Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Submitted! And Calendars for Sale!

We had great news last week!  Our dossier documents were submitted to the adoption authorities in Camden's country.  That means they are being processed, and we are simply waiting for them to tell us to come!  It will be several weeks though, so we need to be patient!  We were told there is a deadline mid-December, after which they don't take any more submissions before the holidays, and we were so glad that we made it right before that deadline!

We have a couple of new fundraisers going on right now.  The first is calendars!  We had these printed with pictures taken by some talented people, included my dad and some other friends, and a couple from us.  Each picture has a Bible verse included.  The calendars are spiral bound, and the pages are 8.5"x11" in size.

Here are you can see all the pictures for each month of the year:
Special thanks to Phil Nebe for some of the photos!  You can see and purchase more of his work here.  And also Laura Pittman for the cover photo.  She has some of her work for sale at here.  The purchase of her photos and artwork supports the great work she and her husband are doing in Fiji through Island Encounters.  You can find out about it here, and see her awesome wedding photography here.
We are selling the calendars for $10 each, plus shipping.  Send me an email to find out the shipping cost, at home4camden@gmail.com.
You can use PayPal to pay here:

If you don't need a calendar, how about some great COFFEE?

You can order coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters, and a significant portion of the cost goes to our adoption fund!  Just be sure to order through our storefront at https://justlovecoffee.com/miner.  We just ordered some ourselves, so we can't tell you personally how great it is, but we have a coffee connoisseur friend who thinks their coffee is fantastic!  And how great is it that they are willing to give a portion of their profit to adopting families!?

We are getting so close to our fundraising goal, and we are so thankful to all who have helped!  It's hard to believe that we will be traveling in the very near future.  We are so excited to bring Camden home!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And the Winner is....

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in our American Girl doll giveaway!

We are thrilled to report that we had 364 tickets sold or given out, and the profit for our adoption grant was $1,651!

That is awesome!

THANK YOU to each person who donated or shared the information about the contest on Facebook, for helping us to bring Camden home!  So many people gave so generously!

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

The winner is... Becky M.!  Becky will get to pick the American Girl doll of her choice.  Congratulations!

And thanks again for my dear friend who let me use her little girl's picture all over my blog and Facebook!  :)


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Time to (Try To) Wait Patiently!

On Thursday we got our USCIS approval.  On Friday we drove to the state capital to get apostilles for it and a few other final documents.  Then we walked to the nearest post office an MAILED that dossier!  What a GREAT feeling!

That envelope you see me holding is precious and priceless!  We sent it to another couple who is traveling to Camden's country on Sunday (today).  Once they hand it to the team there, they will translate it and submit it to the adoption authorities.  Then we wait for them to tell us when we can travel!  Wait patiently... maybe patiently....  I am SO SUPER EXCITED to get to Camden's country and meet him!  We're thinking it will be possibly in February, but we're not sure how the holidays will affect the processing time.

In other news, Lydia and I had a big morning yesterday.  I ran in my first 5K race, and then Lydia got to dance in our town's Holiday Parade with her dance class!

I think I placed 155th or something like that, but it was fun to be in a race.  Here's Lydia's group:


Lydia did great in the parade!  She loved it too.  Maybe partly because she got to wear eye shadow and lip stick!  :)  Here's a clip of her group dancing.  It's hard to spot Lydia, but Aaron zoomed in on her back when he realized where she was in the group.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

We're Approved

Today our USCIS approval came in the mail!  This was the last piece that we needed for our dossier!  So... tomorrow we will be driving to our state capital (thankfully not too far away for us), getting apostilles for the last documents, and sending everything off to someone else who can carry them to Camden's country this weekend!  I am SO excited!!!

Only 4 days left in our American Girl doll giveaway.  Check out the details here, and help us bring our little guy home!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Seeing the End!

We are getting SO excited to get over to Eastern Europe and meet our Camden!

And the end of this process is in sight!  Earlier this week we got our fingerprints done for USCIS approval (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).  Yesterday we talked with the USCIS officer assigned to our case, and she said she thinks we'll get our approval next week!  Please pray with us that it will be early in the week, because we would then be able to send our dossier over to Camden's country with another adoptive family that is traveling over the weekend.

After our dossier gets in the country, the team can translate it and submit it to the adoption authorities there.  Then we wait for them to tell us to come!  Can you imagine what it will be like for us to meet this sweet boy in person?

We pray that God is preparing him for our family, and us for him.  When I typed the title of this blog, I felt a little bit like it was the wrong thing to say, because the END of this adoption process is really an amazing BEGINNING!  The beginning of a huge adjustment for Camden (and us) and a new life in a loving family.  The beginning of new struggles and challenges, but also hope and healing.  Bring it on!

We think we will probably travel to Camden's country sometime in February.  We are getting close to our financial goal to make it possible.  Can you help?  Now is a great time to donate and also get a chance to win an American Girl doll!  See our previous post for details!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Win an American Girl Doll!

November is orphan awareness month!  It's also the month of Camden's birthday!  So... it's a great time to do a new GIVEAWAY, as a fundraiser to help us bring Camden home!

We're giving away an American Girl Doll!
 (Above:  A sweet friend of ours with her doll)

There are two ways to enter the contest.  Here's how:

  • Donate to our sponsorship site on Reece's Rainbow (www.reecesrainbow.org/sponsorminer)  Each $5 donated will give you one ticket!  Please let me know if you donate, because I can't find out immediately who donated.  Email me your receipt to home4camden@gmail.com, or send me a message on Facebook.

  • Share this blog post on Facebook, your blog, or other social networking site.  You can earn one ticket this way!  You must let me know if you do this, too; otherwise I might not notice it.  Please send me the link to the site where you shared this post, either in the comments here, or at home4camden@gmail.com.
Only 1,000 tickets will be given out!
All contestants will be entered into a spreadsheet, and the drawing will be done through RandomPicker (www.randompicker.com).  We end the contest whenever we reach 1,000 tickets, or on November 25 (The Monday before Thanksgiving).  Please make sure I have contact info for you, so I can let you know if you win!  If you are the winner, you can choose your American Girl doll (up to $110), or Bitty Baby Twins (up to $115).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Mercury is Rising!

We had an exciting phone call two days ago.  We were told we will receive some grant money that we applied for, from a great orphan ministry!  It was more than we were expecting!  PRAISE THE LORD!  We are so thankful for this!  Check out our thermometer on the side!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Home Study Done!

I have been wanting to post this for a few days, but every evening when I sit down at the computer, I'm too tired to think about what to write!

I'm tired tonight, too, but I have to at least let the blog world know that our home study report is DONE!  It got delayed for so long, but it is finally done, and one copy has been sent to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services), for approval!  We are praying that this approval process will be expedited by a letter that our wonderful doctor wrote to go with the documents.  After we get approval, then our dossier can be sent to Eastern Europe!  We can't wait!

We are also excited that our fundraising thermometer on the side of our blog looks like it's about half full!  For those of you who have given so generously, THANK YOU!  We are planning another fundraiser (which might be great for people looking for a certain Christmas present)... Details coming soon!

Now hoping to bring this little guy home early next year!

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Adopt a Ducky" Duck Race is Done!

On Saturday, we finally had the big day of our "Adopt a Ducky" Rubber Duck Race, at Lititz Springs Park!  It was so much fun!

On Friday though, we weren't too sure how things were going to turn out!  If you see my posts on Facebook, you know that we thought the first box of duckies we ordered was stolen off our front porch.  So, I ordered more duckies.  They were set to arrive just in time either Thursday or Friday.  But Thursday night, when Aaron checked the tracking, something strange seemed to be going on.  They reached our post office, but didn't ever get delivered.  Friday morning, Aaron checked the order information and realized that I had put the wrong street address... on BOTH orders!  So they were never stolen; they were just sent to a non-existent address, and on Friday both boxes were on their way back to the company.  Panic!  I was in tears.  I made a dumb mistake and now we had no duckies!  Thankfully, Shreiber Pediatric in Lancaster had mercy on us.  They do a big ducky race fundraiser every year, and when we called them and explained our situation, they were very happy to let us borrow some of their ducks.  It ended up better in the long run, because we didn't have to pay for duckies (just for the shipping on the ones I tried to order)!
The other thing that made us nervous was the weather.  They had been forecasting rain all day Saturday, starting in the morning.  But Praise God!  When we got up Saturday morning, the forecast had changed, saying the rain would only start after 3pm.  We had GREAT weather, as you can see!

It's such a pretty park too!  Here are some of the "adopted" duckies before the race, and some kids choosing their ducks.

We also had face painting and a peanut/candy scramble:


And finally, the ducky race!  Here they come, slightly freaking out the real ducks!
Who's going to win?

Here they are, crossing the finish line!
Unfortunately, I didn't think of getting pictures of the winners, but they were three sweet kiddos!  Congratulations to these winners!
1st place:  Brooke B.
2nd place:  Yana B.
3rd place:  MacKenzie R.

And a big thank you to these businesses for donating prizes:
Weavers Store, Inc.
Stauffers of Kissel Hill
Wilbur Chocolate!

I have to add here that one of the coolest things about the race (for us) was that we met a man who grew up in the VERY TOWN where Camden's orphanage is!  This is totally amazing, because it is not the capital or even a large city in that country.  It's just a little dot on the map.  And here, in little Lititz, we meet someone from there.  We talked for quite a while, and he said he would be happy to connect us with his friends and family there, and also with a church there (his son-in-law's brother is the pastor)!  It will be so great if we can have a little network of people willing to help us out while we are there!  It was so "random," that this guy just happened to be at the park with his grandson.  So much so that it is obviously NOT random, but totally arranged by the Lord.  Praise the Lord!

I posted on Facebook that we raised a little over $300 for the adoption, but some more donations have come in since then, so it looks more like $550!  Praise God for that, too!  Every bit helps to bring our Camden home!  Thank you so much to everyone who gave, helped out, let us borrow things, or donated food to sell!  You are all a blessing!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Yard Sale

Praise the Lord!  We had our fundraiser yard sale this morning, and we made about $545 to add to our adoption fund!

Thank you to everyone who donated items to sell, and to everyone who shopped and gave generously!

We also have some good news about the home study.  Our social worker finally contacted us last week, and she told us she had been out sick for about a month, which is why we couldn't reach her.  She said she will have the home study done next week sometime.

Now we pray that all the paperwork moves as QUICKLY as possible!  First we'll send the home study to the USCIS to get approval from them.  Please pray we can get the medical expedite.  Our wonderful doctors are going to write a letter, so hopefully we can.  Then we get apostilles for all the documents that still need it, and then we send it all off to Eastern Europe.  Then, we wait.  And wait!  It will be so hard to wait!  And then when they give us a date, we go!  It looks at this point like it will be sometime in December.  We really hope it doesn't go past the new year, because all the holidays would really delay things.

Next Saturday:  Ducky Race!

I need to remember to take pictures next Saturday.  I forgot to take any at the yard sale today.

I'm missing the girls today.  They are camping with Grandma and Poppaw this weekend!  They were so excited, and I just got an email from my mom, saying they are having a great time, despite it being really cold this morning.  Apparently Lydia put on 3 pairs of socks, because her feet were so cold!

Just for fun, and because I'm missing my gals, here are 2 of my favorite pics from this summer, taken in Arkansas:


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bits and Pieces

I've been feeling discouraged this week that our home study is still not written up, and we're not sure what the hold up is.

But God has given us some bits and pieces of encouragement!

Bits and pieces from the past of our little "Camden."  A few days ago I stumbled upon one organization's website (I won't say which one right now, since it would give away Camden's location), and I found some pictures of him from 2010.  There was even a short video clip of some people visiting Camden's group, and it shows a few second of him in action!  Then, just last night, I read an email from someone who found me on Reece's Rainbow.  She had adopted a girl from Camden's group in 2011, and she sent some pictures of him from that time.  We also now know his real name, and which orphanage he is in.  (Can't say yet though, until the adoption is finalized!)  I was so excited I could hardly go to sleep last night.  It is SO special to us to have a few more little pieces of the puzzle; some glimpses of who this sweet boy is.  I think I'm in love!

Here are a few pictures we have.  First, from 2010:

And the new ones we got that are from 2011:

And of course, the most recent one:

I keep reminding myself that we have no legal hold on him until the adoption is finalized, but we pray that God will allow us to bring this boy into our family.

Can you help?  The estimated total cost of the adoption is $23,000.  Please click on the Reece's Rainbow link on the right (with Camden's picture) to make a tax deductible donation to our adoption grant.  Thank you!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adoption Process Update

Just a quick update for anyone wondering where we are at in the adoption process right now.

We have done pretty much all we can do at this point.  We have submitted everything we need for the home study, and we're waiting for it to be written up.  Once we have it, we can send it to the USCIS right away for approval, and then we can send our dossier to Camden's country.  Then we wait some more!  Please pray with us that our home study will be completed soon.  It feels like a "hold up" right now, when we want things to keep moving.  We're trying to trust in God's timing for everything!

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Day of Home School (and What the Pictures Don't Show You!)

Today was our first day of homeschooling!  I did a little homeschooling with Lydia the past 2 years, so that she would be learning to read and write in English, along with the activities at her Russian preschool, but today felt like REAL homeschooling.  Especially because I'm trying to do some pre-K activities with Birdie.

I posted these pictures earlier on Facebook:


After posting them, I thought, "Wow, these look good.  People will be amazed at what a great Homeschooling Mom I am."  In the pictures, it looks like we're all happy and learning together in perfect harmony.

But then I did a reality check (and a humility check!)  We did have some harmonious learning moments, but...

Here's what the pictures don't show you:
  • They don't show me trying in vain to round everybody up for the start of school, and only finally getting started at 10 am.
  • They don't show Elliot screaming and throwing temper tantrums for Lydia's whole first lesson, because I wouldn't let him grab the book out of her hands.
  • They don't show Lydia rolling her eyes and chanting, "Boring, boring, boring..." when it was time to do her reading lesson.
  • They don't show Birdie whining and defiantly plopping to the floor when I asked her to go wipe the yogurt off her hands before she touches the chairs.  (How unfair of me!)
My consolation is that even those homeschooling bloggers that look like they have it all together, probably don't.  At least not all the time.  Because we're all human, trying to teach little humans.  So I'm sure we'll have these "moments" every day.  My prayer is that even those unharmonious moments can be chances to show each other grace and forgiveness; that they can be lessons learned in the midst of real life.

Overall, I'd say our first day went pretty well.  Especially since it ended with a bowl of Turkey Hill All Natural coffee ice cream for dessert.  Yeah, that's a happy ending!

(Credit to Erica at www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com for the Letter of the Week activities that Birdie is doing!)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Exciting Adoption News!

Life had been busy lately, to say the least!  We are somewhat settled back in PA, and I have a lot of pictures that I want to post from our time in Arkansas, but that might have to wait until I have more time.  What I really want to post right now is this:

That's my adoption paperwork binder, and to the right is the first set of documents that are on their way to Camden's country!!!  Yea!!!  It's not the whole dossier yet, but we are getting close to having that done too!  Very exciting!


We have some fun fundraisers in the works!  We will have a yard sale at the community yard sale at Krall's Mennonite Church on September 14.  If you have anything to donate for the sale, please let us know.

And this is the one I'm really excited about:
Join us for some family fun at Lititz Springs Park, and race your ducky down the creek!  Any questions, you can email us at home4camden@gmail.com or comment on this blog.  We also need some volunteers to help out, so let us know if you are interested!  (Anyone want to be an official rubber ducky catcher?)


Friday, July 26, 2013

We Have a Winner!

I just did the drawing for the Matryoshka giveaway on RandomPicker.com!  And the winner is...

Jill R. of Arkansas! 

Congratulations!!  And thank you so much to everyone who participated in this contest/fundraiser!  It brings us a few steps closer to bringing Camden home!

Friday, July 19, 2013

One Week Left for the Giveaway!

Only one week left for our "matryoshka" giveaway contest!  Check out the previous post to find out how you can enter to win...

And help us bring Camden home!