Saturday, December 20, 2014

Introducing a Daughter, a Message, and Some Cool Tshirts :)

As soon as we knew we were hitting the adoption trail again, we designed a tee for a fundraiser.  (Actually, we are offering two designs, so scroll all the way down to see both.)  The way this design is intricately interwoven with the life of our future daughter is incredibly cool.  Read on.  I'll keep it short, but it is powerful.

Here is the design.  Its message comes from Exodus 22:23 where God tells us that when orphans and widows cry out in distress, He hears them!  God cares for the fatherless, and so do we.
Now comes the powerful part.  As we began looking at files of children waiting in China's Special Needs program, we found our daughter.  She is 9 years old and has cerebral palsy that affects her walk.  Children who have been in an orphanage this long know why people come around and take their pictures and measurements.  They know it is an "update" to their adoption file.  The last time folks came around to take this sweet young lady's photos, which was shortly before God brought her file to us, she began crying.  She said:
"No one is ever going to want me."
Too many updates.
Too many other children in her orphanage leaving with their adoptive families.
Too many years of waiting.  Her hope was crushed.
Then the redeeming part of the story!!  Do you see what happened?!  This orphan literally and physically cried out in distress . . .
He stirred her family to move!  We have not received our Pre-Approval just yet, so I cannot post her pic, but let me tell you about her name for now.  Our list of potential names has stayed pretty steady over the years of adding children, but a new name came across Jon's mind:  Samantha.  When we looked up its' meaning, it was perfect.  Samantha means "God heard"!!!  She is our Samantha Hope.  Sweet child, you have always been His wanted child, and now you will be ours. 

Design #2 is one that we created for my niece's adoption, but we like it so much we decided to offer it for ours as well.  This design was stirred by our passion that every child matters, and adoption is a love language that goes beyond borders, race, and special needs.  "Adoption Means Love in Any Language" is available in blue OR black, sizes youth XS, small, medium, large, and Adult Small - XXXL! 

 Our plan is to take orders through January 21st, 2015, with the hopes of receiving them and mailing them out the first week of February. 
GREAT Valentine gifts for someone with a heart for children! 
*Suggested donation for either design is $15, plus $2 if you need it shipped.  Yes, this shirt is to help us raise funds to bring Samantha home, but it is also a message.  If you want to help spread this message, but $15 is more than you can afford, we will gladly and happily accept $5 (our cost) so that you can bring awareness to the plight of children in need of families everywhere!  Paypal is  Please include any shipping address or instructions.  Sizes Youth Small, Medium, & Large.  Adult Small through XXXL.
NOTE:  "Jesus Hears the Orphan" is not available in youth XS.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt

Saturday, December 13th, meet at Macedonia Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky at 4:30 p.m.

Teams should consist of two to three adults, and children are more than welcome! (Just make sure your team fits in one car.)  Partner up with a buddy and bring a pen, a car, a camera or phone to take pictures, and an adoption donation (suggested $10/team). You'll have a list of Christmas lights to find and photograph, and race back to the finish line to win - while obeying traffic laws, of course!! Prize for first place! Email us with any questions. 
UPDATE:  Three amazing teams had a blast in the hunt!  Thank you Casey Crew, Basham Bunch, and Fuqua Family!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pay With Love

Something we've been working on since 2012. Besides the fun memories, there is an important message at about 2:48. If the storyline doesn't make sense, read the full description under the video.  :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Here We GROW Again!

Details.  Everyone wants details about our decision to adopt again.  The problem is I cannot fully recollect how we arrived where we are today!  :)

I remember the beginnings of the surreal conversations initiated by Jon about adopting again.  So odd.  Those talks were completely unexpected.  Neither of us could have fathomed going down this path again, yet amazingly, we both just knew.

Still weary from the last fundraising/paperwork/red tape/emotionally-up-and-down process, there was definitely shock on our part.  But from the beginning of our prayers and thoughts about starting again, there was no doubt this was God's plan.

I vaguely recall computer research and phone calls, determining if we can even qualify this time.  (That is an ongoing prayer request, because we are asking for an exception to the income requirement.)

What I do remember is the moment Jon showed me the faces of two precious sisters in Taiwan.  Two sisters whose faces still bring tears to my eyes and tug at our hearts.  Ultimately, we were not approved to adopt them due to the number of children we already have.  So the roller coaster ride of emotions that are inevitable in adoption started immediately.  Despite our brokenness and disappointment in the decision regarding the sisters, we have to trust God has a plan for those girls, and someone is going to respond to His call and bring them home.  *Someone with less than 3 children at home.  You can read more at the bottom of this post.

That hits the main points of the past months.  After continued prayer and discussion, we are moving to adopt again through China's special needs program for a daughter or daughters somewhere in the age range of 6 to 9.  As we did with each previous adoption, we explored all the options available, including the foster care system and other countries.  Only God knows the exact reasoning, but He has placed a burden on our hearts for children in orphanages. 

This whole thing is crazy . . . yet it isn't.  The daunting task of paperwork and fundraising make me want to puke.  Seriously.  It's scary in a hundred different ways, but we're okay with that.  Here we grow again!!

*The orphanage assigned to find their family prefers adoptive families with no more than 3 children at home.  They claim they will allow exceptions in the case of older children or sibling adoptions, and these girls are both at almost 8 and 9 years old.  A few large families before us had been turned down, but we did not let that waiver our commitment.  There was a great flurry of effort on our part to adopt these girls.  It took a while, but we found an agency who worked with us to implore the Taiwanese orphanage to allow our family an exception. At the point where at least three families before us were turned down, we kept fighting.  Long story short, the orphanage said "no".  This from the orphanage who has these girls in two separate foster homes, one with 8 total people living in the home and the other with 7.  This from the orphanage who sent these girls for a 2-week visit to America through a hosting program to advocate for their adoption, and placed them with a family larger than our own.  The host family has at least three children/grandchildren who are almost the same ages as three of ours, and the girls THRIVED!!  Please pray for these sweethearts.  If you would like information on the beautiful Taiwanese sisters who need their forever family, PLEASE contact me!! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Humble Opinion on Fundraising for Adoption

You have to be rich to adopt.
During our first adoption process, that is the firm opinion I formed.  Down in the trenches, working to raise thousands of dollars, I would look at families who had adopted more than once and I just could not figure it out.  They had to be rich.
Fast-forward to the present, where we have added a second and third child to our family through adoption.  I now realize the error of my early thoughts.  Yes, adoption is expensive whether you pursue the domestic or international route.  No, you do not have to be rich.  Our family is living proof that finances are just an excuse.
Our Bible has commanded us to care for orphans.  For those who are eligible to adopt, the financial requirement can be astounding.  I assume that most families do not have that amount of money sitting around.  While I am a HUGE proponent of saving for the things you need/want, adoption is different.  When you make the decision to follow God's call to adopt, there is no time to waste. 
Millions of children sit and wait. 
Do we let them sit on, growing older and therefore considered less "adoptable" while we try to save for the process?  No!  We jump to action, humbling ourselves to admit we need help, and allowing others in our lives and communities to participate in the calling to care for the fatherless.  After all, not everyone can qualify to adopt with all the requirements for age/medical history/marital life/etc.  If you are ineligible to adopt, should you sit idly by and ignore the orphan crisis?  No!  You find opportunities to help families with the ridiculous costs for the most un-ridiculous of events - giving a child the family they deserve!
Some go so far to say that if you were pregnant, you wouldn't be going around asking for money to help with your impending delivery expenses.  No you wouldn't, but having a baby (with or without insurance), and adopting without any support are two entirely different things.  If you are about to give birth and go to a hospital, they won't demand all the money BEFORE you can have the baby.  As you check into the ER, the receptionist will not say, "Either pay up front or hold that baby in!"  LOL!  Once the baby is born, there is no problem taking the baby home, even if you have not cleared your account.  And payments can be arranged! 
In adoption, you have to pay the fees as you go.  If you do not have the funds, you either wait until you do (causing additional fees down the road if some of your documents go beyond time restrictions), or if you have been matched, risk losing your child!  Can you imagine giving birth in the hospital and preparing to leave with your bundle of joy, only to find that if you cannot pay your hospital bill in its entirety they will take the child from you until someone else comes along to pay the expenses!?!!
As an adoptive family, where are you left if you do not have thousands sitting in the bank? 
  1) Grant applications.  The one drawback to those is the uncertainty.  Many families apply, and funds are limited. 
  2) Jobs.  As we brainstormed possibilities to finance our recent adoptions, we contemplated putting our children in public school and finding a full-time job for me.  Besides denying a calling in my life (homeschooling), it was a pretty fruitless idea.  Even with my Bachelor's Degree, the likelihood of finding a position, paying gas and childcare expenses, and being able to earn what we needed for the adoption was slim.  I was, however, able to take on three part-time jobs devoted entirely to adoption expenses.
  3) Sell stuff.  When you are desperately trying to bring a new little life home, you find so much of what used to be important is no longer desired. 
  4) Loans.  There are interest-free and low-interest loans available for adoption. 
  5) Adoption Tax Credit.  I used to believe families should take the tax credit into consideration when raising funds, basically subtracting it from their total estimated expenses.  As the tax credit is now administered, however, that is a risky gamble for families to take.  It's based upon your tax liability.  In our case, our income for the year is so low that the taxes we owe are very minimal.  We will not be able to receive the full amount of the adoption tax credit.  Thankfully it can reduce your tax liability over a period of 6 years, so our hope is that it will be enough to pay back our two adoption loans.
  6) Fundraise.  Find services or products you can offer/make.  Utilize fundraisers at local businesses and restaurants.  This is an opportunity to engage others, giving them a chance to do something, too!  God is right there with you, calling others to help in specific ways.  Ask for the help you need.  Relinquish the "control" you try to have over the situation.  It's hard, it can be embarrassing, and boy is it humbling.  It shouts to the world that you, by yourself, are unable to accomplish this task the Lord has given you.  It takes any glory and puts it in its proper place - at the feet of our God who deserves it all. 
Two points of advice I have when fundraising.  First, don't rely on human beings.  You definitely set yourself up for disappointment if you rely on certain people to be supportive of your efforts.  Even if you have been supportive to their cause in the past, it does not mean they will be there for you.  Again, this is God's plan, not yours, and He will provide through those who are part of it.  Second, stop worrying.  If you are feeling like everyone cringes at the thought of another fundraiser from you and your family, take heart and realize others have more compassion than you may give them credit.  Friends and family know that no one expects them to participate in every single fundraiser.  Trust me, you learn to trust God more than ever through this refining process.  And truly if someone is annoyed by your fundraising efforts, I suggest it's likely God is working something in their lives.  Just let them un-follow your facebook newsfeed, and pray for them. :) 
For what it's worth, that's my opinion!
* I realize the majority of friends and families are comfortable and supportive of efforts in the adoption process.  I started this entry as my sister-in-law came across yet another discouraging blog refuting fundraising.  There are an abundance of blogs with negative opinions regarding fundraising for adoption, so I wanted to put another source of encouragement out there for families in the adoption process who have to fundraise.  There is compassion for you in this journey.  At the end of the day, each family has different life circumstances over which to pray and decide what the right path is for them.  Ignore the critics as best you can, and trust in Gods plan!

Monday, October 13, 2014

It Is Finished!

Puzzle Front
   Finally it is finished!  Our beautiful puzzle showing the names and organizations that answered the call to help the orphan . . . or in this case, orphans.  It is such a beautiful and precious reminder of the family, friends, strangers, and community who united for Oliver and Kalli, and the whole Hudson Herd.  :)  Orphans no more, these two little ones are blessing our family immeasurably.  It has not been perfect or easy - nor did we expect it to be - but God is sustaining us and we are thankful for where we are today.  I will never cease to be amazed at how He stretches and grows us to accomplish what we could never do alone.  I never imagined being a parent of five children, now I cannot imagine a second of life without those five faces.

   Obviously, being a wife, momma of five, and homeschool teacher of four is keeping me b-u-s-y.  My blogging has dwindled to absolutely nothing.  While I realize it is not the most important activity in my life, I do want to write from time-to-time as an encouragement to other Christians/wives/mothers, to those considering adoption, to adoptive families, and as a witness for Christ.

   I wanted a post that gave a summation of our adoption costs, and how God miraculously brought the financial requirement together.  Get your calculator if you want your eyes to bulge!  Unfortunately, the process is ridiculously expensive whether international or domestic, but THESE LITTLE LIVES ARE WORTH IT!  And when you see how He can bring all the pieces together to bring one of His children home, it's so obvious - "Yep, God did THAT!"

Puzzle Back
Savings, Loans, and Extra Part-time Jobs - $11,855


Puzzle - $3525 (705 Pieces!!)
Tshirts - $915
Origami Owl Fundraiser Party - $150
Yard Sale - $1500
McDonalds - $421
Tumbleweed - $46
Envelope Fundraiser - $4782
Individual Donations - $3188
7,000 Mile Surprise - $1000
Reece's Rainbow Donations - $340
Christmas Shopping Fundraiser - $590
Photo Fundraiser - $410
Pecan Fundraiser - $100
Sucker Sales - $57
Whitney's Amazing Adoption Auction - $1900

About Me

My Photo

Two grateful children of God who are head-over-heels for one another, best friends and partners in this crazy world!  Parents striving to disciple our five incredible children who arrived in our arms in different ways, but fill our hearts with an uncompromising love.  Full of imperfections, but trying our best every day . . . well, almost every day (that goes back to the imperfections).  THANKFUL, THANKFUL, THANKFUL to know the love of our Savior and our precious family.