Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's Cooking?

My sweet friend Brandi and her little girl Emma gave us this Pottery Barn Kids kitchen set for Katie Ruth.  Emma is a big girl now and didn't play with the kitchen anymore, so they very generously gave it to us.  It is SO adorable . . . Katie will be lucky if Jack lets her use it!

Thank you Brandi and Emma!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Coins for Katie Cups!

This is just a very small sample of the over SIXTY cups people have taken to fill for Katie!  That is amazing!  Over sixty!  We have cups in Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Ohio, Indiana, and more.  It is overwhelming to us how many people want to help us bring Katie home.

We are asking people to fill their cups until November 12th.  If your cup is already full, no problem - dump it out and start over!  After November 12th, you can give the coins to us (or if you live far away send a check) or deposit your money via paypal into our paypal account.  (Certainly if you'd like to stop collecting before November 12th we understand!)  If I am mailing you a cup or sticker for a cup you're providing yourself, I will also send a little card with our address and paypal address.

Thank you so much for your help - and if you don't have a cup but would like one, let me know!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yard Sale Success!

We had our yard sale this weekend.  We had items given to us from 15 different families, and everyone was incredibly generous.  We had a bake sale and sold nearly thirty dozen cookies.  Yes, that's not a typo - we sold almost 360 cookies.

We sold lemonade and bottled water.  We had the biggest yard sale we've ever had.  And we earned $1,776.00!!!!  My goal for us for the weekend was $1,000, and we made that just yesterday.  We are so, so excited and encouraged by how well we did.  It was a lot of hard work, but well worth it.

The leftover kids' clothes are packed up in donated suitcases and will be on their way to Katie's country. One will go next week with another family who is adopting from the same country.  The other two will come with us when we go to pick Katie up.  The suitcases will be left with new clothes, toys, shoes, and other goodies for the children at the baby house.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated items for the sale, who lent us tables, who stopped by to say hello and purchased things that I'm certain you could have lived without, and who put money in our donation jar.  We are so appreciative!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coins for Katie

What do a jar of coins and a sippy cup have in common?  Nothing, unless you're talking about Coins for Katie.  We're doing a sippy cup drive.  It's very easy - I send you or give you a sippy cup.  You fill it with your spare change.  When it's full you either give it back to me or empty your change into a big ziploc bag and start again.  When you're done, you send it back to me or, if you're local, I come and pick it up.  Every little bit helps - your spare change could help us bring Katie home!

In other exciting news, our homestudy is DONE!  Done everyone!!!  That means we are one huge step closer to submitting our dossier to our agency.  This is a big, big step.  We are waiting for some documents, and our UCIS fingerprinting date, and we can submit our dossier!  We need to raise some money before then to cover our dossier fee, so I'm hopeful that our yard sale will have a great turnout.

Let me know if you would like a sippy cup.  Or maybe one for home and one for work?  I'm happy to get one to you.  You are welcome to use your own cup if you'd prefer, but we have a little something special on the cups we've got.  If you're going to use your own cup, I'll send you our special Coins for Katie surprise!

Reece's Rainbow Donation

To whomever donated $100.00 to our fund with Reece's Rainbow yesterday, THANK YOU!  We do not know the names of people who donate that way, so it is impossible for me to thank you individually.  However, I was so surprised to see that $100.00 had been deposited into our account.  Thank you so much!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Big Donations!

Chris and I received two great donations in the last forty-eight hours.  One is a very large donation of $1,500.00.  This was from someone I work with, and was completely unanticipated.  I don't want to publicly name him, because I don't think he would like that, but he and his wife know how grateful we are.  I am so incredibly fortunate to work with people that I respect and enjoy.  Truly, every single person in our office gets along.  We all have a great time working together, and everyone is very appreciative of each other.  Certainly, there are squabbles and disagreements, but we have a very supportive family atmosphere.  All of the attorneys are very successful and are very appreciative of the support they have from the office staff.  They are all exceptionally generous, but this amazing donation caught me totally by surprise.  There really is no way to communicate to someone how much you appreciate them gifting you with over a thousand dollars.  It's incredibly generous and selfless.  He has his own family and he's willing to give that gift to our family so we can, as he said, "bring your girl home".  It makes me cry to think about it.  

The second donation I want to tell you about was not as large in the dollar amount, but was just as large in the heart behind it.  Misty, one of the runners on our Run for Katie, has a little girl named Ella.  Ella turned seven recently and had her birthday party last weekend.  A note went in every birthday invitation asking their guests to bring spare change to donate to our Run for Katie fundraiser.  Ella made this jar to use to collect donations.  

These sweet little faces brought $17.00 to Ella's party to donate to help us bring Kate home.  This was largely their own money, and they were willing to donate it to help a child they have never met.  Misty, and all of the other parents of these children, helped to teach these children something I hope my own children are learning by example - how to give to other people and how to help someone who needs it.  These children don't know our family.  They have never met us.  They don't know anything about us really, or anything about Katie Ruth.  All they know is that a little girl they never met needs a home, and that their money will help provide that.  I sent Misty (who, by the way, I didn't even know until about a month ago) a text when she told me about the party donations.  I told her that I will likely never be able to articulate to her how much Chris and I appreciate everything she is doing to help us bring Katie home.  She pointed out that I'm not allowed to be sappy until the child is actually here, and I will adhere (somewhat!) to that.  It is true though - how do you thank someone for literally giving of themselves, their time, their efforts, and their money to help bring a member of your family home?  The only way we know is to be the best parents that Katie Ruth could ever have, and we will try our hardest.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some More Photos!

These are from March 2010.

I just love that little face.

We'll work on sitting more like a lady. . . 

I have two observations about this photo:
1.  The person who dressed her this day clearly loves pink.  Head to toe.
2.  She's a little monkey and will fit in just fine with these brothers she's got waiting for her!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Run for Katie

I'm going to do a little profile for each of the runners on our Run for Katie fundraising team.  You can read about Misty here.  Tonight I'm going to tell you about Travis.

His official photo!
Travis is one of the attorneys in my office, and I've only known him for about a year.  I'll be honest - when I first met him I wasn't so sure I was going to like him.  He was very quiet, didn't really say much, and I couldn't really understand why everyone in my office liked him so much.  I should have known better, because I quickly realized they were right, and he's one of my absolute favorite people.

Travis has been married to his wife Caroline for nine years.  They have two boys I could eat with a spoon. Carter is 3 and Hank is almost 6 months.  You know how sometimes you like either the husband or the wife, but not both?  Not the case with Travis and Caroline.  I adore his wife as much as him.  They are such a wonderful family - their boys are adorable and so sweet.  Little Carter is hilarious and smart, and I could snuggle Hank all day.  Travis and Caroline are both smart, fun, kind, generous, and funny.  Travis is a great dad, and he really loves his sweet family.

Travis was an Assistant District Attorney with the 16th Judicial district for the state of Tennessee for several years.  He's now a private practice attorney.  We work in a small office with four attorneys and three support positions.  Everyone in the office is close and we have a bit of a family atmosphere.  Travis has only been at our office since March, and he quickly fit right in.  He's smart, and he's a great attorney.  He does a lot of probate work, which means he gets a lot of older clients.  I've never seen someone love an old person like Travis does!  I think he has a crush on every woman over 80 in town who needs to have a will done.  And trust me - they all love him too!

Travis does a lot of volunteer work for various organizations.  He's a loaned executive to the United Way campaign, is the president of the Rutherford County University of Tennessee Alumni Association, and has done work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and other local charities.

Travis has been running for about seven years.  He's run tons of 5ks and 10ks - too many to keep track of.  He's also run six half marathons, including the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, the Middle Half (twice), the Music City Half Marathon.  Travis also ran the Ragnar Relay last year on the Bumpshack Racing Team.  Ragnar is a 196 mile relay from Chattanooga to Nashville, and the Bumpshack team came in 32 overall, out of 160 teams.

I didn't need to ask Travis why he would run on our Run for Katie fundraising team - Travis is the person who came up with the idea!  I will never forget Travis' reaction when I told him that Chris and I were thinking about adopting.  He said, "I think you need to sleep on it.  For about 18 years."  I will also never forget what he later said; the more we discussed it and he realized we were serious Travis said, "I know I said to sleep on it for 18 years, and I still think you should.  However, if you decide this is something you want to do, I will be your biggest supporter."  And he has been.

Travis was the first person, outside of my parents and my sister, to sign up to follow this blog. . . and I'm quite sure it's probably the only one he follows.  He sits in my office every day and listens to me talk about Katie Ruth.  He looks at her photos without complaining.  He talks about fundraising with me whenever I want to discuss it.  He thinks of prizes we could have donated or people we could talk to about participating.  He listened to my list of names when we couldn't decide on one.  When I asked him to email one of his contacts and ask if he would donate a prize he did it immediately and even picked up the prize.  He has absolutely done what he said he would, and he, as well as everyone else I work with, has been a huge support through this process.

Travis is not running in our fundraiser to win a trip to Florida.  While I'm quite certain Travis would love to go on vacation, Travis could pay for a trip to Florida if he wanted to.  He's running to help us.  He's running to help us raise money to bring our little girl home.  The generosity of people continues to amaze me throughout this process, and Travis is no exception to that.  I'm very thankful for Travis' support and friendship.

Monday, August 8, 2011

More Photos of Our Girl!

Here are some photos of Katie Ruth from 2009 when she was just two years old.  It makes me so sad to think that she's been in the orphanage for at least two years.  Hopefully she's not there too much longer!

She's got such pretty eyes!

I love this picture for so many reasons.  
She's mobile, walking, and obviously has good body strength which makes me hopeful that she gets to play and gets attention, rather than being left in a bed or ignored.  I cannot wait to get this little girl home

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our House

As anyone going through the adoption process knows, part of it is photographing your home.  I was so stressed about this!  I'm not really sure why, because I think we have a great house, but it was really stressful to me.  Well, the pictures are done.  I've done a long post about it here at my other blog.  I don't want to bore people who read both, so just jump over to The Real Housewife of Bedford County and dig in!

Yard Sale Skinny

I hope nobody wanted to come over to eat anytime soon.  
This is our dining room.

We have had so much stuff donated for our yard sale!  We have also had to rent a storage unit to hold it all, because we have no garage to keep it in, and I still need to pick up from four more people, as well as my parents and Chris' parents.  I am overwhelmed by the amount of stuff people have donated to us to help us raise money to bring Katie Ruth home.  Pray for good weather the weekend of August 26 & 27!!  If you are local and have anything you'd like to donate, we would be so appreciative and I am more than happy to come pick it up!

Katie Ruth's room

We've started working on Katie Ruth's bedroom.  You can read all about that on my blog The Real Housewife of Bedford County!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is it Christmas?

It must be.  Why?  Because we got several photos of our sweet Katie Ruth!

Can you believe it?!

Some are as old as 2009, when she was just 2 years old.
Some, including the original photo we had, are as recent as March 2011.

She looks great!
She looks healthy.
She looks social.
She looks mobile.

She looks like she's had a horrible haircut for her entire. life.
And most of all she looks like she needs to get home.  
Home to her mama and daddy soon so we can kiss 
all over that face and those yummy cheeks!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So I'm Thinking. . .

 . . . Maybe I would have more luck completing the mountain of adoption paperwork we still have for our dossier if I spent my evenings working on it.  You know, as opposed to reading other people's blogs about their adoptions.  I'm just saying. . . 

In other news, Chris and I had our psychological evaluations yesterday.  Our report should be ready in the next week or so.  We are still waiting for our marriage certificates to come in the mail.  From HAWAII.  If I knew we would be adopting and need multiple copies of documents, we may have reconsidered getting married so far away!  We're waiting, waiting, waiting.  Waiting for our passports to come (mine is a renewal, Chris is a new application).  Waiting for our FBI fingerprinting to come back.  Waiting for our UCIS approval.  Waiting for our biometrics fingerprinting appointment.  Waiting for our psychological evaluation results.  Waiting for our homestudy report to be completed, which cannot happen until a good portion of the previous list is completed.  Waiting to finish filling out paperwork, which I can't do without a lot of the previous list being done.  Waiting for our yard sale so we can *hopefully* make some money so my checkbook will stop cringing every single time I open my wallet!

Have I mentioned I'm not a patient person??  All of the waiting will be worth it to love on this girl!