Saturday, December 31, 2011

Formula for Change {January Challenge}

Hello, there!

Have you been recently thinking to yourself:

What should I do with all this

now that this

is not outside of every store?!

Well, I've got your solution!

How about taking this

and using it to fill this

for these

who live in orphanages here


Intrigued?  Well, as you know (if you've been following our blog for more than one minute :)), we will be traveling to Africa TWICE in 2012 and we'd be more than happy to turn your loose change into infant formula for orphans in Ethiopia.

If you are interested, here's what you need to do:

1.  Commit to collecting your change for formula through January.

2. Comment below to let me know that you're in or send me an E-mail at jnchase311 @ (I will keep track of who is participating and then contact you at the end of the month to remind you that the challenge has concluded).

3. Collect your household change through the month (I recommend setting out a bottle or some other symbol of your committment to remind your family of what you are doing).

4. At the end of the month, bring me your change or cash it in and send me a check.

5. We will give your money to a fund Africa which will use every penny to purchase formula for babies at the House of Hope transition home in Ethiopia!!

In case you're wondering (or would just like to donate money for a can or two of formula),

$10 = 1 can of formula in Africa


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting to Africa

One of the biggest struggles for me in this journey has been vulnerability.  I do NOT like to feel like I'm not in control.  However, I am learning through this journey what Paul meant when he wrote this in 2 Corinthians:

"That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not going to get all melodramatic on you.  I know that adopting a child is not even close to what Paul meant here by insults, persecutions, and the like.  However, I am really embracing the last portion of this verse: For when I am weak, then I am strong.  This adoption has made me feel weak.  So much is totally out of my control!  And, though we have been floating in bliss over our little guy, the fact remains that we are weak and vulnerable, but Christ is our strength and He is sustaining us.

One of the areas of weakness and vulnerability that has arisen since we started this journey is in the area of finances.  We have adjusted and reprioritized, but the fact remains that we still have two trips to Africa that we need to finance that are coming up REALLY SOON!!  It's exciting and scary all wrapped up into one that we will be traveling half-way across the planet in the next month or two.

We will be taking some donations with us and, if that's where your heart is, please be praying about donating to our little man's transition home or orphanage.  I will be giving more information on that in the coming days.

However, if your passion is helping us bring our sweet baby Bekele home, we wanted to give you that opportunity as well.

Another adoptive family, the Masers, {who were able to take some pics of our baby boy and let him know he had a family waiting for him when they visited Africa to bring their little boy home!} blessed us with 13 Africa-shaped cookie cutters for a fundraiser. 

*Would work great as a Christmas tree decoration, too! :)

In trying to decide how best to do this, I wanted to give anyone and everyone an opportunity to share in our blessing.  So, here's the plan:
1. Click on the Donate {Paypal} button on the side of the page.
2. Make a donation in ANY amount.
3. Ensure your address is correct.
4. Wait 2-3 days.
5. Receive your Cookie Cutter in the mail.

The first 13 people to donate ANY amount will be the proud new owners of an Africa Cookie Cutter, our way of saying "Thank You" for supporting our adoption.

No amount is too small {or too large;)}.  We are anticipating a total travel expense of $8,000-$10,000, so every little bit helps!! :)

Thank you for loving us and for loving our son,

P.S. If you don't have a paypal but still want to donate, just leave me a comment and I'll E-mail you our address!

Monday, December 5, 2011

8 Months Old

Today our baby is 8 months old.  I can't show pictures online yet, but we have received several pictures and one video {thank you so much to all our friends who have given us the priceless gift of loving on our boy and taking pictures for us before we can be with him!!}. 

Here are some things about our son at 8 months that we can derive from these snapshots into his day-to-day life:

  1. He's a serious boy, a thinker.  Out of all the pictures we have received, he has not yet been smiling in one.  He looks like he is constantly thinking "Who are these people and why are they taking my picture?!" 
  2. He loves his nannies.  In the video we received, the nanny picks him up out of his crib and he instantly looks comfortable. 
  3. He is getting good care.  He looks good; his bed, clothing and surroundings are clean; he is gaining weight.
  4. He has the most beautiful eyes and eyelashes that I have EVER seen!
  5. He looks good in blue and in pink...hehe!  In the orphanage, they put clean clothes on the babies. period.  There is absolutely zero emphasis on which color to dress them in.  This is fine {of course}, but not a practice we will participate in when he's home! ;)
  6. He is a half-eye-open sleeper.  I have jokingly said many times that he needs his mama there to gently close those eyelids for him.
  7. You can see his tongue when he sleeps peeking out from between his giant, beautiful lips.
We simply can't wait to meet him. We consider each day a blessing; one day closer to getting to snuggle him.  Here's to not having very many opportunities to write speculative birthday posts! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Adoption Fundraiser {Stocking Stuffers} and a Giveaway!

Now that we have our referral, the reality that we are actually going to be traveling to Africa is starting to set in.  We are SO crazy excited to get to go to Africa and beyond excited to meet our son! 

With that excitement, though, comes a bit of anxiety about paying for two trips.  I totally know that God will provide, but I am also willing to work hard to help get us to our boy!  That is why I am offering some opportunities for you to get some great stuff and help us bring our baby home. :)

For December, I am offering these super cute headbands that would make PERFECT stocking stuffers for the female{s} on your list.

Black and White Collection
1. Black and White Original
2. Zebra
3. Black and White Damask {no longer available}

Bright Collection
1. Gray Floral
2. Lime Clover
3. Electric Blue Links

Retro Collection
1. Retro Botanical
2. Retro Floral
3. Retro Bubbles
4. Stripes
5. Pink Floral

Each headband is handmade, so it will vary from the exact ones shown but will be cut from the same fabric.  Headbands are made in teen/adult sizes unless smaller size is requested.
Need one in a different color?  Just ask...I can customize! :)

Headbands are $5.00 each
5 for $20.00 (buy 4, get 1 free!)
{$2.00 flat shipping rate}

To order:
1. Click Donate on the Sidebar and pay for the amount of headbands you would like to order.
2. E-mail me at jnchase311 @
3. Specify how many headbands you would like of each color.
4. Include your name and address in your E-mail.

Easy as that.  Please order by December 18th for delivery by Christmas day.

Would you like to win one?  Simply share this {post it on FB, Tweet about it, Blog about it, tell your friends about it, etc.} and leave a comment here letting me know that you did.  I will do a giveaway for your choice of headband on Saturday, December 10th!

P.S. Want to help out but not a headband fan?  Check out our "Current Fundraisers" tab at the top of the page...two new things for the month of December were just added to our on-going fundraisers.

P.P.S. Check back in January for another super fun fundraiser!! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Introducing: Bree Anna Hayes

On October 1, 2010, this precious little baby girl entered our family by way of foster care in the home of Lindsey and Walter {my sister and brother-in-law}.

And today, Lindsey and Walter said "YES" to their sweet daughter in front of many family members, the case worker, the attorneys, and the judge.
So, {FINALLY} after One year, One month, and Twenty-Eight Days of having her in their home and hearts, she is theirs FOREVER!!



What an amazing day...Bree is such a blessing to our family!

Another beautiful reminder of why Adoption Rocks! ;)

Aunt Jen loves you, Sweet Bree!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rethinking Black Friday:A Shopping Guide

For the first time since the referral of our sweet boy, I'm going to write about something else.  {Don't worry...he's still on my mind 24 hours a day! ;)}

This week is all about giving thanks, and boy, do we have SO MUCH to be thankful for, but this post isn't about that, either. 

This post is about something else that is on many peoples' minds this week...Black Friday shopping. 

For many years {6, to be exact}, I HATED Black Friday.  In fact, as an employee at Target in Joplin, it was for me the absolute worst day of the year.  I vowed to NEVER shop on Black Friday.  And, I kept that vow for at least a couple of years.  However, I have warmed up to Black Friday and have become quite the shopper on the day after Thankgiving.  In fact, I count it a successful year when I conclude the last Friday of November with all the presents our family will give for Christmas.

This year, though, I have really begun to rethink Black Friday {and Christmas shopping in general}.  One major part of the new line of thinking is making purchases with purpose.  Have you decided the same?  If so, here are a few ideas for your Christmas shopping this year:

1. A Road Home is a blog I've been following since the beginning of our adoption journey.  Erica is doing her 12 days of Christmas again this year, which is basically 12 days of giveaways of awesome products.  I love this, of course, but what I really love is that Erica choses 12 humanitarian aid companies/organizations to spotlight for this event that she does.  Each of these companies are so inspiring and any of them would be great choices for Christmas shopping!
A Road Home
Also, Erica was the one who introduced me to Sseko sandals.  And, speaking of Sseko sandals...

2. Sseko sandals are a total obsession for me.  I basically have one pair of shoes I wear if it is 70+ Ssekos!!  I love their products, but I also love their mission and it feels so amazing to advocate for them when people compliment me on my shoes {and they do, despite my imperfect feet!}.  Sseko is running an AMAZING deal for Christmas, so if someone on your list has Ssekos on their list, now's the time to snatch them up! :)
The Stocking Stuffer Package

3.  My friend, Christy Gladheim is a fellow adoptive mama who adopted a precious little boy from Ethiopia through our agency.  She is an amazing woman with a huge heart for orphans and she is a part of an organization called The Perpetual Change.  Each year they have a holiday sale with all sorts of awesome products.  All the products have been donated, so 100% of the profits go to benefit orphan care and adoption assistance programs.  Plus, they have items for every budget...definitely worth checking out! 

4. I read about Adoption Advocates International on an adoption group on facebook.  They sell amazing, authentic African items and the profit goes to advocate for hard-to-place orphans based on one or more criteria {age, location, sibling group status}.  The items are VERY reasonably priced and one cool thing you can do is donate formula to an orphanage from their site.
Wooden Puzzle

5. Toms are pretty popular these days and most people know about their one-for-one campaign.  I usually stay away from things that have so much hype, but I really was touched by a blog post that I read where the family had actually worked a Toms event in NorthEast Africa.  So, I'm sold and I want a pair {I'm really not the last person on the planet that doesn't own a pair, right?!}
Now to choose which ones...

So, there you have it...some ideas of ways that you can make shopping more than just a thing you do for Christmas.  You can make a difference in peoples' lives, too.  I realize this is not a comprehensive list and that some of you probably have some other ideas of how to make a difference for Christmas this year.  Please leave a comment and share your ideas with me!! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Baby Bekele,

Dear Baby Bekele,

As I prepare for bed tonight, it's 10:30 p.m. here, which means it's 7:30 a.m. in Ethiopia, where you lay in your tiny crib on the other side of the globe.  You've probably enjoyed a full night's sleep and I envision you stretching and yawning, fluttering those big beautiful eyelashes as your mezmorizing brown eyes catch the first rays of morning.

And I wonder so much about you, baby. 

I wonder what your day will hold.  Will you be cared for today...fed when your tummy growls, changed when your diaper is full, picked up when you cry?  Will anyone kiss your amazing full lips today or tell you that you're loved?  Will someone stroke your hair or bathe your body?  Will you be held, rocked, nuzzled, spoken to?

I wonder what your personality is like.  Do you coo when you're spoken to?  Are you a serious child or do you smile and entertain {we have yet to receive a smiley picture!}?  Do you cry a lot?  Is it easy to distinguish between your cries when you're hungry, wet, bored, or just generally upset?  Are you a content baby over all?

I wonder how you feel.  Do you feel alone and isolated?  Do you feel loved?  Are you bonding to one particular nanny or are there several nannies you enjoy?  Are the other babies in the orphanage your buddies?  Do you and baby Moses baby talk about your mamas like your mamas constantly talk about you?  Were you sad when Natalie and Caleb and Charlie got to leave with their forever families this week?  Were you confused by the happy tears?  Do you feel the peace that God has given you, allowing you to rest comfortably in His arms while you wait for ours? 

Most of all I wonder if you're ok.  Do you know you have a family waiting for you?  Is there the slightest idea that you have a mommy and a daddy and a brother and a sister and a Nana and a Papa and a Granny and a Poppy and a hundred aunts and uncles and cousins and friends praying you home?  Do you know that you are wanted and longed for in a way that we never realized was possible?  Do you know that WE LOVE YOU more than words can express?

I can't wait to hold you, baby.  To whisper in your sweet ear that we love you so much and that you are so wanted.  To have some of my questions answered and to discover who you are.  To kiss those sweet cheeks and to breathe in your baby smell.  We haven't even met you, baby, and yet, you are already such a part of who we are.  We are praying, praying, praying, sweet boy, for you to get to come home quickly.

And so, as I lay down for bed tonight, I'll close my eyes and dream of your sweet face and all my questions will fade into the distance as I rest knowing that God is in control and is caring for you while I wait for you to be in my arms.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


There are three common questions that people have asked when we've told them our good news:

1. What's his name?
2. How old is he?
3. What's next?

So, this post will answer those questions. :)
Trevor and I looked long at hard at names over the course of our wait list months.  We wanted to give him a name that  ties him to his heritage, yet isn't too difficult to pronounce.  So, our baby's name is {drumroll, please}...


Bekele means "he has become or he has grown".  We will keep at least part of his given name {which we are unable to reveal quite yet} as his middle name, and we plan to call him "Bek".

Bek is
7 1/2 months old 

I'll blog about this later, but we are praying that he'll be home by his 1st birthday this Spring.  It would basically take a miracle for that to happen, but we believe in the God of miracles!! 
Will you please join us?!
Let me just begin this one with a *sigh*.  We are still over-the-moon excited to be at this point in the process, but I would be lying if I said that this next part is going to be easy.
We have officially accepted our referral and our agency received our official acceptance on Thursday.  So, our dossier should be either on the way to Ethiopia or already there.  The paperwork will then be translated and things will be prepared for our court date.
According to our agency, our court date should be 2-3 months from our official date of acceptance, so we should be traveling in January or February.  This trip will be super quick, as in around 5 days from leaving American soil to getting back home.  During the trip, we will be able to be with Bek for about two days and will spend one day at court.
Then, the incredibly hard part...we have to leave our baby boy in Ethiopia and come home to wait indefinitely.  Truly, we have no idea how long we will be home between trips.  Our paperwork says that due to the many changes in Ethiopia adoptions over the last several months, it is not possible to predict how long it will take for the U.S. Embassy to approve our case and give us an appointment to stamp our little man's visa.  This is the point at which we're hoping it will be quick and he'll be home by his birthday!
So, here's where you come in:
Please pray!  Specifically, we'd appreciate prayer for the following:
  • Baby Bek's health and wellbeing for this time we're away from him.
  • The Nannies who are taking care of him day-to-day.
  • Patience for us! :)
  • That all the pieces will fall into place and that Bek is home by his 1st birthday!!

Thank you so much for loving us and for sharing in our excitement.  What a crazy, amazing journey this is! :)



Tuesday, November 15, 2011


November 14th, 2011 was just a Monday...really a bit of a "Manic Monday" if you will {Oo, oo, oo}. 

It started out just like pretty much every morning since December 23rd, 2010 with a faint tummy flutter at the thought...could this be the day we see our next babe's face?  But, like every other day since our "wait listed day", the feeling faded as I kicked off the covers in my not-a-morning-person-thank-you-very-much kind of way and went about our frantic morning routine.  We actually got out of the house pretty early and I was feeling good about how we were starting the day until I walked with Camden into his daycare and noticed that he was the only one not wearing jammies.  So, I left him there and drove like a maniac back home to get his jammies, brought them back to him, dropped Melia off at the back door of her school {since we were too late for me to walk her to class}, parked my van in my school's parking lot, and ran to the front door, narrowly missing stepping on a snake!  Like I said, a bit Manic!

The rest of the morning calmed down a bit and I was just living life as an Intermediate School Counselor with one burning question in the back of my mind...could this be the day we see our next babe's face?  But when 11:00 rolled around, then 12:00, then 1:00 {following an always-eventful hour of lunch duty}, I had pretty much resolved to the fact that it would be at least one more day before we got "the call." 

Around 1:30 or so, a lady I work with {who is a fellow adoptive mama} asked how I was doing and I expressed that I was kinda down...that the adrenaline rush we experienced with the realization that we were #1 for a boy had really subsided and I was just doing "ok".  She gave me some words of encouragement and we parted ways.

At 2:30, I headed down to a 4th grade class to give the "respectful girls respect themselves and each other" talk.  The talk was going really well and we were making some real breakthroughs when I heard it...
"Mrs. Chase, please call the office" and then, even before I'd had a chance, "Mrs. Chase, your husband needs you to call him RIGHT NOW!"  I gasped...I knew the time had finally come...this was the day we would see our next babe's face! 

I ran frantically {in heels!} to my office and grabbed my cell phone.  I had two missed from a 314 number and the other from Trevor and then I really knew!  I called Trev back and he said the most beautiful words that have ever come out of his mouth {with the exception of "I do", of course! ;)} "We got the call."
I let him in the back door since he had driven over to my school and we ran back to my office where he called Nicky back and put her on speaker phone.

"Are you having a good day?" she asked.  When we replied that we were, she said "Well, I'm about to make it even better!  I have your referral!!"  She proceeded to give us information and I wrote everything down through tears and shaking.  The conversation was quick and we hung up with the promise that an E-mail was on its way.  The E-mail seemed like it took FOREVER, but it was really probably just a couple of minutes.  We called our parents and texted our friends and family while we waited to see his face. 

And then, it happened...we saw our next babe's face!  And it was amazing!  And all the worry, frustration, anxiety, and tears melted away at this one glimpse of our baby boy's face.  We instantly fell in love.  The same way that we fell in love with our other two babies when we saw their sweet faces for the first time.  The feeling that he was ours enveloped our whole beings and we {again} got to experience what I believe Christ must experience when we accept Him and He sees us as His own.  There really are not sufficient words to describe that feeling!

And so, there it is...our referral story.  The longest awaited story I've ever longed to tell.  A story of Christ's grace and sufficiency in the lives of His humble servants.  We are so blessed!

Coming up: What's next?!


Today Children's Hope International will receive some paperwork from Team Chase that says
to our son!

What an amazing feeling!!

P.S. I promise to give all the details of our Referral Day and What's Next soon {just waiting on info regarding what I can and can't share! :)}.







Stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lucky 13 and the BEST. NUMBER. EVER.

As promised, this week is supposed to be about our adoption {as if I could talk about anything else!}.  But, before I share what's been going on, I want to give you a little glimpse into the beautiful Ozarks in the Fall as viewed from my room this week at the Missouri School Counselor's Association conference. :)

Snapbucket,Original,Filter: Vintage,Frame: Stamp
Isn't it gorgeous?!  Ah, I love a little get-away to learn new stuff! :)

OK, now for the main show...

So, on Monday, there was ANOTHER referral in our agency.  This time, it was a 6 1/2 month old boy.  We were ecstatic to realize that this means we've moved up to


However, that excitement quickly turned to crazy, over-the-moon, hyperventilating anticipation after we realized {through a chain of events}, that we are number

for a boy!! 
WE ARE AT THE TOP of our journey to a son!!! 
Basically, if there is any boy under age 3.5 years for our agency to refer, he will be ours!
The only way we would get a girl is if there are 8 girls before there is 1 boy {we're thinking that's not likely} and the only way we'd get siblings is if there are 6 sets of siblings before 1 boy {again, not gonna happen}.

We are all feeling like this 
all. the. time.

We are so close, friends...SO CLOSE!

PLEASE join us in praying that it's soon...I'm not sure how long I can hold my breath like this without passing out!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

TC:4&C Blog Schedule

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for your input on our blog poll.  Based on the results and the ideas I've got brewing, here's what I'm thinking:

I am going to loosely schedule my blog each month to reflect the following:

Each weekend, I will pick one picture {or two} and do a Wordless Weekend (I follow several blogs that do this and LOVE it!)
Then, the weeks will be structured with an emphasis as follows:
Week 1: Our Adoption
Week 2: Creative Endeavors
Week 3: A Global Worldview {Reaching the World through Adoption, Missions, and Other Means}
Week 4: Team Chase Miscellaneous {Parenting, Spiritual Discoveries, Recipes, Hobbies}

Please note:
  • This is a LOOSE schedule {which is an accurate reflection of our lives!}.  I am reserving the right to post as many or few times as I have time for each week and will interrupt structure when pressing news occurs. :) 
  • I'm committing to try this for the next eight weeks to see if I like it and if you like it.  I will be asking for input at the end of that time, so be prepared to share!!
  • If you are willing to "guest post" about any of the given topics (particularly if you want me to feature an event or you'd like to share a something during the Global Worldview), PLEASE comment here with your E-mail address, blog address, or any other pertinent information.  I love to feature others and broaden my horizons! :)
Thanks for reading!

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