catches your eye.
I will forever be grateful that this wonderful organization was able to 'Show Hope' to Josie and me in our adoption process.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

19 Days

It has been awhile since my last much for New Year's Resolutions, huh?  To be honest, I've just been super busy with work and moving through more paperwork.  I've sat down to write up a big interesting post and then thought, "eh, it's not so interesting, I'll post something tomorrow."  Well, two months of 'tomorrows' later and you go.

This one is BIG and interesting.  One of the biggest and most interesting yet.  I know there will be bigger and even more interesting posts in the near future, but this one will take the cake for now.

Drumroll please.....
*everyone tap your fingers on the desk/table/computer now*


Yes, you read that right....a DATE!!!  As in, here, this is the date when I will go to C and be taken to La Casa and meet my daughter kind of date.  I have waited for 14 LONG months for this moment (actually 26 lllooonnnggg months if you really begin at the beginning) and now, in just over two weeks, I will hold my girl in my arms and kiss those oh so squishy cheeks. 

Two weeks. (and three days) I will be getting on a plane....
(let's pause briefly while I go vomit at that thought) 
Okay, resume. 
...I will be getting on a plane to fly to Col*mbia. 
I will attempt to 'rest' and 'settle-in' for a day (ha...yeah right!)
And then on June 3, 2014, I will get to meet my Josie bunny 
and my bunny will get to meet her Mama.

My brain is mush right now.  I'm hoping it comes back to life soon as I have A LOT to do in the next couple of weeks.  Laundry, packing, lists, highchair to put together, more laundry, get a haircut, more lists, paperwork to finish, more lists, add in work, maybe some skipping and hopping around in excitement, a bit more packing and then I should be all set.
First things first, I'm headed out tomorrow to get my visa.  
So tonight, I will attempt to sleep (or not really.)


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