Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Orphan No More

This video is of bringing Alina home and their first meeting. Have tissues ready - it touched my heart to see this little girl with her family. Looking forward to our homecoming video. Thank you to Lisa for letting me post this. Her blog: www.lovingalina.blogspot.com

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blessings Abound

Well, Saturday was our celebration of Matthew and Ivanna. We had an absolute wonderful time and so enjoyed seeing everyone who came to help us celebrate. We had great food, fellowship and fun. The boyscout troop 1535 came and helped us serve food. Julie Mandery graciously allowed for her students to be apart and play piano. We ate crab, salmon and shrimp and sipped iced tea on my sweet sister n law's lawn: thank you Donna and Kris! ;) My husband, Phillip, gave a tremendous testimony relating God's love toward us to that of adoption. He showed the anniversary video from Reece's Rainbow and a few compelling images. We were treated with a very special piano piece from Kristin, a woman in her thirties with Ds. The evening finished with announcement of the silent auction winners and dessert.
I think the fellowship was so sweet, and count the evening a success because of it. That was the most important goal for us: a time to bring honor and glory to our Lord as well as share the need and our burden of providing for the fatherless.
We were also so blessed in that nearly $7,000 was raised with the silent auction and donations combined. Praise the Lord! What a TREMENDOUS blessing. To that ~ we want to express our most sincere gratitude! For all who helped prepare, brought food, provided music, helped with sound, took pictures, donated to the silent auction, bid on the silent auction, bought hair pretties, made hair pretties, allowed the use of your home, set up and took down, prayed and came ~ THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! You helped make the evening memorable and it could not have been done without you.

Next blessing: a sick and screaming baby. Yes, those are blessings too. You see, we received our USCIS fingerprinting appointment last week. It was scheduled for September 21st. This was cause for concern, because of the delay with USCIS in processing approvals. We are trying very hard to have our paperwork (dossier) in to the country by October 1st. The scheduled appointment was pushing it too close, because even after fingerprinting there is a wait for approval.

So, we were able to schedule an appointment with our local USCIS field office in HOPES that they would allow us to be fingerprinted. We went in EARLY this morning. On the way there, Justus throws up and looks miserable - a terrible virus is abrewin'. We press on. After waiting in the lobby for nearly two hours, we finally decide that perhaps this is not the day and go up to the window and state that we may need to come back. Our baby was quite fussy, and is now feverish. She says there is no guarantee but that we should wait around and try to be fitted in. She says that the month is just going to get busier. We reluctantly wait. Knowing that Phillip is becoming MORE tardy for work, and my sweet Justus is working himself into a fit. I think I bounced, and rocked that baby in every which way ~ hoping to quiet him into sleep. Just when I wanted to turn and burn, Phillip taps me on the shoulder and says they called our name!!!
THEY CALLED OUR NAME! OHHHH ... it was as if the trumpet sounded itself! We piled into a tiny room filled with waiting people ... and my screaming baby! He was not happy. He was done ... and loud. We had five people ahead of us, and I wanted sooo badly to be done. I was sweating now. He was soooo very loud. Well, the USCIS workers must have had pity upon us. They whisked me in next to take my prints. All the while I heard Justus' maddening screams and a dear old Asian woman yelling at my husband to put milk in his mouth! All he could muster to say is ... "I'm sorry, I don't understand you. He just wants his Mom!"
As soon as my worker said I was done, I split! I ran, grabbed the baby and flew out of the building. I'm sure applause followed behind me! Well, it's all fine now. It is because of that screaming little baby that we got our fingerprints .... DONE! The workers had pity on us and got us through. I praise the Lord ... even for screaming babies.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Letters and Appointments

A follow-up to yesterday's post:

I was able to schedule an appointment in our USCIS field office for Monday. This was at the suggestion of a very kind immigration officer via email. I am hoping this will equate to us getting our biometrics done! (prayers please)

I also wrote a couple of letters this morning asking for inquiry from our senators. I am hoping this is not overkill, but due diligence. Of course, God is ultimately in control - and I trust that He will see this all through in His timing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Status Update ~

Just a real quick post:
We received a notice from USCIS just a couple days ago that is basically a receipt in acknowledgment of our I-600a application. Great news. Well, today we received our biometric (fingerprinting) appointments - scheduled for September 21st, 2010. This is great, but I am praying and hoping for an opportunity for an earlier appointment. I went ahead and wrote and email to the USCIS asking for a sort of medical expedite (due to Ivanna's heart condition). We will see. God can do anything and we are praying for an expedited approval from USCIS. Matthew and Ivanna's country closes down for holiday between November and February. They take no new submissions during this time. If we do not get our dossier in country by October, we very well may not be submitted until February. This means we would have to re-do most of our dossier - as the E.European country we seek to adopt from considers documents older than five months at time of submission to be expired.
~~~~ Asking for prayer~~~~
Please pray that someone will have mercy at the USCIS and allow us to move forward expeditiously. That we would be able to mail our dossier in enough time to be submitted to the SDA by November deadline. PLEASE pray for this.
On another note: I just had thirteen documents notarized yesterday (some re-do's from before) Phillip had four documents notarized during the day - and so now .....
... we only have THREE documents left to fulfill our dossier!!!! WOW! This includes our pending I-171H approval from USCIS. I am so totally in shock. Did not expect that we were getting that close. What about finances - you ask? Well, God has been showing and proving to us that He is indeed in the provision business. We have complete peace that the funds needed to complete this adoption will be in place just as He sees fit. Praising the Lord for all He has provided and allowed us to complete thus far...
One more thing: we did need to email our social worker for the revision of something in our homestudy. It is fine for the USCIS - but needs to have a correction made prior to mailing it out of country. Hopefully that revision will be made, homestudy will be re-notarized and mailed to me by next week ...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Silent Auction

Announcing the start of a SILENT AUCTION
Just a few ~ but fantastic items being offered. The items are being offered here first and then also at the Low Country Seafood Boil this Saturday, August 28th.
All bids are "silent", meaning that you won't know what or if anyone else bids. If bidding online, please do so by going to the "contact us" tab in our menu at top of page. Please be sure to put what item you are bidding on in subject line, and the amount of your bid in memo field.
The winning bid will go entirely to the effort of adopting Matthew and Ivanna.
The winning bids will be announced at the Seafood Boil on August 28th, with a follow up announcement on this blog the following Monday, August 30th.
We thank you in advance for your help in bringing these children into our home.

George Washington Inn Certificate

An oceanfront B&B between Sequim and Port Angeles, Washington

George Washington Inn, a new bed and breakfast inn, sits majestically along the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the base of Washington's snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Enjoy the views and spacious lodging in a luxury B&B, just minutes from both Sequim and Port Angeles. From Seattle, Vancouver, or Victoria make your getaway to a most romantic bed and breakfast inn.

George Washington Inn was inspired by Mount Vernon and built as a replica of George Washington's home, in honor of our first president's faith and legacy. As a luxury inn fit for a president, enjoy it's waterfront panorama all while in the rustic setting similar to that of Mount Vernon. Innovative use of geothermal heating and cooling at the inn employs sustainable energy and conservation. This Port Angeles Inn is truly unique ~ the pictures just do not illustrate the beauty and ambiance entirely.

To see more images and learn more about George Washington Inn please visit:

This certificate is redeemable for $350 and is available for use from October through April. The certificate will not expire and does not include taxes.

If you have any other questions please contact us via our "button" in the menu at top of page.

Imagine ~ staying in such elegant surroundings. The tranquility and peace that this inn affords are just perfect for that special anniversary celebration ~ or a small getaway before baby is born. Perhaps there is no formal reason to celebrate other than that of your simply being together. Whatever the reason, this is a wonderful opportunity to take time and get away with one another. You will also be helping to bring home two very special children at the same time.

We would like to personally thank the proprietors of George Washington Inn, Dan and Janet Abbott, for donating this wonderful gift certificate in our endeavor to bring Matthew and Ivanna home. It serves as such an encouragement, and we feel both blessed and humbled by your gracious donation.

Thank you!

This gift certificate will also be available to bid on at our Low Country Seafood Boil on Saturday (August 28th) ~ There we will combine the online bids with the bids from the attendees of the dinner. The highest bid will receive the certificate. All bids are silent and winning bids on any item will go entirely toward bringing home Matthew and Ivanna.

Please use the "contact us" tab in our menu in order to place your bid on this item. Be sure to put 'George Washington Inn' in the subject line of the jot form.

Thank you ~

Boathouse Stay

This silent auction item is a three day and two night stay at a boathouse that a family member owns here locally in Port Orchard, Washington.

This boathouse is set in a beautiful location, situated right across from Blake Island and possesses views of the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier.

The boathouse also has a spot for a lazy afternoon picnic outside while listening to the resident eagles overhead. A BBQ grill is available for your outdoor dining convenience.

The inside of the boathouse includes a most comfortable bed as well as sofa sectional that makes into a bed, if the whole family is joining you. There is also a recently remodeled loft for a fun "camp out" feel for any older children.

The indoors of the boathouse includes a full kitchen and bathroom (with shower) for your convenience.

A wood stove for a comfy cozy evening with feet up watching the big screen or reading your favorite book.

Beach access with Mt. Rainier in the background.

White sandy beach to dip your toes in. Come, sit by the fire pit and roast marsh mellows as you gaze upon the lights of Seattle.

Quaint and cozy ~ the boathouse is the PERFECT place for a couple or family to get away for a few days of relaxation.

There are also canoes available and paddle boats. Life jackets can be found in the cabana near sandy area.

Pictures do not do this location justice. This promises to be a fun family get away in such a beautiful location.

We would like to especially thank our family members Kris and Donna McGaughey, the boathouse owners, for their very kind donation of this boathouse stay. They are also so very gracious as to allow us to host the Low Country Seafood Boil here at this very same location. God has blessed them with this home ~ and they seek to be a blessing with it as well.

Thank you.

It serves as such an encouragement and has enabled us to have a wonderful location for such a special celebration in honor of Matthew and Ivanna.

This certificate is for a three day and two night stay at this boathouse. As far as scheduling the stay ~ accommodations will have to be made with the owners. Once a winner has been determined, contact information will be given.

Online bids can be made "silently" by clicking on the 'contact us' tab in the menu section above. Bids will also be taken at the Seafood Boil and the highest bidder (from both the online bids and dinner bids) will be announced at the boil on Saturday, August 28th.

All bids are considered silent and the winning bid will go entirely toward the endeavor of bringing Matthew and Ivanna home.

*please be advised that there are approx. 20 steps that wind down to the beach*

Green Earth Landscaping

Green Earth Landscaping ~ serving Kitsap County

Residential or Commercial Landscaping Services

Proprietor: Josh Casaus

Auction items forthcoming ~ please check back.

Sophie's Family

Sophie has a family! Not just any family, but sweet friends of ours: The Bowdens. Eric and Luba Bowden have just recently committed to seek adoption of little sweet Sophie. They saw Sophie's picture listed on Reece's Rainbow and felt knit.
We could not be more happy. This family is one that seeks to honor and glorify Christ in this endeavor, and that is awesome!
Luba and Eric have started a blog for others to follow in their adoption journey. You can follow along at www.sharingmommyanddaddy.blogspot.com
Take a moment and read their story. Leave a comment of encouragement. Their story is sweet and little Sophie will have the great opportunity to continue to know her Eastern European heritage, as Luba shares one very special thing with Sophie, she too comes from Eastern Europe.
Bowden Family ~ Congratulations! We are so very thrilled for your family!

Friday, August 20, 2010

In the Paper

We put an ad in our local Port Orchard Independent inviting those in our community to come and celebrate Matthew and Ivanna with us.
If you are new to our journey in adopting these two beauties from Eastern Europe, thank you for stopping by.
Please be sure to click on the 'about us' tab on top, to learn what this is all about.
Also, be sure to browse older posts for pictures of Matthew and Ivanna, as well as updates.
Last but not least, come and celebrate with us on August 28th. Come share the good times and the vision we have.
Bring a salad and your friends.
*Let me know you are coming, by calling or registering here at our website*

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Younger pictures

These pictures are a bit older, but are the ones listed on a website that has many children from this country photo listed. LOOK AT THEM! My heart melts and I can't wait to bring them home.
Ivanna looks quite a bit healthier to me in this picture. I feel this may mean that she really needs to get some medical treatment for her heart condition. Her face looks a tad bit more red around the eyes now. The fact that she is not walking yet, is a bit concerning as far as her heart is concerned. I have already spoken to our cardiologist and she is anticipating meeting both children. She filled me in on some things to expect as well. I love her ~ she is terrific!
Matthew's eyes are so striking! I don't know yet, the exact situation that both sets of parents faced as they gave these beautiful children up, I am sure it was difficult - and even more so as they would have had to look at these two beautiful babies and say goodbye.
I ... just ... can't ... imagine ...
Yet, these children were given the blessing of life ~ and now we get to provide the blessing of a home!
I saw these pictures and saved them. They are a treasure. Please pray as our I-600A application awaits approval. May it be a fast process ~ we need to get these little ones home ~
Until then ~ may God continue to keep them safe and cared for.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blog Auction 2 Winners

The following are the winners for our second blog auction. I think that is a bit ironic - as I deem our little Matthew and Ivanna and the rest of our family the "winners" because of everyone's generosity. I truly want to extend our family's thanks to those who donated, and bid on the items. There was a lot of work that went into it all, from creating to sacrificing of finances in order to bid. Every bit of it is a HUGE blessing to us ~ and we don't count it small stuff. We know God is providing, but He is using His people to do so ~ and for that we are very grateful.

I will list the names, and amount of which you bid ~ for your convenience, so you don't have to scroll through the pages. If I made a mistake, please let me know. I will try and fix it.

There is a 'chip-in' at the end of this post (below name list) for you to pay for your items. It will take you to paypal. You can also pay via check to Reece's Rainbow - see info at bottom of post. Some items will have to be shipped, so please include your address for that. I wish I could meet you and thank you in person!!!

Blog Auction 2 Winners:

Boathouse Stay ~ Jenny Savage ~ $255
Family Portrait Session ~ Newcomb Family ~ $50
Lacey Rugg Hair Clips ~ Mark ~ $18
Loose Beach Glass ~ Amanda Hand ~ $50
Red Spindlenique Bracelet ~ Debbie Marks ~ $50
Spindlenique Gift Certificate #4 ~ Gretchen Thibault ~ $50
Jaxson's Blankie for Babes ~ Gretchen Thibault ~ $40
Amethyst Necklace ~ Gretchen Thibault ~ $50
Rafter Cross Bible Cover Gift Certificate ~ Holly Hilson ~ $25
Birdhouse ~ Mark ~ $36
Silverware Earrings ~ Gretchen Thibault ~ $20
Crepes Catering ~ Malissa Farmer ~ $25
Small Denim Bag ~ Kim Hoback ~ $40
Garden Bracelet ~ Jenny Bodin ~ $20
Flower Hair Pretties #2 ~ Rachel Zettle ~ $35
Flower Headbands ~ Amanda Savage ~ $40
Knotted Bead Necklace ~ Gretchen Thibault ~ $15
Children's Photography Session ~ Holly Hilson ~ $15
Fun Center Gift Certificate ~ Jessica Perez ~ $76
Korker Bows ~ Lisa Banks ~ $10
Spindlenique Boutique Gift Certificate#3 ~ Tuck Whitaker ~ $50
Personal Trainer Gift Certificate ~ Becky Henson ~ $25
Nursing Cover ~ Rachel Zettle ~ $30
Fluffy Scarf ~ Amanda Savage ~ $25
Pajamas ~ Annie Ament ~ $20
Flower Hair Pretty Lot #1 ~ Sheri Burger ~ $20
Coach Wristbag ~ Jill Spicer ~ $40
Black Hills Gold Earrings ~ Tuck Whitaker ~ $40
Whimsical Hair Pretties #1 ~ Karilee H. ~ $10
Bear ~ Kristi Long ~ $30
Fleece Blanket ~ Nicole ~ $20
Yellow Crochet Blanket ~ Nicole ~ $15
Whimsical Hair Pretties #2 ~ Sheri Burger ~ $25

*** NOTE*** The question was posed in the comment field of wether it would be better to pay via the provided 'chip in' or making a check out to Reece's Rainbow. The Chip In is provided for your convenience, because so many use paypal for online shopping. The downfall to using the 'chip in' is that it is not considered tax deductible, also - when we go to pull money out of the paypal there is a fee associated with that. We just avoid that by waiting until our travel date to use the money. The plus side to using the 'chip in' is that the funds are available to us now, if need be. If you would like to pay by check to Reece's Rainbow - it will be counted as a tax deductible donation - and a receipt will be mailed back to you. Please put our name: Browning; in memo section. Funds will be available to us as soon as a travel date is received.
*you can also pay via our "button" on sidebar. It will take you to a paypal page also for Reece's Rainbow, if you pay this way be sure to mark "Browning family" in memo. ~ this method of payment is also tax deductible.

If any payment is made through Reece's Rainbow, please let me know so I can get your item to you. I won't know you paid unless you tell me. Thank you!

Reece's Rainbow Address:
P.O. Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885

Either way - is fine with us. We count it all a blessing and thank each and every one of you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blog Auction 2 Ends ...

... tomorrow at noon!!!! Thank you to all who have participated. This has been a great success and I am so excited to see the results tomorrow. We had anticipated this being our last auction online, however we have had many inquiries about doing a third one. How would you feel about one being held in October? Thoughts?

Again, THANK YOU to all who donated and bid! You have been a tremendous blessing!!!

Change of Plans * Boil

A change of plans regarding the Benefit Low Country Seafood boil. My husband and I both separately started to feel that the boil was becoming too focused on the fundraising aspect ~ and because of that we just no longer felt at peace in asking a "per plate" price. We know that our Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills ~ and He is quite capable of providing us the money for this adoption without us having to drum that up. So ... we both want to make a change to the boil ~ we will still be taking donations ~ but rather than that be the focus, we are asking that everyone come and celebrate the evening with us in honor of Matthew and Ivanna. We are bringing two BEAUTIFUL children home ~ and it's reason to celebrate. We will still be serving a low country seafood boil with crab, shrimp, kielbasa, potato, and corn - but it just won't be "dumped" on pretty white tables. You will have to put up with paper plates and buffet style lines. (I know, it's rough) ;)
The evening promises to be fun. The silent auction and appetizers start at 3:00pm. The items for silent auction include a few little vacation destinations as well as some great deals by Green Earth Landscaping. The evening also includes some piano pieces by young musicians and a local boyscout troop serving guests. Phillip sharing our burden for adoption later in the evening. I am so excited to laugh, cry and visit with you.
We are asking that everyone still register by contacting us so we know how many to plan for. We want to be sure there is enough. Come, spend the evening with us ~ August 28th at 3:00pm * register by contacting us via contact button or boil button on side. If you would like to bring a salad to share ~ that would be great too. THANK YOU!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Thank you to those who have registered thus far for the Benefit Seafood Boil. We appreciate all the support and encouragement. It really does mean the world to us - as this journey at times, can be overwhelming. I hope that those who are planning to attend will register soon. Registration is important because it helps us to know how many people to plan for. We certainly don't want to overspend by purchasing too much - but also want to be sure we are planning enough as well. So, please encourage those you know are attending, to register by clicking on the Benefit Seafood Boil "button" on the right side of this post. You may need to scroll down just a tad.

We are also providing child care at the Boil. It's not mandatory that you use it - as we love for children to be apart of the dinner, etc. Just an alternative for those who are looking to enjoy a little time with their loved one. Child care is free - and a BBQ meal is provided to the children. It is also on site, and so you don't need to go to a separate location. Very convenient.

We know that this evening will be special, even if just a few of us gather. We will be having a local boyscout troop serving the tables and young musicians playing the piano. Our heart is that many will be reminded of how precious each child is ~ ~ ~

I hope you will attend ~ it would mean so much to our family to spend time with you and yours in such a beautiful location.

** A bit of an update ** We received our finalized/notarized home study yesterday - and wasted no time in filling out our I-600A application for the USCIS and mailing it with our home study today. We hope that the approval won't take long (please pray it doesn't). The country we are adopting from goes on holiday between November and February! That means no new submissions during this time. So ~ we need to submit our dossier by October in order for a travel date this year. We are very excited to be in this phase of our journey. We are nearly complete with our dossier requirements - and only have five more documents to finish. Our second auction seems to be doing quite well (praise the Lord) and we even have had several inquiries if we will hold a third auction. So we are entertaining that idea now - perhaps for October? Let me know if that is something you think would be a good idea. THANK YOU to all ~ for your participation in auction, coming to the Boil, and for your prayer!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blog Auction #2

Welcome to our second auction. This is a fun way to raise funds that go toward the cost of bringing Matthew and Ivanna home. Thank you to all who have participated - both the bidders and the people who have donated.

1. The auction is scheduled to run for one week.
2. Place bids by leaving a comment for the item with the amount you are willing to pay. If someone "outbids" you ~ feel free to go back and leave another bid.
3. At the end of the auction, if you have won the item - please pay via the chip in that I will post at the auction's end.
4. Make sure that you hit "older posts" at the end of each page to see more items available.
5. This is all done in the spirit of fun and helping to bring home Matthew and Ivanna ~ HAVE FUN!

Thank you so very much! If there are any questions - please feel free to contact us.

Beach House Stay ~ 3 Days & 2 Nights

Three Day, Two Night stay at a Beach House ~ Port Orchard WA

Bidding Starts at $5.00

Enjoy three days and two nights in the comfort of a beach house. You will be able to smell the salt water and hear the lapping of the waves as you drift off to sleep. During the day you can relax and dig your toes into the white sandy beach as you have the Seattle skyline to gaze upon.

This beach house is kid friendly - and welcomes your whole family. You can also just choose to get re-aquainted with your spouse as you have a relaxing few days together; just the two of you.

The beach house includes a full kitchen, bath with shower, queen bed and sectional that makes into a bed, wood stove, and big screen television. Everything you need for a superb holiday.

With everyone looking to save money - many do without a vacation. This is your chance to have that vacation at a very low cost and your money goes towards saving two children's lives.

The beach house also has many fun activities that you can partake in. There is a big toy located in the white sandy beach for your little ones, as well as a few "toys" for the big kids. There are canoes, and paddle boats that you can put in the water and have fun with.

If you were to stay in a comparable beach cottage elsewhere ~ I can not begin to try and come up with what it may cost your family. Come - enjoy the beach house. Help bring Matthew and Ivanna home ...

* Please be aware that there are about 20 steps down to the beach house*

A beautiful and peaceful location.

White beach awaits

Come ~ relax ~ and get away without having to travel far.

Family Portrait Session

Family Portrait Session by Savage Photography

Bidding starts at $5.00

This package includes a 1-2 hour session at an agreed outdoor location, 20-30 digital images on CD for prints/enlargements/sharing online all for your convenience.

Yes, that is the Browning crew in the upper right hand corner. Jenny has done our portraits for years and years now. We love her work. She has a great eye, and ability.

For more information on Savage Photography you can contact Jenny Savage at: dan_savage@msn.com

This package is valued at $200.00

Hair Clips by Lacey Rugg

Bidding for these clips start at $1.00

These clips were created by Lacey Rugg. She is Jaxson's mommy. Jaxson is a sweet little boy with an 'extra leaf' like our Justus, Matthew and Ivanna. Their family is also adopting from the same orphanage that Matthew and Ivanna are in right now.

Jaxson is very ill right now. I would ask that you pray for him and his family. He is currently in ICU because his lungs and heart are not doing well. They are very close to travelling to bring Makayla home. Please keep them in prayer.

Lacey makes these hair clips as her own fundraiser to bring Makayla home. For more information or to order more clips from her, visit: www.bringmakaylamariehome.blogspot.com

For the Rugg's updates on Jaxson, visit: www.jaxsonsfight.blogspot.com

*please stop by Jaxson's blog and leave an encouraging word. Their family could really use our prayer and comfort.*


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