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.

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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!

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.”

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, https://familyofmyheart.wordpress.com/to-give/

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

Urgency of Love for 2 Orphans

9275Updates:   It’s hard to use words alone to describe the 2 children we hosted this Christmas and are in process of adopting.  We still can’t share the children’s names in this public blog or photos at this time.  The little girl is almost 2 x the age of our 5-year-old son. However, she is almost the same size physically as our son who is himself considered pretty petite according to growth charts.  Her weight and height are in less than the 3 percentile which I guess is probably evidence of failure to thrive, by medical definition.  Her brother has an eye condition that may require surgery as well as vision therapy.

God truly led us to these two children whom we hosted through New Horizons for Children.  During their first day here with our family, we’d felt God’s confirmation that we’d continue to pursue their adoption, though they will not be told about our desire to have them in our permanent family until after our dossier is submitted to Latvia. They are sweet, affectionate, funny,  creative, gentle, talkative, musical, active children and our family has experienced a void since they returned to Latvia.  Putting them on the airplane without being able to tell them how we long for them to be our children forever was heartbreaking.  I remember whispering to them, “This is NOT the end of the story,” and with God’s help, it truly will not be the end of the story of them being loved and cared for in our family.

Now, about $5000 still stands between us being able to submit our dossier to Latvia so that it can be translated and we can get court date/trip one dates to bring the children home. It can take up to 2 months after translation before we are even given trip dates.  And what is heartbreaking for us right now is that the children DO NOT know that we want them to be in our family through adoption.  They will not be told this until AFTER the dossier is submitted.  So $5000 is the obstacle standing between us being able to fully express our love and commitment to these 2 precious children who are orphans living without us wondering just what those 4 weeks together meant….We don’t know anything about their story of why they are orphans but orphans typically have been let down by others, even rejected and we want so badly to wrap our arms around these two children and say you are our son and daughter and we will love you forever, no matter what.

Will you help us by giving or sharing our story with others?  Two precious kids are waiting in snowy Latvia…they are real and they are loved and missed so terribly by us that we will keep working hard to fundraise and scrimp and save to bring them home.  Will you join us in sharing LOVE & the GIFT of a FAMILY with these orphans?  That they can no longer be labeled orphans as they are in their home country and just come home to us and be known as the son and daughter of Alan and Heather Brandt?

Ways to give: Give through paypal:http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/Bringing-L-E-Home-from-Latvia/38396 OR mail check to Heather & Alan Brandt, 3079 Twilight CT NE, Lanesville, IN 47136.
OR Make a Tax-Deductible Gift towards our International Adoption Fees Online or by Mail:
To designate a tax-deductible gift for us through our international agency, go to https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/ExpressDonation.aspx?ORGID2=581703392&vlrStratCode=9p6VomJkgdTY3b3CKnSERcxiYJqslPgiWOCobRt64yo36LcH8c08P1drNeBg4SPx & please remember to designate it for Heather & Alan Brandt adoption OR mail to our international adoption agency, An Open Door Adoption Agency, include a note saying “We wish to make this contribution to An Open Door Adoption Agency. We would “like or prefer” that the funds be used to aid the adoption process of the Heather & Alan Brandt family. An Open Door Adoption Agency, Inc., P.O. Box 4, 218 E. Jackson St., Thomasville, GA 31799. Do not memo on the check a particular family or child.

Missing Our Full House

These are strange days around our house…we have pockets of joy and pockets of sadness.  It is hard adjusting to a “new normal” with 2 children missing from our days and evenings…We hosted 2 orphans from Latvia(a girl and her little brother) for 4 weeks this winter cautiously hoping that we all would fit together as a family and it was clear very soon that God had been guiding my heart to these 2 children.  We were told they were not musical, for example, and the very first full day with us they were joining in with our son and performing concerts in our basement.  They each were kind, affectionate, playful and helpers.  They were imaginative in play and did well with our son and daughter…Now our son says he’s lonely without them here and our 2 year old daughter sings songs about the little girl she hopes will some day officially be her big sister.  Their artwork hangs in our house and some of their clothes and shoes they weren’t able to fit in their luggage remain in the closet and drawers like they could return home any moment…

Reality is that we have many papers to complete and much fundraising and grant writing between us and these two precious orphans.  We’ve been grateful to the friends (and even strangers) who have joined us in our efforts to bring them home.  Right now, we can’t submit any grants until we finish our homestudy (hoping & praying for the funds to finish this).  And it’s still mindboggling sometimes to remember that we CANNOT tell these children how hard we are working to get them home…Until the homestudy is finalized and the dossier to Latvia completed, we cannot share with them that we are committed to making them a part of our forever family.

Will you join us in helping bring two children into a family who lack a mommy and daddy to take care of them–love and support them?  A family who will help them to get the medical care they need (they do have some needs right now due to small size and a possible eye problem)…who will encourage and love them no matter what…We feel a sense of urgency in getting them home and are doing all we can to speed the days but the adoption expenses and travel expenses come due quickly since these are children already available for adoption and waiting…

How can you help?

Make a Tax-Deductible Gift OR Give through Paypal to Help with Homestudy

Give through paypal to help with homestudy etc: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/Bringing-L-E-Home-from-Latvia/38396 OR to get tax deduction, mail a check with note designating the gift for Heather & Alan Brandt’s homestudy expenses to St .Elizabeth- Catholic Charities,601 E. Market St., New Albany, IN  47150.  Please put attention: Emily Baumann on the envelope.

Make a Tax-Deductible Gift towards our International Adoption Fees Online or by Mail

You can give towards the fees with our international adoption agency. To designate a tax-deductible gift for us through our international agency, go to https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/ExpressDonation.aspx?ORGID2=581703392&vlrStratCode=9p6VomJkgdTY3b3CKnSERcxiYJqslPgiWOCobRt64yo36LcH8c08P1drNeBg4SPx & please remember to designate it for Heather & Alan Brandt adoption OR mail to our international adoption agency, An Open Door Adoption Agency, include a note saying “We wish to make this contribution to An Open Door Adoption Agency. We would “like or prefer” that the funds be used to aid the adoption process of the Heather & Alan Brandt family. An Open Door Adoption Agency, Inc., P.O. Box 4, 218 E. Jackson St., Thomasville, GA 31799. Do not memo on the check a particular family or child.

Shop & Share Our On-Line Auction (Bidding is Open!)

We are having a virtual auction which includes auction items you can buy from anywhere in the U.S.  Please consider bidding on items and sharing the auction with others you know.

https://www.facebook.com/BrandtFamilyAdoption2013

$3929 in 12 Days…Crazy Goal for the Love of 2 Kids

Update on Adoption Fundraising & Process:

It’s hard for me to articulate in a place like facebook or face-to-face how great our need is right now at this point in our adoption of our 2 kids we hosted at Christmas.  Right now, we lack minimum $1400 for our homestudy (not including our costs for medicals, certified birth certificates and 2 more background checks).  We lack the $300 the international agency charges to review our homestudy once it is finalized.  We lack the $890 needed to get USCIS approval (which is a required component of our dossier). We lack the fees to agency which will be required to submit our dossier.  Our fundraising goal right now is to raise $3929 in 12 days.   I know some of you think we are crazy for even putting this out there and trying to raise this much so quickly.  However, we know there are 2 kids waiting for us in Latvia who are definitely worth pursuing this crazy dream over…They don’t have a loving mom and dad to tuck them in at night or hug them and reassure them when they are scared.  There’s no one telling them they are precious and loved and investing time in playing with them and helping them.  This stage of the adoption process is very very hard….We can’t let the kids know we want to adopt them until this early stage of paperwork is done and we cannot apply for grants without the homestudy finalized.  Right now, we are hoping & praying that God will provide what we lack for this stage so we can get our homestudy finalized by the end of the month.  Can you give a little to help us meet our goal?  Can you pray for us during this difficult time of waiting?  Because these kids are already cleared for adoption, the money required is coming due very quickly and the process could move very quickly (which we want for the sake of these precious kids) but without what we need for this early stage, the early stage can drag on without the kids even knowing we are committed to making them a part of our forever family! 9275

Make a Tax-Deductible Gift OR Give through Paypal to Help with Homestudy

Give through paypal to help with homestudy etc: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/Bringing-L-E-Home-from-Latvia/38396 OR to get tax deduction, mail  a check with note designating the gift for Heather & Alan Brandt’s homestudy expenses to St .Elizabeth- Catholic Charities,601 E. Market St., New Albany, IN  47150.  Please put attention: Emily Baumann on the envelope.

Make a Tax-Deductible Gift towards our International Adoption Fees Online or by Mail

You can give towards the fees with our international adoption agency. To designate a tax-deductible gift for us through our international agency, go to https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/ExpressDonation.aspx?ORGID2=581703392&vlrStratCode=9p6VomJkgdTY3b3CKnSERcxiYJqslPgiWOCobRt64yo36LcH8c08P1drNeBg4SPx & please remember to designate it for Heather & Alan Brandt adoption OR mail to our international adoption agency, An Open Door Adoption Agency, include a note saying “We wish to make this contribution to An Open Door Adoption Agency. We would “like or prefer” that the funds be used to aid the adoption process of the Heather & Alan Brandt family. An Open Door Adoption Agency, Inc., P.O. Box 4, 218 E. Jackson St., Thomasville, GA 31799. Do not memo on the check a particular family or child!

Check out our On-Line Adoption Auction (starting week of 2/11/13) :

We will post a link to it in the next week or 2.  Please spread the word about it and help us to have a successful fundraiser!

Shirt & Jewelry Sales  

We  sell t-shirts  through http://www.ordinaryherostore.org/. You make a purchase and simply select  my name, Heather Brandt, as the affiliate under the drop down box during check out. We get 40% of sales.

13 Days & Counting!

We are now fundraising for possible cost of medical tests for the little girl while here.  Insurance does not cover the tests (they come with limited insurance coverage for their stay here).  We’ve contacted the labs to see if they would donate the test kits but so far have heard nothing from them.  We are also continuing to try to meet our goal of $2000 to help with cost of our homestudy fees.  Right now, we lack about $1700 for homestudy fees.  Thankfully, our international agency (different than homestudy agency) waived the application fee and has accepted us into their adoption program. yay!

In only 13 days, we will meet the host kids face to face & welcome them into our home for the holidays.  We’re praying that they will have open hearts to our family and that they will feel loved and safe with us.  Can’t wait to be able to post new photos of them during the coming weeks too!

You can give through our web site or by mailing checks or gift cards to Heather & Alan Brandt, 3079 Twilight CT NE, Lanesville, IN 47136. Thanks!

http://www.youcaring.com/other/Brandt-Family-Hosting-Orphans/32158

Coming Soon to America….

The host kids will be heading to America around December 15th!  Thanks to a $103 in gifts over the past 2 days, we now have about $30 to $297 (estimated) still needed for their connecting flight fees. http://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser_details?fundraiser_id=7020&url=brandtfamilyhostingorphans If we don’t end up needing all that we raise for connecting flight, it will go towards our homestudy’s cost, which is estimated at $2000.  If all goes smoothly with homestudy and dossier, we could bring home the kids before summer 2013…Now with international adoption and with adoption of older children, there are variables.  The children could decide they do not want to be in our family…, but as of now, these 2 children are clear for adoption and the process’ speed will depend on our homestudy and dossier’s completion.  Once our homestudy is complete, we can apply for grants so the homestudy’s completion is very important.  

Once our 2 upcoming fundraisers are over, we will take a break from fundraising until after the kids return to Latvia.  Obviously, we want to focus on family this Christmas while they are here and enjoy the Christmas season 🙂

Current Fundraisers (which have deadlines):

Make Your Christmas Greener While Helping Bring 2 Orphans to the U.S. for Christmas (& hopefully a forever home!) Wreath & Live Tree fundraiser orders must be placed by 12/11! 

Want to order fresh Christmas wreaths for friends, family or as corporate gifts? Or even buy a fresh Christmas tree—table-size or live container or traditional?

****** To purchase, you must use this link (for purchase to count towards Brandts’ fundraiser)http://www.dutchmantreefarms.com/organization/BHAFINDutchman Christmas Tree Farms is located in beautiful Northern Michigan and has been growing Christmas trees for over three decades. We have grown into a fully operational tree farm, specializing in individual, wholesale and customized orders. Production quality and customer service have been top priorities as the company has grown and transformed.When Must Orders Be Placed?· all orders must be submitted by December 11, 2012 to ensure delivery of trees.
all orders will be paid for online and orders will be delivered to each person’s home. All the products have FREE SHIPPING.How Much Does It Raise for The Brandts’ Hosting/Adoption Fees?

The Brandt family will receive $10 per tree sold and $5 per wreath sold.

When Will the Items be Delivered?

■The customer chooses from nine different shipping dates when they place their order. Customers will have the option of shipping their order Tuesdays or Thursdays starting November 13th 2012 and ending December 13th 2012. Orders are delivered two-five business days from the ship date depending on where they are shipped. All the products have FREE SHIPPING.

https://familyofmyheart.wordpress.com/

The Great Chili Take-Out for Local Families

$475 in 5 Days?

5 days until a couple of deadlines…11/1 is when our Usborne Books & More Eshow ends.  We receive 25% of all sells through this site for kids and teens.  myubam.com/event/3427

And 5 days until we need to have raise $475 more in fees for hosting the kids(and yes, we have one more fee deadline of about $1100 due after that, 11/15).  These fees go towards flights for the kids and for chaperones and paperwork requirements.  We appreciate every gift you give.  Gifts are 100% tax deductible.  http://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser_details?fundraiser_id=7020&url=brandtfamilyhostingorphans

You can also give by check (write out to New Horizons for Children and put our names in the memo) and mail it to us at Heather Brandt, 3079 Twilight CT NE, Lanesville, IN 47136 and it will be 100% tax deductible without any taken out for paypal fees 🙂

Our etsy fundraiser is up and you can pick out unique gifts you can personalize for kids and teens on your holiday shopping list.  We wil be adding more items to it soon!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/AThreeStudio?section_id=12123229&page=1

We cannot move this MOUNTAIN between our family and these 2 precious little Latvians without your help & God’s help!  Please consider giving the cost of a meal out this weekend.

Thanks for those who have encouraged us and prayed for us!

Heather