Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Garage Sale
The Make a Way for Michal
Saturday, May 4, 2012
8:00 am-1:00 pm
The Storeroom   2530 East President St.
Lots of electronics including printers, DVD players & TVs. Tons of clothes, books, and housewares. Appliances including a washer, dryer, and dishwasher. Gold's Gym All in One. Lots of framed art.
For more information:
(912) 844-4566 (Matthew)
Learn more about the adoption:
Donate at:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Home Visit COMPLETE!

Our home visit with the social worker was completed today!! We turned in our birth and marriage certificates, local police clearance reports, financial reports, Adoption petition (This gives the reasons we want to adopt and lays out some other answers to questions China wants answered), as well as a few other document. The Social Worker completed the walk-through of our home to make sure it is completely safe for Michal, and she interviewed the boys.

Next, the social worker will meet with Matthew and I separately in two weeks. At that time she will collect our doctor's physical reports, as well as medical documents on the boys, and a verification of employment created by our CPA for both Matthew and I. Then, she will take all of the information and write up the written home study document.

This is a pretty big part of the information that will be sent to China as a part of our dossier, and almost all of the grant organizations require that your homestudy be complete for you to even apply for grants. So we are eager to get this completed so we can start applying!

All of the some of this same paperwork is needed for our I-800 A immigration documents as well as our dossier documents.  Actually, we have everything we need for the I-800 A documents and we hope to mail those out by Friday! From there we will wait for an invitation to be fingerprinted in Charleston by the Department of Homeland Security.

DON'T FORGET THE GARAGE SALE IS COMING UP MAY 4th from 8:00 am-12:00 pm at the STOREROOM at 2530 E. President Street. If yon can help us with it, please let us know, we need LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS! We have a massive amount of stuff to sell!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

IPad winner!!

We have a winner! Mrs. Kathy Dutko from Tybee Island, GA won the iPad mini on 4/15/2013!

The ticket  sold by Rory Coyle!

Mrs. Dutko's Grand-daughter is in Jackson's Preschool Class!

Congratulations Mrs. Dutko & thank you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Scripture about Adoption

Adoption Scriptures

1 Thessalonians 5:24
New International Version (NIV)
24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

John 14:18
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Isaiah 6:8
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Isaiah 43:5
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
If you have read this and. . .

You are praying for us
Have a word of encouragement or
Uplifting scripture

                                        Please comment below!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Busy Week Ahead: Home Visit & Dossier Prep

Please be in prayer for us this week. 
There is a lot going on here in the middle of 
Adoption Land!!

We are right in the middle of the chaos which is preparing our Dossier.
The Dossier is the complete document of who we are. When we have it all together, they will translate it, and send it to China!!

For the Dossier we have to provide:
  • Adoption Petition (we write it)
  • Birth Certificate(s) for Matthew & I 
  • (Health Department)
  • Marriage Certificate (Court House)
  • Legal Name Change Form (SS Department)
  • Employment Verification (CPA)
  • Financial Statement (We write)
  • Physical Exam (physician)
  • Police Clearance (local police department)
So that is 6 stops in all & 
we pray it all goes smoothly!!

I am glad that Matthew & I both are primarily from Savannah, still live in Savannah, and got married in Savannah! That makes this all easier. The only thing that complicates it (other than making that many stops while working & raising two kids LOL) is getting my birth certificate from Albany, GA

Then for the grade finale, a social worker will come to our house this coming Friday 4/19 to verify that our house is safe for a toddler!

We can and will continue to do all of this through Christ who gives us strength!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adoption orientation went well today! We got there on time and Chaundra, the lady that will be helping us with the adoption says we did GREAT with our paperwork! I did not feel like we did great. We were typing Matthew's 5 page autobiography while we drove to Atlanta, and I had just finished typing my 7 page Autobiography Wednesday. You can't leave any area of your life unturned starting from birth, parents, siblings, school, marriage, fiances, extra-curricular, and parenting! We were printing copies of our Autobiographies and double checking our checklist of required documents about 12:00 midnight after the drive up. We realized we had one paper that was supposed to be notarized that we missed. . .GOOD NEWS, Chaundra said that was our copy of one of the documents, so it did not HAVE to be notarized.

What a wealth of information!! 

We got to stay with my cousin Keith Barnes and Hillary Owen last night! They were great hosts and they have a beautiful little girl! Then, Saturday night we traveled across to the other side of Atlanta and stayed with another cousin of mine, Phil and Jamie HongKham and my Aunt Flo and her husband Raymond also came over too! So a trip that started out rushed and stressful ended up being a lot of fun and a great time with family! 

On the ride back to Savannah we filled out LOTS of paperwork for our Dossier, which includes our Home Study and I-800 A paperwork.  The Dossier is pretty much the completed document of who we are physically, financially etc. . .that will be translated into Cantonese and mailed to China. It includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, certificates of employment, and a copy of our Home Study. The Home Study is completed by a social worker in the Savannah area that we will met with three times. At least one of the visits will be at our house. The entire Dossier can take up to 5 months to complete.

 The I-800 A is a document we submit to the United States Citizenship and Immigration department that they use to determine our suitability to adopt from a convention Country. The Department of Homeland Security will complete this.  After the meetings with the social worker, we will go to be fingerprinted in Jacksonville.

Kings & Queens

Kings and Queens By Audio Adrenaline.

Today is a hard day in the process. I am not feeling well. The ol' Savannah crud has struck again. Jackson is not feeling well today either. He has had four breathing treatments a day since he woke up unable to breath on Sunday night. I am backed up on paperwork at work, and the adoption Dossier documents are just sitting there on the bed. I want so badly to complete them TODAY, but my heath, my kids that are already here with me and work are all here today and they need me. So, as God does ALL the TIME. He sent me ENCOURAGEMENT in the form of this song:


Audio Adrenaline - Kings & Queens Lyrics

Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me
Will we leave behind the innocent too brief
On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun
These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won’t let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout your name in victory
When we love when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around these are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open


If not us who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
Like Jesus to the least of these

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free shout your name in victory
We will love we will love the least of these
We will love the least of these
We will love the least of these
We will love the least of these
We will love the least of these
We will love the least of these 
                                  PLEASE PRAY FOR US EVERY DAY!



Thank you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why fund-raising?

The state of our finances, past, present, and what we are doing within our budget to help fund the adoption:

I am a speech-language pathologist. I graduated with my Master's Degree from the University of South Carolina in 2005 and immediately started my first job as a speech-language pathologist in the Chatham County Public School System. After working for the school system for four years, I started working part-time as a private practice speech-language pathologist in 2009 when our second son Jackson was born. I work part-time, so  I can be home to be Mommy as much as possible. Since God has blessed me with wisdom and his favor, my business has grown and maintained a steady clientele. 

Matthew has had several successful sales positions with jewelry, food, and supply companies over the course of our marriage. He now owns and operates Coastal Hood Cleaning Services. Going into business for himself became a necessity when the economy went south in 2008. Since, Matthew had worked in several sales positions, he knew when things started to get bad with the economy, sales jobs (as well as all the other jobs would soon be cut). Through prayer, it became clear that the only way for him to not have the 'rug pulled out from under him' every few years when the economy takes a dip with these large corporation was to go in to business for himself. We looked for a service business that does not fluctuate drastically with the change of the economic tide. Restaurant hood cleaning is more stable than a lot of things because it is commercial rather than residential and required by law. Things have gone decently well with Coastal Hoods, and he makes a decent living at it.

However, part of the fall out from leaving the big corporate sales job was a huge pay cut as well as the added expenses of maintaining your own benefits. While he worked for the big corporations, we lived it up. With large commission checks coming in regularly, we spent it and we ran up a lot of debt. With the job change, we lost at least half of our household income. We tried to recover. We cut, we trimmed, we went to a Dave Ramsey approved financial counselor. We got on a budget and stuck to it. We started using cash for all expenses except gas and bills we mail out. . . We were too late. We still hit rock bottom. . .

Since the only way to go from the bottom is up, we took our new budget, our cash plan, and a commitment to not take on any more credit, we went forward and we have recovered!! We will probably NEVER live like we lived before. We eat at home. I avoid the mall, Wal-Mart and Target like the plague. We drive cars that may not be glamorous but they are paid off! Other than the house and my one remaining school loan (I paid the second school loan off today!! Yippee!) we are debt free! 

So, in our very first adoption class when different people started detailing ways to pay for adoption, loans came up a lot. We talked and thought about the possibility of loans. We prayed about it repeatedly, and we quickly dismissed that as an option because of the work we do every day to stay out of debt and on the cash system! We know for us, credit can't be an option. Some people can handle credit & some can't. We can't. 

So, know we have to be obedient to God, but we can't take on debt. The bank account says we DON'T have $25, 000 for adoption fees plus $10,000 for plane tickets. We start to look at the other ways to pay for the adoption. Some companies give people money for adoption or some people borrow from 401K plans but we are both self-employed

A great Dave Ramsey approved way to stay out of debt is Saving: we are working on that with zeal! After looking at our budget that was already pretty lean, we found more to trim! We are calling every one we pay monthly & altering the terms of our service, cutting services out etc. . . we have found a way to save $200-$250 per month out of out budget!! With the student loan I paid off today that is another $250 per month. So, we are putting all of that towards the adoption. I also have increased the amount of time I am working per week and putting all of that money to the adoption too. Savings is going on praise the Lord!!

Some more good news: There are grants!! We will apply for as many as we can, but. . . we have to complete our Home Study first. The Home Study Process should begin as soon as orientation is completed this weekend 4/6/2013. 

However, $3,600 is due at the time of orientation (We have about $2,000 in our account at this moment--yes, we have two days left--you can donate at http://www.gofundme.com/27l19g). And a few weeks later $750 is due so we can be fingerprinted by the Department of Homeland security. Then there is the wait time to complete the loan applications and get approved. Fees keep coming during that time, so we have to have some money to even give us the CHANCE to apply for grants. Grants are usually between $3,000-$5,000 each, so there is no way grants will cover it all.

Even more good news: there is a $13,000 tax credit for adoption we can get AFTER the adoption is complete. That will repay some of our expenses. . .but we have to get there!!

So, we are doing all that we can to get the money that is needed, and God will provide it through one avenue or the other. We feel like fundraising gives  people the opportunity to hear about what God is doing and have the opportunity to join Him! How exciting is that! 

Also, time is of the essence!! There are children in orphanages that are sick and/or neglected because there are just not enough caretakers, and the sad truth is, many  will ultimately die or when they turn 14 they will be turned out of the orphanages and left to be beggars or sex salves. This is the future for these children if no one comes to be their forever family. God's plan is for every child to have a family.
Psalm 68:6
"God sets the lonely in families. . ."

Fundraising is humbling, but we will do it to save this little girl who God is so graciously going to let us have, hold, care for and call daughter!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

What Step are we on?

We are currently on step 2:
For this weeks fun, we have to write complete autobiographies of both my and matthew's lives from birth to now!!! and this is not just write a few cute paragraphs and you are done, there are two full pages of detailed questions you have to answer. my favorite question so far is, "was adolescence a difficult time for you and why?" is there anyone on the planet that just breezed through adolescence with no problems?? 
We also have to have our entire water system inspected and present copies of our dogs current vaccination. wow!
it is amazing to me that they just handed me WIll and Jackson, my two biological sons without checking any of that or parenting classes or fingerprinting or anything! Amazing!

CCAI believes that understanding the process and timeline will enable your family to be better prepared for the incredible journey that brings you and your child together. The major steps and typical timeframe of the adoption process is highlighted below. Due to the nature of international adoption, this timeframe can change during your adoption process, but CCAI is committed to keeping you informed of any changes to the timeframe as you work toward completing your child’s adoption.
Skip Navigation Links.
Expand 1. CCAI Application for Adoption – 5 Working Days
2. Compilation of Dossier Materials – Approximately 5-6 Months
Once your adoption application has been approved, you may begin your home study and your adoption dossier. Your dossier is a collection of documents that reports on various aspects of your life and represents you as adoptive parents to the CCCWA, the Chinese government agency responsible for all international adoptions in China. This part of the adoption process often seems daunting to adoptive families, but by following CCAI’s copyrighted Adoption Dossier Guide and getting help from our knowledgeable Dossier Team, over 10,000 families have achieved successful adoptions.
You will generate and compile many of the dossier documents on your own, but your dossier cannot be complete without your home study and approval from the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services). The timeline for compiling your dossier varies, due to such factors as child abuse clearances, how diligent you are when preparing your documents, and the USCIS timelines for approval of your I-800A (the immigration application for a Hague adoption).
For those families who need extra help to complete their dossier, CCAI does offer the option of a Full Dossier Compilation Service for an additional fee. Please contact our Dossier Compilation Coordinator at dossier@ccaifamily.org or 303-850-9998 ext.13 for more information.
Expand 3. CCAI Dossier Review and Mail to China – 2 weeks3. CCAI Dossier Review and Mail to China – 2 weeks
Expand 4. Child Match4. Child Match
Expand 5. Travel – 10-14 weeks from filing of your I-8005. Travel – 10-14 weeks from filing of your I-800
Expand 6. Post Adoption Services and Adoption Validation6. Post Adoption Services and Adoption Validation