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Monthly Archives: July 2014


Both Hands Project


Kevin and I have mentioned the Both Hands Project briefly, but I want to clarify exactly what it is in its own post.  (Also check out that hyperlink).  Some of you might recall our matching grant opportunity from Lifesong for Orphans.  Along with that $1500 matching grant, we were also allowed to do a Both Hands project.  This type of project brings James 1:27 to life.  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (NIV).  What we will be doing is using both of our hands-one to serve a widow, and the other to bring J home.  I cannot believe how close we are.

We met Mary a few weeks ago.  She is a delightful woman!  She is pictured below.  Mary and her late husband, Bob, lived a lifetime of ministry related service, pastoring churches and parachurch organizations.  Bob and Mary had 4 children, which have now produced 11 grandchildren.  Interestingly, Bob and Mary also adopted one of their four!  We thought that was incredibly special.  Mary has a heart for adoption and I love how this story intertwines with our own.  Unfortunately, Bob passed away in 2007, after a quick, rapidly accelerating cancer diagnosis (hey cancer, you’re awful).  Mary has continued to be a pillar in her family.  In her 70’s, Mary provides regular childcare to her grandchildren-she watches 3 of them, 3 days a week-including one that’s still in diapers!  I’m impressed 🙂

Just before Bob’s diagnosis, he had several projects that he wanted to work on in their home.  Unfortunately, due to the progression of Bob’s cancer and the haste in which he passed, these were never completed.  Mary had Kevin, the boys, and I over for dinner and we were able to assess some of the projects that Mary needed to have done.  God bless my husband and his eye for projects.  He was quickly able to see the things that were necessary for Mary to continue to provide regular childcare for her grandkids and to live in her home safely for years to come.  We have a list of projects that we would like to complete for Mary on Saturday, August 23rd.  Kevin is working with local home supply stores (Menards, Lowes) to get all of our materials donated.  We are also working to assemble our core team (we need 15, but could have more) for that day.  We already have a few, solid people committed to serving with us.  The project will last all day.  All meals and drinks will be provided for the team.

What does it mean to be a member of the core team?  It means that you are committed to serving with us that day!  It also means that you will try to find sponsorship for your participation that day.  Think of it as a Relay for Life model.  People will sponsor you for your service that day; a fundraising letter will be sent out that you do not have to create.  Kevin and I, along with Both Hands, have created that letter.  Additionally, we will also cover the postage costs if needed.  The money that is raised never goes directly to Kevin or I.  It goes to Both Hands in the form of an adoption grant.  All donations are tax deductible, as Both Hands is a 501 C 3 NPO.  We are hopeful that this will be the last major fundraiser.  🙂

Both Hands has created a Facebook event page for our project.  Click the link to like our page.

We are excited to help Mary and to be one step closer to having our precious girl home!bothhands



It is with great joy that I write this post!  We received word today that Colombia has approved our dossier for J____ and we were given preliminary matching status!  They have given verbal approval for her specific match to our family!  All of our materials were in Bogota with ICBF-they are en route to her region in Cali, where it will get signed to make our status official.  Our caseworker said that she hasn’t seen the preliminary matching status granted before, so she was really excited that she could tell us about that!

It appear that our travel will likely be mid-October-her birthday is in mid-November; we are so excited that it appears like she will turn seven years old, with her family!

We are coming for you, sweet girl!  While we still are not able to share her full picture, I cropped her sweet smile below:


Thank you for everyone who has made John 14:18 possible for this very special girl!

Show Hope grant & Kickball update

showhopeGood morning!

We have great fundraising news.  First, our kickball tournament was so much fun and we raised over $800 while doing it!  This money will go directly to our matching grant opportunity through Lifesong for Orphans.  Unfortunately, we had 2 injuries that day-Kevin’s friend Trevor injured his finger (“mallet finger”) and Kevin’s dad tore his ACL!  We took kickball very, very seriously apparently!  Well wishes to both of these men!  I think we are all still a little sore from that day-ha!

And now, for the next piece….we applied for a Show Hope grant a couple of months ago-it was a really lengthy process!  However, the average grant amount is $4,000, so I knew this was a grant we had to apply for.  We also knew that we wouldn’t be able to find out about the status of this grant for a minimum of 90 days past the review date of June 30.  You can imagine my surprise when I received a letter from Show Hope in the mail yesterday.  I assumed it was a rejection letter since it had only been 14 days since our materials were reviewed.  Friends, we were approved for a grant of $7,000!  It was one of those jaw dropping, speechless moments.  The boys were with me when I opened it, and Asher said, “What’s going on?  Are we going to get J_____ today?”  🙂

We are so very thankful and that doesn’t even begin to describe our feelings on this generous grant that makes us feel that the adoption is now definitely within our fundraising capabilities.  This adoption has been such an exercise in faith, and trust in God.  It is very stressful to look at the large sum of needed funds and wonder where it is going to come from.  However, agencies like Show Hope ease so much of the burden and give renewed hope to adoptive families.

Because of the amazing grants we have received, and the fundraising efforts that those who love us so much have contributed to, we are fairly certain that we will be able to be done fundraising after our next 2 scheduled fundraisers!  The first is this Saturday at Cherry Berry in Springfield IL where we have the opportunity to earn up to 20% of the sales from 12-6pm.  Our last fundraiser will be August 23 with our Both Hands Project in Springfield IL.  I will be writing a blog post soon that outlines the details of the Both Hands project, which is seriously James 1:27 come to life.

I wish we had an update from Colombia to share.  We have not heard anything new though.  We know that Colombia has our responses to their questions and that ICBF is reviewing them.  We are praying for response soon-we don’t want J_____ to spend one more birthday in an orphanage.

Auction & Katelyn’s Fund Grant Update


We just finished an amazingly wonderful auction that surpassed our fundraising goal for the event. We don’t have a firm final total raised yet, but I feel relatively confident in saying that it is at least $1400 (which was more that I thought and may have said to a few people who asked right away-remember, math is not my strong suit)! What a blessing! I am working on getting things shipped and delivered to where they belong this week; many of the items are not in my possession, but in the hands of dear friends, literally across the country who are working to accommodate the winners. 🙂

If you recall, a couple of weeks ago, we have a late night Skype interview with an agency called Katelyn’s Fund for an adoption grant. We thought it went well, but we also know that there are many, many deserving families out there, all seeking kids that desperately need families. Today, we received an email that we have indeed received a grant from them! We are so delighted!  We feel so encouraged that this agency, these strangers, feel that we would be fitting parents to J___  and wanted to ease our burden!  $3,000 off of our expenses just like that!

I am continually reminded of Psalm 50. Whenever I get worried or stressed out about an upcoming fundraiser or what we still need to come up with, I have been reminded that my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills….


Auction Contributions: several private donors-tons of stuff!

It is definitely time for another post dedicated to our lovely pals who have provided items privately.  Check out this stuff:

Bird nest necklaces-these measure 28 in.  I’m in love with these, and truth be told, would love to score one.  I have a feeling that these are going to go FAST!  We have FOUR available, and I believe we will sell these as “buy it now” items at $15 a piece.  One of my sweet friends makes these.  (Hi Lori)!


Next, we have 2 new with tags, Charming Charlies scarves-love these prints!  Retail value:  $30


Who doesn’t love some jewelry?  Check out these beautiful bangles from Premier Jewelry!  The silver bracelet is called the Illusion Bangle.  The gold bracelet is called the Hamilton Bracelet.  The total retail value for both is about $35.



Finally, look at this adorable Bedtime Basket set!  Included:  5 board books (The Going to Bed Book, Ahoy Lil Buccaneers, Dr. Seuss’s ABC, Trucks, Colors in the Natural World), woven basket, unisex blanket (super soft), stuffed elephant, nightlight
Retail Value: $70


Homemade Dinner for 4 Colombian Style!
Will include 4 chicken breasts (cooked a la Chuleta de Pollo), dinner rolls (Pandebono) and a vegetable, Arroz con Zanahoria (rice with carrots).
Locals only
Retail value: $25


Adorable matching taggie fox print burp cloth (11×17) + blankie (13×13)! Handmade by a sweet friend!
Fabric is flannel on minky dot-super soft
Retail value is $35

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Set of 3 hot pads + 6 dish scrubbies
Handmade with love and super durable-will last years!

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Beat the summer heat with a Jelly Belly Snow Cone maker! Includes the portable ice shaving machine, 3 full size syrups, 10 ice treat cups and spoons, 4 reusable treat cups, and a snow cone decorating kit!  Retail value: $40
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Adorable matching taggie girlie silhouette burp cloth (11×17) + blankies (13×13)! Handmade by a sweet friend!
Fabric is flannel on minky dot-super soft
Retail value is $35

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Set of 5 colorful pillowcases 1 extra large reversible baby blanket-perfect for tummy time!
Handmade with love!
Saying on extra large blanket is: “I think animal crackers and cocoa to drink,, that is the finest of suppers” Adorable!
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Wii console & battery +all cords, 2 controllers, 1 nunchuck, sensor bar, Wii Active Personal Trainer + Active Sports Accessory Pack, 4 more games (NBA2K11, Wii Fit Plus, Yamaha Supercross, Story Hour Adventures), boxing gloves (for Wii)
Retail value: $264!!
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Finally….2 pieces of artwork from our sweet boys who really, really want to bring a sister home.  Judah calls his, “My Speech” (lol) and Asher calls his, “Happy Day.”  Both done on canvas.

Retail Value:  immeasureable

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Reminder:  The auction will run for 48 hours on Facebook (July 1-3).  A starting bid will be provided, and further bids will simply be made by commenting on the item’s picture-simple!  Items will be shipped by me from Sherman IL.  Payment will go directly to our Lifesong for Orphans matching grant account.  Lifesong does NOT keep a portion of any sales!  100% of the proceeds from this event will go directly to the adoption.  We have a PayPal button specifically for the Lifesong account located here on our blog.  Checks can also be written to Lifesong for Orphans P.O. Box 40 Gridley, IL 61744, with Erickson #4462 in the memo.  Or, you can visit this link:  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8ZREECA9WJ3UL

Event page link:  https://www.facebook.com/searchingforselah