Monday, September 3, 2012

Fundraiser Updates

We are so, so, excited to announce that...we have raised the $4,500 needed for our referral fees! I know, that was mean - you thought we got our referral, huh?  A good friend told me that she thinks Monday would be a good day for our referral...I happen to agree :)  So, our referral fees will be submitted when we are matched with our daughter.  They will pay for her medical visits and care at Hannah's Hope in Ethiopia, along with several other things.  The good news is that this is the last set of fees we need to submit to our agency.  The bad news is that we still need to raise funds to travel to Ethiopia...twice.  The first time will be to meet our daughter and to be present for our court date in Ethiopia, in which the Ethiopia government recognizes that we are legally our daughter's parents.  The second trip will occur 4-8 weeks later, in which we will attend our Embassy appointment, receive our daughter's legal and travel documents, and bring her home!

How much do two trips to Ethiopia cost, you ask?  About $2,500 per round trip ticket. Yikes! We are confident, though, that God will provide the funds we need to travel to our baby girl. With that said, we are excited to announce several upcoming fundraising opportunities:

1. We still have about 35 Simply Love t-shirts (mostly sizes L and XL, but a few Smalls and Mediums). They come in 3 fabulous designs and 4 different colors, and are so, so comfy! The shirts are $25 and you can order on our blog or contact me personally!

2. We want our little giraffe to know that so many people love her and helped to bring her home. So, we are doing a puzzle piece fundraiser.  You can buy a piece of this 350 piece puzzle for $10, and your name will be written on the back of the piece that you purchase.  When the puzzle is complete, we will display it in a double-sided frame so that Safiya can see who all was (and is!) a piece of her adoption story.  You can purchase a piece of Safiya's adoption puzzle under the "Puzzle" link of our blog!

3. I'm putting my creative skills to use for this one: I will be designing, painting and selling wooden letters and names for kids' rooms.  You pick your colors and patterns, and I'll do the rest! Letters are $7 apiece, and shipping is available.  You can order on my Etsy website: .  Click on "Send a message to shop owner" to personalize your letters!

4. My cousin, Samantha, is hosting an online 31 fundraiser party for our adoption! 20% of all sales will benefit our adoption, and there are some awesome new products on their Fall line!  You can check out the party at:

Also, look for an announcement (soon!) about a 31 party that we will be hosting at my mom's house later this month!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wading Through the Raisin Bran

Our article in the paper has prompted several emails, Facebook messages and personal encounters with family, friends, and even complete strangers.  The most common comment is something along the lines of "You'll be such a good mommy to this little girl" or "She is so lucky to have you as a mommy".  I know these words are meant to be encouraging, but they make me cringe.  Every time.  I'd like to hand out little business cards to these people with this blog post on them:  And then maybe a post-assessment asking if they still think I'll be a good mommy after reading about our crazy, dysfunctional life.  And as for her being the lucky one?  No, no, no....we are the lucky ones.  We are being blessed beyond all explanation to be the parents of this precious child, whom we've never seen or met, but would still die for.  I know this post is uncharacteristically cynical today, but it's been a hard week.  I haven't felt like a good mommy.  I feel like I'm stuck in a tornado with a whirling dirvish named Juliana spinning around me.

With that said, I'm reading "House Rules" by Jodi Picoult.  It's about a mom raising a child with high-functioning autism.  And this part of the book spoke to me:

We are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and PTA.  Here's the secret: Those mothers don't exist. Most of us - even if we'd never confess - are suffering through the raisin bran in the hopes of a glimpse of that magic ring. I look very good on paper.  I have a family, and I write a newspaper column. In real life, I have to pick superglue out of the carpet. rarely remember to defrost for dinner, and plan to have BECAUSE I SAID SO engraved on my tombstone.  
Real mothers wonder why experts who write for Parents and Good Housekeeping seem to have their acts together all the time when they themselves can barely keep their heads above the stormy seas of parenthood. Real mothers don't just listen with humble embarrassment to the elderly lady who offers unsolicited advice in the checkout line when a child is throwing a tantrum.  We take the child, dump him in the lady's cart, and say, "Great. Maybe you can do a better job." Real mothers know that it's okay to eat cold pizza for breakfast. Real mothers admit it is easier to fail at this job than succeed. 
If parenting is the box of raisin bran, then real mothers know the ratio of flakes to fun is severely imbalanced.  For every moment that your child confides in you, or tells you he loves you, or does something unprompted to protect his brother that you happen to witness, there are many more moments of chaos, error, and self-doubt.
Real mothers may not speak the heresy, but they sometimes secretly wish they'd chosen something for breakfast other than this endless cereal. Real mothers worry that other mothers will find that magic ring, whereas they'll be looking for ages.
Rest easy, real mothers. The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Updates to our Journey

It's been way too long since I've updated our awesome readers about our adoption journey, but....not a whole lot has happened!  We're still on the waitlist: #130 for girls and #54 for siblings.  A LOT of families have left AGCI in the past few months to pursue waiting children with other agencies and countries.  We are overjoyed that these waiting children have found their forever families, and were tempted to join those families, but feel like God wants us to stay with AGCI for a little while longer.

In more exciting news, our Simply Love shirts are here, and they're gorgeous!  We have men's (M-XL) and women's (S-XL) shirts in 3 different styles.  Check out our Simply Love page on our blog to order one or email me at to place an order.

We had a HUGE successful yard sale last weekend at Life UMC in Fairmont and raised nearly $2,000! We are so grateful for the help of our family and friends who helped make this fundraiser possible!  And finally, an article was published in the Times West Virginian today about our adoption journey.  We are so thankful to Mary Wade Burnside for the wonderfully written article and to Tammy Shriver for the beautiful photos. You can check out the article here:
From WV to Ethiopia p1 From WV to Ethiopia p2

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We Had Food for Dinner

Last night, for a split second, I almost apologized to Buck as I was serving dinner.  I made this really awesome soup on Monday night (because soup goes with snow like white on rice - yes, we had 2.5 inches of snow...) Tuesday night, I wasn't feeling very creative in the cooking department, and so we had soup and grilled cheese...again.  For a split second, I felt a little guilty.  Shouldn't I be feeding my family some awesome dinner?  Don't they deserve variety? And then, it hit me like a brick wall.  We are having soup and grilled cheese for dinner. Food.  My third meal today.  My daughter's third meal today.  While not the most glamorous meal in the world, it is still food.  And it's on our table.  And we will not go to bed hungry tonight or wonder where our next meal will come from.  I can't say the same for my daughter's birth family and thousands of orphans in Ethiopia who are eating mush...or nothing... for dinner tonight.

Lesson learned: Dinner doesn't have to be a glamorous affair. Yes, in my family, food = love, especially when you're talking the awesome Italian food my Mom whips up for special occassions.  But for a Tuesday night, soup and grilled cheese will do, even if it is the 2nd night in a row.  For me, it is enough to know that my husband and daughter are eating dinner, their 3rd meal of the day.  Period. 

No, I didn't apologize.  And Buck told me that dinner was awesome. <3

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Give Us Your Junk, Please!

Alright y''s time for this family to start fundraising for the next set of fees: the referral of our daughter. (Referral = our daughter is matched with us)  The $4,500 that is due with her referral covers the cost of her care while at Hannah's Hope (transition home) in Ethiopia.  This care includes formula, diapers, clothing, medical check-ups, and salaries for the Special Mothers and other staff.  The Special Mothers at Hannah's Hope are tirelessly dedicated to these children, and care for them as if they were their own. So...when will we get our referral?  We honestly have no idea.  The average wait time for a healthy baby girl is approximately 18 months; however, we have several parameters that could allow us to be matched sooner.  We know that God's timing is perfect and that He is preparing the way for baby girl to be placed in our arms, whether it is tomorrow or 18 months from now.

Whatever the timing, we want to be prepared.  So...we're having a GIGANTIC yard sale! I'm not talking about a dinky little "porch" or "garage" sale, I'm talking about one that will have to be held in a school gym (or possibly the Armory?).  Complete with bake sale and lemonade, of course.  So, I know a lot of y'all are Spring Cleaning right now.  At our house, we are actually Spring Purging....would you consider giving us your junk, please?  We'll take anything.  Seriously.  And we'll come pick it up and store it in our basement until said yard sale. Or if you'd like to help organize this beast, bake something, or help in any other way, please get ahold of me!  ( or Facebook)

We haven't had great success with our fundraisers so far (we still haven't placed our t-shirt order), and we'd love to have your all's support for this one.  Your junk may mean nothing to you, but it means a lot for our daughter and our family.  So go clean out your closet or basement or garage (or all 3!), and we will gladly come pick up your junk!

Monday, April 9, 2012

And Now A Happier Post...

We're officially on the wait list! Our numbers for April are.....

In case you can't find the numbers, they are #140 for the girls list and #55 for the siblings list. we wait!

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more ’gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.
—John Burroughs

The Private Face of Adoption

When you think of the word "adoption", what are some words that come to mind?  Many people would say, "blessing", "miracle", "gift", "love", or "family".  The reality is that these words describe the public face of adoption - you know, the happy, multicultural family you see at a restaurant or the mall or the movies. The reality is that the words that describe the private face of adoption are not always so happy.  Here's the truth: in order for our family to adopt an orphan, she has to be just that: an orphan.  Orphan.  Process that word for a minute, and now think about the words you'd use to describe adoption.  "Grief", "loss", "relinquishment", "death", "abandonment", "anguish"....not such a happy picture now, is it?

While we are overjoyed that God has placed this little girl on our hearts and eventually in our home, we grieve for the losses she will face: her family, culture, country, identity, and language.  Adoption would not be possible without loss.  Whether our daughter's situation involves abandonment or relinquishment, we have the utmost respect for her birth family, who made the most difficult decision a parent could ever make: to let their child be loved and cared for by complete strangers halfway around the world.  Can you imagine the decisions that these families must make?  To keep your child and watch her starve, or give her up and never see her again?  To watch your baby die from AIDS or to relinquish her to a family who can provide treatment?  To be a mother dying from AIDS and wondering who will care for your baby when you're gone?  One of these situations is what our daughter's birth mother is facing right this moment, or will be facing in the near future.  Yes, God is a father to the fatherless and places the lonely in families, but until now, have you really considered what it means to be "fatherless" and "lonely"?

Adoption does not come without an enormous emotional cost.  The emotions we are experiencing as our daughter's adoptive family are nothing compared to those of her and her birth family.  Yes, we can empathize with their grief, but we can't sympathize.  We can never know the anguish they are feeling.  We can only imagine...

Friday, April 6, 2012


This week, we had to make some updates to our dossier - basically getting some documents re-notarized, updating information, etc...we finally got the last document notarized today and everything sent to Portland, so we should get a call on Monday with our official waitlist numbers for April! We also got our FDL (Favorable Determination Letter) today from USCIS/ Department of Homeland Security.  It basically says that our fingerprints all checked out and they approve us to move forward with the adoption! Now to get the FDL notarized...another trip to Fairmont on Monday! :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

And The Winner Is...

...Alison Schmelzer from Madison, MS.  The Schmelzers are #12 on All God's Children's wait list for their beautiful baby girl. Congratulations and thank you all for entering the giveaway!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dossier = Fancy Name for Lots of Papers

So, in the past few months, many of you have heard me ramble, complain, or celebrate our adoption dossier.  And many of you probably wondered what the heck I was talking about...and may have even secretly scowled at me for using such a fancy really does sound silly.  So what the heck is a dossier?  According to


A collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject
In our case, our dossier was a collection of adoption documents, including:
1. Notarized and State Certified Power of Attorney Form
2. Statement of Reason to Adopt (application letter)
3. Photocopy of USCIS Fingerprint Appointment Letter
4. Photocopies of US Passport 
5. Official passport photos
6. Photographs of the family
7. Photographs of the family's home
8. Home Study
9. Letters of Employment 
10. Financial Statement
11. Birth Certificates 
12. Marriage Certificate
13. Medical letters 
14. Police clearances
15. Two letters of reference
16. $5,500

Every single document had to be signed by at least 2 different people and notarized, and one had to be sent to the Secretary of State to be certified. This is what all of this paperwork looks like:

And this is what a bewildered postal worker looks like when you ask him to take a picture with you and a box that has your dossier in it:

To us, dossier means 4 months of stressful, grueling paper chasing with a 12, 13, 14, and 15 month old attached to you hip; a heart-wrenching letter to the Ethiopian government explaining why you would make good parents to one of their children; trying to capture the inside and outside of your house in 6-8 photos; and having a ton of faith that God will provide the $5,500 you need to submit said dossier.  

So, the reason you see me and Juliana posing with the bewildered postal worker is because our God is amazingly faithful and truly does provide in HIS own time.  On March 14, we had every single document necessary to submit our dossier and get on the waitlist for our daughter....minus $3,000 of the $5,500 fee.  Yesterday, we were $1,500 short.  Today, we received a grant for $2,200 and mailed our dossier to Portland, OR.  We are officially on the waitlist and will know our waitlist numbers on Monday!!

Dossier....big, fancy word for lots of papers and lots of love.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Us?

"God doesn't give us more than we can handle....but sometimes, I wish He didn't trust me so much."  Heard that one before?  That pretty much sums up my feelings right about now.  Why did God choose US, of all people, to adopt and love a grieving, scared, emotionally traumatized child?  Doesn't this child deserve a normal family?  A family where Dad goes to work in the morning and comes home at night and Mom cooks wholesome, nutritious meals, bakes fresh chocolate chip cookies, does 12 loads of laundry before noon, and cleans the house, all while bouncing a baby on her hip?  A family who lives in a nice, new 2-story house in a subdivision where kids ride their bikes up and down the street and actually have neighbors?  We're not that normal family....we live in a 100-year old house halfway up a mountain in the rural outskirts of our city.  Our neighbors live "up the hill" from us, and riding bikes on our road would be a death wish.  These days, Daddy goes to work at 5pm and comes home around 5am.  On any given day of the week, you may walk in to find me making Hamburger Helper for our "dinner", which is actually Buck's breakfast, while Jules runs madly through the house yelling "DOGGIE!!" and trying to put a sock on one of our 3 (yes, 3) dogs.  It would be just as likely for you to walk in and find diapers (clean ones!) and a sippy in the dog's kennel and Juliana sitting inside our dishwasher (which is not attached to the wall, by the way), trying to put her baby doll and bink to bed.  (Note: binks do not survive dishwashing).  We. are. not. normal.  Normal people tell each other "I love you" to show their love.  Buck and I show our love by hiding a toy dinosaur (affectionately known as "Little T") in random places throughout the house for each other to find.  (The best one so far was finding Little T perched on the shower head, looking down at me.  Yes, I screamed.)  Buck keeps fuzzy socks in his nightstand to put on my frigid feet in the middle of the night.  I make him donkey-shaped pancakes and leave him notes in the shower, constructed solely from Juliana's 26 foam bath letters.  (No, they're not always nice words, but we're working with 5 vowels here)  Why our social worker approved and recommended us to be adoptive parents is beyond me.  She has access to our medical reports, our psychological evaluations and our financial statement, and she still approved us??  I mean, we actually showed her Little T!  She should have run out of here and never looked back!

So, why am I questioning God for choosing us to adopt one of His precious children? I should feel honored, humbled, blessed...instead I'm hesitant, unsure and scared.  Sure, we have 2 years to read every book on Amazon about adoptive parenting, bonding, and attachment.  We can take as many adoptive learning courses as we want and read adoptive parents' blogs and forums until our eyes are crossed. But will any of that preparation matter in the middle of the night when our baby girl has night terrors or realizes that her "special mother" who cared for her so tenderly at the orphanage has been replaced by strange, white people who don't know how to comfort her?  Will those books really help us help her grieve for the loss of her birth family, country, and culture?  Will a seminar help us one day when she tells me that I'm not her real mother?  When you strip away the excitement of the wait, the journey to bring her home, the airport celebration and the happy family photo, you find the raw, exhausted emotions of a family trying to show unconditional love to a child who is emotionally traumatized.  Can we do this?  Will we be ready? And most importantly, why does God trust us so much?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eat Mor Chikin...For Our Adoption!

Alright, y'all...who likes Chick Fil-A?  We're pretty big fans in the Bright house, and we're even bigger fans now that the Bridgeport Chick Fil-A has agreed to partner with us for an Adoption Spirit Night on Monday, March 26.

How it works: You come to the Bridgeport Chick-Fil-A (on Emily Drive) on March 26 between 4-7pm, place your order, and present the fundraiser card that I'll be handing out prior to the event.  At the end of the night, we'll receive 15% of the profits from people who place an order on our behalf.  So....mark your calendars for March 26 from 4-7pm and come eat some chicken for a good cause!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Easy Fundraising Opportunity!

We came across a GREAT fundraising opportunity that will cost you NOTHING!  The Morgantown Armory is hosting a Spring Consignment Sale March 22-24.  As a consignor who is also volunteering at the sale, I will get 90% of the profits from the clothes that I consign.

Here's how you can help:  if you have any gently worn baby clothes, baby items, or kid's clothes that you would like to donate, we will receive 90% of the profits from our sales.  I can pick up the clothes/items any time and you can decide if you want any unsold clothes returned to you or donated at the end of the sale.  This is a great opportunity and could potentially bring in a few hundred dollars!  If you'd like to help out, please email (, Facebook me, leave a comment, or call me (304-203-1501).  I need to collect the clothes, tag them, and drop them off at the Armory on March 19, so I'd like to have everything done and ready to go by St. Patrick's Day!  Thanks for your help!

Cosignment Sale Brochure

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Little Bit...of Awesome Timing

God's timing is perfect, but often, we don't realize it until what we're waiting for comes to fruition.  I had that revelation today, as I crunched numbers to figure out when our dossier submission fees would be due and how much we need to raise before then.  A random check of our bank account revealed that our tax refund had posted (insert singing and much jubilation)!  We were responsible and paid off some bills (more singing and jubilation!), but the remainder went to our Adoption Fund. 

So...out of the $7,000 we need for dossier submission (official documents that go to the U.S. Embassy and Ethiopian courts), we are now down to $2,860!  We are so thankful and grateful to our families and friends (and the U.S. Treasury) for their t-shirt orders and monetary gifts over the past few weeks - you all have made a life-changing difference for a little girl halfway around the world, even if it's not obvious to you right this second.  Perfect timing...brought to you by God....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tickle, Tickle, Tickle!

What are the two best Valentine's Day gifts a mama could get from her kiddos? Here are mine:

1. Juliana tickling my neck as we snuggled for bedtime and saying, "ki-ckle, ki-ckle, ki-ckle!"
2. Getting an email from All God's Children that our home study was APPROVED today! (I know that gift was from baby girl in Ethiopia <3)

This mama doesn't need roses or chocolate; just a reminder of what true love really looks like!  Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Baby Be Blessed Dolls Giveaway

My friend sent me the link to these adorable dolls a few days ago, and I would love to get 2 for my girls!  They're customizable to look like your little girl (or boy!) and have a bible verse sewn onto their bellies.  This is an awesome ministry that supports orphan care and adoption awareness. 

And.... they're having a giveaway today!  Check out their blog: to find out how you can win one of these adorable dolls. can mention my name on their blog (not the FB page) to help us win one for our adopted little girl! (Don't worry, I'll buy Jules one, too!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Home Study Update!

Jules and I braved the cold and snow this morning to mail the final requirement for our home study to be completed!  God willing, it will be there Saturday morning via Priority for our case manager to review and APPROVE!! on Monday.  Go, mailman, go! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Much Needed Reminder

This reminder was much needed this morning after staying up until midnight filling out grant applications for the adoption and then being wakened at 6:45 by Princess Juliana (who had crashed at 6:30 PM last night).  Taking care of our little chicken pox girl for two weeks has taken its emotional and social toll on me, and I wondered as we ate our frosted flakes and yogurt, "What the heck are we going to do today?"  We were supposed to have a playdate this week and go to the Children's Discovery Museum, and instead, we're quarantined from other small children and any immunosuppressed adults for another week...  My question was answered when I sat down on the floor to play with Jules and she crawled into my lap with monkey, baby doll, bink and her little red car and watched The Cat in the Hat and Clifford for an HOUR.  A whole hour of cuddling with my sweet girl...followed by more cuddle time after her nap.  What the heck are we supposed to do today?  Cuddle.  And I'm completely ok with that.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I can't wait to rearrange and decorate the girls' room.  I know it's really early and sounds silly, because we don't know if our little baby girl will still be in a crib or in a toddler bed.  But I really, really want it to feel like she's already part of our family, even though she may not even be born yet! Here's the plan: two of these adorable toddler beds:
With matching (well, almost matching) quilts, made by mama:

And finally and most importantly, her name on the wall in wooden letters, just like Juliana's: we just need her to get here... love you, little girl, and your room will be ready and waiting for you soon!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

On the fence...

I'd like to think that most of us would agree that Jesus was the complete opposite of selfish, but at the same time, are we wholeheartedly acknowledging and acting on His command to love and protect those who need it most, or are we straddling the fence? What are your thoughts?

She has your smile...

She has your many times have I heard this about Juliana?  How many times will I hear it about our new daughter?  I hope and pray that I hear it a lot...because smiles aren't English, Amharic, white or black....they're the universal language.  So when somebody says, "She has your smile", I'll smile and say, "I know, isn't it beautiful?" 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Need Greater Than Our Own

These are our kids, Fredrick and Kekeli.  No, we have not received our referral(s) from Ethiopia, nor did we switch it up on you all and request older children instead of an infant/toddler.  These are our Compassion International children and we've sponsored them since 2009.  Fredrick is 12 and lives in Ghana, and Kekeli is 10 and lives in Togo.  These kids have become our kids over the past three years.  We send them letters, pictures, stickers, coloring pages and lots of love.  We pray for them and their families daily.  They send letters back, filled with questions about how volcanoes work, what snow feels like and "What are the different kinds of engineers so I can pick one to be when I grow up?".  The letters are written by children far beyond their age and filled with love, compassion and hope.  Fredrick talks about school with excitement and yearns to know more about science and the natural world.  Kekeli's compassion and love shines through when she asks us to pray for her father, who had to be transported to a hospital in another country to treat his life-threatening high blood pressure, or when she asks us to give Juliana  kisses and to give our dogs extra treats.

When we first began sponsoring these children, we were newlyweds and were both working.  We didn't have a budget, ate at restaurants 3-4 times a week, and basically bought whatever we wanted.  The $75 a month we sent to Compassion was pocket change in our financial book.  Fast forward to 2011: We've bought a house and truck, had a baby, now have 2 dogs, I quit my job and Buck gets laid off for 4 months.  Ask us to produce $75 extra a month was tight...really tight.  We downgraded our cable and internet, canceled Netflix, made a grocery budget (what's that??), and put an impasse on unneccessary purchases, like ice cream from Cold Stone (my weakness) or a new earring (Buck's weakness).  Canceling our sponsorship was never an option, though, because we knew that Fredrick and Kekeli needed that $75 more than we ever could. That money provides food, clothing, bible lessons at a community center, and so much more.  Fredrick and Kekeli are thriving now, instead of just surviving. Their school performance has improved drastically over the past 3 years, and we even get an occasional picture of Kekeli smiling. 

So, now it's 2012.  2011 taught us a lesson in economic hardship that was about 50% the economy's fault and 50% our fault for being financially irresponsible for so many years.  Now we have a budget, a back-up plan for when Buck gets laid off, and our bills are (almost) all the way paid off.  But now, we don't worry about whether or not we'll have the $75 to send to Fredrick and Kekeli every month; we know it's there.  And at the end of the month, when all of the bills are paid, the groceries are bought and there's only $____ left in the checking account, we remind ourselves....that the bills are paid, there's food in fridge, and that our daughter is happy and healthy.  And that's more than enough.

Want to sponsor a Compassion child?  Sign up at

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Power of a Paper

I'd venture to say that most people enjoy getting things in the mail (not counting bills, of course).  I, however, LOVE getting things in the mail, and this
<------- is one of the reasons why! I had to sing the "Mail Song" when this letter came on know, "Here's the mail, it never fails, it makes me want to wag my tail"....yeah, we do that in this house. This official-looking Power of Attorney document has been notarized, certified, stamped, sealed and blessed by the Secretary of State and is ready to be inserted into our dossier with approximately 25 other notarized and official-looking documents, including one that I find particularly humorous - my employment verification form- written and signed by me, of course. Oh, and notarized.  Just waiting on two more documents and our fingerprinting appointment letter, and this baby (yes, it has literally become one of my children in the past 2 months) will be shipped off, along with 3 duplicate copies of the whole shebang, to AGCI in Portland, and then to the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Addis Ababa.  Whew!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Simply Love update

Hi all!  PayPal has finally been fixed, and you can now order Simply Love products directly from the Simply Love Fundraiser page on our blog.  Just scroll down past the product descriptions to select your products and check out with PayPal!  Please note that PayPal charges us a $1-2 fee for each transaction made, so if you'd like to add $1-2  to your total to cover the transaction fee, we would really appreciate it!  Thank you again for your love and support - it really means a lot to us!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Here's a Thought...

If 300 people donated just $50 apiece, the remainder of our adoption would be covered...please prayerfully consider supporting our adoption fundraisers - we will bring this little girl home no matter what it takes, but she will come home much more quickly with the love and support of our families, friends, community and other supporters.

5 Million Orphans.... Minus 1

Faces of Adoption Video by All God's Children International - these are all children who were adopted by AGCI families in 2011.  105 Ethiopian children were matched with their Forever Families in 2011, and to date, AGCI has placed more than 500 Ethiopian children.  There are still 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone...minus 1. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Charity Project Fundraiser

We've launched a second fundraiser for anyone interested in making a monetary donation.  We're using a website called "A Charity Project Fundraiser".  Our fundraiser is called "Betasab Means Family: Adoption Fundraiser for the Bright Family".

You do not need a PayPal account to use this website and you can be assured that it is a secure connection. Check out the link above or the "A Charity Project Fundraiser" tab on the blog's home page. 

Once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and support!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Simply Love Fundraiser

We've launched our Simply Love Fundraiser - check it out!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Depraved Indifference

Deuteronomy 10:18 - "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow..."

     Awhile back, a friend of ours posted this video on Facebook.  Buck and I were in the middle of completing 12+ hours of required online adoption courses and took a break to watch it.  Before watching the video, we were weary, impatiently wanting these courses to be done and over with, and wondering if all of this work was worth the trouble.  By the end of the video, we were both in tears and knew without a doubt that we had to forge on and do anything necessary, no matter how tedious or tiring, to bring this little girl home.  The question on both of our minds, although it wasn't spoken, was "What if this was Juliana?"

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Little Bit....About Us

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."
James 1:27

      We're the Brights - I'm Natalie, a stay-at-home mom to Juliana, our joyful, silly, incredibly loving one year old daughter.  My husband, Buck, and I have been married for three and a half years and we live in Morgantown, WV.  We have decided to add to our family through adoption, and are in the process of adopting a little girl from the beautiful country of Ethiopia.  This is our story so far...we hope you'll follow along as we continue our journey towards Addis Ababa to bring our beautiful girl home.