Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Pull up a chair-I've got LOADS to share!

Fundraising is a necessary, but exhausting portion of adoption. But, let's face it: adoption is expensive. We've tried really hard to offer a bunch of stuff that I think everyone will like...hopefully! I happen to have a super creative husband & took full advantage of his design skills in designing our t-shirt. They are screen printed on the front and back, with the writing on the back translated to "family" in Amharic. The shirts are all American Apparel, men, women & kiddo sizes (starting at 2T). Women & kid sized shirts are printed on baby blue cotton while men shirts are printed on army green cotton (see below). Adult sizes are $25 & kiddo sized shirts are $20.

We're also thinking of offering the image screen printed on heavy weight, good quality card stock suitable for framing. Anyone interested?

My mom has also designed some beautiful Ethiopian dolls for purchase. She created her own pattern for the dolls & many of them wear dresses made from my late grandmother's sewing supplies. Each doll is 14" and completely unique. The dolls feature hand-stitched faces and cute little dreads! You will not believe the quality of these dolls & I know that any little lady in your life would love to have one! Cost $28

We also have Zorazon cards available for purchase. These cards feature old photographs from Peter's family. The text on the front is all original, Peter's brain came up with those too! The cards are blank on the inside (suitable for any occasion).

Last, but not least, Hy-Vee coupon books are available for anyone in the Quincy area. The cost is $5-but you'll quickly see the great value in the book & ask for another one!

One last thought, we're also having a garage sale in early May. If you have anything you'd like to donate to the sale, that would be awesome! We're accepting donations of (almost) any kind.

To order any of these wonderful (and original) items, email me at erinrcraig@hotmail.com and we'll take it from there. Be sure to include shirt size, quantities, etc.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Serious things are happening in Ethiopia. Read the article here, but this is the short version:

The Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) has recently announced that as of March 10, it will now see only 5 cases a day-they currently see as many as 50 cases a day. What this means is that the people who give you a "green light" on your adoption have reduced adoptions down 90%. This is tragic. This might mean upwards of a 7 year wait for a child to come home. It means that instead of close to 4,000 children being adopted each year, 500 are going to be given homes. In the meantime, wonderful & loving parents wait eagerly to take their children home only to wait 7 years! Children who are in desperate need of nutrition and a forever home are now part of the system for 7 years! Can the children even survive 7 years?!? We are so saddened by this news, to say the least. We are praying and hoping that MOWA listens to the objections and the cries from people all around the world calling for a reversal of this...will you join us in praying?

What you can do to help. Also, pray, pray, PRAY for a reversal of this decision-it is supposed to take place in 2 days.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring Cleaning?

Anybody out there feeling the urge to purge? I know with the temperatures warming up a bit, spring cleaning fever is going to hit all of you. Don't toss your stuff-yet!

Peter and I are planning a HUGE fundraising garage sale in the first part of May. We've got a bunch of stuff, but we're also looking for stuff that people want to donate to the garage sale. If you've got some bigger items, furniture, etc or just the usual household/kids/toy clutter-we want it! Anything you donate will be appreciated and all of the money raised goes directly to our adoption. I read online of one couple in our agency that had a garage sale this past fall-it was 3 days long, they slept in the bed of their truck to prevent stealing (!) but made $5000 to fund their adoption. That's awesome and encouraging. So, think of us as you're doing your cleaning-early May is our approximate date and we can start taking the donations probably a week ahead or so. SPREAD THE WORD!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Where We're At

DCFS Clearances IN!!!
Hague training-completed!!!
CPR training-completed!!!
Our social worker is just needing certificates to prove that we've completed the training, and then she'll be done with our home study SOON! This is all very good news.

In other news, we've decided to request either one child or a sibling group from Ethiopia. Let me stress, before I even begin, that NEVER did I see us as a family of 6! That's pure craziness! However, it has really been laid on our hearts that our child will have so many differences, too many to count really, once they get to Quincy...even so many differences within our family. We've really prayed and considered the idea of adopting a sibling group (most likely twins) with the hope that the children have a better sense of connection and belonging because they are not alone in their differences. This again, is pure CRAZINESS to adopt two at a time, much less infant twins-what does that mean for us??? A bigger car? For sure! A bigger budget? For sure! A bigger house? Probably! In reality, my biggest fear was financing all of this. Over the course of someone's life-raising a child is a lot of money! Do we have the finances to be able to do this???
I was so conflicted about this and struggling with it and I felt like God told me that he paid the ULTIMATE price so that I could be part of his family. Did He ever say "Nope, sending my son is too much for me to bear, it will cost too much-I won't do it"? No, he sent Jesus who paid for our sins with His own life so that we could be a part of His eternal family. So, what in the world am complaining about? A few thousand dollars? Get real, Erin! We talked to family and friends about it, prayed over it and finally talked to our adoption agency about it. The verdict-3 years! The people at the top of the list for siblings have been on there since August of 2009 and have NO referral yet. We're sixth on the list. Honestly, you can adopt one and go through the process again in 3 years (might not be as cheap, but certainly is a possibility). So, we're on the list for 1 or 2. We'll see-it is all in His hands. God has done more miraculous things than granting referrals to everyone in front of us quickly. In the end, we're trusting God's perfect plan for our family.

Will you pray for the rest of the home study to be finished quickly?
Will you also pray for donations to pour in? We were exceedingly blessed recently by an amazing donation & Peter is now on staff for our church part time, so that helps too-I would just like to have all of the funds there and ready to go!
T-Shirts will be printed soon-we're just waiting on the screen to be completed from a local t-shirt place and then Peter and I will be printing them ourselves :)

If you see Ellie, tell her "good job" on helping out with the adoption. She's GETTING this and I love that. She watched the video I posted earlier and it broke her heart. We taught her what an orphan is and it blew her mind that children do not have parents. She said "I want to bring home 2 babies from Ethiopia". We do too, sweetheart. She also sold 23 hy-vee coupon books in 30 minutes the other day as part of our fundraiser. She felt so proud of herself for contributing and it made my heart warm.

Also, if you're reading this and you have a blog, would you consider adding us to your blogroll? It really spreads the word so fast and we appreciate any traffic we can get.

Last thing-I promise-if you haven't watched the video I posted on Wednesday, do it NOW! What's the worst thing that could happen-you'll want to adopt? Do it :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick Update

Just a quick update on where we're at right now...

Peter and I have been working on our Hague training all week. It took many hours and many phone calls to figure out exactly what we needed to do (including talking to the person in charge of all of this for DCFS).  But, now we know what to do and we're trying to do a seminar a night, and hopefully it will be done soon!

Our home study is coming along and our social worker is waiting now for us to finish with the training and the state of Illinois to say that our background checks look good.  Once this is done, a copy is sent with our Advance Petition for an Orphan to the CIS department.  The approval from CIS can take 2 months or so-we've been told it has been quicker lately, so we're hoping for the best.  After that, we get EVERYTHING in order and send off the dossier,

We've ordered sample shirts and will screen print them soon to have examples of adult and kiddo sized shirts.  We're looking to put together a big order to avoid shipping and such!   So, be on the look out for our shirt orders.

We've also started fundraising by selling coupon books to our local grocery store.  They cost $5 to buy and we make $3 out of every sale. It is full of great coupons and the first one is for $5 off!  BUY ONE (or TWO) today!

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers-we really feel so many people lifting us up in this journey and are so happy that you're along for the ride with us.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

the Waiting Child List

Yesterday we had our home study visit.  I think it went pretty well and should be done quickly on our social worker's end.  The only thing she has to wait on to complete her write-up is our clearances from DCFS...we were told to expect 12 weeks (!!!!!) for the clearances to come in.  That seems ludicrous to me. Can you all pray that those will come in quicker than expected?

We were also given clearance to the Waiting Child List through our adoption agency.  Basically, the list is made of kids who need homes NOW.  If an adopting family wants one of these kids, they can be yours in a matter of weeks, not months.  The only stipulation to these children is that they are older, or are a sibling-group (the Ministry of Women's Affairs likes to keep sibling groups together), or have a mild medical issue.  As Peter and I looked at this list, we couldn't help feel sad for these children.  These are God's children too, even if they're 6 years old or a set of brothers...why should one kid get adopted before another?  It's heartbreaking.  Want to know what is even more heartbreaking?  One of the girls on the list is perfectly healthy, beautiful and happens to be part of a sibling group.  Her brother and sister are both deaf, making them harder to be adopted.  Recently, the littlest girl in the family has been begging her orphanage workers to find a home for her, she's become withdrawn and sad.  The orphanage director approached the little girl's siblings and asked if they could separate the kids in order to give this little girl a better chance on being adopted.  Can you imagine?  The oldest sibling is 14 and deciding on the fate of her little sister.  It is all too much to think about.  Peter and I can do nothing in this situation because Ethiopia wants our adopted child to be younger than Lydia...no child on the list is younger than 4.  Pray with us that these children will find their forever home, please.  Looking at the pictures of these kids really does break our hearts, and we know that as soon as these kids get adopted, more will be put on the list.  It seems overwhelming and insurmountable, but prayer is the most powerful thing that can be done in this situation-please pray!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Dreaded HOME STUDY!!!

Man, I have to tell you that Peter and I were very intimidated about this portion of the process.  So far, I have to admit, it has been a piece of cake.  We met with our social worker in Springfield, Illinois last week and just chatted for an hour or so.  She asked us each one question "describe your marriage" and sent us on our way.  REALLY?!?! Could it be so easy?  Well, we'll see.  She's coming back on Monday to do the official, inspect our house portion of the home study.  She said it would take about an hour or so, just wanting to chat with us more and see how our family interacts.  Really I'm so relieved by all of this...when we first started thinking about adoption, there are a million things that make you feel like you can't do this, reasons that make this seem too hard.  The home study was part of my worries, as it is such a big part of the process and we've heard that it can be a pretty invasive process.  So, in the meantime, we've been scrubbing the floors, and organizing closets (not that she'll inspect either of those),  writing our self-studies, and preparing a fire evacuation plan.  We're moving right along!

On the flip side, with such a huge part of the process nearing completion, there is a tendency to worry about finances...as in "how in the world are we going to be able to finance this?!?!?!"  We know that God is completely in control here (just at Christmas alone we were given enough money to finance the home study)...but there are still days that the devil tries to persuade us to stop.  I know that it'll all be fine, actually more than fine-God says he fulfills beyond what we can even imagine...we just need to trust in that.  I'm looking at getting a job as a barista at Starbucks and we're cutting corners any way we can.  Be praying that finances come in and job offers are there!  Also, be praying for our meeting on Monday...that our children cooperate, that the weather cooperates, that our social worker finishes up our home study quickly.  Thanks so much for all of your support!