Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In the Twenties...

There were SIX more referrals today!!!  So, we are now number

We're getting excited...and a little nervous!  Please consider purchasing one of our t-shirts! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wish List

I want some of these:
I love them!

I love their story.

I love that you can change out the straps.

I love that they are made in Africa.

I love that they help women in Uganda get an education.

I love that they donate some of their money for adoptive families.

I just love them!

I think I've decided that I need to make every purchase have a purpose from now on {as often as I can}!  I have found that I love the items so much more when I know where the money is going and that it is for a greater cause.  Because, there is just so much more to life than me and there is just so much more to Christ's existance than to save me.   It's so much more; it's about the Kingdom {thank you very much for bringing it, Shane Wood!}.  I'm learning....

P.S. We've moved up the waiting list AGAIN!!  Woohoo!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adoption Rocks

Do you remember my friend Kate from this blog post three months ago (on the day we were placed on the waiting list)?  Well, she ordered one of my adoption rocks shirts for each member of her family!!  This was a super fun order since I got to pick the colors of four of the shirts.  I thought I'd show you this "family" of shirts so you can see the other sizes. :)
Top to bottom: Mens (available in royal blue, navy, black, white, and dark gray; S to XXL)
Womens (available as shown here)
Girls (available in purple, light blue, and pink; XS-XL)
Boys (available in green, blue, white, and black; XS-XL)
Baby Girls (available in pink, peach, purple, and white; 12 months-5T)
Not Shown: Baby Boys (available in red, blue, and white; 12 months-5T)

Prices for our pre-sale until APRIL 8th:
Adult sizes-$18.00
Kids sizes-$15.00
Toddler/Baby sizes-$12.00

Shipping $2 per shirt or I will combine and charge actual shipping amount for quantities of more than one! :) 

To order, contact me at jnchase311 @ (minus spaces), or use my contact sheet here, or leave a comment with your E-mail address and I'll contact you, but hurry...only 11 more days left at this price!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

T-Shirt Sales Begin Today!

When we first started our adoption process, we began to look for fundraiser ideas.  I truly wish we didn't need to raise funds for our adoption, but, unfortunately, we simply don't have $26,000-30,000 sitting in a savings account.  I wish we did, but we just don't! :(  So, we found several ideas to try {bling shoes, VIP Cards, adoption auction, WOTP Products}; some were successful, some were not, and at this point, we have raised/had donated just over $4,000.  Of course, we're trying to capitalize on the successful fundraisers, and will be holding another auction sometime within the next couple of months. 

But, given that we have changed our preference and that it is likely that our referral will come more quickly than initially anticipated, I felt like we needed to run another fundraiser between now and then.  I made myself this stenciled shirt last fall...

and I LOVE IT!
It has been a huge conversation starter and has been a great way to bring orphan awareness to the people in my community.
I love the retro-inspired look and the fact that it is UBER comfy!  The base shirt is made of a 40/60 Cotton/Polyester blend and it is a fitted, V-neck shirt.
So, this is our next fundraiser...
the Adoption Rocks Shirt
I am beginning pre-sales today and they will run for two weeks {through April 8th}.
During this pre-sale, you may purchase as many of these ultra cool shirts as you'd like for
$18 each
{will be $22 each after April 8th}
Shirts will be available for pick-up after April 10th or you may pay $2 each for shipping.
To purchase your shirt(s):
1. E-mail me by clicking here: and give me the following information:
  • Your name
  • Your address (or if you want to pick your order up)
  • The quantity and sizes of shirts you'd like to order-XS-XXL
  • The country/continent/state you'd like on your shirt (if something other than Africa)
  • Where you would like the heart on the country/continent/state (if something other than Ethiopia)
  • The color(s)* of shirt you'd like
*Chose from:

2.Wait for your invoice from me and then pay using paypal (the donate button on the blog sidebar) or check sent to my address.
3. Receive your shirts in the mail.

Also, please feel free to spread the word about this t-shirt sale!  Thank you so much for your support of our adoption. :)
Just in: these are now available in baby/toddler/kids/mens sizes!  E-mail me for details! :)
jnchase311 @

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An Adoption Update

On Tuesday, I spoke to Ashley, our adoption consultant.  Trevor and I had been contemplating, discussing, and praying about changing our preference to include a single child.  After quite a while of this, we decided that it was the best move for us at this time.  So, this call was our official request to add one child to our official preference.

Our preference now reads:

One or two children, Aged 0-3, Either Gender

We made this change for a number of reasons.  First of all, it had been on our hearts since even before the MOWA news.  When I spoke to Ashley a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned it to her and she asked us to consider it further and make sure it was the right thing for our family to change our preference.  She also told us that we are the last people on our agency's waiting list who they are allowing to request young siblings.  The reason?  There simply aren't children coming into care who are siblings under age 5.  Even older siblings have been VERY sparse and it simply isn't where the need is.  However, there are a significant number of families on the waiting list who are requesting siblings. 

The more we thought about, talked about, and prayed about this, the more we realized that we were not opposed and, in fact, very much in favor of bringing one child at a time into our family.  In addition, we are very open to (and excited about) the possibility that we may be adopting a toddler as opposed to a baby.  There would definitely be some challenges specific to adopting a toddler, but we feel equipped to raising a child at that age.  {And what we can't handle, God will give us the strength and wisdom as He promises in I Corinthians 10:13!} 

Changing our preference does not mean that we will only adopt one child {our preference includes one or two} or that he/she will not be a baby {aged 0-3}, but just observing referrals and the make-up of our list, our prediction is that we will be adopting a boy between the ages of 2 and 3.

Also, it is worth noting that we still intend to adopt two children.  We are just a little more up-in-the-air about how that will take place.  If this adoption brings us one child, that plan is to get out of debt from this adoption and then start it again.  Will the second adoption be from Ethiopia?  Who knows?!  I do feel strongly that both of our children will be from Africa, but that's all I can speculate right now!

Additionally, it is very likely that this change in preference will make our referral come more quickly.  Our number does not change, but as I have explained before, the number doesn't make much of a difference.  We may be at the top of the list of families for a 2 1/2 year old girl...ya just never know!

Let's have some fun with this!  What do you think?!  Will we be adopting...

What's your guess?  When do you think we will get our referral?  Winner gets...umm...bragging rights!  And the right to love on our little angel(s) when we bring him/her/them home! :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On Turning 31

This weekend, I had a birthday and turned 31!  Ouch!  Actually, I am excited about 31.  I think great things are going to happen at this age...just not sure exactly what yet!

For my birthday, we went to Kansas City and stayed the night in a hotel on the plaza.  We ate a *free* meal at BDs Mongolian Grill:

*Click the logo to sign up for a free meal on your birthday! :)

We went to World Market where I got this for *free*:
*Click here to sign up for WM Rewards...they sent me a $10 gift certificate for my birthday!

I received this from my hubby:

A gift certificate to Oasis Day Spa for a Mommy/Princess Pedicure that Melia and I will be partaking in tomorrow afternoon.  Trev really scored big on this gift from a comment I made in passing about how fun it would be for Melia and I to have a girls day and get pedicures together! :)

I bought this purse for myself for an AMAZING deal.  So amazing, in fact, that I bought for me and one for one of you to be offerred in our next auction in June! :)

And, for the grand finale...

I bought myself a Canon Rebel!! excited!  It is a couple of years used and I got an amazing deal on it.  I had the money for this courtesy of my parents (for my birthday), the ACT (from facilitating a test one Saturday), and Evangel College (for the intern that has been a total blessing to me this semester)!

I already love the pictures it takes!

Like this...

And this...

And there will be so many more to come! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Movin' On Up!

We received word via our yahoo group that the flood of referrals that we've been expecting has begun!!  There were four referrals today, so that makes us number
This is a great thing!  So, to celebrate, I made these TOO DELICIOUS chocolate chip banana muffins and thought I'd share the recipe with you. :)

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 large eggs

3 medium bananas, mashed

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 cups all-purpose flower

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 package {12 oz} semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line and spray approximately 30 muffin cups.  Beat sugar and butter in a  large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add bananas and buttermilk; beat on low speed until blended, about 1 minute.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; mix well.  Add flour mixture to banana mixture; mix on low speed until just blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Use ice cream scoop to spoon into muffin cups.

3. Bake muffins until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

4. Cool and devour {with a tall glass of milk}.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Meal Tip to End All Meal Tips!

It is NO secret that I am not a chef.  I do enjoy the occasional cookie-baking session in the kitchen with my kiddos, but that's about it.

I really do not like being in charge of dinner.  I don't like planning it, I don't like shopping for it, and I don't like spending an hour or so after an exhausting day at work making it.  To be honest, I would be happy just snacking all night (but that's not exactly healthy!).

{Insert my life-changing discovery here}

I found this meal plan blog on another blog that I follow here.  I have to admit, I was a sceptic.  BUT, I checked it out and found that I could try it for *FREE* for one week.  So, I signed up and got my first meal plan in my E-mail inbox later that day.  Then, she E-mailed me a second.  For free!!  Seriously!

Here's how it works.  You sign up and pay $15 for 3 months worth of meals {yep, $1.25 a week}.  Then, Michelle sends you your meal plans for one month at a time, which come separated by week.  Each week has a "what to do" page and a "grocery shopping" page.  You go get all your groceries (by the way, every ingredient is super easy to find and you can get them all at any grocery store), then come home, set everything out (all groceries and utensils needed are listed), take one hour to put it all together, clean up, and enjoy delicious *DELICIOUS* healthy, no-hassle meals every night of the week!!

This is what it looks like in our house:
I started the timer at this point to see if it would really take us one hour...

Melia and Camden both got into the food prep hour this week...she held the baggies, wrapped potatoes, stirred, etc. and he put the stuff away as we finished using it.  We make a great "team"!

Food labeled and ready for the fridge

Food in the fridge, ready for the week

All the utensils we used for the week, washed as a final step

The sou chefs praying over their snacks...a reward for their hard work

This was our third round of meals, so we're getting a pretty good little system down!  It took us 50 minutes and 42 seconds from the time we started to the last picture with all the dishes!!  Less than an hour to prepare 5 meals and clean up!  With a 3 1/2 year old and a 6 year old!  Awesome!!

So, here is what I love about 5 Dinners:
  1. It takes the "guess work" out of dinner.
  2. It saves me MAJOR time (planning, preparing, listing, shopping, etc.)
  3. It helps us stay within our grocery budget because we only buy the stuff we need.
  4. We get to try tons of new, normal foods...we are picky, so if it was too weird, we wouldn't eat it!
  5. I'm not rushed, so I can let my kids help without feeling like they are in the way.
  6. My kids love the meals...again, this is a miracle...they are PICKY eaters!!
  7. It is healthy; every meal has veggies and is well balanced.
  8. I feel like a gourmet chef...the dishes are easy, but feel "fancy".
Let me comment further on this last one.  My hubby loves to eat.  This is a little point of contension in our marriage because I do not like to cook.  However, I did not realize just how much mealtime effects him.  He has gone on and on {and on and on} about how awesome this meal plan is.  He loves the food, he loves that it helps us stay within budget, and he loves that it has taken my evening dinner stress away (that one is sort-of sweet and sappy, but, hey, he said it)!

Also, please allow me to say that I am not getting anything for this endorsement.  I just think it would be ridiculous to keep this amazing meal plan a secret {maybe even a sin!;)}.

So, what are you waiting for?!  Head on over and get signed up for your life-changing meal plan RIGHT NOW!! :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

May I Direct Your Attention Please...

to my friend, Emily Hapner's Adoption Auction...

The Hapners are on the waiting list right below us and we have become very good friends, even though we are half a country away from each other.

She has some super amazing stuff on her auction, including several things from yours truly {I was thrilled to be able to pay it forward by donating to her auction!}, so head over and check it out!! :)  Because, seriously, how great is it to get to advance the kingdom AND get something great all at the same time?!

11 Short Years Ago

"I need your IDs and boarding pass, please," the gentleman at the ticket counter proclaimed.  As we held out the requested documents, my hands were shaky.  "Here's our marriage license, too," I replied.  I just knew he was going to reject us, tell us we had to hop back on a plane and head back home.

The fact is, we were too young to go on a cruise with out adult supervision, but we'd gotten a great deal on it and our travel agent (my sister-in-law of two whole days) explained that although we weren't yet 21, we could still cruise for our honeymoon if we had proof of our marriage.  And, she was right...he smiled at us, congratulated us, stamped our boarding pass and pointed us in the direction of our cruise ship, the Carnival Ecstasy.

And, that's when it hit me...we were really married!  We were embarking on a new adventure, our first adventure, as husband and wife.

That was 11 years ago {March 11, 2000} and little did we know that the adventure we began on that amazing day would pale in comparison to the life adventures we would embrace in the coming years.

Together in 11 short years, we have:

  1. Graduated 5 times
  2. Built 2 homes
  3. Experienced the birth of 2 children
  4. Experienced the death of 4 grandparents
  5. Gained 7 semi-immediate family members {2 brother-in-laws, 1 sister-in-law, 3 nephews, 1 niece}
  6. Gained many amazing friends
  7. Changed jobs 11 times
  8. Traveled out of the country one time
  9. Vacationed at three different beaches
  10. Had 8 different vehicles {the last 4 of which we have owned free and clear, thank you very much!;)}
  11. And began one amazing journey towards our next two children through adoption
What an amazing and wonderful whirlwind the last 11 years have been!  We are so blessed and I look forward to what the next 11 will bring!

P.S. I even got flowers delivered to work for this anniversary!  Aren't they beautiful?!

The Situation in Ethiopia

Hey, friends! So sorry I'm just now posting a follow up on what is currently going on with Ethiopian adoptions. However...

On Thursday, I spoke to our adoption consultant, Ashley.  I found out a couple of things.  First of all, we are currently {officially} sitting on our waiting list at number

So, while we haven't moved up much in the almost three months that we have been on the list, we have moved up a little, so that's good.

Here is what I learned about the "situation" in Ethiopia:

Short version:  It's not as bad as we thought.

Long version:
There are two separate things that have been going on there that have affected us.  First, there has been a lack of referrals and second, the MOWA is making some changes to slow down their portion of the adoption process.

To address the lack of referrals, Ashley informed us that the transition house (babies waiting to be matched with a family) is full right now, but they have not been able to offer referrals on them.  The reason has to do with a lack of HIV tests.  The HIV test that they do on older children has been available, but the test for babies has been out since January...basically, we got on the list and they ran out of tests right around the same time.  So, while we were on the phone, she was telling me what they thought they might do as an alternative and then she said "Wait...just a minute...I JUST got an E-mail...THE HIV TESTS ARE IN!  Next week is going to be a great week!!"  Basically, they have run the tests, are waiting for the results, and will be offering a bunch of referrals next week.  Praise Jesus!!
Now, let me clarify...we do not expect to get a referral next week.  Since we are requesting siblings, we have to wait until we are at the top of the sibling list.  So, unless there are about 10 sets of siblings, we won't get a referral next week {praying for lots of twins waiting!;)}.  However, we expect to see a big jump in our number on the list next week.  This is a good thing...a God thing...and quite a relief!

Secondly, the Ministry of Women's Affairs deal.  Ashley first explained what this means.  When we go to our court date (our first trip to ET), three things have to be present: 1) Us, 2) the birthparent if he/she is living, otherwise the orphanage representative, 3) the letter from MOWA stating that they have reviewed our dossier and approve us to adopt our children.  Currently, MOWA does this the day before court and generally does up to 40 (contrary to what the initial article said).  They are planning to decrease that to 5 per day which truly would drastically reduce the number of court cases that would be able to be complete. 
HOWEVER, the MOWA is having major conversations with child advocacy groups and adoption agencies to try to increase that number.  Ashley told us that they are hoping to be able to help the MOWA facilitate the dossier review and ease the load.  There is a lot of speculation about why the MOWA chose to drastically decrease their dossier review including some corruption in the process {we believe our agency is not at all a part of this} and the fact that the MOWA is overworked and understaffed. 
Ashley stated that they feel good about the conversations they are having, but no one really knows exactly how the change will pan out and manifest itself.  Only time will tell. 

Please pray tomorrow (Monday) as the talks/negotiations/etc. will continue.

I'm sure I didn't answer all the questions, but hopefully this helps to clarify some of what is going on.

I honestly did not realize how much the bad news was affecting me.  To say I was in a funk last week is probably a pretty big understatement.  I needed some good news and God provided it just at the right time.  It was like a dark cloud lifted off my head.  So much is still uncertain, but I feel so much better about it now than I did before.  Thank all of you who are praying for us and who intensified your prayers in the last week...they were felt and appreciated.  Also, thank you everyone who offered a word of encouragement and concern.  I can't acurately express how much each word means to us!

Let's pray for more good news this week!  I can't wait to post our new waiting list number at the end of the week!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Word

corkscrew rollercoaster
Just wanted to say thank you for your prayers.  The last several days have been a rollercoaster of emotions. 

Tomorrow we have a phone meeting with our adoption consultant.  Hopefully we will get some answers.

In the meantime, please consider signing this petition asking the Ethiopian government to reconsider their action that is supposed to take place tomorrow (the action that I discussed here). 

Monday, March 7, 2011

What now...?

I'm not even sure how to begin this post.  I keep putting it off, but I think my friends and family (and those of you we've never met but that care about us anyway) deserve to know that's going on.  Plus, we could really, REALLY use your prayers right now.

My mind and heart are all over the place and have been for the last several days.  It started with the Friday update that our agency sends out each week.  Last Friday, the update started with no referrals (which is beginning to be the norm, unfortunately) and then said that the social agency in charge of adoptions in Ethiopia, the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) just passed a cap of sorts in which they will only process 5 adoptions a day.  We didn't really know what this meant, but could tell it was not good for our adoption.

So, we got on our agency's yahoo group and saw the following link to an article regarding the change which, according to the article, could cut down on 90% of Ethiopian adoptions.

So, what does this mean for us?!  We have no idea.  We are, of course, thrilled that steps are being taken to ensure ethical adoptions are taking place in Ethiopia.  But, beyond that, I don't know how to feel or even what to do with these feelings.  I've never felt the emotions I am feeling right now.

What we know in regards to our adoption is basically nothing.  We know God has called us to adopt.  We believe that our family is incomplete and will be until our other two children are home.  At this point we have no idea when or how that will happen. 

We need direction and guidance from the only One who knows our future and who is mighty to save, the Author of our lives.  So, we are on our knees asking for guidance, strength, stability, hope.

Please join us.

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