Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Fundraising Home Stretch Begins

I want to take a moment to again thank everyone who participated in our Thirty-One Fundraiser! We raised enough money to cover the expenses to apply for our Chinese entry visas, which is the next fee we expect. Every bit helps and it continues to come just as we need it!

As we continue to quickly approach travel time in October, we still have a long way to go on the fundraising front. Our travel expenses will be due in a lump sum at our agency before we go get Micah. So to cover those costs and avoid delays, we need about $9,000 more in 7-9 weeks. 

Our next fundraiser begins TODAY and is yet another fabulous way to shop for a cause! Trisha Flagler, a friend and Mary Kay consultant has offered to donate 40% of her sales from NOW UNTIL AUGUST 31st to our adoption! Any orders placed at Trisha's website with “Micah” or “Brangers Adoption” placed in the comments box will be applied to the fundraiser!

I actually attended one of Trisha’s in-person events with my friend Cassie this past Tuesday evening for a little pampering and to learn about Mary Kay’s new products! It had been a very long time since I had tried Mary Kay. I remember tagging along with my mom to a party as a teenager and thinking that these products seemed a little outdated. I saw a clientele of older women wearing a lot of make-up. Well, I can tell you that my experience with Trisha was an enlightening one.  I learned that the Mary Kay company has done a lot in recent years to revamp their product line, and has invested in research and technology to make more innovative products. They have a line of skincare products to repair and protect your skin, as well as make-up for every-day wear and date nights out! 

My favorite products of the evening were their Satin Lips Lip Mask and Lip Balm. I am not really a lipstick girl. I was given full lips and fair skin and always felt a bit risque when wearing bright lip color. But by not really paying any attention to my lips, now they are constantly dry, hard and cracking or peeling. I think the best example is what my husband calls “crusty morning kisses.” Gross right?! (I try to avoid these crusty kisses but he sweetly insists) But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I have tried treating my dry lips with all types of balms and chap-sticks, but still have the same problem. Then, one of the consultants told us that your lips are the only area of skin on your face that doesn’t naturally shed dead skin cells (explains the crusty morning kisses hugh). So Mary Kay has a solution. Their Lip Mask is a lip exfoliant that gets rid of all that dead skin, and then their Lip Balm moisturizes your lips up to 6 hours. 

So, even if you are skeptical about Mary Kay products, give them a try again! You might be surprised! Trisha is such a sweet person and would love you to bring a friend and meet her to sample some products. It is a win/win situation. Not only do you get a little pampering, but any purchases through the end of August go to help bring Micah home! 

Some details about the fundraiser: 
Be sure to enter “Micah” or “Brangers’ Adoption” in the comment line so that it will apply to the fundraiser.
For any orders over $50, Trisha will throw in a free gift!
If you live outside the Charleston area, there is a $5.75 shipping fee.
Trisha is available on Tuesday evenings and on Saturdays for in-person consultations. Contact her from her web page by clicking "send me a message" if you would like to set up an appointment with her.
If you already have a Mary Kay consultant but would still like to support our fundraiser, just let Trisha know.

Thank you everyone for your continued support, and keep praying for our fundraising efforts!

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's Picture Time!

The LOA wait is over! On Thursday the 7th we received our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC or LOA) from China. This was such exciting news, because officially (paperwork and all) China has approved Phil and I to adopt Micah!!! The letter is just for us to confirm that we still want to. Well, that letter was signed and sent back to our agency within 30 minutes of receiving it.:) 

Because China has now approved us to adopt Micah, I can FINALLY publicly show everyone how stinkin’ adorable he is!!!

I can hardly stand it! I just can't wait to hold this little guy in my arms!

I know what you are thinking. So what happens next and how long will it take? As I understand it, these are the remaining steps:

I-800: 3-4 weeks
On Thursday afternoon, our case worker received our signed LSC and sent this along with our previously completed I-800 application, to the U.S. immigration office (USCIS). Two to three weeks after they receive our application, it will be approved and forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), who will in-turn send the approval to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. 

Article 5: 10 days
When we receive the letter from the NVC stating this has taken place, we will complete Micah’s online “Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application” and send the confirmation form to our agency. At that point the agency will send our NVC letter and visa application confirmation form to the US Consulate. After they review these documents (taking approx.10 days) they will issue our Article 5 Letter and agency letter seeking confirmation.

Final Travel Notice: 2-4 weeks
When the Article 5 and agency LSC documents are ready, a representative from our agency will pick them up and express mail them to the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) in Beijing. Then the CCCWA will issue our Final Notice of Traveling to China for Adoption!!

Travel To China: 2-3 weeks later
After we get our travel notice it will finally be time to buy plane tickets and receive our travel itinerary.

This all means that we will, barring any unforeseen delays, travel in October TO GO GET OUR SON!!! I don’t think I can express how excited I am! 

This also means that we only have 9-12 weeks to raise $9,500 more for travel costs! (Eeek!)

Our Thirty-One Fundraiser that ENDS TOMORROW. So if you are planning to purchase an item please get those orders in ASAP! See the Facebook event for details or check out
Thank you Amanda Pruitt for generously offering to help us bring Micah home!

We have applied for several more grants and are waiting for those to be processed. We are also still planning a live auction event though we have hit some bumps in the road while attempting to find a venue. We may have to scale it down a bit, but it will happen!

Micah’s family sponsorship grant with Reece’s Rainbow will remain open for donations until we travel. These donations are tax deductible.

If you feel lead to help fund our adoption we will be forever grateful! 

Prayer Requests:
Please be praying that our adoption continues to move smoothly. Also pray that our fundraisers are a success, and that God continues to work in those around us to make a way to overcome the financial barriers associated with our adoption!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Match Reviewed!

Quick update: Today we found out that our dossier is MATCH REVIEWED! This is exciting news because it means that China has approved us to adopt Micah and the official document (LOA) is in the mail! Our case manager at our agency said that we are still on target for travel in October to get our son! I am over the moon about this news!

Fundraising Update: With all this progress our fundraising situation is becoming a bit more urgent. We still need about $9,500 in order for our adoption to be fully funded. The remaining funds will cover our travel expenses and orphanage "donation." 

My friend Amanda Pruitt, physical therapy school classmate, and Thirty-One Consultant is throwing us a week-long online party fundraiser through Tuesday, August 12th. She is generously donating her commission to help fund our adoption! This is a private Facebook event, so if you have not already been invited and would like to be, please leave a comment. 

Keep those prayers coming! We have a lot of funds left to raise and not much time to do it.