Philippians 4:12

Faith in life through good and hard times

“Gluten Free” freezer meals

I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled with the GF options available in stores now. There are many companies that realize how important it is for those of us with Celiac Disease. It makes life easier when I am the only celiac in a house of 5! I can make a frozen meal when I don’t feel like cooking for my herd and order pizza or Chinese food.

A little note about labeling for true Celiacs:

Gluten Free:

FDA only requires <20ppm be present in foods labeled as GF. Why is it important to know this? As a celiac(true celiac) of 20+years, any presence of gluten gives me a reaction. Seriously, stirring pasta with the same fork will give me a reaction. That would qualify as less than 20ppm, and yet I still have symptoms.

Certified Gluten Free:

These products have been certified by a Celiac group. While you can’t really be positive about the possibility of cross contamination, the companies that have dedicated GF facilities realize that some of us can’t take the risk of even <1ppm of gluten in our diet.

Yes, there are people that use GF as a fad diet and have no real medical issue requiring them to be GF. Those of us that do, can’t have gluten in any product we use. 

This unfortunately include cosmetics. “How?” You might ask. Well, think about it. You apply a powder foundation, breathing in the product. You lick your lips. These are now consumed. Boom! Reaction.

Back to my rant on labeling.

I personally hate having to read labels. It drives me crazy. Reading labels adds 30-45 minutes to my grocery shopping experience. I enjoy grocery shopping. I know it’s odd, but it’s usually the only time I get without children. So, when I read the label on a product I had recently purchased in the “specialty” foods section labeled “Gluten Free” and saw “processed in a facility that also processes wheat” I was floored. Due to my laziness and excitement of finding a dish that sounded yummy and was labeled GF, I didn’t read the label until after I ate it and spent the night in the fetal position with cramps and a headache. Totally my fault! I should have read the label before I ate it. 

Why am I mad about the misleading label? Because I have celiac disease! It’s not a fad diet. It’s not a suggested diet to help me lose weight. It’s an autoimmune disease that very few doctors know the extent of even the slightest exposure on our system. It not only effects the gut, which is bad enough, but has multiple system issues. Neuro, psych, muscular, joint, respiratory, and reproductive. It causes nutritional deficiencies which can leave long term lasting damage.

Why is it that a 20yo food chain manager knows that frying chips that are gluten free in oil that you fry something that isn’t makes the item contaminated, yet large companies and the “governing body” for labeling don’t? If you are going to go through the expense of labeling, would the cost of a dedicated facility be that difficult?

Oh! And if I have someone tell me that “if there is any, it wouldn’t effect you”, one more time, I may go postal! Seriously. I would like to start adding Miralax to their coffee and say “it’s just a little bit. You should be fine.”

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When God Calls You to Wait

Waiting is very hard for me. It is hard to give up control on a situation that you really have no control over. When I am presented with a project, cause, or job, I usually throw myself into it and work 25/8 (because I always feel like there are not enough hours or days) until it is done. . All of our applications are complete. Tax papers at the CPA. My goals are completed.

I have found that obstacles keep being thrown in front of me from all directions. Negative feelings from OC about our girl. The Homestudy is delayed. No interest in our house. No updates for hosting this Summer. Very little, if any, support from “friends” on our decision. 

My family is 200% supportive. His family is silent and distant.

Our daughter is yearning for the day when her “sister” can come home forever. I am struggling with feelings of defeat, as yet again, things do not go as planned.

On a positive note, the house we want is back on the market. Our children continue to work hard and excel in school. We chat with our girl almost daily. I pray continually that He has a plan and that I will find comfort in His timing. 

But, in the mean time, I stress over dates as we do have a deadline. We do not have years to deal with a delayed process. We have months.

Phil 4:6-7 keeps ringing in my head. My prayers and petitions, along with my thanks, are presented daily. I am thankful that with time, hearts are softened. With struggles, comes appreciation. 

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Tax deductible Donations

Here is the jist with crowdfunding:

Most sites are “free”. That means it is free to set up. They don’t do it for free. Usually they charge a per donation charge and a percentage of the donation. Money comes straight to you. Donators do not get a tax receipt to write it off. Not important for the $5-$50 but more so for the $100+ people. We have three crowd funding sites. Why three? Well one we are familiar with, one others are familiar with and the other…

Is a charitable tax deductible fundraising site! PureCharity.org does crowdfunding for you. They charge 5% and when you need money, they issue a “Grant” check to your organization. Donations, therefore, are 100% tax deductible. They are made to a 501c3 that offers grants to its users. Money is all accounted for and no one has to worry that you ended up buying that $5000 fridge with Keurig maker built in!

Since we are in the process of selling our house and buying a new one, we are also having a yard sale, people can pay on our PureCharity site for items they buy at the yard sale. Don’t have to worry about cash!! But this puts a delay in the home study process. If we completed it now, we would have to amend it later, which would cost more money.

We are still waiting for our Darlin to be listed on the hosting website. They are still waiting to hear from the court. So we will plan to host her for 8weeks this summer while continuing the adoption process! 

Days cannot go by fast enough and neither can the sale of our house. We want a bigger home where we all start off on new ground. No “mine”s, it is ours. 

Here is the new tax deductible link that will go directly to our adoption agency.

PureCharity

Thank you in advance of any support you give! Even if just words of encouragement!



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And Now The Fun Starts….



Last weekend, we enjoyed a peaceful relaxing weekend in Savannah. Although there were extra plans. We had our first three interviews with our Home Study agent.

GREEN LIGHT!!!

I need money and I need it yesterday!

Three beautiful children are counting on me to work a miracle(with God of course) and bring them home together. 

Our GoFundMe link is below. Please share the link, this blog post, whatever! I need your help! I need my village to help bring my kids home. And my village is an array of strangers with a love for orphans and a desire to help children get to their forever home!!

Donate

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Sometimes Stress is Good, Sometimes…Not So Much

I seem to start off most of my posts with:
So…..

I am in the habit of writing like I am speaking to someone; which, if you are reading this, I guess I am.

We are:
1. Trying to sell our house
2. Trying to buy a house
3. Trying to raise money for an adoption
4. Going through a Home Study
5. Filling out paperwork for the adoption
6. Waiting for news from the Orphan Court in country
7. Waiting on a date for traffic court
8. Trying to get a house clean enough to show while living in it with the 5 of us and 5 large dogs.
9. Trying to run a business
10. Trying not to kill anyone during the previous 9 things on the list.

Let me tell you something I have figured out:
If I was raising money to pay for my dog to have hip replacement surgery, I would have people donating left and right! My GoFund me page would be shared from Florida to Alaska. Yet, when I am trying to raise money to help with the cost of adopting 3 children from an orphanage in Europe….
Did you hear that? It was a pin dropping a mile away!
I have, according to the statistics on GoFund me when I share on FB and Twitter, 388 friends. Now not all of them can afford a big donation, but let’s say those 388 friends donated $5(a grande latte at Starbucks), I would have the money to completely pay for my Home Study. I need that complete before I can apply for grants. $10 and I would have enough money to pay for my HS, and my first Adoption Agency payment.

I am not complaining. Ok. I am. But seriously, how many Christians does it take to fund an adoption? Well, I personally know a couple that could outright pay for the whole thing and not break a sweat. How much have they donated? NONE

On to the house, made an offer on one 3 days ago. Haven’t heard a thing. Cleaning our house like I’m expecting my MIL so we can list the darn thing and hope it sells. Youngest son, we will refer to him as…..Goldfish. His attention span is about 10 seconds. He cleans like I do. Cleaning, find something you forgot you had and start remembering when you got it and why and then 45 minutes later you haven’t moved beyond that. 4 hours!!!!! It took him 4 hours to clean his room. That’s not including the 2 hours he spent “cleaning” it the day before.
Princess, her room is clean. Beds are made. Dishes done. Blankets folded. Floor swept and swiffer mopped. Guinea pig cage cleaned, food filled, waters filled.
Swag, brought up the dishes from his room and fed the chickens. Um, yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Dearest Husband, threw away empty boxes I had saved to pack then proceeded to lay on the couch playing Madden on his phone.

Currently, I am sitting in a diner, waiting on Princess while she attends her first dance. Seriously, NOT READY FOR THIS!

Oh and while all of this is going on, I have an appointment next month with a CD specialist who, is out of network and I have a $2000 deductible, and it’s 5 hours away. And my appointment is at 9am on a Monday!

If my sanity is still somewhat intact by the end of this month, it will quite literally be a miracle. Only the grace of God will see me through the multitude of obstacles set before me in such a short amount of time to accomplish.

Please continue to pray that things go in our favor where God intends it. And give me the strength to handle the disappointments that I know will come.

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When Your Worst Enemy is Your Own Body!

Since I was a small child, I have always had stomach problems. Along with that, I had exertional asthma and seemed to always be sick. At 5, allergy testing said I had a few food allergies; Purple grapes, eggs, and milk. I grew out of those “allergies” but continued to have issues.
I was constantly sick. Strep, tonsillitis, yeast infections, and once puberty hit, so did the migraines. At 16 I had my tonsils removed and the pathologist noted “something abnormal, but of unknown ideology.” When I was 17, appendix was removed, pathology report, same notation. Go to a GI doc who tells me my symptoms are consistent with IBS, but read a celiac panel. After that came back abnormal, next came endoscopy.
DING DING DING
Celiac Disease
Fast forward 4 years:
An adult, on my own insurance, pregnant, I had to switch GI docs. New doc says “you don’t have celiacs!” So I go back to normal diet.
Migraines and abnormal female issues. “IBS” symptoms come and go.
3 children and 12 years later, I start having seizures. Suffering daily from chronic fatigue, muscle pain, “brain fog”, and headaches. 3 neurologists later, no medical reason can be found for my symptoms so I was diagnosed with Essential Myoclonus.
GI symptoms always present since, you know, I have “IBS”, it got to a point where I could not eat anything without getting sick.
Allergist appointment and new GI appointment scheduled. Testing came back no allergies, endoscopy result: Celiac Disease
Now I wait to see a Celiac specialist to determine how to proceed with my dietary future. For now, I think I may go paleo.

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The Domestic vs International Adoption debate

“There are plenty of children here in the States, why would you adopt internationally?”

There are over 1 million orphans(abandoned/orphaned/or taken) world wide. There are many countries that will not allow international adoption and the children there suffer. There are families waiting on the blessing of children and there are families waiting to share their blessings with children.

Whether you adopt domestically or internationally, you are providing a family for a child(ren) that they might not ever have. Older children are almost never adopted. In some countries, children age out of the system at 16, while here in the States it is 18.

Sibling groups are another situation. How many people go into the adoption process thinking they will find that “perfect” child for their family. Well, for us that “perfect” child comes with two young siblings and a lot of baggage.

Whatever your case may be, if you are not adopting, have never adopted, or would never consider adoption, you really have no voice in this matter. We are called to help children and regardless of their race, ethnicity, country of origin, baggage, or beliefs, they are children that need us; Children whose families were taken from them or who gave them up.

If you have room in your heart for a child, does it really matter where they came from? And if you think adoption is good, but only if you adopt from your own country, then you seriously need to take a look at your motives. Why is one child better than another?

As a Christian, my “family” is across the globe. In small villages; large, crowded, dirty city streets; in orphanages, children’s homes, foster homes, and without homes; in chapels, barns, huts, and cathedrals.

I do not judge the couple that wants to adopt a young couple that is adopting a child with similar feature on the intent of knowing they can grow up never knowing they were adopted. Just as you cannot judge me for adopting children that do not look like me. They will know they were adopted. Hopefully they will stay in touch with the family that could not take care of them. They will know their culture and ours. They will know that we flew halfway around the world to bring them into our family. We will love them through the struggles and through the cuddles.

Love thy neighbor.
Take care of the widows and orphans.
Love thy brother and sister.
Take care of the least of these.
Show My love for you, by loving others.
Be the church.

The Great I Am tells us that we have this responsibility. To tend to the needs of others; wherever and whoever they may be!

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Fundraisers and Crowdfunding

We are partnering with a wonderful organization that will help us raise funds as well as support a wonderful mission. Apparent Project hand makes bead bracelets made from recycled materials. They are made by artists in Haiti as a primary source of income for their family. Mostly single mothers, they rely on this income to house, feed, and clothe themselves and their children.  If you are looking for a fundraiser to help you or your organization, I highly recommend this great cause!

Donations

We have a site on YouCaring that we are using to help raise initial costs for our adoption. Once our home study is complete, we will be working with AdoptTogether.org for crowdfunding.
 I am also a designer/consultant for both Origami Owl and Your Inspirations at Home. I am using 100% of my commission for our adoption.

While we are in a battle for these children, we pray daily that the court will move swiftly to bring our babies home!!

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My heart flew over the Atlantic

We said “see you soon” yesterday, because goodbye seems too final. We had some laughs and smiles before the tears and hugs started. She wants us as much as we want her. She tried everything she could to delay our departure. Then tried hiding in our group to avoid being shuttled through customs.
We have met the daughter that I did not give birth to; the sister that my daughter always wanted; and the family member that seems to be a flat piece to our puzzle!
I cry when I think of what she has gone through in her short years and what she must go through when she returns to her home country. I worry for her as decisions are made by adults who have no emotional connection to her. I pray that they will take into consideration her words and the documentation of years of neglect and abuse. I also pray that my heart can handle any decision that the court makes. While there is nothing more in the world that I want than for her to be home with us forever, it is all in the hands of others. I pray that God softens their hearts and makes the decision that is in the best interest of the children and that I can have peace with whatever they decide.

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Countdown to Departure

Hosting is almost over. We are not looking forward to saying goodbye. D has become a part of our family and it will be terrible when she is not here.
She is withdrawing a little bit. Seems a bit sadder. I wish I could tell her that we are working to get her back to us permanently, but it is against hosting rules.
We need help and are working on fundraisers. Our hearts are bigger than our pockets. Please, if you take time to read this, consider donating to our YouCaring page. That is the bare minimum we need to get the ball rolling. Every dollar helps!

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