Monday, March 31, 2014

Winners!


Before I list the names of those who won the drawings for the prizes offered in last Friday's Skip a Starbucks Day adoption fundraiser, I have to take a moment to extend a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who donated to Isabella's adoption fund, who donated prizes for the giveaway, and who tirelessly promoted the fundraiser. Many of you are strangers to me, and the beauty of your incredible generosity has blessed our family in ways I can't even put into words. We prayed that we might at least raise 5k of the 15k needed. Instead, we raised every penny we needed and had enough left over to give a donation to The Moses Basket for another adoptive family to use. We are so grateful to God and to all of you who opened up your hearts to our little girl. As soon as China gives us permission to travel (we expect to go sometime this summer), we will announce that here and post from China as well so that you can share in the homecoming.

Now, on to the winners! I used Google docs, which gave me a spread sheet and assigned everyone a number. Then I used random.org to pick the winners.

 If you won a prize, yay! I will be emailing the donor your info. Prizes should go out this week and next depending on the donor's schedule. (Some authors are currently on tour.) Thanks again for making Friday and Saturday such an incredible story of love and generosity for my daughter.

PRIZE:                                                                                             WINNER:

Level One:

FAKING NORMAL by Courtney C. Stevens                                               Heidi Zweifel
Handmade mitts by Jodi Meadows                                                               Doricela Millan-Sotelo
57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE by MG Buehrlen + YABC tote                 Heather Gonyo
KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger                           Miranda Wyattmills
LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger                                              Charissa Weaks
Handmade knitted cap by Heather Lindahl                                                     Jessie Patterson
INDELIBLE by Dawn Metcalf                                                                        Melissa Findley
UNNATURALIST & THE TINKER KING by Tiffany Trent                          Stephanie Carson
RENEGADE & REVELATIONS by J.A. Souders                                          Missy Holmes
GRAVE DANGER by Rachel Grant + t shirt                                                   Yara Reca-Vargas
REBOOT + advance copy of REBEL by Amy Tintera                                      Kay Hudson
REBOOT + advance copy of REBEL by Amy Tintera                                      Jennifer Weiser
REBEL BELLE by Rachel Hawkins + poster                                                    Katherine Coates
IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch                                                              Erica Haglund
ASK ME by Kimberly Pauley                                                                           Ashley Am
THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE by Rae Ann Parker                                             Janine Hays
OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks                                                                       Brianna Shrum
HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock                                                                    Jason Nelson
HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock                                                                    Melissa Brooks
UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan                                                                        Brittany Moore
FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan                                                                          Anne Brown
MOONLIT by Jadie Jones                                                                                Stephanie Pajonas
EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev                                                             Dextra Hoffman
THIS SIDE OF SALVATION by Jeri Smith-Ready                                          Victoria Scott
SUBLIME by Christina Lauren                                                                          Jasmine Stairs
TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini                                         Vicki Bechet
STARTERS by Lissa Price                                                                                Megan Trotter
MY BLUE IS HAPPY by Jessica Young                                                           Adrienne Rosado
CHARMED VENGEANCE by Suzanne Lazear                                                Ashley Hufford
THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire Legrand        Rachel Baker
THREE by Kristen Simmons                                                                              Pauline & Eliana Campos
MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick                                                Melissa Maggi
BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE by Tiffany Schmidt                                             Casey Chwiecko
STORYBOUND & STORY'S END by Marissa Burt                                        Jamie Wilson
THE DARK LIGHT by Sara Walsh                                                                   Paola Benavides
BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood                                                           Bridget Howard
THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK by Jenny Lundquist                           Teal Haviland


Level Two:

Grab Bag of YA books donated by Kristin Rens                                                Michelle Kellogg
Grab Bag of middle grade books donated by Kristin Rens                                  Sophie Riggsby
Grab bag of assorted books donated by Holly Root                                           Amber Lough
GIRL OF FIRE & THORNS trilogy by Rae Carson                                          Daisy Richeson
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy by Beth Revis                                             Sara Spock
EVIDENCE series by Rachel Grant                                                                   Shannon Mizikoski
SAMANTHA OWENS series by J.T. Ellison                                                    Kailey Jerome
ANGEL EYES trilogy by Shannon Dittemore                                                     Keli Gwyn
BLOOD OF EDEN trilogy by Julie Kagawa + dragon figurine                           Jennifer Souther
Box of recent YA releases donated by Wendy Darling                                       Lora Beth Johnson

Full manuscript critique by literary agent Pam Van Hycklama Vlieg                     Cate Hart


Level Three:

Diamond & tanzanite jewelry set donated by Heather Lindahl                             Mindy Ruiz
Jewell handbag donated by Amy Rosa                                                               Stephanie Scott
Set of Harlequin Presents + 2 hot military romances by Lynn Raye Harris           Laura Kramarsky
IRON FEY boxed set by Julie Kagawa                                                             Kelly Wood
$50 Barnes & Noble gift card donated by Jenny Lundquist                                Amy Olsen

Congratulations to the winners! If the prize donors have any questions or need more information, they will get in touch with you.

Thank you again to all who came together to help us bring Isabella home. You will forever be in our hearts.



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 random.org 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


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