Out of Translation

Well, the good news is that we found out on Friday that all of our documents have been translated from English to Mandarin, which is called being Out of Translation (OOT). This is the first step to getting our Letter of Acceptance (LOA). We are guessing/hoping that we have been OOT for awhile, but they are just now able to enter that into their new computer database. HOORAY!!! We are very hopeful that we will find out that we are LOA soon once they start entering those into the database, as well! Thank you for your continued prayers. Once we receive our LOA, we will likely travel in 8-12 weeks! :)

More than 230 people read my last blog post about the Bauermeister family! Can you believe that a mere 10 families have already donated $830 toward Andy's goal of $10,000!!! That is just incredible. Again, Lisa and Andy are designating the first $5,000 to our family to help pay for final fees and travel, but any money we do not use will be given to other adoptive families. The second $5,000 they raise will be given to other adoptive families, as well! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. We are blown away by the support, prayers, love, and encouragement from so many people. You guys are praying us to China, and I can feel your prayers every day. We hope that many of you who are on the fence about adopting for financial reasons will be encouraged by seeing the outcomes of these fundraisers.

Tonight, while we are all sleeping, I have some very special friends meeting their children for the first time in China! Kelley is a friend from Georgia, and her son, Regis, lives in the same orphanage as Tuck. I have known Kelley for many months now, as we talk many times a day on FB about our journeys. By selling some adorable t-shirts that she designed, Kelley was able to raise $1,200 in order to buy items for the orphanage. I can't wait to see what she buys for them! My friend, Jenn, is from Ohio, and she met her daughter Olivia while on a mission trip to China. As of any minute now, Jenn and Olivia will be a forever family!! Liberty is another awesome momma I've met from California. She is meeting her son in just a few hours. They give me hope and help me realize that someday we will be in China, too! It will happen someday! I don't think I will sleep until I see pictures of each of them with their sons/daughter. Then, I will probably cry a bucket of happy tears! I also have two other friends, Lauren and Whitney, who have had their daughters in their arms for a week now. It has been incredible to see them with their girls!!

So many things to celebrate today in China, and hopefully we will have an LOA to celebrate before the week is over. Keep praying! Thank you so much!


The Bauermeister Familiy

In my last blog post, I shared examples of the many friends and family members who helped us with our garage sale last week. The week before I told you about what turned out to be 125 friends, coworkers, and family members who supported our puzzle fundraiser. I am convinced we have the best friends, family, and coworkers in the entire world. Never did we dream to have this kind of support through our adoption process. We count our blessings everyday because we have met so many people who do not have the kind of support network that we do.

Today I want to highlight one specific family who has cheered us on from the very first day that we announced that we were adopting. But before I begin, I want to tell you about something that happened several weeks ago. As I started to think about the puzzle fundraiser, I realized that if people donated $5,000 for the puzzle, we would have $30,000 for the adoption. (Insert big sigh of relief!)

To date, we have spent $13,106.65 on various adoption costs (e.g., agency payments, USCIS payments, home study, background checks, authentication of documents, updated home study payments, etc.). Realistically, we knew that $30,000 was the minimum we would need to bring Tucker home. I began thinking about the fact that we would need a bit more than $30,000 and started to wonder what we were going to do to. You can't budget for exact costs of travel when you are sometimes booking your flights a week in advance or sometimes two days in advance. Flight costs highly depend on time of year, and since we have no idea when we will actually travel, our tickets could cost $2700 or $1300. So hard to plan! I started to get worked up about it and then immediately shut off those feelings of worry. If I knew anything to be true, I knew that this adoption was God's idea...not ours. He lead us to this point, and I had faith that He would provide. Amazing how quickly any worry I had vanished as soon as I remembered Romans 8:28: "And we know that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Insert another sigh of relief)

A week later on May 5th I received an email from my friend Lisa Bauermeister.

I've been meaning to ask you...Andy was thinking he wanted to run Leadville (for those of you who do not know, this is a 100 mile race in Colorado!) to raise money for Tucker. I know you may have him before Aug 17 and I also don't want to do another fundraiser if you don't want to or if you think it will compound the puzzle fundraiser. Also, would there be an easy way to do it so people can pledge money per mile that he finishes? Thoughts?

For those of you who don't know Lisa, you need to know that she is one of the most selfless, loyal friends a person could ever have. She thinks of others before herself every single time. During our garage sale, I text some girlfriends asking if anyone had an extra pair of sunglasses because my mom was borrowing mine. Lisa showed up 10 minutes later with 6 pairs of sunglasses from which to choose. That is just Lisa!

Lisa and Andy: Bourbon Chase 2012 at Huddle House 3 a.m.
Van #1 for Bourbon Chase 2012: Danny, Jackie, Andy, Lisa, Amy, and Ryan
For those of you who don't know Andy, you need to know that in May 2009, Andy was not a runner. Ice hockey...yes! Running...no! Lisa was able to talk Andy into running The Bourbon Chase, a 200 mile relay race across Kentucky, with five other couples (we were one of them!). Since that point, running has become a HUGE part of Andy's life. Since then, Andy has ran multiple 5K's, 10K's, 15K's, 50K's, half marathons, and the Chicago Marathon. He ran the Bourbon Chase two more times (last year Ryan and I were in the same van with him and Lisa), and he is running Bourbon Chase this year with only 5 other guys, as it is an ultra team (Ryan is one of them). Andy also ran the Peace, Love, and 50 Miles Trail Marathon in Hell Michigan. In April, Ryan and I had the privilege of being with Andy during his very first 100 Mile Race - The Indiana Trail 100 in Albion, Indiana. I cannot explain to you how terrible the conditions of this race were - freezing temperatures and severe flooding in already difficult conditions of running 100 miles on TRAILS. After completing EIGHTY THREE miles, Ryan helped Andy finish the last 17 miles of this race.

Andy finished his first 100 mile race in 27 hours, 30 minutes!!! Only 30% of the people who signed up to run the Indiana Trail 100 finished. You can read more about his experience HERE.

Ryan, Andy, and Matt at the Indiana Trail 100

Ryan and Andy on the final stretch

Andy finishing his first 100 mile race!!!
You can imagine how blown away we were to receive Lisa's email asking if she and Andy could raise money to help bring Tucker home when he runs his next big race: Leadville Trail 100. Leadville, CO sits at 9200 feet, goes up 11,000 feet twice, and 12,600 feet twice. Overall elevation gain is 16,000 feet. Indiana is at 750 feet above sea level. To know that Andy is willing to push his body and his mind to that kind of extreme, and he is doing it help bring our son home from China, it inspires me to keep pushing forward when the wait seems too hard to bear.

Realistically, we know that AT MOST we will need $5,000 to have all the necessary funds to pay for all expenses. Andy and Lisa have set a goal to raise $10,000 total, with the first $5,000 benefitting our family, and the second $5,000 benefitting other adoptive families to help them bring their children home. Is that the most incredible thing you have ever heard??? I LOVE seeing the hearts of those around us opening up to orphan care. If Ryan and I only need part of the $5,000 for Tuck's adoption, say $2,500, we will give the other $2,500 to other adoptive families. We will only use what we need, and the rest will be gladly given to others!

I know that several people have asked if they can still give to our adoption even though the puzzle fundraiser is over. The answer is yes!! You can visit the following website and make a donation through Andy and Lisa's You Caring page, or you are welcome to send a check. I am so hopeful that Andy will feel encouraged and inspired to keep running, knowing that he is helping bring home the most beautiful little guy from China!

To donate to Andy and Lisa's fundraiser, please visit the following website. Please do not feel any pressure to give if you've already donated to our puzzle fundraiser unless you feel lead to do so. Let's cheer Andy on as he embarks on one of the most physically and mentally challenging races a person can do!


Garage Sale Adventures

I have done many things in my life, but never have I ever held a garage sale. We sold our first home in May 2012 and immediately moved into a rental home owned by some friends. The majority of belongings were in storage, and when we moved into our new house in April 2013, we had so many things that we no longer needed. Typically, we just donate items to Goodwill or Wheeler Mission, but this time, to help raise money for the adoption, we decided to hold our first garage sale.

What I thought would be a sale of old household items, lots of baby stuff, toys, and clothing turned into a huge multifamily garage sale! Word seemed to spread quickly by our friends what we were trying to do, and before we knew it, several families began bringing stuff to our house to sell. It was amazing!

There is SO much more stuff than is pictured in this photo. Seriously, I can't describe the amount of stuff we had to sell. For a first garage sale, and having no clue what I was doing, it was a huge undertaking. We had just finished the Puzzle Fundraiser, where people donated only to begin another HUGE project. Let me tell you - Ryan was thrilled!

We held the sale Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week, and after a few more sales once the garage sale was finished, we made $1,343.28. My hope was $1,000, and once again, God showed up and showed off!! It was awesome depositing that into our Adoption Savings Account this morning (even if the boys were crazy at the bank). 

I have so many stories to share and people to thank, so please continue to follow along below.

1. Thank you to the Ward, Earnest, Bauermeister, Turner, Milano, Limeberry, Tolle, Walls, and Bauer Families for donating so many wonderful items to our garage sale!!

2. Thank you to Dalia Tolle for spending at least 10 hours at my house helping me organize, price, and arrange garage sale items. That was a lot of time to spend away from her family, and I am so grateful!

3. Thank you to Claire Black for helping me price the kids' and women's clothing! I was dreading that part and left it for last. You came just in time!!

4. Thank you to the Dittmer, Milano, Ward, Tolle, and Wampler families for letting me borrow your huge tables and clothing racks! Everything was organized so well because I had so many places to put things.

5. Thank you to Ryan for helping bring everything upstairs from the basement, as well as helping me arrange the tables at 5:30 a.m. before you left town for an early meeting!

6. Thank you to my dad and Danette for keeping Noah all week so that he could attend Vacation Bible School at their church. It was great to have one less kid that week while we prepared for this project!

7. Thank you to Christy Brink and her two daughters for watching Liam and keeping him happy all day while I was holding the sale on Thursday. Christy even made me pancakes and served them with lots and lots of butter. My favorite! Despite my best efforts to talk her out of it, she also did the dishes. #amazingfriend

8. Thank you to my mom for showing up at 7:30 a.m. ready to rock the garage sale!! I was nervous and only had 4 hours of sleep the night before. I couldn't have pulled off that first day without her!! We made $500 that day, and my mom was adding up totals, answering questions, and bagging people's items like nobody's business.

9. Thank you to Ryan's coworker who was our very first customer. She bought items for her granddaughter and didn't get upset when my sleep-deprived brain added her items up to be $34 when the actual total was like $9. Once we sorted that out, she gave me a $20 bill and said to keep the change. #tears

10. Thank you to God for the perfect weather! The mornings were nice and cool and ended up sunny and steamy. No rain and a beautiful breeze kept us cool.

11. Thank you to a neighbor and her daughters for showing up three different times to buy items. It was nice meeting them, and they bought a ton of stuff! Not sure how I should feel knowing that a 6th grader was buying my clothes to wear. #indenial #iamnotthirtyone

12. Thank you to a coworker who surprised us with a $50 check in the mail and a sweet note! Incredible.

13. Thank you to Lisa Bauermeister for coming that first day with her daughter to check in and help when needed!

14. Thank you to Lisa and Natalie for bringing their plastic bags over when I accidentally gave our entire supply to a man who was one of our first customers. #oops

15. Thank you to Dalia Tolle for talking me into bringing Liam to her house to stay the night Thursday. It allowed me to hang new signs around town, as well as clean up my house!

16. Thank you, Ryan, for insisting we have a gun. I slept with it by my bed all night because I was home alone while our address was totally exposed on signs, Craigslist, and Facebook. #iamnotjoking

17. Thank you to Matt Limeberry for stopping by at 5:45 a.m. before you went to work in order to help me move the tables back outside. It was bad timing for Ryan to be out of town for business, but you made up for it!

18. Thank you to Jessica Limeberry for bringing me a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese biscuit that morning for breakfast. It is all I ate until at least 7:00 p.m. Friday night!

19. Thank you to Kerri Walls for helping me with the sale Friday morning and then watching Liam after Dalia brought him home. He had a great time with you!! I loved our time chatting and catching up. #amazingfriend

20. Thank you to Brittany Perez for not only showing up to shop at our garage sale, but also for remembering that 5 years ago I told you that Cherry Coke was my favorite. How you remembered that, I don't know! You are amazing. It was SO cold and was delicious...also giving me a good caffeine fix after getting only 4 hours of sleep again (refer to #16 for more information). As if that wasn't enough, you surprised me with a card and a donation to our adoption. Tears! You are incredible. #iloveyou

21. Thank you to Bridgette (sp?), the sweetest Catholic woman who stopped by our sale on the way to pray at the church behind our house. You lifted my spirits, and I just knew God made our paths cross for a reason that day. I loved your heart and appreciated your encouragement in our journey. Thank you for buying items (that you were donating to another needy family) to support our adoption. Mostly, thank you for praying for our son and our situation. I close my eyes and can just see those candles burning brightly. I pray our paths cross again.

22. Thank you to Lisa Bauermeister for bringing me a McDonald's coke (Gasp! I know they are terrible for you, but they are SO delicious!). It was SO cold while the weather was so hot. You knew just what I needed without me even asking!! #thatisthebest

23. Thank you to the lady who came FOUR different times for more items! You were awesome. Sorry we ran out of queen sized sheets!

24. Thank you to the man who asked lots of questions about our adoption and then purchased a $1 calculator. When you pulled out a $100 bill and told me to keep the change, I almost fell out of my chair. I am almost NEVER speechless, yet you walked away, and I couldn't speak. I hope you felt my gratitude as I tried to hold it together and thank you for the gift you gave our family. #thegenerosityofstrangers

25. Thank you to Kylie Casper for not only buying some of my nicest baby items (I love knowing that someone will treat them well!), but thank you for so generously giving beyond the cost of your purchase. I am so excited for you! Congratulations!! :)

26. Thank you to the very many people who gave us more than their total items were worth and told us to keep the change! Praying that your generosity is blessed.

27. Thank you to Dalia for showing up again on Day 3 offering to help us with the sale. You brought bagels and coffee. I don't know what I did to deserve a friend like you, but I sure am thankful that God brought you into my life 3 1/2 years ago. #lifewiththetolles

28. Thank you to Ryan for helping me organize the leftover sale items and tear everything down. That was a huge task that I didn't think we could complete in one afternoon. You are a rock star! #actsofservice #lovelanguage

29. Thank you to Kevin Tolle for just "being in the neighborhood" and offering to deliver the tables we borrowed from various families for us. Your horn and the big white truck threw me for a loop, and I was glad it was you! You didn't even mind loading up my car with stuff for Goodwill. Ryan has the best friends in the entire world. #papi

I am so afraid I am forgetting the kindness of someone. I even made a list in hopes that I wouldn't miss anyone. The only reason we made $1,343.28 is because of all the people I mentioned who were willing to give their time and went out of their way to help our family. We are SO SO blessed in this journey! I have never felt so humbled in my life.

Ryan and I started to financially give to the needs we saw around us in August 2005. We were always told that we would be rewarded for that giving, and I always felt intrinsically rewarded. I have loved seeing the needs around us and being able to give back what God has given us. To be on the other end now...to be the receiver of these gifts...it is something I have never experienced before. I just continue to praise God and thank Him for bringing all of you into my life. I love you!

Still waiting for LOA. Thank you for praying!


It is Finished!

We have officially closed the website for our puzzle fundraiser to bring Tucker home! Whoo hoo!!! Our final total was $5,425. Thank you again to everyone who gave so generously and thoughtfully to help our family!!
Today we received a surprise email from our social worker with two new pictures and two videos of our son. We treasure each and every one of them! In the past, every picture we've gotten has brought me so much joy. This time, I have to be honest, my heart broke a little. Tucker has gotten so big from the initial pictures we saw of him. He is growing and growing each day, which is definitely a blessing, but in our minds he is still the little boy in the green shirt eating his birthday cake. Those pictures were taken at the end of April. In just two months' time, he has grown and changed so much! Now when I think of him, he will be the little boy in blue. I long to have him sleeping in his bed in the room we have prepared for him. Please, Lord, help our baby come home.
Tomorrow makes Day 82 of our wait for LOA. Officials in China have been releasing Travel Approvals for families, which is the second to last step in an adoption. We haven't seen any LOAs come through since the second to last week of May. I am hoping and praying that when they are released, there will be a HUGE HUGE batch of them and that our LOA is one of them. I have many friends waiting right alongside of me, and I have other friends just got permission to travel to China at the end of this week. I cannot wait until it is our turn.
Thank you for your continued prayers! We are blessed in this journey with all of you by our sides.


By the Numbers

As a school psychologist, I am often analyzing numbers to look for patterns that help explain the bigger picture. So, naturally, I was interested in analyzing the numbers of the fundraiser. This is what I learned:

ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE: The number of contributions made to our fundraiser

FIVE THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED, FIVE: The amount of money contributed overall.

THREE: The highest number of donations given by one person.

FIVE to FIVE HUNDRED: The amount of dollars given in one donation.
THREE: The lowest number of donations giving in one day (Day 1)
TWENTY-SEVEN: The highest number of donations given in one day (Day 8)

TWENTY-FOUR: The number of contributions from Hanover College friends.

ELEVEN: The number of donations given by friends in the Adoption Community

NINTEEN: The number of friends from Greenwood/Church who contributed to the fundraiser.

FIFTEEN: The number of donations given by Family members.

TWENTY-FIVE: The number of coworkers/previous coworkers who donated.

SIXTEEN: The number of high school friends who contributed.

FIVE: The number of family friends who donated to the fundraiser.

FOUR: The number of our friends' family members who contributed.

TWO: The number of complete strangers who made a donation.

 NINE: The number of donations made AFTER we reached our $5,000 goal.

*ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE: The number of times I was brought to tears in 8 days (that's gotta be some kind of record).*

(You guys are amazing!! So blessed to have each one of you in our lives.)


We Stand in Awe...

I sit here, wanting to write something phenomenal, something beautiful, something that gives you a sense of the gratitude I feel in my heart for what you have done for our family.

You have prayed relentlessly for us.
You have encouraged us when the wait has crippled our spirits.
You have celebrated when an adoption milestone was met.
You have given financially when we asked for help in bringing Tucker home.
You cheered when we met our fundraiser goal of $5,000.
You continued to give even AFTER we met our goal.

I stand in awe. I stand in silent wonder at the blessings you have given our family, especially those given in the last EIGHT days. Never in a million years did I expect to complete this fundraiser in eight days. We hoped to raise the money in 60 days, all the while praying not for money but for God to stir the hearts of those around us to love the least of these. God answered our prayer, and one hundred twenty-one families provided us with $5,305 to bring our son home!!!
"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." (John 14:18)
From very early on in our adoption journey, I have felt very strongly about doing a small fundraiser. I wanted to give people the opportunity to contribute to something positive, something powerful, and something that would bring so much glory to God! I want Tucker to know someday that we aren't the only ones who longed for him and prayed for him to come home. I feel very strongly that people are more invested in a situation when they are participating in some way. This fundraiser has hopefully helped many of you feel part of our journey. Caring for orphans - be it through sponsorship, hosting, paying for medical treatment, adoption, foster care - is something the Bible addresses.

"Pure and undefiled religion is the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:27)

"Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute." (Psalm 82:3)

When God asked me to adopt one of His children, I begged God to take it back. I cried out to God, "Please do not ask me to do this! I am scared. I don't want to do this!" Adoption was something I always thought about and considered, but when God actually spoke to my heart and said, "This is what I'm asking you to do," I wanted to run the other way! But I knew...oh I knew that everything leading up to that very moment was for this purpose. I wanted my life to be the way I pictured it. Adopting a child with a cleft lip/cleft palate wasn't part of that dream. I didn't want to see a child struggle through the recovery of multiple surgeries. I didn't want to be heartbroken while my baby was laying on a surgical table while surgeons worked to repair his/her smile. I didn't want it...any of it.

But then we said yes. We said yes to God and His plan for our lives, and I've never felt such peace about anything in my life. I can say without a doubt that following God's plan for my life has brought more joy, more blessings, and more love than I ever would have had without following Him.

When we were asked to consider "Reaves" from our agency's website, I was so confused and even a little angry because he did NOT have a cleft lip or a cleft palate. Our agency knew the desires of our heart...they knew what we felt called to do. As we read his medical file, watched his video, and stared at his pictures, it no longer mattered that he didn't have a cleft lip or a cleft palate. We had peace...pure and complete peace...that he was our son.

Sometimes I think God asks us to do something just to see if we will obey His calling. Then, we step out in faith, He doesn't make us follow through. God knew our hearts. He knew that we were 100% invested in His plan for our lives. And in the end, His plan led us straight to our son...straight to Tucker.

What I never considered before taking this journey is that WE ARE ADOPTED! God could have chosen any way to bring us back to Him. God could have rescued us without becoming our Father. However, God chose to make us part of his FAMILY through adoption. We have been adopted through Christ! Our adoption defines who we are and to what family we belong. This video so perfectly portrays what I'm trying to say. I hope you will watch it!

So many of you have considered adoption, foster care, and sponsorship in the past, and I really want to encourage you to keep praying and keep learning about it. If financing an adoption is the only thing preventing you from diving in and taking a leap of faith, I want you to remember this fundraiser. Remember that in EIGHT days, 121 donations totaling $5,305 were made to help our family bring our son home. In the Adoption Community, I see people raise more money than you can imagine to help bring their children home. If this is something God has called you to do, I am confident that He will give you all of the support you need - be it financial, emotional, or otherwise - to bring your child home. For now, know that I am praying for all of you, praising God for stirring your hearts, and thanking each and every one of you for helping us bring our son home. We cannot wait to pay forward $5,000 to another adoptive family and extend the blessings you have so richly given us. We love you!


Seven Days Later

I have to admit, I think I cried maybe 18 times today. I am not kidding! I didn't cry for a super long time any of those 18 times, but my goodness, I was brought to tears over and over and over again. I have been praying that God would stir the hearts of people around us, and I would say our prayers have been answered. Here are the details on our fundraiser as of right now:

Number of Families = 93
Number of Puzzle Pieces = 885
Total Donations = $4,425
Ninety-three families. Eight-hundred, eighty-five puzzle pieces. Four-thousand, four-hundred, twenty-five dollars.
We are so humbled by the love and generosity shown by those around us. We will forever be grateful to all of you for your prayers and financial support while we wait for God's timing in bringing our son home.
Seven Days
If you would like to contribute to our fundraiser, please visit our website at http://youcaring.com/bringtuckerhome.


Six Days Later

Today I was in awe of the contributions to our fundraiser to bring Tucker home! We started the morning with a coworker pushing us to the $3,000 mark, and I stood amazed at our Day Six total. One of my favorite donations can be seen in pictures below. Three weeks ago, Ryan and I started giving Noah an allowance. His jobs include feeding our dog, Kya, twice per day and making his bed each morning. Every Sunday, we give him $1.50. He gets to put $1 in his "Spend Jar," 25 cents in his "Save Jar," and 25 cents in his "Give Jar." He took everything from his piggy bank, exchanged those coins for dollar bills, and split that money into his 3 jars.

We have been talking to Noah about the different ways he could give his money away. This morning, when he counted his money, Noah realized he had $5 to give away. I told him that I wanted him to pray about the best way to give that money away and shared with him that Ryan and I do the same thing. We pray each month and see where we feel led to give our money. I mentioned some different options, including the puzzle fundraiser. About 20 minutes later, Noah found me and said, "Mommy, I've decided how I want to give my money away. I want to help bring Tucker home." My heart melted!! I am so happy to be instilling a giving mentality in my son. Someday, he will find himself passionate about different things, and I can't wait to see what causes he supports financially. 

Since last night's post on this blog, we had TWELVE families give to our fundraiser for a total of $895. INCREDIBLE!! As always, we are grateful for any amount regardless if it is $5 or $500. As of tonight, the grand totals are: 

Number of Families = 70
Number of Puzzle Pieces = 739
Total Donations = $3,695

Yesterday (6/10/13)
Today (6/11/13)
Is that unbelievable or what?? We continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude and love. I am so excited to see so many people who care so much about our family and for our son in China to help us with this fundraiser. We cannot wait to pay it forward!!

If you are interested in donating to our fundraiser, please follow the link: http://youcaring.com/bringtuckerhome.

Thank you!!


Five Days Later

 The past five days have been simply amazing in terms of the puzzle fundraiser!

24 hours later...

48 hours later...

3 days later...

4 days later...
Which brings us to today...

5 days later...
We continue to be so amazed by the number of people willing to so generously give to our fundraiser to bring Tucker home.

Number of Families = 58
Number of Puzzle Pieces = 560
Total Donations = $2,800
Thank you so much to all of you who have helped us so far! We made it all the way up the hill and are now on the other side thanks to 58 donations. Now we have 440 more puzzle pieces to be sponsored in order to raise the remaining $2,200 toward our goal. As a reminder, not only will these donations help bring Tucker home, but we will then pay forward and give another adoptive family $5,000 after Ryan receives a reimbursement through his work for our adoption expenses.
To sponsor puzzle pieces to bring Tucker home, please visit our website: http://youcaring.com/bringtuckerhome.


Three Days Later

When we started this fundraiser, we had no idea that 3 days later that we would almost be halfway to our goal of $5,000. You have rendered me speechless, which most of you almost never happens. Look how many puzzle pieces have been sponsored!
Number of Families= 43
Number of Puzzle Pieces = 465
Total Donations = $2,325

I have continued to pray for families as I write their names on the back of the puzzle pieces. This is an example of what I am sending families to thank them for their support:

People have asked how we made the graphic of China with the different words for Tucker's puzzle. We used a website called Tagxedo. It's pretty incredible and fun to create different images! Check it out.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to our fundraiser and for your continued prayers to bring Tucker home!!

If you would like to sponsor any puzzle pieces, please visit our fundraising website: http://youcaring.com/bringtuckerhome.


48 Hours Later

You guys are amazing!! Forty-eight hours later, and look how many puzzle pieces have been sponsored! I am astounded at the progress being made toward our goal of $5,000.

Number of Families= 31
Number of Puzzle Pieces = 231
Total Donations = $1,155

I am truly overwhelmed by the love you are showing our family! To have 31 families feel invested in bringing home a two year old boy from China...it is a picture of love. Each time I write the names of the family, I find myself praying for each individual one. I pray that God blesses each one of you!

I was so excited to launch the fundraiser, I forgot to share one very important detail. Venus Puzzle is the company made the puzzle for us. Just click Venus Puzzle to visit the website. When I reached out to the company to share what we were doing, they donated the entire puzzle to us!! How incredible is that?? A 1,000 piece custom puzzle like this is $49.90 plus the cost of shipping. So, I want to make sure to publicly thank this company for helping the least of these. We love Venus Puzzle!

If you would like to sponsor any puzzle pieces, please visit our fundraising website: http://youcaring.com/bringtuckerhome.

Thank you for continued prayers while we wait!


Twenty-Four Hours Later

Wow! Twenty-four hours later, and look how many puzzle pieces have been sponsored! I am truly blown away at the progress being made toward our goal of $5,000.

Number of Families = 9
Number of Puzzle Pieces = 73
Total Donations = $365

I think my eyes welled up with tears each time I saw a new donation today. We are well on our way to bringing this little boy home. Thank you!!

If you would like to sponsor any puzzle pieces, please visit our fundraising website: http://youcaring.com/bringtuckerhome.

Operation Bring Tucker Home

So many of you have been following our journey of adoption the past several months. You've read the blogs, seen his pictures, and now we want to invite you to help us with Operation Bring Tucker Home! We are currently waiting for our Letter of Acceptance (LOA), and once we receive it, we will hopefully travel 8-12 weeks later to bring him home.
As you know, adoption is a huge financial undertaking. We are very blessed to have the majority of our needed funds to complete this adoption, but we would love to invite you to help us raise $5,000 to bring Tucker home. This is a 1,000 piece puzzle fundraiser, so for each $5 donated to us, we will write your name on the back of a puzzle piece. We will then hang it in Tucker's room once the fundraiser is complete.
Ryan's company gives employees $5,000 after an adoption is finalized and the child is home. We feel led to then take that money, and pay it forward to another family taking the leap of faith to adopt. So, not only will your donation help us bring Tucker home, but you will also help bring another child home to his or her forever family. Please view our website to see the video and read more details. We appreciate your consideration and your prayers as we continue this journey to bringing home our son.
We love all of you!

Amy, Ryan, Noah, Liam (and soon to be home - Tucker)


Day 67

Today is Day 67 of our LOA wait. Friends, this road is not for the faint of heart! To think back and remember that we first saw Tucker on January 23rd and didn't get our Log In Date (LID) until March 20th and PreApproval (PA) until March 29th, boy was that a very quiet, very long two month wait. Here we are again, and two more months have passed since our PreApproval. They have been also been very, very long and very, very quiet.

In the past month especially, I have felt God stretching me, growing me, and transforming me. I have been so hungry for His Word, and reading the Bible has been one of the only things to quench my thirst. I have never really been one to meditate on Scripture or memorize verses, but a friend posted one of Facebook a few weeks ago, and I have been clinging to it since.

"And in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28.

I say it over and over and over again. If I know anything to be true, I know that God is the one who led us down this path. He is the one who spoke to my heart and called me to do something I was scared, even terrified, to do. Once the decision was made, there was such peace...utter peace that God had orchestrated everything for this very journey of our lives.

He called us to His purpose.

We love Him.

He is working for our good.

In ALL things.

If I believe that the Bible is God's word, His guidelines for our lives, then I believe this verse with 100% certainty. Even though I don't always like the wait, the bureaucracy, the lack of accountability for governing bodies to complete various steps in a timely manner, I believe that God is allowing this to happen. God is working for our good...for Tucker's good. Whenever I feel the fear and doubt creep in, I start repeating this verse, and those worries melt away.

Today I got an email from our agency with the following information:

The U.S. Consulate General will soon move to new premises currently nearing completion in the Zhujiang New Town area of Guangzhou. This spacious and modern facility will house all of our operations, including consular services for visa applicants and for U.S. citizens. We currently expect to suspend operations on July 15 and to resume consular services by appointment on July 24.
This is not the information you want to hear after just experiencing a 2 week delay in processing due to the implementation of a new computer system. To know that 2-3 weeks will also be lost due to the Consulate closing, it is definitely disappointing. That is at least a month lost due to shut down in both governing bodies. It's another month that my son and my friends' children sit in foster homes and orphanages...another month they cannot be with families who love them already. These are delays in addition to the regular national holidays that cause shutdowns.
This road feels long, and unfortunately few things are predictable. The only truth is this: "And in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." So I cling to that and trust in that every single day. That is how I continue to move forward, enjoying this blessed life I live with a wonderful husband, two healthy children at home, a beautiful home, a job I love, the best friends and family in the world, and an entire summer break to enjoy all of these things. Thank you for your prayers for our family!
Flowers from a beautiful friend walking beside us through this journey
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