Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We Spread More Love!

We Spread More Love
312 t-shirts and hoodies of LOVE
$ 5, 575 of Love

I'd say that the two rounds of this campaign were beyond successful and thanks to all of YOU, 

I hope that every time you wear your shirt, 
you smile and think of R.
I hope that every time you wear your shirt,
someone sees it and they smile.
I hope that every time you wear your shirt,
you get to share how you changed a little girl's life.
I hope that every time you wear your your shirt,
you know that you made a difference.
I hope that every time you wear your shirt,
you know you will always have a special place in my heart for loving my daughter.
I hope that every time you wear your shirt,
you know that you are forever connected to her story.
I hope that every time you wear your shirt,
you spread more love :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Cup Overfloweth

I kicked off the second round of the Spread More Love campaign with some trepidation.
Words can not describe how blown away I was by the results of the first round.  People I didn't even know supported me from near and far.  God blew my socks off.  Does lightning strike twice?
Yes. Yes it does!
The second round has been funded!!!!
As of today, 61 shirts have been sold!
I am completely amazed.
However, during the midst of all of this, I have been raging on the inside with some personal issues that I can't get into right now.  Hopefully in the near future, I will be able to spill the beans with an amazing solution but let's suffice it to say that the last two weeks I was in a mood.  I was not giving Jesus a good name. In fact, people were probably questioning my salvation.  I'm certain if they are not Calvinist, they were definitely questioning my salvation.  I was low.  Real, real low.
I have been so strung out and stressed out and worn out and at times questioned if am crazy to be pursuing R's adoption.   I haven't prayed about her adoption nearly as much as prayed about Munni's.  The guilt consumes me at times.  I used to pray faithfully for Munni's adoption on my way to school and on my way home from school every day.  Now?  I zone out and listen to Soundgarden or Collective Soul or Pearl Jam, sip my coffee, and fantasize about changing the world and really being something when I grow up. When is that anyway?  My friend M and I have been joking about how adoption can take you to a whole new level that's all Breaking Bad, Thelma and Louise.  For real.  And the crazy thing is that R's adoption in terms of process has been *easy* compared to the nightmare that Munni's was.  So it's not about her process.  I have a friend who started her adoption before I found Munni who STILL doesn't have her daughter home.  Yeah.  I have another friend whose timing was right with me up until I received my NOC and then it all fell apart and her daughter is still not home.  That adds to the rage because I love these women.  They are family to me.  I love their precious daughters and I ache for them.   I sometimes fantasize about going all Jason Bourne and doing an extraction.  I'm not joking.  It makes me feel better.  And it makes me feel like a ninja.

When you start out on the road to adoption you are so doe-eyed and naive.  You have no idea the experiences that await you.  But I think that it probably every significant journey in life.  There are moments of high highs, low lows, doubts, confusion, hurt, sorrow, peace, calm, joy, serenity, love, anger, surprise, selflessness, charity, community, grace, and for me the most important part of this journey- redemption.  There have been so many areas of redemption it's unbelievable.  But I have also never felt so raw in my entire life.

So back to my horrible week I was having.  I was nervous 50 t- shirts wouldn't sell.  I was stressin' that I wouldn't be able to come up with the second installment.  I was in such a foul mood that I just couldn't shake and my prayers seriously were so lame.  You know what?  God loves me anyway.  He whispered to me that in spite of my crappy attitude that He's got this.  He sees my struggles and it's not about me.

The next day I received a letter in the mail.  It was from a couple of regulars who used to come into the pizza place every Friday night where I worked for 6 and half years.  They went through Munni's adoption journey with me.  I quit before I brought Munni home, so they never got to see her.  They were so supportive and always asked me about her adoption.  I still remember their order:  2 Bells Oberon (leave the oranges from the previous beer! ) 2 peppercorn ranch salads 1 with no onions 1 with no tomatoes and an x pepperoni pizza.  I love this couple.  They wrote me the nicest letter and gave me a very generous check.  I sobbed when I read their letter.  I was so touched.

The next day at school, there was a letter in my mailbox from a retired teacher for whom I have mad respect.  He is not only brilliant, but he impacted many middle schoolers for the better.  He also had a huge impact on me when I started there as a new teacher.  He wrote me the nicest letter and included a very nice donation to R's adoption.

I received several emails from people who "stumbled" upon my blog and had been silent readers and felt the urge to contact me now and contribute.  They were moved by Munni's story and now Rs.

It's these types of experiences that renew your hope in God and in humanity.  You never know how people you meet 6 years ago or yesterday will impact your life.  In the same way, it could be you that will impact someone's life who maybe like me, really, really needs it.

Anyway, I am completely overwhelmed by all the love that has been bestowed upon me, Munni and sweet baby R.  My cup truly runneth over.  Thank you for Spreading More Love.  I pray that God blesses you immensely.  I love all of you!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Get In On It!!!!!!

The SPREAD MORE LOVE campaign ends September 23, 2013!!!  Be sure to order your super soft t- shirt, or really comfy hoodie before it ends!!!  Remember, you are helping bring home Sweet Baby R with your purchase!!

Also, Bonfire Funds has flat rate shipping:  $5 for domestic and $8 for international.

BUT- I need to make sure 50 shirts are sold in order to meet the minimum for printing and donations.  If 50 shirts are not sold by 9/23, then no money is exchange and no shirts printed :(  If we meet the minimum, then the shirts will arrive on your doorstep between 10/1-10/5!!!!!

Get in on the fun and YOU TOO could be sporting this super fly T!!!

The best part?  You get to SPREAD MORE LOVE!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

They're Back!!

This week was a crazy, emotional week.
I think I had about 5 mental breakdowns :)
I found out that my insurance won't cover the surgery for the burn scar on Munni's scalp.  She has multiple scars on her scalp that we were just going to leave alone, but the big one is on her crown and the sun hits it.  Another reason I was hoping to have it minimized was to hopefully eliminate all the rude comments we get like "What happened to her head?" that people ask RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER.  Seriously, what the heck???  Like Jennifer Aniston said about Brad Pitt, these people are missing a sensitivity chip.  Finding out about the insurance was really frustrating.  Now I'm going to look into applying with Shriner's to see if they can help us.  Luckily, the Shriners here specializes in burns.  Now that we are down to only 2 departments for the surgery instead of the original 4, I'm hoping it will be scheduled in the next couple of weeks.  I'm ready for all of this stuff to be behind us so we can continue to move forward.
Wednesday was 9/11 and is usually an emotional day for me.  It still is but this year, however, it was coupled with joy and hope because it is also Sweet Baby R's birthday!  Munni and I wanted to celebrate her even though she isn't home with us yet.  We want her to know she was in our hearts, minds, and prayers long before she physically could be part of our family.  We woke up and sang happy birthday to her and then later that night, went out for dinner and dessert.  Munni blew out the candle for R :)  She's such a great big sister already!  She thinks that R should have a peacock cake for her 3rd birthday and Munni also thinks it will be a really big party HERE!  I am praying that we will be celebrating it with her!

I also found out that my dossier was sent to the orphanage and my caseworker expects to receive R's CSR rather quickly.  She is at a much smaller orphanage than where Munni was and already, they have been VERY responsive to our requests.
This brings mixed emotions.  One of complete JOY and the other of complete PANIC!  Once her CSR gets here, I will have to pay the referral and country/humanitarian fees which are $7,900.  In addition, I will also have to file for her immigration and that's another  $830.
Which brings me to the relaunch of the SPREAD MORE LOVE t-shirts!!!  The first time around was MIND BLOWING!!!  The $4,290 raised through the fundraiser covered a little over half of my first fees.  My agency let me pay the remainder of the balance in two payments due 10/1 and 11/1.  I also raised enough money through my photography to pay for the home study update.

Seriously, how cute does Munni look in this shirt?
I just got my shirts on Thursday and I LOVE them!!!  They turned out better than I thought!  The short sleeve t-shirts are SUPER soft- they are 60% cotton and 40% poly.  They have a little stretch to them as well.  I rocked it the other night with my skinny jeans and heels and it looked great!  The hoodies are my next favorite because they are the perfect weight- not too heavy and not too light plus they too, are SUPER comfy!!  Those are 80% cotton and 20% poly.  Both the long sleeve and the kid t-shirts are 100% cotton.  They aren't quite as soft as the others.

If you wanted to buy a t-shirt last time but didn't get to it, NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!!!!!  The fund will run for 10 days until September 23rd.  I still have to sell the 50 shirt minimum in order for the shirts to print and credit cards to be charged.  If I don't sell the minimum of 50, then no shirts are printed and no money is charged.  For example, if only 38 shirts are "sold" before 9/23, then the fund closes and no one is charged any money and no shirts are printed.  This is where I need your help!  If you haven't already, please consider purchasing a shirt!  You can buy one here.  Also, they DO ship internationally!!!!  They have a flat shipping rate of $8 and a flat domestic shipping rate of $5.  If you have purchased a shirt, would you please spread the word and SPREAD MORE LOVE?!!!!!

The remaining fees from the first set of fees are $1,700 due October 1st, $1,700 due November 1st and then the Referral fee and immigration fees I mentioned above.  After that, I will be saving for TRAVEL!!!!!!!  WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!

Everything about Sweet R's adoption has been so different from Munni's.  From the moment I received the call about her, things have been moving like crazy!  I keep praying for her and the process that it will continue to move.  Hopefully, round 2 of the SPREAD MORE LOVE campaign will keep things hoppin'!!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Gratitude and Redemption

This week was an emotional one.  On Thursday, Munni's adoption was finalized in court.  I was not prepared for the Spanish Inquisition that took place in that court room.  My sister, mom, and niece  went with us to the hearing.  I guess since I was only granted guardianship of Munni in India, the US court looked at it differently and felt the need to do their due diligence before signing the final adoption decree.  It started out normal but then she hit the emotionally charged questions.  She started asking me about Munni's past.  I know the judge wasn't trying to be mean, but it was very difficult to talk about that in such an open room- it felt like my heart was getting a vivisection.  I stumbled my way through those questions with a squeaky voice and tears streaming down my face.  And then she asked me all about the medical issues Munni has had since she's been home.  Here comes the zinger.  Very straight faced, she asked me if during all of those procedures and struggles, did I ever regret my decision to adopt Munni.  My heart started beating so fast and my ears started ringing.  Was she really asking me this?  I couldn't breathe because the lump in my throat was so big.  I shook my head and my face crumpled and I told her, "Never.  If anything, it strengthened my resolve even more to be her mother."  She turned to my sister and asked her a bunch of questions about my fight to bring Munni home and what my relationship is like with her kids.  My sister was crying.  And then the judge turned to my mom and asked her if she has accepted Munni as her grandchild.  My mom was also choked up and about to answer when Munni joyfully announced, "Yes!"  We all started laughing :)

Then the judge announced something about everything meeting the requirements and did the gavel and said the adoption was finalized and Munni is now legally Munni G---- W----.  I gave Munni the biggest hug and just sobbed!

Mommy Munni Forever!
Afterwards, the judge came down to talk to me.  She said she still couldn't believe that I was able to get Munni home.  She also told me that she can see that Munni is a very special little girl :)  I hugged her and thanked her and then we went down to file the papers with the records department.  When she handed me the final adoption decree with the seal, she told me,  "Congratulations on your adoption!"  I started crying again!  I was in such disbelief that it was over.  Yes, I still need to file paperwork to receive her birth certificate, ssn, US passport and COC, BUT, the fact that all of her Indian paperwork was stolen and now I have a piece of paper that says unequivocally that Munni is my daughter and NOTHING can change that- well, it's beyond comprehension!

I kept reveling about all the poor decisions I had made in my life that left me single and childless at 40.  My whole life the one thing I've always known with certainty is that I was supposed to be a mom.  When that didn't happen the "conventional" way, I never, ever in my wildest dreams would have imagined that God would bless me in the incredible ways he has throughout Munni's adoption.  I thought I screwed up my chances and I would live the rest of my life in a sea of regret.

But that's not how God's love works.  He loves us no matter what we do.  We can screw up in the worst kind of ways and he will find a way to redeem our mistakes and make something so unbelievably beautiful out of our mess.

I thought about all the people who stepped up and supported me throughout Munni's adoption.  I honestly will never be able to express how eternally grateful I am for all of the love, prayers, financial support, encouragement, favors, etc that people gave to me.  I hope that those people feel connected to Munni.  I hope that when they look at her, their heart swells because they made a difference in her life.  I hope they know that their footsteps are permanently etched beside ours.  I hope that their eyes have been opened to God's redemptive love. I hope that when they hear the word "adoption," they smile and think about Munni and the power it can have to change a life.  I hope they know that they gave a precious little girl a future for her to discover God's amazing plan for her to become all he has intended her to be.

Later that night when we were cuddling, Munni asked me, "Mommy, R coming tomorrow email?"  I love her heart!  I told her it would be awhile before R is here and that when it is time, she won't be coming through email :)

The next day she wanted her hair done like her baby sister.  

As I wait for Sweet R's CSR to come, I can't help but hope that people will love her the same way they have loved Munni.  I can't wait for the day I can show her beautiful face to the world.  I can't wait for the day I can share her name and the significant meaning behind it.  I can't wait for Munni to have her little sister home with us.  I can't wait for R to experience the love of not only family, but of friends and strangers, and for her to know that she is VALUABLE, PRECIOUS, and LOVED!

In the end, I hope that all those who have come beside us know that they have spread more love and it has been beyond anything I could have ever dreamed!

"But as the Scriptures say,
'No one has ever seen,
no one has ever heard,
no one has ever imagined
what God has prepared for those who love him.' "
1 Corinthians 2:9