Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Steps of a Stranger

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

There is a 13-year-old in Wisconsin who is setting an example in this world.  She is not letting her youth keep her from changing lives.  Matter of fact, she is not letting distance, or money, or any of the other million things that could distract her from blocking her path. 

This beautiful girl was adopted at age 8 from Ghana.  Her heart weighs heavy for orphaned children.  She could stop right there.  She could stop at the point where she feels grief, as so many of us do, and let that be the end. 

Not this girl.

Her heart will not allow her to stop there, and neither will her momma.  Together, they took that burden and sadness and bundled it into something good.  They began as consultants for Jamberry, a fun and innovative at-home nail application design company, and decided to donate her entire commission to a child who was being adopted.

And that is how her world changed ours.  She read about our Samantha and her story of feeling unwanted and hopeless.  Samantha's age and her story resounded in this Wisconsin teens' heart, and the rest is history.  Her mom contacted us and asked if they could donate her commission for a week to our adoption expenses!

A total stranger connected with our family through the miracle of technology and God's goodness.  This gal raised over $190 for our expenses, and thanks to our amazing LifeSong grant through Orphan Care Alliance, those funds will be matched!

Ally & Becky:  thank you for allowing your emotions to move you into action.  I hope we get to meet one day, when Samantha comes home.  You are a beautiful example to us of the path our footsteps should take in the future, in helping other families!!!!

Check out Becky's blog here, and even though our fundraiser is over, if you want to check-out the Jamberry site and support them, go to http://fullplatemom.jamberrynails.net/.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Always Awe-struck!

A matching grant!!!!  Woo-hoooo!  What a relief!  What a blessing!  We are astounded! 

You know, we really shouldn't be.  We've seen God work so many miracles in our lives that it should be all calm like, "Oh yeah.  We know God's got this." 

But I'm glad we are still awe-struck and full of gratitude for His GREATNESS!!  Doing the happy-screaming-squealing-jumping-dance!!!  Thank you Lord!!! 

The 4-1-1 is that Lifesong for Orphans will match any donations they receive for our family up to $4,500!!!!!  This has been made possible by a partnership between Lifesong and Orphan Care Alliance (OCA).  OCA is one of Lifesong's "Outside the Walls" church fund partners who are willing to use their resources to reach outside of their own church family and help Lifesong fund more adoptive families!!  Here are links to these great organizations:
Lifesong for Orphans
Orphan Care Alliance

If you feel led to donate, checks can be mailed to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
In the memo, note Hudson / #5024 to assure it goes to the correct account. Lifesong is a 501(c)3 non-profit and your gift is tax-deductible!! 
There is also an option to donate through this button - I think!  If I did all the HTML stuff correctly, lol.

Along with the grant came acceptance for a project called "Both Hands".  We cannot wait to share this amazing program with you!!  Details coming soon . . .

Monday, February 16, 2015

So Much More Than a T-shirt

T-shirts are likely the first fundraiser that comes to every adoptive families minds!  We have created a design for each of our adoption processes, and they are individually personal and precious to us because they are a memento of each journey. 

Tees are also about spreading awareness.  A fellow adoptive momma purchased one of our "Jesus Hears the Orphan, So Do I" tees, and it led to a beautiful revelation in the doctor's office!  She shares her experience here:

Just wanting to let you know that your t-shirt sparked a conversation today and helped change a heart!  We were getting medical updates for our home study.  The male nurse was asking me what was needed for adoption, and asked if this was my first child.  I told him I have 3 children, 2 biological and 1 adopted, and this adoption will bring home my 4th.  He questioned my pregnancies for the form, then said, "You chose to adopt even though you could have had more of your own."  It stumped him.  He said his fiancĂ© has said the same thing, but he doesn't understand. Then he READ MY SHIRT!  And said now I get it!!!! Today gave him a different perspective.

This momma's story, combined with the questions he was asking and a message on her shirt, made a young man realize adoption is not solely about having children.  It's about understanding there are millions of children without families who deserve one of their own!  It's about understanding every child is precious to our heavenly Father, and He has given all of us the responsibility of caring for them so they are orphaned no more.  So much more than just a shirt!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Divine Appointment

It started on a snowy morning in the middle of January.  The girls and I were accompanying Jon on a four-hour drive to see his podiatrist post-op, and we had made this trek many times.  For some reason, the county departments had not been able to salt the roads.  Within 2 miles of our driveway, we saw three wrecked vehicles.  By the time we arrived in the tiny city normally less than 10 minutes from our house, cars were at a stand-still.  After an hour of waiting had passed, we learned a semi had jack-knifed and was blocking the entire highway. 

Multiple times during our wait, we contemplated turning around and going back home.  But coordinating work, school, and caregivers schedules had already been attacked and accomplished.  Plus, there was an important errand we needed to run along our way.  We decided to persevere, bypass the gridlock, and take a back road.  I was driving, and began to fret a bit as we got off the main highway and immediately saw three more wrecked vehicles!

I don't know how many back-road miles I drove, but they were full of wracking nerves and slips and slides.  The oldest girls thought it was a delightful little roller coaster.  :)  Finally, we made it safely to the first major city near our home.  What normally takes us 20 minutes had taken TWO hours!  While the roads were clear from there, it was impossible to reach the doctor's office in time for Jon's appointment.  In addition, the likelihood of getting another appointment on the same day with this "doctor in high demand" was slim.  But we called, they were compassionate, and worked us in later in the afternoon.

Everything had seemed against us, yet we arrived in that office at precisely the time God would have us be there.  We just didn't know it yet. 

I was busy keeping the girls entertained in the waiting room, when I heard another momma ask where Kalli was from.  When Jon said "China", her face lit up and she shared a beautiful family photo with us.  Turns out, she and her hubby have two biological daughters and two daughters born in China!  We struck up a conversation, sharing experiences and talking about future adoptions.  Then we discovered we were both members of the same facebook group!  (It was the very group where we first saw Samantha's little face.) 

After leaving the office, we connected officially on facebook, and had a message from this momma.  She read our blog and learned about our fundraising efforts, and her family wanted five of our fundraiser tees.  When I saw their Paypal payment for the tees, I was in SHOCK!  $500!!!!  This sweet family we met 4 hours from our home (they had driven 2+ hours themselves), at a time hours later than we had planned, was part of a beautiful orchestration of God's provision.  This is a family who not only chooses to do something amazing with the money He has given them by becoming adoptive parents themselves, but also by BLESSING other families as well!!  We are still speechless.

Every step of this adoption journey has been miraculous.  From finding our daughter, to seeing God provide EXACTLY what we needed financially.  There have been several donations received in the mail - without us even asking - that arrived right before an adoption bill was due.  Generous strangers reaching out when they certainly did not have to.  Friends met through incredible circumstances sending sacrificial blessings our way.  Loyal family, church family, and friends who have been with us in past adoptions, and still stand by our side trying to help in whatever ways they can.  New friends seeking out ways to fundraise for us.

Do you see the beauty in the connections that are made?  God stirs the heart of someone to pray.  The heart of another is then moved to help or give in some manner.  It's a continuous circle, connecting us and leading us back to glorifying our God. 

All these precious pieces, coming together one-on-one, but most certainly not by chance.  It's all by divine appointment.

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!  Here is our gorgeous girl:

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 hudsonhome@bellsouth.net.  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.  :)

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.