Thursday, November 12, 2009

Operation Christmas Child (& More)

I'm still here! I know I've been a very bad blogger and I apologize!

First of all today, I'd like to thank those that emailed me to "check on me". It is so nice to be missed! It doesn't seem like that much time has passed, I guess because I've been so busy. I lie in bed at night with the best of intentions of not neglecting my blog, and it just never works out.

These days we are spending four nights a week taking Joy to dance! Yes, I said four nights! Her ordinary schedule includes three nights with one night being for jazz and tap class, one night for ballet, one night for production, and temporarily until the first of December, we also have Friday nights as she practices for her performance in Moscow's Russian Nutcracker Ballet. Jason and I have just learned to use it as time together while we wait on Joy. It makes for good discussion times as we wait. We've also taken along the piles of paperwork needed to complete for the adoption.

I really have nothing really interesting to share on the adoption process. We had our home visits last week with our social worker, Ms. Lori, who is wonderful by the way! She was so sweet and gave Joy a scrapbook and adoption scrapbook papers! Our homestudy should be finished the first of next week, which leads us to our next step of filing our I-800A with Immigration and the fingerprinting. In the meantime, we are working on all the certification and authentication needed for the documents for our dossier to be sent to China. I have the highest praise for our agency, BAAS, and our coordinator, Xiaoqing. They are very efficient and Xiaoqing never tires of my many questions.

I have also met so many adoptive moms of kids from China through forums and blogs, that have answered many questions for me. One of my solid rocks of information is Erin. Erin has answered so many questions (I'm sure she has loads of patience because I have bugged her SO much) and I'm so glad she told me about BAAS which led us to our little Luke! She brought home her beautiful daughter, Maia, in May, and Erin is helping others along the way!

Speaking of Luke, we will be sending him a care package through Red Thread China hopefully this week, which will include a little album of pictures of us for him, among other things. There's a chance we will get more pictures of him possibly getting his package. I will most definitely share any new pictures or information that we receive! This wait is not easy!

Now on to the title of my post......Operation Christmas Child. Every year our homeschool group, CHEF (Christian Home Educators Fellowship), uses our Harvest Party (which was this past Tuesday) as an opportunity to take part in a very worthwhile service project, Operation Christmas Child, which is a ministry of Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse. The ministry asks that we get shoe boxes (and wrap the lid separate from bottom of box) or the little plastic rubbermaid type boxes (and decorate them Christmasy) and fill them with items age and gender appropriate to the category you choose. These boxes are sent to many countries to children who may have never known gifts like this. I watched a video on this once and these boxes are carried by wagon and donkey to some villages even. Can you imagine the delight of a child to see these boxes come to them from people who care? Click here to print a label (girl or boy and age category)as well as to read the types of things that are appropriate for sending. And if money is tight, Dollar Tree makes a great place for shopping for your shoe boxes. They have lots of small items that are appropriate. We chose to send a box to a 2-4 year old boy. I bet you could never guess why! (Our own Luke will be 2 when we bring him home so it was fun buying for that age). THEN, after all of boxes are ready to go within our homeschool group, all of the kids (and adults) gather around them and we always have children volunteers to pray over these boxes that the recipients will be blessed by them in every way. This year we filled and dropped off 26 boxes at our local dropoff station!

Most years, my kids have written a little letter and included their picture in the box. And imagine our surprise one year in April, we opened our mailbox to find a letter from Africa. It was a boy and girl holding their boxes with big grins and holding up the picture of Colt and Joy. That really made an impression on my kids. So, if you want to make a difference, take a minute and check it out. Pack a box. Or better yet, organize an effort to do this within your church or charity organization. When you click on the site above, it will also give you a local drop-off place for your box by putting in the area you live. (Oh, and they also ask that we include $7 to cover the shipping).

I was going to include some pictures from the past week of things we've been up to, but since this post is growing longer, I think I'll save that for my next post (which I PROMISE won't be as long as this time). Joy's been up to some fun activities; Colt has been very crafty and I have his finished "project" to show you; AND we've put up our main Christmas tree. I have so many Christmas boxes sitting on my sunporch calling my name. I like to get our Christmas decor up early so we have lots of time to enjoy it. You know the low lighting of the Christmas trees, sipping on my hot chocolate in my PJs watching a Christmas movie with my family.....that's the life!

Thank you, to everybody that stopped by with a comment or an email, about the adoption (and just everyday), I truly appreciate every one. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!



arkie said...

So glad things are going well with you and your family.
I know you must be proud of Joy and all the work that goes into preparing for the Nutcracker. I was able to go see the Nutcracker Ballet in Amarillo,TX last year. This year we are going to see the arts academy in our town performing the Nutcracker. Love it!
Praying the adoption goes smoothly and your new little guy will be with his new family soon!

carolyn@primitive~devotion said...

Tammy, we have always participated with the Shoe Boxes for Christmas through our church and also through the church that I used to work for. It is so touching to see those kids open their boxes. I haven't seen that in person, but saw a video that was shared at our church. There wasn't a dry eye in the place! Those precious kids get so excited over the tiniest little extra something. It makes my heart ache that so many have so little, while most of us who have so much, appreciate it so little. Know what I mean?
Praying for the adoptin to go through smoothly and faster than anticipated. I can't even imagine how hard the wait must be!
Enjoy the rest of your week!

At Home With Amy said...

Joy is quite the dancer. Oh to be young again and have that much energy.

I'm so glad to see things are going good with Luke's adoption. He will be home before you know it!

Our Church participates in something similar to what you are doing. We fill small boxes for Inner City Families. Each year we choose what group we want to target such as Elementary Children, Young Adults or Women. We alternate each year. This is usually the only Christmas gift they will receive. It does make your heart feel good knowing you have made someone feel special and loved.
Enjoy your day,

UPON A HILL said...

Our church does something like that with the Billy Grahams ministry. Oh how wonderful that Joy is in the nutcracker. I took my daughter when she was very young to see. She kept saying, "Mommy when are they gonna talk?" I love it. I am believing with you that all will go well with the adoption.

Sharon said...

So happy to hear that things are going well for you.
Can't wait to hear more about Joy and her role in nutcracker.
Thanks for sharing
God bless.

Mandy in Mayberry said...

I've been thinking about you! I knew you probably had lots going on right now.

Our church participates in Operation Christmas Child. We're the drop off location in our area and we have a group that travels down to North Carolina to help get the boxes sent off. It's a wonderful ministry!

I'll keep you all in my prayers throughout the adoption process!

Grammy Linda / Behind My Red Door said...

It was good to hear from you again Tammy. I so relate to the dance driving routine. We did that for many years. Sometimes we could fit in other errands and there was a book store next door so they got a lot of our business too!

I have been looking for a different way to donate this Christmas. I always do toys for tots as local children benefit but I want to add something internation too and you have given me a lead!

Good luck with all your paperwork and the whole process. I get the goosebumps when I think about how exciting this time of your life will be!

Cottage Rose said...

Hi Tammy; I am happy to hear that things are going well with the adoption. I remember all the work my Daughter and Son in law went through when they adopted their son from Russia... it was well worth it... Have a great weekend..


wrcdgc said...

I have missed you! Glad to hear things are going well with Luke. I love your Christmas project. Jessica did this in girl scouts once it was a lot of fun.


Nancy M. said...

I'm glad things are moving along with the adoption! Wow, Joy must be worn out from all that practice!

It's funny our homeschool group is called CHEFS, very similar to yours, lol! Some of the older children and a few adults from our group are going to go work for a day in the processing center for the shoe boxes.

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

It's good to see you back, but I completely understand the busy-ness of life getting in the way. Being out 4 nights a week and homeschooling during the day; you really have a busy life. We've done the shoe boxes in the past too. It's a great ministry.

mini pendant lighting said...

I hope everythinig goes smooth.

prashant said...

Love it!
Praying the adoption goes smoothly and your new little guy will be with his new family soon!

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