Monday, October 13, 2014

To China, With Love

I spent some time this past weekend sewing, and I have to say, it was probably my favorite sewing project ever.  I altered some winter clothing for Titus so that his shorter arm will be free to use.  It is quite understandable that the orphanage does not alter his clothes, as they must be used for other children later, but it does break my heart to see these winter pictures of his arm trapped deep inside the sleeves of a snowsuit or sweater.  He likely goes all winter with very limited use of that hand.

But look at him grab on to these blocks through the sweater anyway!

This winter, for the first time in his life, this sweet boy has clothes made just for him!  It dawned on me that these are also his very first possessions that are just his own.  I cried as I sewed his name into each piece of clothing - a warm coat, a snowsuit, 2 thermal tops, a fleece jacket, and a cuddly fleece one-piece suit!

I chose this shirt because the layered look makes it super easy to alter, and because the snowboarder feels really fuzzy.  I figured he'd enjoy feeling that.
I also bought Zane one of the snowboard shirt and the striped shirt.  Later, when we send family photos to Titus, we'll include some of Zane wearing those shirts, hoping to help him feel a connection to his brother and sense belonging.

   We have a huge gift in our new friends who are traveling soon to pick up their daughter.  Without them traveling at this time, we would not be able to send these clothes for Titus.  I got to spend Saturday afternoon at her welcome shower for their little girl who is currently in the same orphanage as Titus.  They leave for China in 9 days to bring her home!  I vacuum packed the clothes to save some space and handed them off to Angela.  Let's just say it was one of the most emotional days I've had so far on this journey.  I hugged a woman whose arms will (hopefully) hold my son, and I passed on these items, stitched with so much love, praying that somehow he feels that love when he wears them.  If we're being totally honest, I may have slept with a few of them the night before, hoping that even just a little bit of our scent might make it to him too!

I'm praying that at least a few of these items fit him well, that the sleeves aren't too long or too short.  Mostly, I just want him to know he is loved.  I wanted with all my heart to send along a photo album now, to introduce ourselves and let him know MOMMY AND DADDY LOVE YOU AND WE WILL COME FOR YOU!!!   Eric and I have decided to wait a few more months on that though, since what feels like a long time for us feels like an eternity to a small child.  But we are SO THANKFUL to be able to send these clothes.  Please pray with us that Angela will be able to see him and hold him, and be in prayer for their family in their travel and transition as a family.

"Betcha he reads.  Betcha she sews.  Maybe she's made me a closet of clothes..." -Annie "Maybe"

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Garage Sale Recap

First of all, THANK YOU, friends, for your outpouring of support for our garage sale fundraiser.  Thank you for clearing out your closets and garages to find items to donate.  Thank you for staying up late to bake delicious goodies for our sale. (They were a huge hit!)  Thank you for praying for our family's sanity during the past few weeks.  Thank you for putting up with us while our world was very small and focused and we didn't return phone calls or emails quickly.  and THANK YOU to the friends who stopped by to shop and say hello.  It helped break up the long days and our children especially loved having their friends to play with!

Our garage sale was successful beyond our hopes, despite closing early on Saturday due to exhaustion and sick children.

Our total so far is $1,103.75!

AND we still have enough items to keep it open for another Saturday, probably October 18.  Because of this, we will continue taking donations through Friday, October 17th! Thankfully, the most difficult work of sorting, tagging, and organizing items is finished, so it should be easier to hold it for one more day before calling for a Goodwill truck to take the leftovers.e  We also have several higher quality items listed on Craigslist that will add to our total, and there are friends across the country who have listed items on their local Craigslist and plan to donate their proceeds.  Thank you!

One of the most fun parts about our garage sale was getting to share Titus' story and connecting with others who have similar hearts.  One family came through with 11 children, many adopted from various backgrounds!  A woman from the neighborhood came through who brought a son home from Ethiopia only 3 months ago.  I am always encouraged to talk with adoptive parents who have "made it" to the other side of this process!  They understand exactly what we're going through and confirm that it is worth all the costs, financial, physical, and emotional!  Another woman came through who just returned from several months working in orphan care in Africa.  Her family business is buying gold and silver.  She identified a silver piece of jewelry that had been donated for our sale and paid me five times what I had asked for it!  Many shoppers rounded up their purchases and gave additional donations.  Some shoppers even came back later in the day with donated items for us to sell.

This is all so encouraging to us.  The garage sale proceeds are 1/2 of our next payment of $2,213 which will be due in early December in order to release our home study and move us along to the next phase, which will also allow us the opportunity to set up a qualified tax-deductible giving account.  Combined with my September earnings from thumbprint trees on our Etsy shop and generous cash donations that have been left anonymously for our family in various places, we are only short $600 to be able to make the next payment!

We know many of you are curious about the total costs and our funding plan.  Because it would make this post too long for anyone in their right mind to get through, we'll post again soon with an overview of our funding plan and our immediate next steps.

Thank you for your partnership in bringing Titus home.  This is certainly not our own effort and will only be accomplished through the Church, community, and hearts of compassion.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory!"  Ephesians 3:20-21a