Sunday, August 22, 2010

Skip A Starbucks Day!

Weekend Update:

We've now raised $4100! Our family is humbled and blessed by your support of our daughter's journey home. Thank you just doesn't seem to cover it! We still have $3900 left to raise, so I'm leaving the donate button up on the sidebar since donations continue to come in. Thank you again for caring about my daughter.

Our Story:

What do a skipped cup of coffee, a little Chinese orphan girl, and you have in common? I'll get to that in a minute, but first, I want to tell you our story.

We had three biological boys in four years, and then I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I had a hysterectomy and while I mourned the fact that I couldn't have any more biological children, I was certain our family wasn't finished. My husband wasn't so sure. :) I'd talked about adopting and I always saw us with a little girl from China. He came up with a ton of reasons why now wasn't the right time to adopt. Then, on Mother's Day of 2005, he leaned over to me in church and said, "We have a daughter in China. We need to start the adoption proceedings to bring her home." I adjusted to this unexpected news (we hadn't discussed adoption for months) in about 15 seconds. :)

The next day, we began researching adoption and we picked out her name: Johanna Faith. Johanna means God's Gracious Gift and Faith is what it is taking to bring her home. We signed up with Chinese Children Adoption International agency based out of Colorado. We completed our stateside paperwork and homestudy within a few months, sent off our dossier to China with the understanding that it would be a 6-8 month wait, and eagerly planned to bring our daughter home.

Soon, though, we began to hear rumors that the wait time was extending. Then we heard that the government had cracked down on orphanages who were receiving money from the state but who weren't keeping all of their beds full and the wait slowed to a crawl. Our dreams of having her home for Christmas were dashed. And then our dreams for having her home in time for summer were dashed as well. Before we knew it, another Christmas had passed and we were still waiting. Meanwhile, the Olympics were coming to Beijing, and the word was most adoption processes would stop altogether.

As the wait stretched from 8 months to three years, I struggled with depression. I could hardly bear Christmas, because she wasn't yet there. I shut the door of her bedroom and left it closed because I couldn't bear to walk past it in the hall. It hurt to think about having a child out there whom I couldn't protect. Couldn't love. Couldn't save. Three years became four with no real change. Our homestudy expired. Our immigration petition expired. Three times. Our fingerprints expired. Four times. And China raised the orphanage and court fees by thousands while we waited. Suddenly, the cushion of money we'd raised at the start of this process was almost gone, and China was picking up speed in their child match program.

In September, it will be five years since we officially started our adoption process to bring Johanna home. We expect to receive her picture, information, and permission to travel sometime by the middle of September.

I opened her bedroom door for the first time in 3 1/2 years.

And went a little crazy ordering cute little hand-made hats and headbands on Etsy because I still don't know her size so can't buy her any clothes.

We're so excited to be able to travel soon to bring her home! But we still need to raise $8,000 to ransom her life from the orphanage. And that's where you come in!

The thought behind Skip A Starbucks Day is that if every person who reads this and feels a tug on their heart to be part of Johanna's journey home would give up a personal indulgence (like a cup of coffee) and donate that money toward our adoption instead, we could raise the money needed to bring her home to her forever family.

We know most of you would gladly donate without receiving anything in return, but I thought it would be fun to line up some awesome prizes and do a huge giveaway at the end of the fundraiser. Other bloggers thought it would be fun too.

So here's the deal: donate any amount you choose (we suggest a $5 minimum to mitigate the small percentage Paypal takes from the transaction) and you're automatically entered in the grand prize giveaway on this blog! You can look at the prize groupings below and fill out the entry form to choose which group you'd like to be entered to win. Several winners will each win one item from each group.

You can gain extra entries by publicizing this fundraiser on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and your blog! And don't forget to grab an I Skipped Starbucks button from my sidebar for your blog!

It gets even better! My blogger friends are hosting some AMAZING giveaways for donors on their own blogs. Simply by donating, you are qualified to enter EVERY SINGLE ONE of their giveaways. At the bottom of this post, you'll see the prizes pictured with links to where you can go to enter. There's some awesome stuff there, ranging from Voldemort's wand to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series (with a signed City of Glass!) to a huge ARC giveaway!

All you need to do to enter any of these giveaways is make a minimum $5 donation (button on the top of my sidebar). If you don't have a Paypal account and would rather send a snail mail entry, please contact me via email. Thank you!!

*The Grand Prize giveaway is open internationally as are some of the blogger's contests below.*

*The Giveaways are open until 11 p.m. central time Wednesday, August 25th*

Ready to choose which group of prizes you want a piece of? Here you go!


Prize Pack One (enter for a chance to win 1 of the following):

Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set

Treasure Chest of Custom Homemade Soap donated by Pepper's Apothecary

Signed copies of The Conqueror & The Irish Warrior donated by Kris Kennedy

$25 Amazon Gift Card donated by Tracey O'Hara

Signed copies of The Better Part of Darkness & The Darkest Edge of Dawn donated by Kelly Gay

Prize Pack Two: (enter for a chance to win 1 of the following)

The Twilight Saga in paperback

Shadow Hills book w/signed bookmark donated by Catie at Book Bound

The Prisoner & Perfect Circle by Carlos J. Cortes donated by Shawna Thomas

Chest of Custom Handmade Soaps donated by Pepper's Apothecary

Earrings inspired by The Dark Divine & a cd inspired by Twilight donated by Fire & Ice

ARC of The Obelisk (written by a produce of the show 24) donated by Shannon Messenger

Enter the Grand Prize drawing here or fill out the form below. Don't forget to check the bottom of this post for additional contests your donation qualifies you to enter!


Head to these blogs for a chance to win some amazing prizes! All donors may enter every contest!

K.B. Wagers: Pirates of the Caribbean prize pack. Includes a set of the 3 Pirates DVDs, a collection of skull & crossbones soaps, & a Pirates Are Better Than Ninjas t-shirt.

Rebecca Clark: $10 Starbucks gift card

H.C. Palmquist: Voldemort's wand & a stuffed Crookshanks.

N.L. Gervasio: A print of Summer Procession (gorgeous fairy pic!) & multiple book giveaways.

Bree Despain: An Egmont Paranormal Prize Pack: Includes an ARC of The Lost Saint.

Myra McEntire: The Mortal Instrument series: Includes a signed copy of City of Glass.

M.G. Buehrlen: A Garden Gnome (And he is one handsome gnome!)

Rae Ann Parker: Percy Jackson Prize Pack: Includes 3 volume boxed set of PJ books & the Lightning Thief DVD.

Carolina Valdez Miller: An ARCS Galore Giveaway!

Avery Beck: A Starbucks gift card.

Jody Wallace: A Crocheted Amigurumi Pair (Winner's choice of one of Jody's designs ... My faves are the Zombies and the Ninjas. You really can't go wrong with crocheted Zombies or Ninjas.)

Beth Trissel: A signed copy of her new historical fiction novel Red Bird's Song

Sara McClung: A signed set of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver & Linger

Shannon Messenger: A registration to my September Query Workshop.

Rachel Hawkins: ARC of Demonglass

Kimberly Pauley: Vampire Prize Pack

Kay Cassidy: Cinderella glass slipper & ARC of Cindy on a Mission

Gretchen Stull: Paranormal Prize Pack


  1. I'm so excited about this!!! That chest of soap is GORGEOUS!!!!

    It's amazing to see the generosity already in just the giveaways, let alone in donations.

  2. I hope this works for you. While I am not in the situation, I can understand the struggles. Looking forward to pictures when everything is said and done.

  3. Good luck. I know you'll get the funds.

    I'm an adoptive mom and adopted my daughter from China 12 years ago. It is an amazing experience. I know it is taking so much longer now. Glad it's working out for you.

  4. A couple in my church waited 13 years to get their daughter, Jo Leigh. They were finally blessed last September, when the wife was 50! What a shock... and a genuine gift. That sweet little girl has changed their lives.

  5. Woo hoo! Lets do this thing! :armed with home brewed caffeine:

  6. I an in awe at the generosity I have witnessed this morning! Good luck bringing your little girl home! This blogging community is just amazing, so I know you'll get the help you need.

    I look forward to seeing pics of your little beauty!

  7. On my blog, will be on my Twitter soon. Good luck and I'll be thinking great thoughts for Johanna Faith's first Christmas with you this year!

  8. I retweeted and donated money. My niece and nephew were adopted from Russia and I remember all they had to go through to bring them home. Your story is heart-breaking and uplifting. Best of luck!!

  9. Heard about this on Shannon Messenger's blog. Donated and blogging! Anything to help a cause like this one!

  10. I hope everything works out for you!

  11. I wish you and your family the best of luck in getting your daughter home as quickly as possible. My husband and I adopted our daughter from Russia and we know that saying there are frustrations in the process is an understatement. We hope the end of your journey is near and that it is successful and joyful.

  12. Let's bring baby Johanna home! I can't WAIT! :)

  13. As the mother of an adorable (now 11 year old) daughter from China, I'm all for your quest and would like to help.

    Please email me at I'd like to contribute but do not use Paypal. I'd like to get an address to send a donation.

  14. I wish the best for you, your husband, your new daughter and her new siblings.

  15. I don't want anything from any giveaway. Srsly, if I win, I'm not claiming. It's an honor to help, even though I can't help as much as I want.

    I may not have been from China, or from an orphanage, but I know adoption is hard, on everyone involved. You amaze me with your strength, love, and dedication. It takes that kind of will of character to keep going after so long.

    We all look forward to helping you welcome home your little daughter. Best wishes for the family - the whole family.

  16. I wish you the best of luck with your adoption. I have adopted twice from China, my second as a single parent. I raced to beat the deadline for cutting off single parents and beat it by 4 weeks(LID 4/5/07) -- only to realize I had an incredibly long wait. Which grew even longer.

    I ended up switching to SN and adopted my SON (requested a daughter LOL) 2 years ago.

    As hard as it is to believe, the pain of waiting these years WILL fade. You will still remember it, but holding your daughter in you WILL soften it.

  17. I hope that your able to raise the money you need this way. If everyone donates who sees this it seems like it would be raised quickly!
    I can't wait to hear how it all turns out and to see your beautiful daughter once you bring her home (in pictures of course!).

  18. I just donated. Good luck to you and your family. This is one lucky little girl.

  19. Best wishes & happy dreams of bringing your lil girl home.

    I donated! =)

  20. *hugs* Happy to help out in any way I can. =)

  21. Hope you get all the money you need. I thank you for adopting children. Although I was not adopted from another country I was adopted. It takes wonderful people like you and your husband to do this.

    How long are you going to keep up the paypal donation on your website?

  22. Good luck. I seriously don't have the $5 to donate, but I will retweet this for you.

  23. Thank you all for what you've done for our family today. I can't possibly tell you how much this means to us.

    And Jen I'm leaving the Donate button up until we hit our goal. :)

  24. Best of luck to you! I hope my blog post helps.

  25. Best of luck. I'm so excited for you, CJ!

  26. best of luck and give a kiss to Johanna for me. I've blogged about this ( and linked back to you. hope it helps!

  27. There are so many children languishing in foster care in the US that desperately need homes - some are infants or toddlers. The state will pay virtually all expenses and sometimes even a monthly stipend (often any child over a year old is considered hard top place), so you can put your money toward a college fund or the cost of raising a child. I hope you find the child you want, but I urge you and other readers to consider adopting within the US. Just google your state and you'll find information on how to start.

  28. I came here by way of Shannon's blog, and I'm so glad I did. My cousin adopted a baby from China four years ago and it's been so rewarding watching her progression within a loving family. I hope everyone gives as much as they can and you get to your goal!

  29. Dear Anonymous #1,

    Your concern for US orphans is admirable, but your thought process on adoption is ignorant. An adopted child is your child, it doesn't matter where that child comes from.

    People are called/led/pulled, however you want to say it for different reasons.
    I'm sure that CJ would kindly respond to you that her daughter is in China. Maybe, if she adopts again, she will be led to do a domestic adoption. Maybe she won't.

    Personally, if I were adopting I would try to do an international one. The way many of those orphans grow up is deplorable at best. Poor nutrition, poor education and a poor future. While I feel that all children should know the love of at least one parent the children in US orphanages at least have a fighting chance to make something of their lives.

    Adoption is awesome, please try not to be a burr in the sadle of an amazing event and an amazing time in the life of CJ.

  30. Absolute best of luck to you! I found out about this from wanderingray, and any friend of hers that needs help gets it in my book. :)

    I hope you can bring Johanna home!

  31. I hope you can reach your goal and bring your daughter home!

  32. Thanks to Talli Roland for bringing this to my attention. I'm happy to hear that you already have beautiful children and I'm even happier to hear that you know you are not finished! This really pulled at the heartstrings and I loved that you shared this!

    I found out two years ago that me and my husband were unable to have children, we will have to adopt which after going through a depression phase we realized that was indeed perfect for us. We plan on adopting a child in a few years time and it would be an honor to help bring little Johanna home.

    So far I plan on donating $20 but after speaking with my husband I'm sure it will be more! This is such a fabulous cause!

  33. What an awesome idea and a great cause! I hope you raise the money quickly!

    I'm chipping in with a prize donation on my blog. I hope it helps!

  34. Another day, another $5 donation.

    Much love to you!

    ~Michelle (Niassa)

  35. I hope that the small contribution our family made can help you. I understand the cost of adoption, by the time we were done with them we could have paid our house off 1.5 times.

    My wife cried when she read about you opening her door for the first time in that long. She wouldn't buy a bassinet or car seat until papers were signed because she couldn't bear going home to an empty bassinet. You are a strong family, I hope the process moves quickly - Johanna is one lucky little girl.
    kjovus and family

  36. Found out about your quest from Kimberly Pauley. Best of luck to you!

  37. Great way to raise funds~!

    I am so happy this is working out well.

    Go Fellow Bloggers!!!!

  38. Good luck, hope Johanna is with you soon :-)

  39. Good luck, I hope it all works out :)

  40. Oh, what a blessing to learn about Johanna from Patricia's blog.

    Just this summer, I contracted with Bethany House to publish a novel adoption from China!!!

    Would love to be bloggites and perhaps share adventures!

    Home from China two months and still missin' it!!


  41. Wonderful, Patti!

    And thank you to all who've commented, publicized, and donated. You've blessed us so much!


People who comment are made of awesomesauce with a side of WIN!

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