Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Week--The Mikle Family!

It's almost July! I hope you're having an awesome summer!
It's time to welcome the Mikle family to our blog! We're excited to have them here and hope you will show them some love and share their story.  Jason and Kristi are adopting a beautiful little boy from Hong Kong.  He will make them a family of 6!  You can learn more on their Pure Charity page.
Remember, since the Mikles have a Pure Charity account your donation will be tax deductible.  Thanks for supporting our families! You can donate through the link on the right and we can watch their total grow throughout the week.  Be sure to click over there and watch their video!
You can visit Kristi's blog HERE and see some reaallyy cute pictures.
Thanks, everyone.....have a great week!

CLICK Here To Go Straight To The Mikle's Page!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where in the world?

Quick recap of where our most recent families are at in their adoption process!

Jennifer Cameron just got the word this morning that her Consulate appointment is scheduled! So, she is gettin' on a jet plane and going to get her baby girl! Woot. She will hold her daughter on July 1st.

Remember the Bernard Family? They were adopting Luke and Katie from China. Guess what? They are there right now! Both Luke and Katie are officially Bernards. First they got Luke then made the trek to Katie. They amaze me with how well they are handling two at once! They have done an excellent job of updating their blog with tons of pictures of their journey. It actually made me start to miss China a little bit. 
Don't you just love seeing the four of them together at last?

The Gotbeter Family is still in the thick of the process hoping to be LOA in the fall. LOA stands for Letter of Acceptance and happens to be a huge thing in the China adoption world. Huge, as in throw a party, bake a cake huge. Keep checking in with them on their blog. Click their name to go to their blog!

The Dismuke Family is nearly DTC (dossier to China!). This means that all of their fancy paperwork that has taken SO long to put together is authenticated by everyone and their mother and is now being shipped to China to be matched with their referral and then they will get their LOA in return! DTC is another huge moment of excitement in the adoption world. 

The Shepard Family is waiting for their paperwork to go to China. They recently received their I800A approval. Which may not mean much to you, but it does to them! Every step is a triumph in this process. 

The Sanders have travel approval!!!!! This means they are now allowed to travel to go get Mason as soon as they have a date for their Consulate appointment. Everybody shout with me! Wahoo!!! The thing is the Sanders still could use our help financially. They are traveling but have not yet met their fundraising goals. Can we help them out and show a little extra love today? You can still donate through their blog!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Welcome the Hovdas! New Family of the Week!

Hey! I'm so glad you stopped by today! I'm happy to introduce you to Jon and Angela Hovda, our family of the week! Jon and Angela are adopting 2 handsome boys from China.  They should travel very soon to bring them home.  
A little more info about their boys....
Jensen, the oldest, has Cerebral Palsy.  He has been worried that he will become too old for adoption and be without a family.  Pray for his heart as he's waiting and being told soon that he does, in fact, have a family coming.  Jack, the younger of these 2, was born with Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a rare genetic condition. Some of the risks include cancer and a premature death.  These boys NEED to come HOME where their family can provide for their needs.  Their adoptions are being expedited due to Jensen's age and Jack's health needs being so severe. 
Jack and Jensen will be welcomed by their family, including 2 big brothers and a little sister! They're all excited about their new brothers coming home.
Watch their video and get your Paypals ready! You will be giving through Reece's Rainbow (via Paypal).  Remember, Reece's Rainbow is an advocacy site that allows families to raise funds for their adoption. And your gift is tax deductible.   Very quick, very simple, very awesome. 

Remember, adoption is expensive and while Jon and Angela can provide for their 2 newest sons after they come home, funding the trip to China--the airfare, hotels, etc-- is very expensive.  That's where you come in!
Can you commit to praying for this family and giving them a dollar or 2?  ($2 for 2 boys!?!) Your support means so much.  All of our small gifts add up to such a large blessing!  Read more about the Hovda family at their blog, Our Family Escapades  (where they also have a puzzle piece fundraiser happening now!) and on their Reece's Rainbow page.  DONATE HERE:) You're the best.
Thanks for your support!! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Adopting Children With HIV/AIDS

We're happy to hear from Janell Adler today, a fellow adoptive mama! Hear what she has to say...

Debunking HIV/AIDS Myths and the Children They Leave Alone

My husband and I have been involved with our adoption for nearly 5 years. During that time, we have had many twists and turns in our adoption that have sent us far and wide to research different topics within the orphan crisis. There are so many sweet children that need homes and through our research we have discovered the most feared and least understood of these children that desperately need families...HIV+ children.

The day my husband came to me and told me that he had a burden for these kids and wanted me to consider an adoption for one, I was completely shocked and resistant. You hear the horror stories of HIV. The devastation the disease causes to the human body and how contagious the disease is. How could he want to get a child that is just going to die? How could he even think about exposing our healthy family to this disease? Were just a few of the thoughts that swirled around in my mind. Still, I made the effort to do some research and learn before I completely shut the idea down. Here is just a sampling of what I discovered and hopefully it will open your eyes as it did mine...

The disease is diagnosed in 4 stages-similar to cancer. If the disease is found in the first stage, it often doesn't require medication and is monitored until it is necessary. In the forth stage, is the only stage that a patient is actually diagnosed with AIDS. During this stage is when the person is the most ill and will succumb to the disease due to illness because of the deterioration of their immune system. Even after entering stage four, because of the development of Anti-retroviral medications (ARV's), someone could live for years!

ARVs, when they were first developed in the 80's, wreaked terrible havoc on the human body. If you didn't pass away due to the disease, you often did because of the damage the medications did to your organs. Today, even though the medications are not a cure but a management of the HIV, they do not cause the damage they once did and have given the patients a normal life expectancy by keeping the replication of the virus at low levels in the blood. With early intervention and diagnosis, you can wait to go on these medications which will also help one live a longer, healthier life. The ARVs also keep the disease replication so low in the blood that you could take a vial of infected blood and inject it into your blood stream without fear of infection! (Although I DO NOT recommend this ;O) Although this medication is a saving grace to those in stage 2 or 3 of the disease, once someone with HIV is diagnosed and placed on ARVs, they cannot come off so being under a good hematologist's care early in life is essential!

There is definitely more medical care and commitment you will need to make with an HIV+ child, but you wouldn't believe how easy the day to day of managing HIV is. The ARVs are often times one or two pills once a day-that's it! You will need to see a specialist to have their blood drawn and monitored every 6 months or so as well. Although injuries could be a stressful situation, as long as you practice wearing gloves while taking care of bleeding injuries, keeping cuts covered until scabbed and disposing of anything bloody safely, the disease will not be transmitted to others. HIV is a very weak virus and once exposed to the air it begins to die.

The only way to transmit the disease through blood is blood to blood contact (And if you think about it, with any injury you have ever encountered, when have you smashed one of your bleeding cuts against someone else's?) It cannot penetrate the skin, if you swallow it your body will break it down before it's absorbed! Amazing, right? In a normal family environment, there has been 0 cases of a healthy person becoming infected. In sports, there is 1 known case of an infected individual infecting someone healthy!

Probably the worst part of HIV is the misinformed ostrasizing those battling their illness. Because everyone's information is from the 1980's when HIV was discovered and treatments were developed, HIV+ diagnosed children are often victim to discrimination if they tell others about their diagnosis. Although a school is informed that an individual attending has HIV, they may not know who because of how children have been treated in the past due to the ignorance of-sadly-parents.

Now, all that I have told you is how things work in advanced societies, but in the poor countries of Africa or Asia, the outlook is so sad! In the US you can easily get ARVs, even mother's who have HIV can give birth to perfectly healthy children! But in Africa, mother's who are diagnosed die young after giving birth to family of children with the same disease. They are all then placed in an orphanage with no parents while dealing with a disease they have no medication to manage. In Taiwan, the country officials do not think HIV+ children are adoptable, so they place them in an institution and wont even create paperwork for families to see to be given the option to adopt them. These children will never know the love of a family and will age out of system at a young age to live on the streets and be a part of the problem while dealing drugs or becoming prostitutes in order to survive-and thus the circle goes round and round!

It is amazing how wrong I was in how I thought about this illness and how misinformed I found myself to be-along with most of the public! Even though our adoption has taken us in a path away from children with this disease, it doesn't mean that our heart for these discriminated children doesn't care. We want others to be informed and we desperately desire families to consider these beautiful children to be adopted! A lot of my research started at Project Hopeful (which you can check out for yourself, here: which is a foundation dedicated to Educating, encouraging, and enabling families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS who are some of the most overlooked children for adoption. It is a great place to get started if you want to learn more!

Thanks for sharing, Janell!

 My info was way out of date, was yours? Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sanders, Giveaway

Hey friends! Thanks for supporting the Sanders family this week! They are eager to bring their son, Mason, home as soon as possible! Don't forget their giveaway!!

Check back tomorrow to learn more about adopting a child with HIV.  These children are often overlooked.  Do you think that treating HIV is the same as it was way back when we first heard about it?  You need to read the blog post tomorrow.

Take care, friends!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sanders and a Giveaway!!

The Sanders have a $100 gift card from up for grabs!  Leave a comment on the blog if you gave or shared their story and we'll draw a name Saturday!  Stay tuned!! I hope you win!
Thank you for being so generous! The Sanders have received $407 this week already through checks and paypal.   This is a huge help to them-they are ready to bring Mason home. Any way you want to give is greatly appreciated:):)
Have a great week.....check back to see who won!

The Sanders have raised $987!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sanders/Pure Charity!

What?? No new family this week?  We'll leave the Sanders on the blog, just in case you missed giving!! Thanks for being so generous!:) We'll have another family very soon....
Have a great week, friends!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thanks, Dad!

The Sanders have raised $462 this week!! They've had donations given through Pure Charity, in the mail...all sorts of ways! They are thankful for every dollar! Keep giving through the weekend, friends!
It's Father's Day weekend!
What are your traditions for the Dads in your life? A favorite meal...power to a game? Whatever it is, enjoy!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hot Wednesday!

Hi there! I hope you're having a good week! Summer has officially arrived in the South and it is HOT!
The Sanders are at $117 on their thermometer but $217 is their total so far! Keep giving, friends! It matters.
Go to Sonic or hop in a pool today! Have a great week!

Monday, June 10, 2013


I have never been more proud to be a part of any community than I am now. The adoption community has rallied around one of our own. The sweet Hammond family lost their new son, John Thomas less than a day after arriving home from China. They were a part of my personal adoption support group and it touched me deeply. I was stalking their blog. I was praying daily for them. I was cheering them over the finish line to home and medical care. I was devastated when the news reached me of this unimaginable loss. So many people were immediately asking how to help and if there was a fund to help with the new costs. Friends and family have set up a fund to help them with the unexpected costs of the funeral for sweet John Thomas with Give Forward. Please, visit the link and help this dear family during this time. 

Any funds collected above what they will need for the funeral costs will go to a fund for other parents adopting a baby with a heart condition. You can read back through their story on their blog at:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New Family! Sanders Family on Pure Charity!

Thank you for embracing Pure Charity and donating to our families! You're my BFFs.

Let me introduce you to the Sanders family! {Click HERE to read their blog!} Richard and Stacey Sanders are adopting Mason from China.  They are hoping to travel this month!! His adoption process is being expedited because he needs heart surgery.  Can you help them out?  You can donate and watch a super cute video right over there under their picture -- I love watching the thermometer climb during the week!
The Sanders have adopted before (2 boys last year!) and have a large family that is ready for Mason to come home! I love big families--don't you? They just seem like a lot of fun.
This is a picture of little Mason learning that he has a family:) I do believe I see a former G1S1Asia mama (Randi Lanz) in the background! They sent a photo album and letter for him to learn about their family.  Isn't he the cutest little guy?

Okay, go donate to the Sanders'  Pure Charity account  and let's have another great week! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Special Needs Focus: Albinism

Before you read the interview, head over and check out the giveaway that our family this week has. Is this not the cutest doll in the world? Go check it out


The longer I am back the more I feel like life is finding it's new normal. I am thrilled to get back into the special needs interviews and focus on some of these specific needs. This week I'm going to focus on Albinism. My good friend Emmy is the mom that I interviewed! Please remember that we are not medical professionals. The women interviewed are simply moms sharing their experience with us. Always, always talk things over with a medical professional before making a decision!

Albinism is a term to used to describe a condition in which a persons body does not make the correct amount of melanin (which is what colors the skin). That's the most basic definition.

Special Needs Interview

What country did you adopt from? China Waiting Children
What was the age of your child at the time of the adoption? She turned 27 months on Gotcha      Day
What made you consider this special need? I was born with a special need myself and when I learned of the possibility of programs placing children with special needs I never looked back. Albinism in particular wasn’t on my yes list but my maybe list and when I had the file of our sweet little with albinism, I researched it extensively and learned that it was actually a need that was quite easy!
 What does daily life look like for you now? It’s basically the same as it was before we brought her home just with more kiddos! We’ve had a few more medical appointments in the beginning, but really in the long run, it will only be two more a year than usual! Some extra sunblock, sunhats and glasses! That’s it.
 How has it impacted your life? Hugely of course because we brought a new child into our home. We have been so blessed by the gift of a third child and she is fitting in unbelievably! I would say in no way has her need impacted our family. We couldn’t be happier with the results from the doctors so far.
 Are there variations of the condition and what are you dealing with in your child? I am not a doctor, but have picked up on lots of info to share.

Albinism has three major (minor in my opinion) areas of concern…

1st: Vision is probably the most variable and unknown ahead time. Within the vision part of this need, there are many factors that can affect vision. I am not a doctor, so please do your own research as medicine frequently changes and advances.
            -Nystagmus – This is where the eyes dart back and forth. Our daughter has this and it’s pretty minor unless she is stressed and tired. I have seen some people with albinism learn to control this on their own; there is also a surgery that can help people with more severe cases of it.

            -Astigmatism – This is hard to explain, but has to do with where the eye takes the light coming in and focuses it. Our daughters are severe and this will not usually go away with age like it can for non-albinism people. It can be mostly corrected with glasses.

            -Strambismus – Misplacement of eye (lazy eye) our daughter doesn’t have this, but it is my understanding that there is treatment for this condition.

-Photophobia – Light Sensitivity.  Our daughter has this and her is pretty severe. Sunglasses, Sunhats and low lighting help. This doesn’t go away either and I believe all people with albinism suffer from some form of this

-Low vision – While somewhat correctable, glasses do not usually correct their vision enough to help them see clear. Though I was recently told that their vision could improve over time somewhat.
I know all of that sounded scary, but really she is just a regular kid that is squinty in bright light that I have to remember to grab sunglasses for when we go outside. We are in the process of getting her prescription glasses filled and will get the double dipped transition lenses and then we won’t even have to remember sunglasses! Without the glasses she needs to get close to things to see them… other than that she is just like any other child! I don’t even notice she’s different from my typical seeing kiddos. I find that I parent her not much different than my seeing kids. She can still read my facial expressions and hear tone in my voice…. Oh and her eyes are NOT red. They are blue with a hint of violet in certain lighting. Dare I say she has the eye color most people dream of having! Photographing her can be tough because of squinting and flashes are a huge no-no for light sensitive kiddo’s!

2nd is skin
            I read a bunch on this and saw many differences in opinions on many different topics. I’ve seen both parental differences and medical staff differences…. This is what we do. Not saying it’s right for every person with this condition but works for us.   Sunblock is applied when going outside. We do not avoid the outdoors during sunlight hours, but properly equip her eyes and skin to do whatever it is we want to do. We do try to buy clothing with sun protection (summer especially.) From what I can tell about the cancer concern is they are more likely to get cancer if they get burned, so be sure they don’t! Hats are important in the summer to protect their scalp… and sunscreen even in the hair/scalp.. Apply often.. More than usual but don’t go over the top and buy 90SPF.. Their fair skin can be sensitive and going overboard with chemicals is not the answer. It’s proven that anything over 30SPF isn’t more effective than 30 and doesn’t last longer. All it does is put more chemicals on their skin than needed IMO.

3rd is Syndromes… When I did the research for Daisy I was told because of her heart condition, she was more likely to have a syndrome than the average person with albinism. The major two syndromes associated with albinism are rare! I’ll provide some links for researching more on this need.

 How does insurance coverage work for this condition and the adoption? As long as you add them within the allotted time (check with your state) I don’t believe it’s an issue. I would make sure your medical insurance covers vision.. other than that, I can't think of anything.
What expenses should a family be aware of upfront? Adoption costs and glasses. Also, sunblock can be very costly, especially if you decide on using more natural sunblocks because of sensitive skin.
What state are you in and does it offer additional coverage to this particular                                   special need? I live in Minnesota, which is nice because the U of M has an albinism clinic. Also there are support groups and IEP services for Low Vision in our area. Plus a school for the blind about 30 minutes south of us if her vision was worse.
What else would you like others to know about this condition? This condition is life long (meaning there is no cure) but it’s really the special need that other parents of children with albinism consider the non special need need!

Here are some helpful links:
Links: (video showing how a typical person with albinism sees.) (A great organization supporting people and parents of people with albinism) (A look at adopting a child with albinism) (A look at adopting a child with albinism) (Interview of a family with LWB that adopted a child with albinism)

Waiting Kids with Albinism
email me at: for contacts for more information about these specific children

Felix DOB: 2009
Look at that grin!!!
2009, Jan 8th, Felix

Shane DOB: 2000

 Reid DOB: 2001

Cory DOB: 2002

Jason DOB: 2002
(I couldn't resist the second picture of Jason!)

Andy DOB: 2003

Brent DOB: 2004

 Timmy DOB: 2004

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First Pure Charity Family! Meet the Shepard Fam!

Hey, hey, hey! I'm so excited to welcome our first Pure Charity family to our blog.  Daniel and Jenna Shepard are adopting a sweet little girl from China.  The Shepards have a son and daughter and are excited to welcome another little girl into their family! Go meet them and leave them a dollar or 2 as  congratulations!
You will need to create a Pure Charity account, and it will take you about 2 minutes. "Back this fundraiser" means donate to it! You are awesome and we're looking forward to a great week for the Shepards.

This is such a sweet family....don't you love their video?
Thanks for giving, sharing this page and praying for this family--they are super grateful!
And yeh, don't you love seeing our family on the side of the blog? So cool! I would say "so rad", but that would give away my age....
Have a great week, friends!