Thursday, March 27, 2014

Skip a Starbucks Day Adoption Fundraiser

**Edited to Add: You did it! The full 15k needed to bring her home this summer has now been raised. We are so incredibly grateful to God and to all of you for giving generously to help Isabella come home. Any additional donations that come in will be given to The Moses Basket as a grant for another adoptive family. Drawings for the prizes will happen Monday. Thank you all!

Our Story:

In November of 2010, my husband Clint and I were in China finalizing the adoption of our first daughter and preparing to bring her home. During the two and a half weeks that we were in China, we both came to the realization that we had to go back. We knew there was one more little girl waiting somewhere in China who belonged in our family. We also knew that this time around, we wanted to adopt a child with some medical needs. 

We turned in our dossier to China in the beginning of February 2014, and we figured, based on the average wait time for special needs families, that we had about an 8 month wait to get our referral. (A child’s picture and file matched to a family.) But there are two ways to be matched to a child through the special needs program. One is to wait for China to get to your file, translate it, and then search for a child who matches your medical checklist (the list of things we’ve said we’d accept). The other is to be matched to one of the Special Focus kids whose files are sent to our agency each month. Special Focus children are those who are considered hard to place with a family. They have multiple medical conditions, and many families sign on for only one need.

Clint and I early on felt that we needed to be open to multiple needs. I kept seeing us with a girl who had a cleft palate and a heart murmur. Clint kept seeing us with a girl who had minor hearing loss and a missing or extra limb. 

Two weeks after our dossier arrived in China, our agency called us with a Special Focus child to consider. Her file arrived to us on her second birthday. She had cleft palate, congenital heart disease, minor hearing issues, and an extra thumb.

In other words, she is everything Clint and I kept seeing for our daughter. *cue the moment we started weeping*

Isabella Grace was abandoned beneath a highway overpass when she was four months old. She had severe pneumonia, along with her heart disease and cleft palate, which were both causing her medical difficulty. That says to me that her parents loved her, and they tried for four months to care for her in secret, either to avoid paying the second child penalty fee, which is prohibitive for poorer families, or because they couldn’t afford her medical care, and when they realized she was going to die without care, they put her where she would be quickly found. Highways in China, especially in cities, are much different than ours. They are choked with pedestrians and bicyclists. She was sure to be found quickly.

She is a strong, brave little girl. A month after she was found, she had heart surgery to repair four different defects in her heart. She was in and out of the ICU for recurring pneumonia during her first year. In her second year, she had two surgeries to repair her lip and palate and to remove her extra thumb. At two years old, she’s still tiny (wearing 9 month clothing size), she’s not walking on her own yet, and she doesn’t have many words yet. Her delayed development is a result, I feel certain, of her constant surgeries and hospital stays.

The orphanage reports that Isabella is quiet, shy, and loves to smile and grab onto the nannies and play with them. We can’t wait to bring her home! 

This is where you come in. We need to raise Isabella’s orphanage fee of 5k and the 10k we need to travel to China and to stay there for the two and a half weeks it takes to finalize her adoption. The concept of Skip a Starbucks Day is simple: skip an indulgence or two and donate the money toward Isabella's adoption fund instead. You can see our goal and how close we are to meeting it on the sidebar of this page. 

I know you'd donate even without me offering you something tangible in return, but to make this even more fun, a bunch of my friends have donated some really amazing prizes! (listed below) To enter, simply donate and then fill out the form at the bottom of this page.*

Thank you so much for helping us bring our sweet daughter home. Your generosity in early donations have already raised almost 3k toward our goal (as of the writing of this post). That is incredible! Isabella will know the story of how a community of people came together to bring her home to her forever family. 

To donate, please use the Paypal button on the sidebar ---> 

If you are on your phone and can't see the donate button, scroll down and choose to see the page in web version and the button should appear.

Anything donated above our 15k need will be given to The Moses Basket, a non-profit organization that supports adoptive families through grants, resources, and support.

Don't forget to enter the prize giveaway by using the form below! I will use to choose a winner for each prize from those who qualify. The prize giveaway is open until 9 a.m. CST Monday, March 31st.

And again, THANK YOU.

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so. 

Prize Level One - Minimum Donation of $5*

*1 signed copy of FAKING NORMAL by Courtney C. Stevens

*1 pair of fingerless knitted mitts donated by Jodi Meadows

*1 signed copy of THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE by M.G. Buehrlen and a YABC tote bag

*1 signed copy of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger

*1 signed copy of LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger

*1 knitted cap donated by Heather Lindahl

*1 signed copy of INDELIBLE by Dawn Metcalf

*1 signed copy of THE UNNATURALISTS & 1 signed copy of THE TINKER KING by Tiffany Trent

*1 signed copy of RENEGADE and 1 signed copy of REVELATIONS by J.A. Souders

*1 signed copy of GRAVE DANGER by Rachel Grant plus t-shirt

*1 signed copy of REBOOT plus an advance copy of REBEL by Amy Tintera (2 of these sets up for grabs)

*1 signed copy of REBEL BELLE by Rachel Hawkins plus poster

*1 signed copy of IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch

*1 signed copy of ASK ME by Kimberly Pauley

*1 signed copy of THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE by Rae Ann Parker

*1 signed copy of OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks, donated by Fallon Vaughn

*1 signed copy of HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock (2 of these available)

*1 signed copy of UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan

*1 signed copy of FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan

*1 signed copy of MOONLIT by Jadie Jones

*1 signed copy of EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev

*1 signed copy of THIS SIDE OF SALVATION by Jeri Smith-Ready

*1 signed advanced review copy of SUBLIME by Christina Lauren

*1 signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini

*1 signed copy of STARTERS by Lissa Price

*1 signed copy of MY BLUE IS HAPPY by Jessica Young

*1 signed copy of CHARMED VENGEANCE by Suzanne Lazear

*1 signed copy of THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire LeGrand

*1 signed copy of THREE by Kristen Simmons

*1 signed copy of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick

*1 signed copy of BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE by Tiffany Schmidt

*1 signed copy of STORYBOUND and STORY'S END by Marissa Burt

*1 signed copy of THE DARK LIGHT by Sara Walsh

*1 signed copy of BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood

*1 signed copy of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK by Jenny Lundquist

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so. 

Prize Level Two - Minimum Donation of $10*

Donors at this level qualify to have their names (or the name of  your choice) written on the back of a puzzle piece. We will be making a puzzle out of a picture of Isabella and using a two-sided frame so that she can see the legacy of love that brought her home. Donors also qualify for Prize Level One.

*Grab bag of YA books donated by Kristin Rens at Harper Collins

*Grab bag of Middle Grade books donated by Kristin Rens at Harper Collins

*Grab bag of assorted books donated by Holly Root

*1 signed GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy by Rae Carson

*1 signed ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy by Beth Revis plus swag

*1 signed set of Rachel Grant's EVIDENCE trilogy

*1 signed set of SAMANTHA OWENS novels by J.T. Ellison

*1 full manuscript critique from literary agent Pam Van Hylckama Vlieg (There is a question on the entry form to indicate if you are interested in this prize. She has a two month turn around for the critique.)

*1 signed ANGEL EYES trilogy by Shannon Dittemore plus bookmarks

*1 signed set of BLOOD OF EDEN trilogy by Julie Kagawa plus dragon figurine

*A box of YA new releases plus swag donated by Wendy Darling

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so. 

Prize Level Three - Minimum Donation of $25*

Donors at this level qualify for both Prize Level One and Two as well.

*1 diamond and tanzanite necklace and earring set

*1 Jewell handbag donated by Amy Rosa

*10 Harlequin novels plus 2 hot military romances by Lynn Raye Harris

*1 signed box set of THE IRON FEY series by Julie Kagawa

*1 $50 Barnes & Noble gift card donated by Jenny Lundquist

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so



  1. Isabella's story made me cry. I'm so happy that she will be coming home to such a wonderful family ♥

  2. Thank you so much for opening your hearts and your home for such a special girl.

  3. I am so happy for the opportunity to help this amazing new family! Best of luck to you!

  4. You and your husband are angels and I'm so glad that God brought you and Isabella into one another's lives. I'm looking forward to the post where Isabella comes home. What a blessing!

  5. That sweet little girls is meant to be yours :D I donated and I hope that you reach your goal and are able to give her the loving home she deserves! Best of luck to you!

    Isalys (Isolda on Paypal) / Book Soulmates

  6. I'll keep your family in my prayers! I will be glad to donate my latte funds to your cause! <3

  7. Thinking +++ thoughts your way for a happy trip home with little Isabella Grace!

  8. Good luck! Can't wait till she's home with you!

  9. Donated to a beautiful cause, best of luck to you! That sweet little one is meant for you!

  10. Praying you reach your goal today so you can bring your little girl home!

  11. I was glad to donate. Such an inspiring and a beautiful story. I really hope you reach your goal.
    Donna x

  12. this girl is going to be loves to pieces.

    so happy to be able to help out a little.

  13. I hope you get to bring her home soon!

  14. What a sweet story! Good luck bringing your little girl home soon.

  15. I'm curious. If you can't afford the orphanage fee and travel expenses, how will you afford her medical expenses? It seems like there will be quite a lot of expenses with the health problems she has.
    Don't get me wrong, I think it's an amazing thing that you're trying to do. I just question your financial ability to do so.

    1. We are financially able to pay for our health care plan, and she will be more than adequately covered by it. But honestly, adopting is a tremendously expensive undertaking. We've already paid nearly 12k in the various fees etc that are associated with this. We simply needed to fundraise the last 15k because the expenses are coming at us much faster than we'd ever anticipated. If you are familiar with Chinese adoption at all, you know that they thoroughly vet every prospective family's financial stability to make sure the babies are going to homes who can care for them properly.

    2. I'm glad to hear that. And sorry it costs so much to give a child a home. It's a shame. Good luck to you. And God bless you and your husband for your generous spirits. I wish you and your beautiful daughter all the best.

  16. Such a beautiful story and such a beautiful girl. Praying that you meet your goal, that everything goes smoothly, and that you can bring her home asap. God bless your family.

  17. God bless you and your husband. My daughter was born with brain injury, but because of the speech, OT, and PT she has received since she was 9 months old, she is less than a year behind in her development. I hope you are able to bring your daughter home, soon.

  18. Such a beautiful story! I am so happy to help you bring your daughter home. All the hugs and prayers! Adopting is so expensive. I never knew how much until a recent family friend adopted a child.

  19. Such a beautiful story! My son was born 5 months ago with a cleft lip and palate and was diagnosed with Van der Woude Syndrome, so this holds a special place in my heart. Your story brought me to tears. To willingly sign up to take care of a child with surgical needs truly takes a special kind of person. I wish I could have donated more money, but please know that your family will be in our thoughts and prayers! I am so glad that you've found each other :)

  20. I would send a copy of this to the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty. I know that Willie's family believes in adoption and that Jase's family has dealt wit a child with cleft palate. They may be able to make a donation.

  21. Oh Ms. CJ, this is wonderful. Adoption is such a dear topic to me, and Isabella is adorable! Please give her a hug from me and everyone else when you go to take her home. :)

  22. Hi C.J., I don't know how I missed this earlier, but just saw it on the Apocs thread. So thankful you raised the money you needed. Please let me know if you need anything else! I am so glad you found your child. Kami

  23. I am coming to this late, and you have already raised the funds. But congratulations on your new addition and for reaching your goal. She seems adorable and I am sure you guys will give her all of the love she needs. Good luck!


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