Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fun Little Giveaway!

A sweet friend gave us a fun thing last week to give away on our blog hoping to raise the last little bit to bring our munchkin home.  I can't believe that this time next week we will be in route to see him, hold him, and bring him home!

We have an Insignia Digital Picture Frame.  It is black with a wide format and the screen is 7".  It retails for $79.99.  The resolution is 480x234 and has 128 MB of internal memory.

If you would like to get in on this giveaway, you can enter by donating $5.  For every $5, we will enter your name once into a random drawing.  Be sure to email me!  And you can give on the chip in on our blog OR by clicking on Ivan's pic on the right hand sideabar (scroll down) thru RR.

Since we are leaving in less than a week, the drawing will be on Thurs. night so that I am able to mail it on Fri. before we leave.

Here is a pic:

Thanks for considering!  And btw...thank you to whomever gave today thru RR!  That was a very sweet surprise tonight!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Travel News!!!!

I can still remember receiving the email last December from our soon to be adoption agency outlining all of the many documents that were needed to adopt from Ivan's country and region, not to mention the hours of online courses and books to read.  Only hours before I had gotten another similar email from our homestudy agency.  The feeling was completely overwhelming.  I remember thinking (and probably saying out loud), "how will we ever do this? I don't know how we will get all this done!"  I wasn't even considering the money in that moment.

Little by little we chipped away at it.  We hung our only picture of Ivan in the kitchen with check off lists and celebrated everytime something else was completed.  Step by step, we did it!  And now here we are, 9 months later.

Yesterday morning, I laid in bed debating whether or not to check my email.  Finally, at 6:45am, I logged on and the tears came.  I read aloud to Derek that we had a date, an official court date and time. 

We will stand before a judge in less than 2 weeks on Sep. 6 at 10am (1am here) asking permission for Ivan to be our son forever! 

Because of time change and needing to be there to see him before court the day before, we will leave here on Sep. 3!  That is 1 week from this Sat.!!!!  Can we say that complete freaking out is totally called for?!?  We have so many things to do.  My head is swimming with the details...childcare, meals, last minute purchases (pack n play, sling, etc.), gathering donations for his baby house, apostilling extra documents, confirming airfare, details of travel, and on and on.  Only by the grace of God!!!!

Thank you all for praying with us and rejoicing with us during this time!  Ivan Samuel coming into our family is happening because many many people stepped in and made it happen...a beautiful picture of sacrifice and obedience.  Thank you just doesn't do it!  Just.So.Grateful.

We can't wait for you all to meet him!  Right now, we are estimating that we will return on Sep. 14th.  We would love to see as many of you at the airport as possible.  I can't even believe we are at this part of our journey!  We will keep everyone updated on our return information.

And because many of you have asked, our adoption t shirts are getting picked up tomorrow!  I am so excited to see them.  Also, we think that we are about $2000 away from being fully funded (we sold our car and that really helped, YAY!) about a big God that we serve.  It may seem like a lot to come up with in 2 weeks, but last Dec. I had no clue how we were going to come up with $30k plus!  I can't even believe that we are almost close!  Our chip in is still open and this is important, if you want to give tax-deductible, our family page through Reece's Rainbow will only allow donations until he is home.  Once home, we move to a different page and donating to our grant is not possible.

Finally, some of you have asked to help with donations for the baby house.  Leaving many children behind will probably be one of the hardest parts of this final trip.  What a beautiful thing it would be to leave them with many requested items!

Here is the list:
***Tyenol (generic is fine....need children's and infants)
***Ibuprofen (again generic is fine...children's and infants)
***Diaper Creme
***Hydrocortisone 1%
***Teething Medicine
***Pedialyte (they make a powder now that is mixed with water, obviously the bottles are too heavy)
***Cothing and Shoes
***Monetary donations for diapers (a large box that we would buy here between $25-30 is $50 + there)

Anything that you can donate will be such a blessing and I will be glad to pick it up.  If you go to church with us, this will be our last Sunday before we leave.  We are trying to figure out a good spot to drop off.

Thank you all for being on this journey with us.  It has been a wild ride and God has shown himself to be so true and so faithful!  May He continue to be glorified over and over and over again in all of the details!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guess we'll have to wait...

no news today and considering it is after 1 am there, I can safely assume that our facilitator has put her sweet little head to rest.

Oh well!  I keep thinking that maybe the person that is coming to look at our car tomorrow will buy it and we will have a car sold AND a travel date all in one day!!!

My mind has truly been a battlefield today!  The enemy has really tried pressing in, but God is good and I have focused on other things and had to choose to trust Him. 

Here is looking forward to the possibility of tomorrow!

This little pumpkin sure is worth the wait!  Father, please keep him well!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Please Pray With Us Tonight!

Absolutely longing to hold this child again!


We need you prayers!  Our son and other children in his baby house need your prayers!

Our son's country is ahead of us by 9 hours...clock is on the right hand sidebar.  So tonight as we are sleeping, our facilitator (incredible woman) will meet with the judge that we will soon stand before and ask permission for a court date so that we may ask permission to bring Ivan Samuel into his forever family!

Will you please pray that we have favor with this judge?  Specifically:

 ***Pray that we will not have to submit any more paperwork!  We have spent a little over $600 in document prep. and mailing in the last month or so. 

***Pray that our court date will be soon!!  From the very beginning, we have begged that God would allow him to be home for his 2nd birthday which is Sep. 28th!

***This is a BIG one!!!  Please please please pray that Ivan's region will waive our 10 day waiting period, drastically reducing the time we are in country.  That means so much if we don't have the 10 day waiting period...expenses, logistics with children at home, travel with Ivan Samuel, me being in country by myself, paying for childcare while I am away for 3 weeks, and on and on... Plus, I won't lie, I am a little scared to be there by myself for that long.

***Pray that our adoption swings the door WIDE open to more adoptions of children with special needs and of course with Down Syndrome in his region.  Pray that God is glorified and magnified in our decision to adopt Ivan Samuel and that people will see HIS hands all over us and this story of redemption. 

***And please pray the judges heart will be soft towards us and families coming behind us in the same journey.

I can't tell you what your prayers mean and we will post as soon as we get word....oh Lord, please let that be tomorrow.  Until we hear, we will attempt to rest in His perfect timing!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Name For Our Son!!...and T-Shirts Unveiled!

For many many months you have all known our son as Ivan.  We have grown to love him as Ivan.  Our hope and prayer was that there was some special reason that he was named Ivan.  Oh how I had hoped that we would find out his birthmother had chosen his name before giving him up.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  Ivan was born on Sep. 28, 2009 and his parents signed away their parental rights on Sep. 30, 2009 when he was just 2 days old.  Our sweet son was given a very common name for an orphaned boy by the hospital.  He actually is not even referred to at his baby house as Ivan.  They call him Vanya, which would be like calling someone named John by Johnny instead.

After returning home, Derek and I quickly agreed that it never felt right calling him Ivan or Vanya while we were there with him.  After lots of thought and prayer we decided that his name would change, that we would CHOOSE a name for our son who has been CHOSEN!  We had always strongly considered Samuel as a middle name hoping we would keep Ivan.  Instead, Samuel will be his new name...the name that his mommy and daddy have chosen for him, the name that we believe God put on our hearts just for him! 

His middle name will be James.  That name was chosen because of 2 things.  We have been walking through and studying the book of Proverbs and James at our church and it has so changed my heart in so many ways.  I still can't believe how perfect the timing was to walk through James!  A dear family friend that is a faithful follower and lover of God is the other reason.  His name is James, Jim to Derek's family.  He even has a son adopted from Ivan's country.  I have never even met him, but from all the letters we receive from him and the way he has prayed and cared for my husband, I know him to be a man that loves the Lord and follows after Him and we respect him very much!

So there you have it.....our son's new name will be Samuel James Kramer!!!  So excited to see that in print!  It will be a transition for everyone to start calling him Samuel....that is the hard part.  And we know it will take awhile!  We plan on calling him Ivan Samuel for a while and then eventually dropping Ivan. 

So to celebrate the announcement of our son's new name, we have a little something to share.  I have been sooooo excited to share this.  We had been thinking and thinking about a t-shirt design and then one night Derek shared this image that he had in his mind.  It was an image of a little person drawn as Ivan in his country and then lots and lots of people in the U.S. pulling him home to us.  The main idea being that there have been so so many hands, so many people from all over that have helped to rescue our son.  There is NO way that we could have done this alone!  No way!  If you have prayed, helped, given in any way, you are a part of this beautiful redemption story and we are grateful!  So here it is:


The shirts will be light blue with dark blue writing.  On one of the sleeves, it will have Samuel James and Ivan in parenthesis. 

Each shirt, regardless of size, will be $15.  We will have youth sizes small through large and Adult sizes small through X-large!  They are a "Modern Fit" meaning they fit a little more snug than a regular more boxy fitting t-shirt (keep that in mind when ordering). 

We tried to keep the cost low so that the shirts would be more accessible to more people hoping and praying that Ivan Samuel's story would be heard all over and people will be moved to ACT on behalf of all orphans, especially those that are born with special needs. 

You can send a check or order through the chip-in on our blog.  If you would like to got through RR (tax deductible) route, you can do that too.  This is the important part.  Please leave a comment or let me know that you have paid, how you paid and what sizes you need.  Obviously if you are not in my area, I will need a shipping address.  My email is  With the start of homeschooling for the first time and a final court date and travel on the horizon, I could easily miss a payment if there isn't an email or comment that follows, so please don't forget that step.

I hope you all love the shirts.  The people that did the art have been awesome to work with.  Let me know if you want their name!  I have just loved seeing Derek's ideas in much fun.  And I sure hope to see lots of people all over sharing how big God is and how He has used His people in the life of ONE CHILD!!  He continally blows me away!

I sure hope our next post is about me freaking out completely because we have travel dates and have to watch God provide, yet again, at JUST the perfect time!  Happy Friday....and weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

We Are Getting So Close!

Well, some fun news to share.  Unfortunately it isn't a court date...yet:)

First of all, Derek and I want to say that we are humbled beyond words.  I feel like we have said that so many times that it could become trite, but there is no other way that we can think to express our gratitude for the selflessness that we have been drenched in!

The other day I just happened to check our Reece's Rainbow family page and when I saw the amount, I had to do a double-take.  I immediately emailed Michelle (thanks Michelle:) and she sent me a list of new donors in July.  We had some dear friends give us $600 at the beginning of July, so that large amount we knew about.  (They were going to buy a new camera and God told them otherwise.  I still can't wrap my mind around that one.)  I had not expected to see the amount rise much after that because many of our friends have already given (and really sacrificed) and I have exhausted many of my pleas for help by way of FB and our blog. 

Honestly, the asking for money part is just plain hard and I feel like we have tapped people out. We have had neighbors give us money and donated items for our yard sale and friends hold yard sales in different states (including Ivan's warrior), and a friend donate time, money, and energy to do photography sessions and then donated ALL proceeds.  Immediately before our first trip to meet Ivan, we had donations coming from people all over and some checks were $300 or more, including a ridiculous donation from some friends that were in the midst of writing their own crazy ginormous checks for their own adoption.  We had a yard sale, sold gold (haha), a big event on FB, giveaways through our blog, and a HUGE music benefit and unbelievable silent auction that so many of YOU helped with.  I have contacted Chick Fil A about a spirit night and I have a couple of things that I am working on pertaining to grants.  We are trying to sell cars...yes that is plural:)  And I am sure that there are other things that we could be doing as well.  And forgive me if I have forgotten anything that you personally may have done for our brain is a bit fuzzy!:) 

Unfortunately we are still not fully funded to travel once we get our court date, which should be very soon.  So at this point the "asking" feels even harder.  And because we are not "actively fundraising" I SURE did not expect our grant amount to go up!  But I should have trusted and known that God is working even when we are not.  He has been working on people's hearts and I have had NOTHING to do with that!!! 

Derek and I were shocked, completely shocked to find out that we have a list of donors from July, whom we HAVE NEVER MET, giving amounts ranging from $10 to $715!!!  Yes you read that right.  And while I have no way of knowing who you are, I want to say thank you!!  And if that wasn't enough, just days after finding that out, our friends donated another large amount.  We are just blown away.  God is spoiling us, beyond our wildest dreams, He is showing up in ways that I could not have ever imagined.  We are so undeserving of all the support that you have shown us and we feel so blessed and loved! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So if that wasn't enough fun for you to hear all that God is doing, I will share a couple of other things.  

We have a name for our son!!!  There are some wonderful things surrounding his name and we can't wait to share.  But that will be a separate post.  And I am so excited to say that I met with the nicest guy yesterday and he is designing shirts for us to sell for the adoption.  They are going to be AMAZING!  My awesome husband (he is so creative) came up with a REALLY REALLY cool idea that illustrates how many hands and hearts have sacrificed and given to change the life of the cutest little boy whom you have never met...thousands of miles away!  Ivan's reality, without a family, would have been transfer to a really dark place with very little chance of survival.  We have seen the truth of this and know it to be true.  He is being rescued because of the obedience of many and ultimately because we serve a really HUGE God!!!  The art (the people doing the art are glad to share info) on these shirts will hopefully be a way to share about the mission of God and His love for orphans in a really tangible way!

I will post about Ivan's new name later this week...YAY!  And I will be taking preorders for our adoption shirts...more to come on that later too.

We have started a new chip-in on our blog (not tax deductible...RR IS!!!) because the other one ended at the end of July.  I had hoped we would be fully funded by then.  We are about $10K away from what we need and that may be on the conservative side.  We owe our agency another $5,500 and then we have all of our travel fees including flights, visas, Ivan's passport, birth certificate, medicals, lodging, travel in country, etc...  We hope to use donated and personal miles for part of our flights next time so that could change how much we need.  Also, we could be in R***** for about 7 days together OR Derek could be with me for a few days and then I would be there for close to 3 weeks.  It all depends on if we get our 10 day wait waived...pray hard!!  That is why we aren't sure about how much we still need.  Like I said we are on the conservative side and the Chip-In is set for $8K.  We will update as we get closer to our goal!

Again...thank you for giving and for your time and energy and mostly your obedience!  Our family would not have been able to answer this call to rescue our son without you!!!