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, 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.

Will You Help Us Find 20 of Your Friends to Give $10 Each?

$4254 is all we lack now to meet our 2/14/13 fundraising goal(this is our first fundraising goal for adoption expenses–homestudy, dossier papers, USCIS approval etc that are involved in first stage of paperwork)!   Our kids will NOT know we are trying to adopt them until after we make it through these first paperwork hurdles.  If 22 people could find only 20 of their friends or family members to give $10 each, we’d meet this fundraising goal easily!  Helping 2 older orphans find their forever family is a cause that is surely work giving $10!  Paypal makes it easy to give: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/Bringing-L-E-Home-from-Latvia/38396

You can also make a tax deductible donation towards the fees with our international adoption agency, An Open Door Adoption Agency. To mail to our  international adoption agency, please 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. 

Update on Homestudy & Fundraising

We’ve officially begun homestudy!  This makes the 3rd one we’ve done since 2007-08.  I wish I could say they get easier (or cheaper!) but they really don’t. Please pray it is finalized quickly (neither of our other 2 were so maybe 3rd time’s the charm?) and that God will provide what we lack for our initial paperwork stage.  We cannot let the host kids know we are serious about adopting them until after homestudy is finalized and we get USCIS approval.

Want to make a difference in helping us to add our host kids to our family as soon as possible? Please share this with others you know on fb: If 30 of us could find just 20 friends to give $10 each, our first adoption fundraising goal would be met easily. Please consider sharing with your friends so that we can (1) let the kids know quickly that we want them in our family through adoption & (2) so we can apply for adoption grants. $4404 is all we lack now to meet our new fundraising goal to be raised (we hope) by February 14th, 2013. If 30 of us could find just 20 friends to give $10 each, this goal would be met easily. http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/Bringing-L-E-Home-from-Latvia/38396

You can also give towards the fees with our international adoption agency, An Open Door Adoption Agency, and note that they are for our adoption fees. This is also tax deductible. An Open Door Adoption Agency, Inc., P.O. Box 4, 218 E. Jackson St., Thomasville, GA 31799 Or give through paypal:http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/Bringing-L-E-Home-from-Latvia/38396