Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our Gracious Donors

I wanted to do a post with a bit of info our those people who donated items for our RAFFLE so that you could know more about each item and why it is special AND why you should buy a chance to be a winner.

147 Million Orphans:
From them: We are two moms who love orphans! We met six years ago as we were both going through our first adoptions (one domestic and one international) … Thirteen kids and seven adoptions later, we are bound together through faith and mission. We love “doing life together” and accepting the call to speak up for orphans everywhere. We want to help as many people as possible to see the 147 million orphans as scripture calls them, “…those who have no voice.” We want you to see YOUR PART in helping change the life of an orphan. Could it be adoption, sponsoring a child, volunteering for orphan care ministry, rocking babies at an orphanage, financially supporting someone adopting, or buying these products?

Project Hopeful:
About them:  Every orphaned child hopes for a family and a home. The reality for many children with HIV/AIDS and other special needs is that the chances of having that dream materialize are slim. Time and again, Project HOPEFUL has witnessed that with education, encouragement, and assistance families and individuals can be enabled to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS.

What began as a group of mothers on a mission to advocate for their children living abroad with HIV was developed by God into Project HOPEFUL. Today Project HOPEFUL exists to Help Orphans and Parents Eliminate Further Unnecessary Loss… of time, dignity, and life.

Until January of 2010, internationally adopted children with HIV had to immigrate into the US through a different protocol than children without the virus. Carolyn Twietmeyer founded Project HOPEFUL after her eyes were opened to the serious and outdated immigration procedures facing internationally adopted children (especially those with HIV/AIDS). With a strong desire to adopt children most in need of a family, she and her husband, Kiel, adopted a sibling group of three from Ethiopia, one of whom was HIV+. When the Twietmeyers came up against unyielding immigration delays, Project HOPEFUL was created.

In 2007, working closely with EACH - Equality for Adopted Children, and EACH's Founder, McLane Layton, Carolyn went to Washington, D.C. to advocate for critically needed changes to the immigration process for HIV/AIDS adoptions. Together, Project HOPEFUL and EACH met with Congressional staff and government officials to advocate for removal of unnecessary barriers and delays that were keeping children with HIV/AIDS from their adoptive families. Through these efforts, Project HOPEFUL and EACH were able to help reduce the time involved in obtaining an HIV immigration waiver from the 3-9 months it was taking down to 10 days or less. Between 2007 and 2010, when the HIV immigration waiver requirement was finally lifted, Project HOPEFUL helped almost 200 families seeking to adopt children with HIV/AIDS. Streamlining the process for these highly vulnerable children has been life-saving for many who would not have survived if the changes had not been made.

After a new U.S. immigration tuberculosis screening protocol was imposed that negatively impacted children being adopted with HIV, Carolyn again teamed up with EACH and traveled to Capitol Hill in an effort to make changes. Eventually the tuberculosis screening process for children under 11 was changed to make things more clear and streamlined for adopted children with HIV and/or tuberculosis histories. The changes that were made allows these children to receive the appropriate screening for conditions of concern, while at the same time being able to be united with their families and receive appropriate love, care, and treatment by their adoptive families.

In the years since its inception, Project HOPEFUL also began partnering with University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital pediatric infectious diseases clinic. Together Project HOPEFUL and Univeristy of Chicago have created regional workshops designed to arm individuals and families with powerful medical facts about HIV/AIDS so they can make informed decisions about whether or not adoption is for them. The numbers of UnOrphaned children coming home to the Chicagoland area testifies to the power of local education and support in helping unite adoptive families and combat stigma. Project HOPEFUL is thrilled to report that 100% of families that had previously been undecided committed to pursuing HIV+ adoptions after attending Project HOPEFUL /University of Chicago workshops. Project HOPEFUL desires to replicate this model with other state associations and pediatric HIV specialists around the nation.

Project HOPEFUL has also presented informative breakout sessions at various orphan care conferences around the nation. Steadily there has been increasing awareness about adopting children with HIV/AIDS, and the number of families seeking to adopt positive children has increased. Project HOPEFUL is working to raise funds to aid in children's adoptions in order to help curb any financial hurdles that might prevent otherwise willing families from adopting. Project HOPEFUL continues to raise awareness and advocate for children living with HIV/AIDS and other severe special needs. We are committed to spreading the TRUTH in PANDEMIC proportions, because NO child should perish for of lack of knowledge.

Pitter Patter Art:
From her: My name is Laura Kelley and I started Pitter Patter Art in 2007 to showcase artwork and other crafty things I was creating. I love God and want to serve Him and give Him praise in everything I do. I acknowledge that I need grace and thank God everyday for it. I have been married to my husband Josh for 8 years and there is no one else I would rather do life with than him. Together we are passionate about Africa and specifically the water, AIDS and orphan crisis going on in our world. We are bound and determine to do as God has called us to do and care for our brothers and sisters. “We have to take the risk to get deeply involved with the people we serve. We should really hurt when they hurt. We don’t work for our brothers to feel good. We work for our brothers because we can’t truly be happy if they are not, we can’t be successful without their success, and they can’t hurt with out it hurting us.” I used to be a kindergarten teacher, but once I had my little girl Harper in 2007, I decided to stay home with her.Our family could not have made a better decision. Our son Hud arrived 18 months later and staying home couldn’t get any more fun. We adopted our second son Sol from Ethiopia in July of 2009 and things just couldn’t get much better. I love what I do. And now we are in the process of adopting our third son from Ethiopia as well. I have always enjoyed painting and creating unique pieces of art. Sewing soon became something I loved to do as well. There is rarely a day that goes by that I do not create something…it’s a passion, a sickness and a true, true love. Hope you will enjoy a glimpse into my little world. All proceeds from my site go straight into our adoption fund, so not only are you getting unique, quality items, but you are also helping us bring our next little boy home.

Feeding the Orphans:
A Note from 10 year old Sydney, the founder: When I was 7 years old, I started praying for a sister to add to my 2 brothers. I would sit for hours and watch videos of orphans and read blogs. Then, three years later in November 2009, my parents finally decided to adopt. We brought Helen and Samuel home in November 2010 and now we are in the process of adopting two little boys.

One night we were driving home from my grandparents’ house in Kentucky and Mom wanted to stop and get dinner. The boys were excited, but I said, “I don’t want anything.” We went into the restaurant and ordered our food. When we got back to the car I asked Mom if we could go buy bread for me to eat. She said, “Only if you tell me what is wrong.” I looked at her with tears streaming down my face and said, “WHY SHOULD WE EAT LIKE KINGS AND QUEENS WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING?” I asked for bread and water because the first picture we had of my little sister was of her holding a tiny piece of bread and she had not eaten in days.

God told me to design a t-shirt to sell to raise money to provide food, medical supplies, and clean water to the orphans of Africa. My goal was to raise $500 and it was reached very quickly. I used the money to buy food and supplies for the orphanages when we traveled for my brother and sister’s adoption. With this money, we also fed the street children.

After I got home from the first trip, I really wanted to go back to Ghana with my mom to bring my siblings home and to visit the orphans. I raised the money for my plane ticket and collected supplies to take over. Since then, God has continued to break my heart for the orphans and I just want to follow Him.  Please join my family and I on God’s journey,

Wallace Family:
From them: Our blog started in September 2010, after a couple months of sending out email updates on William's stage 3 Superficial Spreading Melanoma diagnosis. Blogging was the best way to keep everyone updated on William's health status and the needs of our family. On March 23, 2011 we celebrated 6 months of William being cancer free! We let out a long sigh of relief. Ahhhhh.  And then... we refocused. We are the Wallace's and we are about orphans. Not because it's trendy or heroic or because they're cute. We're about orphans because they are precious to God.  He tells us so in James chapter 1 verse 27 - "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." So what does that mean? What does it look like when you don't feel called to sell everything you have, move to Africa and start an orphanage? We are slowly figuring it out.  For us, the first step was to start the adoption process, so one focus of our blog is adoption. We want to be and provide resources for families interested in adoption and foster care. We want to encourage you and pray for you and support you in any way we can.  BUT, there is so much more to James 1:27 than adoption. We are just starting to unpack it. As we do, we are blogging about it - the theology of orphan care, raising kids with a heart for orphans, adoption and funding, foster care, human trafficking, orphan sponsorships, organizations that are doing orphan care well (and how you can support them) and life and how we are living it.

Jenkins Family:

The Jenkins are a family I met through the blog world.  The husband is a doctor and just finished residency a few years ago (what I am doing now).  Debi made us some great ornaments last year and continues to sell them as they continue a very long wait for their Ethiopian child.  Check out her blog and store.

My Crazy Adoption:
From her: Welcome to my crazy life! I love to write. I love my family. I love the craziness of love, mommyhood, and life. The definition of “my crazy adoption” means many things to me personally. My life has been full of joy, challenges, miracles, pain, and crazy adventures. I am adopted by God, married to the man of my dreams, blessed mom to three crazy kids, and wildly passionate about adoption and orphan care! I jumped into blogging four years ago and love sharing my life with you. My desire is to be full-time mommy and adoption advocate at any stage of your journey. I want my blog to provide you support, cheers, encouragement, and hope through parenting and your adoption process. I want to help guide you to the best services for adoption and link you with other adoptive families from domestic, international, and foster care at One-Stop Shop.  My site is faithfully updated six days a week with interesting, thoughtful, and crazy content. Relationships and connections with other bloggers have been cultivated all over bloggy land. The readers at My Crazy Adoption are an interactive group of like-minded individuals who visit regularly, read, contribute their comments and participate in blog events. I will feature a new adoption family and video every month that will inspire you to make a difference. Every family featured has made the important decision to adopt and change the life of an orphan! We are all called to simply love.

Elliot Family:

From her:   I'm mommy to Noah, the coolest little train loving, football and basketball watching, oatmeal eating, dimple smiling, scooter riding, Veggie Tale watching, Jesus loving 6yr. old who thinks he is 15! He has had me wrapped around his little finger since the day I laid eyes on him. He is the best gift God has ever given me! I pray that I raise him to have a servent's heart and that he will be an example to all those around him.  Those who know me would say I am a Mommy first. full time nurse, photographer on the side, scrapbooker, lifetime movie watcher, reading, Casting Crowns lovin, SVU drivin, organizing freak, pasta eating, clothes shopping, frozen coffee drinking, yankee candle and bath and body loving chick......but before all that......I am a child of God ♥ Saved by the blood of my Savior Jesus Christ. I strive everyday to live my life so it will glorify him and show Christ's love through everything I do. I love God with all my heart and am always trying to learn more about him, to grow closer to him.

The Canvas Heart:

From her: Although I live in Texas now, my husband and I served in Ethiopia for two years (one year in Addis, the other in a small village). I spent over a year learning the language and have just recently decided to use my Amharic language skills as a means to help support my family. So I created an etsy store where I translate names/scriptures/phrases into Amharic. I find alot of joy in using this skill (especially on this side of the ocean) and am eager to share it with others.

Minus 1 Project:
From them: I am a wife and mother of four, soon to be five, currently in the process of adopting from Korea. I have spent the last several months reading, following and enjoying many adoption related blogs. It is fun to read so many stories, all unique in their adoption journey, but with one become families, fathers, mothers, and siblings to those who are alone. My family is no different and I am excited to be able to join the blogging world and to document our adoption story. We are excited and blessed to share with you our family's MINUS 1 PROJECT. We are walking with our Lord, family, and friends to bring home our son or daughter, brother or sister!! Please join us on our journey

Borders Family:
I went to college with Jenny and Stuart.  They are a super sweet couple with twins that are two years old.  They currently adopting from the Congo.  Check out their blog for more info!

Marquis Family:
From them: We've been blessed with the addition of our four year old daughter from Ethiopia. We fell in love with Ethiopia and want to honor the gift of our daughter by continuing to embrace her amazing homeland. Join us on our journey as we become a family of six through international adoption and as we work to support the beautiful country of Ethiopia.  (and their girl came home with Tedi)

We are so thankful for all the donations and encourage you all to buy a raffle ticket.  The picture do not do everything justice!


  1. Thanks lady - Glad to be on this journey with you!

  2. Hey there! I just bought 2 raffle tickets by donating $20. I put donation the "notes" because I got a nasty email from paypal last year when we did our ipad raffle. I got your comment on my blog but had been meaning to visit your blog anyway after seeing Debi Jenkins post about it on fb. I have actually been stalking your blog since before you brought Tedi home! I'm so glad that he is doing so well! He's a doll! Excited for you about adoption #2!!!