Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crazy? Crazy!

Want to know the overall most prevalent comment we get regarding our adoption?

"You're crazy!" But coming from the ones who say it, I know they mean it in the most loving, supportive way they chuckle and hug us. It's not a criticism (those come in other forms, believe you me), just an observation. I find no offense it whatsoever (at least not so far, in the way it has come and from whom it has come)!

This declaration of crazy comes from people who know our family, who love the three children we have already, and who know that life with [a job, a ministry, homeschooling, 3 children, 4 goats, 13 chickens, and an adoption] does not fit into a tidy little box that we open every morning at 7 and have wrapped up neatly with a bow by 8 p.m.

My newest response comes from the heart of what God is teaching us in a major way:


We have been bought with a price...Jesus laid down His life for us on the cross. In accepting His free gift, we live in and through Him. And HIS life was not His own. Out of love, he was compelled to give it up, that we might have an abundant life.

There are so many so-called "rights" that we cling to. The right to a comfortable home, a decent car, free time to do whatever we want. The right to sleep in on Saturday mornings, to control our schedules.

We cling to these rights for our children, and from us they learn to cling tightly, as well. The right to lots of books, the right toys, a spacious bedroom. The right to stay in their comfort zone, to x-amount of hours of individual attention.

But you know what? Our lives are not our own. The rights to which we cling are not "rights" at all, but privileges we enjoy. They are not necessities, they are gifts. And when we start demanding gifts, a beautiful life lived in the Spirit instead becomes a downright ugly, spoiled-brat life.

To those who have heard the clear call of conviction to obey God in a particular matter, do you dare disobey for the sake of hanging on to the gifts you've been given? Or do you understand by faith that laying down your life is the only way to really live it? "anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. [Because] Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:38-39).

So are we crazy to be pursuing this adoption? A resounding YES!

"Better a full, busy life lived in obedience to God
than a nicely-ordered life lived in rebellion to His call.
If you're busy, be busy with what He's handed you,
not with the things you've picked up on your own."


I hope you've hung with me this far...sorry for a wordy, un-pictured post. We really appreciate you taking the time and effort to follow with what God is teaching us through this whole journey, to understand our hearts right now.

But I would love for you to read one more thing. It's the post that started us exploring this whole concept in a fresh way. It's a post by a 31-yr. old mom who, after having 3 biological children, adopted a sibling group of 3 kids from Ethiopia, then adopted another sibling group of 3 kids! Yes...nine children. (No, we're not headed for 9 children, I don't think)! Reading her original post will give you a better understanding of where we're at...Check it out here...thank you!

I promise to make up with pictures of our baby girl later for all the boring posts you've been enduring on this blog!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why $7200?

So why do we need $7200 to send with our dossier? Our agency breaks amounts that are due into more manageable chunks, some of which are timed to be due with the dossier, and other parts are connected directly to the dossier. Here's the breakdown:

  1. Agency fee mid-payment, $1500 (which reflects a 25% pastor's discount).Honestly, I have never asked what exactly the program fee covers. I do know that there is a full-time, wonderful staff in VA that must get paid. The staff makes everything happen, they lead us through the entire complicated process. And they even do it cheerfully! I also know that there is staff in Ethiopia who meets with adoptive families when they arrive, makes court appointments, and handles paperwork.
  2. Translation/Authentication: $800. That huge stack of paperwork we're gathering? It all has to be translated into Amharic. And authenticated, which give assurance that it's all legal, etc.
  3. Post-Placement Deposit: $1000. This is actually refundable after the post-placement visits with the social worker have been completed at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. This is the agency's way of ensuring families meet the standards set by the gov't of Ethiopia for reporting back on how their orphans are doing. If families don't cooperate with this, the country may decide that they don't have enough control over what is happening to their population, and close down adoptions (I have heard this is what happened with Guatemala, at least in part. International adoption is one comlicated can of worms!).
  4. Courier fee: $150. Get that important stack of paperwork delivered safe and sound!
  5. 1st half of international program fee: $3750. This covers children's medical exams, the transitional home child-rearing, and an orphanage donation. All good stuff.
Grand total: $7200.

I'm working on a post explaining why exactly we're doing fundraising for this adoption. I mean besides the obvious...we think it is right and good for "the church" to support adoption. I hope to share our perspectives on this, and to illustrate how our own church and our families have grasped the heart of it. Stay tuned.


We have a passport! Mark's passport arrived today!

As you may recall, we're only missing four things in order to send our dossier off to Ethiopia:
1. Mark's passport.
2. Wendy's passport.
3. Form I-171H
4. $7200.

It feels great to be making progress again!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coffee Fundraiser!

The Just Love Coffee Store has finally launched!

Just Love Coffee Roasters was started by Rob Webb, coffee roaster and adoptive father of two girls from Ethiopia. He forged a way to merge his work and his faith in an amazing way, and Just Love Coffees was born.

He has made available to adoptive parents a seamless fundraiser. His company roasts fine coffees from over the world, makes it available through each adoptive family's online storefront, ships it directly to customers, and the adoptive family receives $5 per bag of coffee.

To many (myself included!) coffee is a life staple...and now it can be used to care for orphans!

We ask that you check out our storefront at The neatest option is the 2Buy2 Coffee Club...receive 2 bags of coffee every month of every other month to save on time and shipping! We're definitely going that route! But you can buy bags of coffee individually, too. We will continue to receive funds from the storefront until our adoption expenses have been met. Then, for those of you in the 2Buy2 Coffee Club, you will still be supporting orphan care in Ethiopia through your purchases!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to either leave a comment or email us at milligansnorth at gmail dot com. If you browse around the Just Love Coffee site (which I encourage you to do-it's a really neat story!), make sure you come back to our page (Milligan will be in the URL at the top) to make your purchases.

Just think...if 30 of you each purchased one bag of coffee a month for the next 12 months (the estimated time left till we travel to Ethiopia), that would raise $1800 towards our adoption. If 30 of you shared our fundraiser with just one other person that purchased coffee monthly, that would be $3600...that's almost 20% of what we have left to raise!!!

We would appreciate your help in spreading the to friends and family or post the link to our store if you get a chance! Thanks so much!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coffe Store Launching Monday!

Woo-hoo! The team at Just Love Coffee has been working tirelessly to get each adoptive families' storefronts up and running, and the official launch date is Monday, October 26th!

Starting then, you'll be able to go to our site (of course the link will come here on Monday!) to purchase your coffee! A fine line of Fair Trade Certified coffees...all of which support placing orphans into forever families.

So all of you coffee-drinkers and all of you non-coffee drinkers who entertain them, Monday's the day...stay tuned!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pampered Chef Fundraiser!

Do you know anyone who loves Pampered Chef products? Do you? Do you have some Christmas shopping to do?

We can help you to help us with our adoption!
We're hosting a Pampered Chef fundraiser from now until Dec. 5th. If you're local, I'd love to have you come for the party on Nov. 7th. But since most of you aren't local, I wanted to share the shopping link with you.

Just go to, and start shopping! Voila! Our fund for our adoption will receive 15% in sales!

Thanks for your support...and even if you're not interested in Pampered Chef, please pass the link along to everyone you know, post it on your blogs, etc! Thanks!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

$7200, here we come!

I keep hoping to get all my ducks in a row and details in order before posting some initial info. But, it's not happening, so here goes the "un-organized" nutshell!

Nov. 7th...a Pampered Chef party/fundraiser! It will be here at our house, BUT you can place orders online and our fundraiser will be credited! I will update with this post soon with the actual website, but for now, just know that it's coming up, and save some of your Christmas shopping! Our adoption fund received 15% from all the sales!!!

Nov. 1-15th: Read for Orphans! I am so excited about can be involved with helping orphans, too! This will be a two-week read-a-thon, and kids of any age (you can read to your toddlers and preschoolers) can participate. Kids just set a goal of how much they can read in 2 weeks time, get sponsors to pledge a certain amt. for their reading, and all the proceeds help our adoption! If this works well, I'd like to make it an annual event to help other adoptive families!
I will be emailing out info packets on this, so if you want your kids in, leave me a comment or drop me an email at milligansnorth at gmail dot com!

Nov. 30th: Discovery Toys fundraiser! My former upline (from my former "I'm a DT consultant" life) is helping me out with this one! Unfortunately, we can't do online orders, so all products ordered will come to me and then would have to be shipped to you from here. But, if you love DT and want to check out their online catalog, we'll try to work something out! Our adoption fund receives 20% from our sales!

Jan/Feb: lia sophia fundraiser! My mom is a lia sophia advisor, and we'll do a party this winter after the hubbub of the holidays. lia sophia, if you aren't familiar with it, is gorgeous jewelry...even for un-girly girls like me! My mom will donate 10% of the sales, AND the free jewelry I earn as a hostess will be auctioned off!

So there's an overview...check back for more info by early next week! While we need much more than $7200, that will at least get our dossier on its way to Ethiopia!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009


As of two days ago, our part of getting our dossier together is FINISHED. Every document, certificate, signature, notarization that is our responsibility is finished.

At this point, we need three things to send our dossier off to Ethiopia:
1. I-171H (form from USCIS)
2. Passports (copies need to be included in the dossier).
3. $7200 (the next fees due, which included translation of our dossier and courier fees).

#1 and #2 are a waiting guess is 4-6 weeks for each of them.
And the $7200? Now that the dossier is off my plate, let the fundraising efforts begin! Stay tuned!