First, I'd like to let everyone know that we started a private Facebook group to keep everyone posted on the adoption. It's completely private, so it allows for a little bit more disclosure than we're giving on our public Facebook accounts and the blog. If you'd like to be added to the group, please don't hesitate to ask. When I made it I only added family, so if you want in, you have to ask! We want to make sure everyone who wants to stay updated is updated, but if you only want to know the BIG things, you can stick with regular facebook and the blog :)
Another update on the fundraising front- we currently have a couple fundraisers going on. I'm making custom framed "lists", they range from $5-10, so if you're interested in one of those, let me know. I have some samples pictured on my facebook, but will be cranking some more out soon! We are also still selling tshirts for $15. Here's what our shirts look like- there are lots of tshirt color options, with a white, handpainted Africa and a heart over Congo. You can comment here to order or message me on Facebook!
On September 10th we'll kick off another big fundraiser- our 3rd (and final!) Facebook auction. If you have anything you'd like to sell (a service you offer, a product you sell, something you make, etc.), let me know! We've got a great list of stuff growing, but can always use more!
And last one, we're currently encouraging everyone to save their change. We've been putting all our change into a milk jug and every month or so we cash it in to our bank where we have our adoption account. On the night of September 8th we're having a "change drop off" (location TBA) and would love to fill that milk jug up and maybe have to start a new one! If you work somewhere that would allow you to put out a change jar, here's a sign you can use (or feel free to make your own)-
On to the update...
Over the last month I've been thinking and praying about traveling early to Congo. The normal timeline for adoptive families goes like this (a few smaller steps are left out to make it easier to understand):
-submit I600 to US
-receive approval from US
-apply for child's visa
-travel (you'll be there for about 7-10 days)
If you travel early it looks like this:
-submit I600 to Congo and apply for child's visa
-wait (you'll be there for about 3-5 weeks)
The reasoning behind wanting to travel early is that it cuts 2+ months off of the total wait time to bring Emily home. This may not seem like a "good enough" reason to stay in Congo for so long to some people, but to us we can't get her home soon enough.
The biggest negative is that Andrew can't take this much time off of work, so he won't be going. He could go for a week or so, but since I'll have to be alone for so long anyway, we're just biting the bullet and I'm going by myself. This will save us over $2,000... airfare, extra food, extra visa, extra vaccines...
This is our perspective- we have a child that is alone, in terrible conditions, and she doesn't even know that we're here. She doesn't know she has a family that loves her and is doing everything possible to get to her. When I leave, it will break my heart to have to leave Alexis and Kaitlyn, but they'll be fine. They'll have plenty to eat, they'll have more than enough toys to play with, they'll be with people that love them and care about them, they'll get tucked into a bed every night, and they'll know (even if they have to be reminded) that they have a mommy that loves them that will be home soon. Emily doesn't have any of that. And we have the ability to make that a reality just a *little* bit sooner, so we're doing it.
Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare for this. We still have what seems like FOREVER to go until it will be time to travel. We are hoping to go to court (our lawyer will do this for us) soon and then after that we'll have to wait 30 days for CONA (Certificate of non-appeal). After we get this, Emily will officially be a Gentry in the eyes of the Congolese government! Praying everything with court goes smoothly. Your prayers are SO appreciated!