Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011, The Year in Review

Happy New Year!
Can you believe 2011 is almost over?
I thought I'd recap what a crazy, incredible, eye opening year this has been for our family.

I didn't start this blog until July, when I officially announced that we were working to adopt a little girl.  I introduced our family, and the sweet face we are working so hard to bring home.

This is us!

This is her!

We started collecting things for our yard sale, had our home study, and started planning our Run for Katie.  I met my sweet friend Misty through that planning, and she has become one of my favorite people and one of Katie's biggest supporters.  This child, from the moment we put her in our hearts, has brought amazing people into our lives.  

If you'd like to read about January through June for our family, hop on over to The Real Housewife of Bedford County.  I've posted about it there.

In August, we painted our guest room, which will be Katie's room.

We took all of our house photos for our dossier.

(Please remember, when we started this process in June, we started at zero dollars.  We had some money in our savings that we used, but Katie only had a family sponsorship grant of $87.49)

We also had our first fundraiser - a big old yard sale!

August was obviously a busy month for us, because we also kicked off Coins for Katie, which has been an astounding success for us.

In September, we sent ninety Coins for Katie cups to Erin and her first grade class in Massachusetts.

We also got lots of photos of Coins for Katie cups all over North America.

We had our biometric finger printing done, and our sweet friend Jenny and her family had a generous party where the gifts were for Katie.

In October, we learned that Sarah and Joyce have a Coins for Katie cup in their store!  I was so excited, and so proud of Sarah for wanting to help us bring Katie home.  She and her mom do some amazing things for people with Down syndrome.

I also worked on some projects in Katie's room.

We also mailed our dossier package to our placing agency!  This is a HUGE step in the process, and one that felt so good to complete.

In November, we got an amazing donation from strangers.

And if that wasn't enough, the same people blessed us again with donations they collected on our behalf from their friends and associates.

This was an incredible day for us and for Katie, and it is one I will never forget.  We raised nearly $7,000 that morning, which we could not have done without the help of our incredible friends and family.  It was an awesome day.

We also put up our Christmas trees, including one in Katie's room.

And I told you about my uncle Clayton, who is part of the reason we are adopting a special needs child.

In December, we tried to pay some of the generosity we've received forward by participating in Operation Christmas Child.

Next, our dossier package was received in Katie's country for translation!

And the girls in my office and I gave the gift of hope to four special needs children instead of giving gifts to four attorneys.  And, because they are all great guys, they loved their Angel Tree Christmas ornaments!  (And now two of our Angel Tree babies have families!)

We were gifted an incredible doll house for Jack Katie.

And I finished a high chair for Jack's Katie's babies.

And finally, we were given an incredible gift.  Someone very close to us offered to cover whatever adoption expenses we are unable to cover.  The sense of relief such a gift brings, and the incredible amount of emotions it makes me feel is indescribable.  That does not mean that our fundraising will be done - we have several Coins for Katie cups out still that we would love to get back.  It just means that the stress of worrying about how we will raise the rest of the money is gone.  And that there is virtually nothing standing between us and that sweet girl.

What will 2012 bring for us?
I hope it will bring Chris and me to Katie's country.

And I hope it will bring her home to us.

I hope it will bring us opportunities as a family to help others, the way we have been helped by so many of you.

I hope it will bring us the chance to continue to be amazed by this process and how much it has changed our family - every one of us.

I hope it will bring love to a little girl who has quite possibly never felt that, even though we have felt so much of it for her.

I hope it will bring peace and clarity as we look toward the end of this process.

For you, I hope 2012 brings what you have brought to us:  generosity, love, acceptance, friendship, support, and purpose.

I hope 2012 will bring us our girl.

Happy New Year.

High Chair Re-Do

Remember this little beauty that I found at Goodwill?
It's a nice, sturdy, wooden doll high chair that was $9.99.
The closest thing I can find that's similar is one on ebay, which is $79.

Well I got it home and promptly ripped off the disgusting 30 year old fabric.
I brought it out in the yard and spray painted it my favorite Rustoleum Heirloom White.
(And can someone please tell me why I always feel mildly guilty for painting real wood?  Even if I don't like it the way it is, I still feel a little guilt about it.)

I finally got around to covering it this week when I was off on Monday.
I used a fat quarter of fabric that I already had but hadn't used.
Instead of making a pleated skirt, I just hot glued some ribbon around the edge, and I like it just as well.

Here's a close up of the fabric - I really like it.
I'm very pleased with how it came out.
I hope Katie likes it - Jack certainly has!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

We Love Hand-Me-Downs!

Katie Ruth has been so blessed to get some great hand-me-downs already from our friends.  Remember her Pottery Barn Kitchen from my friend Brandi and her little girl?  Well Ms. Brandi and Emma have again gifted us with a fabulous hand-me-down - a Fisher Price Loving Family House.  It's so fun!

Jack was SO excited to see it, and he started playing with it as soon as I brought it in the house last night.

We will get some more people for it, because as Jack pointed out, five babies can't live there all alone.  
And five babies are the only current occupants!

Jack said to me as soon as he got up this morning, 
"PLEASE come play babies with me!"

And just to show you how quickly Jack moves - all.the.time.- I thought 
I'd share these photos of him playing.

Thank you Brandi and Emma!
We love the dollhouse and will take good care of it!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Thank You 1st Grade Friends!

Do you remember when I posted this post about my friend Erin's school collecting Coins for Katie?

Well we sent out our cups - LOTS of them.

And the kids loved them.  I wrote here about how excited they were to collect Coins for Katie, and about some of the things they said.

Erin sent them on their way with their cups.
We have been writing back and forth with her class and even sent Flat Stanley to visit.
I have saved their letters for Katie in her scrapbook.

Well this weekend, on Christmas Eve, we got a letter from Erin.
Inside her letter she included the money her first graders collected.
They've been working since the end of September to collect money to help us bring Katie home.
What do you think they've raised?
Are you ready?


Can you believe that?
In less than three months, a group of six year olds and their generous families helped to raise over $1,100 to help bring a little girl they have never met home.  It is amazing to me how much Katie's journey has touched people and inspired them.  
Thank you so much!!

You get what you give.  
I hope that Erin and her first graders have gotten as much out of this journey as we have.  

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Santa stopped by and filled Katie's stocking.
He also brought her a baby stroller and a Baby Stella doll.
Jack has named the doll Rosie....Although I'm pretty sure it's actually a boy.  

David and Henry's stockings were filled as well.
And, of course, the slipcovers were off of our sofas!

And Jack, despite being very close to the naughty list, managed to charm his way back onto the nice list.  Santa took care of him too.

Henry said the one thing on his list that he really wanted was Katie home.  
{Insert sad face here.}

Since she wasn't here this year, Jack and Henry opened her stocking goodies.

Yes, Jack is in his underpants!

Not only Santa brought gifts for Katie.
Sister got a lot of gifts - I cannot imagine what she'll get when she is home!

She got an Our Generation doll from Gigi and Grampy.  She's a cheerleader doll.  WITH GLASSES!  I cannot tell you how much I love children who wear glasses - I always have, since I was a child.  I love them.  When I was little I had a Cabbage Patch doll named, of all things, Kitty Jessica.  Kitty Jessica came with glasses, and that was my absolute favorite thing about her.  Gigi said she saw a woman with the same doll in her shopping cart and she knew she had to get one for Katie Ruth.  David and I checked her all out, particularly her glasses!  And, I suspect, David sort of wants to read the book that came with the doll...

She got this adorable pink Ellie Knitbeary elephant from Nan and Gramps.  She is so cute with a tutu and ballet slippers.  

She got a Mrs. Potato Head, some bubbles, and a dolly swing and play mat for the floor.  

She got fancy letters for her room, baby bottles with disappearing milk and juice, a slinky, a flip phone, and some sticker dress up dolls.

She got two cute hats and bows, and three sippy cups.

She got a cute whale dress and a tiny Magna Doodle.

She got a market bag full of fruits and veggies she can slice up and put back together.

Merry Christmas big girl. 
I hope with all of my heart that it's your last one alone.