Thank you! An update….

Thanks to all who have given over the past year or so to help us with our adoption!  We continue to work to pay off our adoption travel debts.  You can read more at http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/bringing-l-e-home-from-latvia/38396.  I’m hoping to post more regular updates on our family/blog posts.  Still focusing on bonding as a family and helping the kids to adjust to being in a family.

9423_brandt 4

Help Us Tag Our Bag As We Pack for Trip 3 to Latvia!

On our bag we’re packing for our final trip to Latvia, we’ll write the name of each person/family who makes a gift to help with our travel expenses for adopting L & E. Remaining expenses are $7,747.10-$8,747.10. Deadline for gift is BEFORE we arrive back in the U.S. from our final trip to Latvia (Gifts made from 10/28/13-11/15/13) Two options for tax-deductible gifts & 1 for paypal.
suitcase

Option #1: Go online to www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate. Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and “Fill in Family Account Number” with #3647 and “Family Name” with Brandt. Please select “Adoption Funding” for your Gift Preference and select “Family Specific” for your Adoption Gift Preference. (Note: Paypal charges a fee of 2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction. Your gift will be decreased by this amount.)

Option # 2 To give by mail:
Checks should be payable to ―Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo, note ―”family account number” and “family name” (#3647 Brandt) to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744. Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

Option # 3 To give by paypa(can give this way past 11/15 deadline)l:
http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/bringing-l-e-home-from-latvia/38396

Thanks for helping us with our adoption fees & travel expenses for 3 trips to Latvia! Remaining expenses are estimated at $7,747.10-$8,747.10 ( updated figures as of 10/27/13).

Here are the 2 older children we are adopting along with our 2 younger children, Dara & Colin.

9423_brandt 4

We’re Still Here…Waiting for a Miracle…

Remaining expenses are $10,000-$15,000 for our adoption. We now lack $541.45 to receive our full matching grant from Orphan Care Alliance & Lifesong for Orphans! We have only about 1 month to meet our challenge!  ALL money raised will go towards our travel expenses for the 3 trips to Latvia required for our adoption. Any money raised over the $541.45 will still help with our expenses.  There are 3 tax-deductible options!   And now there’s another way to help us meet our matching grant challenge for our adoption before the deadline (our 3 trip date)! Our friend Mandi Elkins Hutchins has offered to give 50% of her Mary Kay sales for a short time towards our adoption expenses–so it would be doubled b/c of our matching grant! To buy Mary Kay items, click on Mandi’s link here: http://www.marykay.com/mandihutchins/en-US/TipsAndTrends/Pages/merchandising-pages/At-play-LP.aspx?cid=hero_hp_atplay

IF you would like to donate directly to us, please read the following:

There are 2tax-deductible options! Option #1: Go online towww.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate. Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and “Fill in Family Account Number” with #3647 and “Family Name” with Brandt. Please select “Adoption Funding” for your Gift Preference and select “Family Specific” for your Adoption Gift Preference. (Note: Paypal charges a fee of 2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction. Your gift will be decreased by this amount.)

Option # 2 To give by mail:
Checks should be payable to ―Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo, note ―family account number” and “family name” (#3647 Brandt) to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744. Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption. This money raised will matched up to $3000 so we have potential to raise $6000 (they will give 100% of gifts over $3000 to us though they won’t be matched).

 

Update from Latvia!

We’re on trip 1 of 3 required to finalize the adoption of the 2 children we are adopting from Latvia.  We arrived in Riga, Latvia June 28 and then traveled to the children’s region/town on July 1st.  The children have been with us since then and we have a court hearing tomorrow to approve them to travel to the U.S. on visitors’ visas.  In 2-3 months one of us adults will return to the region for another court hearing and then there will be a trip a couple of months after that to have the U.S. Embassy medical exam for the children and interview at the Embassy.

Our financial needs are still great for remaining adoption fees and travel expenses (we’re estimated $25,000 still needed for the flights for trip 1, 2 and 3 in addition to agency fees and lodging and more).

We still have a matching grant challenge where you can give a gift through our Lifesong account and it will be matched dollar for dollar (and is tax-deductible!).  And this week we are the featured family at Give1Save1Europe’s website SO PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW THIS WEEK!  We’d be very grateful as we’ve only raised $30 of our goal through the site so far:  http://give1save1europe.blogspot.com/2013/07/new-week-welcome-brandt-family.html

To give:

Option #1:  Go online towww.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate. Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and “Fill in Family Account Number” with #3647 and “Family Name” with Brandt. Please select “Adoption Funding” for your Gift Preference and select “Family Specific” for your Adoption Gift Preference. (Note: Paypal charges a fee of 2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction. Your gift will be decreased by this amount.)


Fundraising Update & Another Way to Double Your Gift!

Final Update on Hand in Hand Matching Grant: Total given by donors was $2,345.00. It was matched dollar for dollar so we raised total of $4,690.00. Thanks to all who gave! This will go towards our remaining agency fees.

If you didn’t get to give, we have another matching grant with the potential to raise total of $6000. There are 2 options for giving: online with paypal fee OR by mail.

To give online:

Go online to www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate. Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and “Fill in Family Account Number” with #3647 and “Family Name” with Brandt. Please select “Adoption Funding” for your Gift Preference and select “Family Specific” for your Adoption Gift Preference. Note: Paypal charges a fee of 2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction. Your gift will be decreased by this amount.

To give by mail:

Checks should be payable to ―Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo, note ―family account number” and “family name” (#3647 Brandt) to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744. Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.  This money raised will matched up to $3000 so we have potential to raise $6000 (they will give 100% of gifts over $3000 to us though they won’t be matched).

All money raised goes towards remaining adoption fees & travel expenses for the 3 trips to Latvia required for adoption finalization.  Our first trip could be as soon as this month or July so every gift counts towards helping us to complete the 1st trip/step of adoption finalization. Thank you!

Any Day Now…

We could receive our referral today or it could be weeks from now. We appreciate prayers as we wait in this unpredictable stage to see if we will be able to travel on trip 1 of 3 next month or August or ? We’d love to travel by next month so we can celebrate E’s birthday with him. Please consider making a small gift towards this month’s matching grant from Orphan Care Alliance & Lifesong for Orphans of $3000. Your gift will be DOUBLED! Go online to www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate. Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and “Fill in Family Account Number” with #3647 and “Family Name” with Brandt. Please select “Adoption Funding” for your Gift Preference and select “Family Specific” for your Adoption Gift Preference. Note: Paypal charges a fee of 2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction. Your gift will be decreased by this amount.

OR you can mail your gift: Checks should be payable to ―Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo, note ―family account number” and “family name” (#3647 Brandt) to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744. Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

Thanks for your gift to help with remaining adoption fees & travel expenses for the 3 trips to Latvia!

Dossier in Courts & Referral Coming Soon!

Our dossier has been submitted to courts & we hope to receive our official referral of L & E within the next few weeks!  By Monday, we will share info. on how you can give online to help with the remaining fees & travel costs.  This is a VERY expensive time of year to travel to Latvia.  Our matching grant challenge with Hand in Hand has ended as of yesterday (May 31st).  We are praying there are gifts en route to Hand in Hand because as of yesterday we still had not raised the $3500 we needed to get doubled to the $7000 they had awarded us.  

We appreciate prayers as we wait for the referral & travel dates…that God will provide what we lack financially and that all the travel details will come together (including figuring out how to eat gluten-free in Latvia since my husband & I are on restricted diets).

Heather

Deadline Almost Here!

I can’t believe that our first matching grant’s postmark deadline is almost here!  So far, we have raised $270 which will be matched (so $540).  We have potential to raise $7000 total (which would go towards the agency fees of about $10,000 we still have left to pay).  All we need are generous donors to step forward and mail gifts postmarked by May 31st to Hand in Hand.  We lack only $3230 to meet our matching grant challenge which will then be doubled to make a grant of $7000 towards our agency fees for our adoption of 2 precious kids waiting for us in Latvia!

Confused about how to make a gift to our current matching grant challenge? Please send all gifts made payable to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption” postmarked by May 31, 2013 to: (for tax purposes please include our name on the outside of the envelope only…DO NOT PUT OUR NAME ON THE CHECK). If they receive gifts after that date, it will go towards the general adoption fund for their matching grants and not to us.
Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Brandt Family
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS 66030

We are in waiting stage right now a little longer than had been predicted due to delays with translation of our dossier (honestly nothing we could have done to have prevented it).  Praying that our dossier’s translation will be completed THIS week and that it will be submitted to courts on Monday 5/27/so that we can be considered for the official referral of the children.  At this point not sure if we will be able to travel in July as we had hoped.  It may be in August.  We appreciate your prayers, encouragement & gifts while we are in “the waiting room.”

Newsworthy Week!

Last week was an AMAZING week!  We found out our USCIS approval was pending more documents being submitted (that we thought was covered in our homestudy).  We submitted the evidence by email and received notice our approval would be given that day.  We had no clue we’d receive the USCIS approval in the mail just a couple of days later!  We were able to notarize a copy of the USCIS approval on Thursday and scan it for our agency so they were able to email it to the adoption facilitator in country this week.  We have no clue when our complete dossier will be submitted to the orphan court for the region where the children live whom we are trying to adopt.  Please join us in praying that they are already translated & that the facilitator submits the dossier to the orphan court/ministry this week (I know it’s crazy to pray that it is submitted this quickly but I like to dream BIG!)

This week, we also learned that we were chosen to receive a $2000 grant and two matching grants.  Matching grants depend on us being able to find friends, family (and strangers) to give gifts to meet the fundraising goals.  Our first matching grant challenge deadline is May 31st & we must raise $3500 (which then will be doubled!).  All gifts must be in before that date and must be mailed to the grant organization.  For more information on how to give to help us meet this goal go to https://www.facebook.com/events/186692738150871/ & follow the instructions exactly so that your gift will count towards our challenge.

Right now, we don’t know how soon the next stage of adoption will go.  We may have to wait until July or even later to travel.  Our kiddos really wanted to be here by summer (and of course, we’d love to have them home from trip 1 too) but at this time we don’t know what will happen.  We appreciate prayers as we wait to see what is in store!  Please pray for everything to go smoothly & quickly!  

Heather

Birthday Party Wishes…

This weekend, we celebrated our son’s 6th birthday (his 5th birthday in our family. We brought him home from Russia in December 2008).  It was exciting to give him cupcakes that were safe for him (and yummy with chocolate!) on his restricted diet (for health probs).  We had fun with my parents visiting us, too.  Wonder what my sweet boy wished when he blew out his Lego candles?

colin birthday mama no tongue

Celebrating Colin’s birthday, my thoughts turned to 2 little Latvians who have birthdays coming up this summer and I can’t help but wonder….Will we be able to celebrate either of their birthdays with them this year?  They have had many more birthdays apart from us and I’m hoping & praying we can love on them for this year’s birthdays but it’s all unsure right now. I’m “wishing” (well, make it more like hoping & praying!) that we can celebrate their birthdays with them this summer in either Latvia or the U.S.

We are waiting waiting waiting…for our USCIS approval which is what our submission to court hinges upon.  Our dossier would be translated more quickly if we already had the approval; as it is the translation will not be rushed because we are still waiting on our USCIS approval.   Once our dossier (and USCIS approval) is translated & submitted to court, our next step will be receiving the referral of L & E which we then will accept.

Fundraising Update: We had an on-line auction which helped us with our dossier fees.  We still have items for sale (local & anywhere if interested! https://www.facebook.com/BrandtFamilyAdoption2013) While our auction didn’t raise as much as we’d hoped, it did raise about $2,300 (minus a check that bounced which we’re still hoping the buyer will make good on). We are thankful for the money we raised!

We’ve been blessed with some generous gifts from friends in the last few months which also helped with our dossier fees.  We were able to pay for our dossier fees through the blessing of our auction, gifts, tax refund and tightening our belts even more in the past 2 weeks.

It is very tight here (financially) but we are thankful that we’ve made it to this stage of our adoption journey & are hopeful that God will provide what we lack for the remaining stage (court and facilitator & translation & driver fees in country plus travel, lodging & food for 3 trips to Latvia).

We are hoping to receive a matching grant and/or grant soon which will help with our remaining expenses. Right now, we estimate at least $24,350 to $29,350 more in fees & travel related expenses.(We have already paid over $10,000 in homestudy & adoption related fees). Some of this estimate is variable (depending on what time of year we travel for each of the 3 trips).  Some of it is more of a set-fee (about $14,350 remaining in-country fees).

Hope we’ll have good news to share soon but for now please pray for us during this waiting time and for the 2 children waiting for us in Latvia.  They do know we’re trying to bring them home but I’m sure it is all confusing to them as they wait on an unknown timeline…

If you would like to give (before we find out about matching grant), check out the tab at the top of our blog, http://familyofmyheart.wordpress.com/to-give/

Thank you for your prayers & encouragement during this difficult waiting time!