Watch Our Progress

easy fundraisers

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Support Adoption Wristbands

Besides selling t-shirts I've also got "support adoption" wristbands for sale in all different colors. I've also got maroon and a few camo's along with some youth sizes in hot pink, bright green and blue. They are $5 each and have "support adoption" debossed in them, which you can't see very well in the photo.  I know it's not a very catchy statement but I wanted something that would appeal to the masses and I didn't have a lot of room to get creative so I had to keep it short and to the point.

I always search the ads each week for great deals in town before we head out to Sam's in Murfreesboro so I frequent a local Foodland almost weekly for certain things.  I always check out with Maria in lane 2, because she's always so funny!  The past month or so she would ask me what I was buying 10 cases of Gatorade for or 4 boxes of sweet tarts and I explained to her that we were raising money to adopt.  Immediately she wanted to help out in some way so I gave her some wristbands to sell and within a week she had sold 10!

So I'm looking for a few friends who might be interested in taking some and selling to their friends!  I can mail them to you if you think there's people at your church, friends or family members that might buy some.  I want to especially thank my mom, Carrie S., Mary Jane and Joanna P., and Ashley H. for taking bracelets to sell for me!!

Let me know if your interested in getting any, just text me, leave a comment or send me a message on facebook.  Whatever you don't sell you can send back.  All the help is so appreciated!! :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Next Steps

I was sitting on the couch this evening and Micah came up to me out of the blue and said "Mommy, I want a sister".  (In his mumbly 2 yr old talk)  And if he only knew how much I would love to give him one right now!!!

Patience is NOT one of my best characteristics.  I tend to want everything now and when there's a goal in site I tend to beat it to death.  So perhaps this process will be good for me.

So people have asked me what the next step is from here and the point of this blog is to be informative on the process so here we go!  I have spoken with/interviewed three seperate adoption agencies.  Each has it's pro's and con's and operate very differently. 

Christian World Adoption (CWA) is an agency a friend of mine went through to get their precious son and the  agency seems to have a very strong foundation and invest a lot into the outreach programs in the different cities.  They've even built places for the adoptive families to stay in the village while they are there.  CWA was NOT one of the agencies that Loving Shepherds Ministries recommended for various reasons.  I spoke with one of their office case workers at length about their organization and she set me straight on a lot of rumors that I had heard.  It's hard to know what and who to believe. They seem like they are on the up and up, have been around for a good long while and have a solid Ethiopian program in place.
The second organization I spoke with was Celebrate Children International (CCI).  Again, this agency was not on the list provided by Loving Shepherds Ministries.  They actually have an "F" rating on the Better Business Bureau but after talking with a friend, she highly recommended them.  So I emailed the Director because she was in Congo at the time.  She got back to me each day with a few questions which I was very impressed with but I was extremely concerned about all the negative feedback online in regards to  how the agency has dealt with situations.

The third organization I spoke with was All God's Children International (AGCI).  I have heard a lot of positives about this agency and they were one of the organizations recommended by Loving Shepherds Ministries.  They are also the same agency that the founder of our coffee website used for one of his adoptions.  I filled out their pre-adoption assessment last week and got a call on Friday from one of their representatives.  She answered all of my questions and I really believe in cases like this that you get what you pay for.  Although the average cost for almost all the agencies is $30,000.

Most agencies require a $250-$300 application fee and most apps can be completed online and you have an answer within 24 hours.  CWA and AGCI already said that we would be contracted as clients upon completion of the applications.  CWA's agency fee is $5000 and requires half that fee right away.  Once half the agency fee is paid then you have to complete some continued education they require and then complete a homestudy with another company.  The homestudy is approximately $2000.  So right away we are looking at needing about $5000.

AGCI, on the other hand, requires the whole agency fee up front which is $7000.  Then after their required continued education a homestudy is required.  So not including the application fee, we have to come up with $9000.  When things are broken down on a fee schedule, as they are with these agencies, it really puts things in perspective as to how expensive all this really is.

Needless to say, I still have more research to do...and more fundraising!!  T-shirt anyone?  LOL

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jewelry Party a Success!

I'm happy to report that my Premier Jewelry party that I hosted for my good friend Debby was a SUCCESS!  Not only did I get to spend time with two girls who I dearly miss from Louisville, but we had a fun time at the party learning about jewelry and playing games.  Debby also showed us what the spring fashion trends were to help us accessorize.  I had forgotten that I was Debby's very first party host when she started selling Premier and she has come such a long way!!

All in all, it was good fun.  And Debby graciously agreed to donate a certain percentage of her proceeds to our adoption which is such a nice gift!  So approximately $100 from her will be deposited into our adoption account.  Thank you to everyone who attended or went out of their way to place pre-orders to help get my sales up.  You have no idea how much it's appreciated!  :0)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stocking Up

So I came back from Chattanooga only to find out that Tommy's closet in his classroom was almost COMPLETELY empty!  So this weekend we borrowed my sister-in-law's Sam's club membership card and made a trip on Sunday after church.  We usually go to GFS (Gordon Food Service) but we were really low on inventory so I thought I would check the prices at Sam's.

Things were pretty comparable but Sam's had a much larger inventory.  Micah ended up falling asleep in the cart not to long after we arrived which was nice for us. :) You can see him snoozing in the cart in the background of the picture!  ha ha

Needless to say we walked out of there with so much candy, drinks and chips and for the bargain price of $444.85.  It's hard to believe that we will make that back in two to three days in his classroom!  Something that started out by borrowing $250 from our monthly grocery fund has turned into something both of us never imagined.  The kids at school, and the staff, have been so supportive and I'm nothing but grateful.

To date our total money raised between tshirts, donations, wristbands and candy sales is just over $3000!!  Not bad at all for six short weeks of fundraising...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Busy, busy, busy is all I have to say!

I was fortunate enough to attend the Health and Wellness Fair last weekend as a booth holder (is that a term? ha ha) Besides producing a constant stream of brownies from my kitchen (that's a whole other post!), I took a few hours to sit at a table to sell our t-shirts, bracelets and candy.  I didn't do as well as hoped but at the end of the day I made about $60 which was more than what I started with that day.  So for that, I am thankful.  I had a few people really excited about what we were doing which always gives me another small surge of energy.

This is an extremely busy month for us!  I am currently in Chattanooga training to get my Propery and Casualty license for my new job.  In between my studies I'm drumming up more t-shirt sales and trying to figure out a way to fit everything in this month.  Tommy is in full football mode right now so we are both just trying to hold things together.

A good friend of mine who sells Premier Jewelry in Louisville is coming to visit me and I am hosting a party for her this weekend at my house.  She's been gracious enough to donate part of the proceeds to our adoption!  The football team is also having a Lift-A-Thon at the stadium so I'm hoping to be able to pull double duty on Saturday and have a booth at the field.  We will see if I'm trying to squeeze too much in...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blessings from Room 122

One of our major money raisers has been selling candy, brownies and chips in Tommy's classroom.  We started small, taking about $250 from our budgeted grocery money for one month and bought inventory for his locking closet in his room.  Each time he brought some money home from sales I would re-stock his cabinet and now we are BANKING, bringing home quite a bit of money each week.  All of the proceeds go towards us reaching our goal of close to $30,000.

But the biggest blessing we got was within the first few weeks of selling candy.  A young lady came into Tommy's room and layed an envelope on his desk.  He was busy selling candy so he wasn't able to take it from her, and he didn't recognize her from class.  Later he brought the envelope home and I read it:

Coach Johnson,

First of all, I want to thank you for the Christ-like example you try to be everyday.  You are an inspiration to many in our high school!  When I first saw the flyers in the hallways about your adoption, my heart went out to you and your family.  Ever since I was little, I've had my mind set on adopting a Korean child - and I fully support adoption.  I know the adoption process is expensive, so I would like to help.  I know $20 isn't much but I know that God will bless it!  I will be praying for your family!

God Bless,
Your Sister in Christ

And so I cried.  Who wouldn't after a letter like this!  We still don't know who wrote this letter and I think that's why it's so great.  I have this as the first page in my adoption binder to remember that we are doing a great thing, no matter how long it takes, no matter the sacrifice.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Just Love Coffee is such a great organization!  I encourage you to visit their website - well, my website - and purchase some African coffee.  For every bag of coffee purchashed through my online store, they will donate $5 towards my adoption.  Just another way to give :)

Adoption T-shirts

 Thanks to the creative mind of Brandon Graham at Ruthless International we now have t-shirts on sale!  The shirts are $10 each (plus $3 if needs to be shipped).  A successful first order was placed this past week which included 127 shirts!!  Thank you everyone for your support!!  I'll be placing a second order on April 18th so let me know if you'd like a shirt.  We have youth sizes too.  :)

And so it begins...

I struggled on where to begin, because I can't quite recall where our journey initially began.  What I do remember is being in Louisville and attending an adoption seminar at Southeast Christian Church.  They held a very informative seminar on the different options of adoption.  We were drawn to the international program immediately and chose to go into the small group that discussed where to begin.  They had a guest speaker from Loving Shepherds Ministries, and that organization stuck in my mind.  Needless to say, we both left there having cried a lot of tears.  Watching the videos, listening to the adopted children speak about their "forever families" was overwhelming.  So I suppose that is where it began.

We decided at that point that when Micah turned 2 in January of 2011 we would begin to figure out what we wanted to do and how we wanted to add to our family.  So after Micah's birthday I dug through a dusty old box in our basement and found the yellow folder from Loving Shepherds Ministries.  How I remembered that it was yellow, I'm unsure.  I contacted their organization and completed our pre-adoption assessment online and were matched with 4 countries.

Little did I know that each country has it's own set of parameters that they require to adopt their children.  Some don't allow any divorces, have age and weight requirements and medical restrictions.  I would really love to adopt from Haiti but unfortunately both parents have to be 35 (which I'm not) and have to be married for more years than we have been married.

That is when Ethiopia became our first choice...and so the excitement began!