THANK YOU!

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big bro DSC_4260

Yes, you read that right, our matching grant raised $11,390! We are overwhelmed, amazed and so very grateful for everyone’s generosity. Because of the large amount we raised through this matching grant we’re able to move forward with the next step of the adoption journey! We’re now in the process of sending out applications and our family profile to multiple agencies. Once we are matched with an expectant mother then we will have a better idea of the total amount we need to raise.

After many months of seeing little progress this big step in our fundraising has been super encouraging to our hearts. We know the Lord’s timing is perfect as we wait for the right child He has for us to welcome into our family.

So, thank you thank you thank you to all who gave! If you wanted to give but missed the matching grant deadline you still can! Please don’t send anything into Hand in Hand as that money will no longer go towards our adoption. Instead if you’d like to give you can send your money directly to us. If you want a tax deduction make the check out to Tekoa 211. If you don’t need a tax deduction just make it out to one of us. We most likely will still need to raise anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 more.

Worth It

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Dear little one,

We want you to know today that you are worth it!

You’re worth every fundraiser we’ve had to do to finance this adoption.

You are worth every day of waiting for that moment when we can finally bring you home.

You are worth the mound of paperwork.

You are worth every prayer, thought, tear and smile we’ve had when we’ve thought of you.

You are worth all the love we have to give. And more.

You’re worth so so much more than a sum total of money raised. We’d raise a million dollars and more to bring you home.

You are worth the sacrifice Jesus made.

You are worth so much more than we could ever give and we are blessed to be able to one day say we’re your mom & dad.

We don’t know you yet, but we love you. We have not seen you but we know without a doubt, you’re worth it!

We’re on the road!

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shoes

That’s right, we’ve been awarded a matching grant! We are so excited to have this help in our fundraising for our next adoption. The grant is through a non-profit foundation called Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. All funds received from our friends and family will be matched dollar for dollar up to our awarded grant amount ($6,000). That means if we raise $3,000 they will match it and give us another $3,000! This would be so helpful as we need to raise a total between $18,000-$25,000.

We would love your help! If you want to donate towards this matching grant you can make your check out to Hand in Hand Christian Adoption and mail it to the address below. For tax purposes please include our name on the outside of the envelope and do not put our name on the check itself.

Gifts must be postmarked by May 2 in order to be matched.

Here’s the address:

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Jason & Kara Kelly
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS 66030
 

If we raise more than the matching amount they will still put all that money towards our adoption. If we are able to raise $8,000 through this grant we will have enough money to move to the next step of the process: applying to agencies and waiting to get matched! Then, once we are matched we will know what our total costs will be.

Thanks for helping us get a little bit further down the road!

Talking, Turkey and Travels

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Somehow three months have gone by since we last blogged. Three months? How did that happen? Last time we blogged it was sunny summery August. Now it’s wet, cold, cloudy November! We’ll spare you the blow by blow of our lives the last three months and give you the fun highlights (in list form, of course) :)

1. In September Jason turned 38. We had a fun time celebrating with friends, eating cupcakes, playing games and giving him words of encouragement. And in honor of his birthday he graduated to a smart phone. Only two more years and he can graduate to his 40’s! I’m pretty proud of my cupcake making accomplishments for the party :)

Jason’s favorite new flavor: salted caramel chocolate- this time in cupcake form

2. Fuel School: Jason directed the Light of the World Prayer Center’s first every internship in August/September! It was an intensive three weeks of teaching and experiencing the prayer room. There were 15 interns who completed the program. It was awesome!

the fuel school crew

3. After the fuel school ended we took a little vacay to the Oregon coast and spent some down time with Jason’s dad and bonus mom. It was fabulous!

our little guy LOVES the beach. a boy after his mama’s heart!

4. Every year my family visits an apple farm in the fall. I always look at their pictures with jealousy and wish I could have been there. Well, this year I got to join in the fun! Have I mentioned how much I love living back in Washington yet?

Joshua, his beloved Auntie, and a bunch of pumpkins

5. While Joshua and I were gallivanting at the apple farm Jason was in Washington D.C. A team from the prayer center had the opportunity to represent our lovely state at David’s Tent (40 days of worship leading up to the election). He saw the sights, was encouraged by some wonderful peeps and even got to play the ukelele!

the team leading worship at David’s Tent

6. In October I had the chance to go on two weekend adventures! I went with some wonderful ladies down to Portland for the Women of Faith conference. It was a fun, refreshing time away. Then, Joshua and I traveled to Moscow, Idaho to visit some close girlsfriends (and their kiddos) from our time living there. We all packed into our friend’s uncle’s ranch house- five women and 7 kids under the age of three! It was a crazy, chaotic and glorious time. While it was not physically restful seeing these precious friends was life-giving to my heart.

so fun!

7. We started up a weekly service at the Light of the World Prayer Center called New Song Fellowship. It is a weekly gathering on Sunday nights, serving as an equipping arm of the prayer center, helping articulate the vision and values behind establishing night and day worship and prayer in Whatcom County, training believers from various local churches on how to have a more intimate and effective prayer life.

Jason has been directing the weekly service and teaching a couple times a month. If you want to hear some of what he and others have shared you can listen in from the website: http://www.lowpc.org/archives

8. Joshua has been asking for a beard every since we started reading the Jesus Storybook Bible together. Well, this halloween his dream came true. He transformed into Joshua the pirate! Stubbly beard and all. He was pretty darn cute and seemed to instinctively know how to use a sword.

arrr matey!

9. November 15 marked our 9 year wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a shmancy dinner and a movie (Argo). Here’s to entering our tenth year of marriage!

anniversary dinner date

10. Over the past three months Joshua has become quite the talker-head. He’s moved on from a word here and there to lots of cute little sentences pretty much all day long. He also makes up songs, which I find especially precious. My favorite song is “grandma movie” Although his words are mostly distinguishable he has quite a few that take translation. In fact, many words start with the letter P and become extra beguiling. He says “pup-pakes” for cupcakes, asks for the “pie-pod” (which is my ipod) and just this week started to declare “pissmas lights!” all the time (Christmas lights). And, as you’ll see in the video below, pickle is actually pronounced “pipple.” (Yes, he loves pickles. Why? Because daddy loves pickles, that’s why.)

11. As a fundraiser for our adoption Katrina and I opened an etsy shop! We’d been talking about designing typography prints that people could buy and etsy seemed like the perfect format. So, if you’re looking for some holiday cheer for your walls, an inspirational quote to frame, a gift for a baby shower, or anything custom we could design for you, go check out our etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DreamsvilleCreations (and tell your friends!)

a snapshot of what our store looks like

12. Another great part of living near family? We got to have thanksgiving together! It was super fun to host turkey day at our house on our big ol’ table. We had a Japanese exchange student stay with us for the weekend and experience his first Thanksgiving meal. So fun! We even got to have a second “pizza thanksgiving” with Jason’s brother & fam. Good times. Good food. Yay!

aunties + cousins = fun!

On Family, Yard Sales and Community

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We are so grateful today for the love and support of so many.

• For a sister who stays the night at your house and gets up at 5am with you just to set up your yard sale

• And for her friends who cleaned out their garages and donated all of their nice stuff so we could keep the profits for our adoption fund

• And for a mom who gets up super early and delivers jugs of water and fresh baked “Custer cakes” and then spends all day being super-cashier

• And for a brother-in-law who stays longer than expected to help clean up after everyone’s totally pooped out

• And for friends who are excited for us and who give us things to sell or stop by to just say hi or come buy inane yard sale items just to help

• And for the community at large who came and bought up all this stuff and helped us with each 50 cent or 50 dollar purchase

• And for a family of bobos that survived the great influx of “stuff” and were flexible enough to tiptoe around it and deal with cranky toddlers and cranky mamas from lack of sleep

• And for you in blogland who read my silly list of gratitude written when I should be crashed in bed

Enjoy some pictures from today’s festivities. And thanks to all who helped, donated & bought.

iron man! (aka: Braedon in ski boots)

Along the Road

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Sometimes I think, “I should write an adoption update on the blog.” And then I think about how our only update is that we’ve been doing paperwork and our homestudy is finally almost done (again). On paper it may not look like we’re very far into the process. But in my heart, I’m in deep. I already love this precious little one even though I know absolutely nothing about him or her. I have room decorating schemes floating around in my brain and I pause every time I’m near the newborn clothes section at Target.

My heart is ready for you, little one! You have a daddy and mommy waiting for you, ready to let you know you are special, wanted and loved. You have a big brother who needs you so he can learn to share the limelight. He just loves little babies and is ready to be mommy’s big helper. You have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who are so excited to meet you.

A letter from our nephew that was accompanied by $5-
he bought a scooter from our yard sale fundraiser.

When I start to feel impatient at the process, I try to remember that Jesus has got it all worked out. Having once ridden the emotional roller coaster of the adoption journey, I hope I can remember this time in the midst of the ups and downs that when I get off the ride it will be clear that Jesus knows what child is best for each family and what family is best for each child. I hope I can remember along the road this time that when I look back it will all make sense and that His timing is perfect.

As we prepare for this little one I am most of all preparing my heart. I want to fling wide the doors of my heart and love without holding back in the thick of the process. It’s so tempting to want to guard my heart at least a little until we know that everything is said and done and we have a child in our home. But I am determined, by God’s grace, to not live from the place of self-protection and instead to love every birth mother and every little one we come across in our journey with all that I have. ~Kara

No Goin’ Back

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We turned in the first chunk of our homestudy paperwork and the first chunk of fees to the adoption agency! Hallelujah, the process is underway!

Now we will set up times to meet with the social worker and work on finishing the rest of our paperwork. We get to do fun things like go get fingerprinted (did you know it’s all digital now? No inky fingers for us!) go to the doctor for physicals and fill out more forms (yay!).

Doesn’t sound too exciting to you? I suppose the tasks themselves aren’t too exciting but when you think of each one as one step closer to holding an itty bitty bobo in your arms and telling him/her how much you love them, how you’ve dreamed about them and how wanted they are… well, it puts it all in perspective.

Want to help us get to the next step? We need to raise about $500 more by the time we have our first homestudy meeting and another $3500 by the time we are matched with a birth mother. Click on the “costs” tab at the top of the page for more information on how to give towards our adoption. And keep your eyes peeled for our fantabulous t-shirts we’ll be selling soon! Oooooh, they’re fun!

And So It Begins

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This past week we received all the paperwork needed to begin our homestudy for adoption #2! Yay! There’s quite a bit of paperwork, but luckily, I have that strange gift of loving to fill out forms. I know, I’m weird. So, I’m excited to print it all off and start filling it out.

With the beginning of the paperwork comes the beginning of fees and therefore the beginning of another fundraising adventure. I know you were just waiting for us to announce how you can help fund the arrival of the fourth member of the Kelly family! Wait no longer, your chance is here!

We will be planning a couple of fundraising dinners like we did last time as well as other creative opportunities for you to get involved. In the meantime, we need to raise about $2500 just to get the process off the ground. Would you like to help? Well here’s what to do…

Make your check out to Tekoa 211 and mail it to us (The Kellys • 8204 E. 103rd Terrace • Kansas City, MO 64134). Tekoa 211 is a couple of awesome adoption-lovin’ folk who have created a non-profit so that families like us can offer a tax deductible way of giving. All the money you give will go towards our adoption. Also, please do not write our names on the check. And if you want to receive your tax deduction for the 2011 year make sure it’s postmarked by the 31st!

How much will we need to raise total, you ask? Well, that’s a good question and depends on a number of variables we don’t know yet. We are going with Hannah’s Dream, a local IHOP-based adoption agency. Because of this the costs will probably be less than if we were going with a traditional agency. The staff at Hannah’s Dream take minimal to no salary so that they can offer their services at the lowest cost possible. How awesome are they?! They are an amazing group of people dedicated to loving adoptive parents, birth mothers and children alike with compassion and respect. If we had to guess, we’d say the entire process from homestudy to finalization will cost us between $12,000-$30,000. That’s a pretty big range, we know! So, we’re just going to start where we’re at and update y’all along the way. The cost will depend on the state the birth mother lives in, whether she has medical coverage, her living needs, etc. We know no matter how much it costs that Jesus has our back because he loves this incoming little bobo!

We feel like adoption is not only a wonderful way to grow our family, but it is also one of the ministries God has called us to. It’s not just about getting a baby (although we do hope that’s the end result!) It’s so much more. It’s about offering an alternative to abortion. It’s about loving someone in a difficult situation (aka. an unplanned pregnancy). It’s about caring for the orphan before they ever even become an orphan. It’s about compassion. It’s about raising up a lover of God who will impact the next generation for Christ. So, with that in mind, we are inviting our friends and family to partner with us in this ministry and help us make a difference in the life of a birth mom and in the life of a child. Thanks!

National Adoption Day

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Today is National Adoption Day! (and all of November is National Adoption Month). Courts around the country are open to finalize adoptions with a special emphasis on adoptions out of foster care.

We thought today would be a fitting day to announce our decision to pursue a second adoption! We’ve been thinking about it for awhile and finally got our act together this week to turn in our application to Hannah’s Dream adoption agency here in Kansas City. We still have a ways to go before this decision becomes a reality in the form of another member of the bobo family, but nevertheless we’re super excited! To sum up the process from here: we wait to hear if our application is accepted, complete another home study, wait to be matched with a birth mother and then wait for placement of baby bobo #2.

We’d appreciate your prayers in this time as we prepare and wait. For the right child to be placed in our family, for baby bobo #2’s birthmother, for peace during the entire process and for God’s perfect timing :)

Thanks! Love, Jason, Kara & Joshua

Happy Gotcha Day, Joshua!

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Today is one year from the day we finalized Joshua’s adoption, aka his “Gotcha Day.” One year since he became legally, officially, forever a Kelly… of course he was already family in our hearts from the minute we said yes to adopting him. Nevertheless, we think it’s fun to celebrate his Gotcha Day every year. It’s like having two birthdays! I think I’d like to write him a letter every year on this day as well. My dad wrote each of us a letter on valentine’s day every year when we were growing up (actually he still writes them!). I cherish these letters and the way they convey my dad’s love for me. So, why not a Gotcha Day letter? Here goes year #1 :)

Dear Joshua,

You are a delight! Your joy is contagious, your smile is precious and your laugh is fantastic. I love how you recently realized how fun it is to be tickled. You love to run down the hallway in anticipation that I will chase you and that when I find you I will tickle you. You are laughing long before I ever reach you. It melts my heart and even though I get tired from running up the stairs after you I find myself doing it over and over because of how much you love it. I love the way you adore Tozer and chase her all over the living room so that you can pet her, hug her and lay on her. You LOVE being outside. Swings, slides, sticks… these are your favorite. Daddy taught you how to “sword fight” with sticks and you think it’s the best game on the planet.

You are learning all sorts of new things. You love to imitate the silly noises we make at you. And when we say “Praise Jesus!” you throw your hands high in the air. You don’t say a lot yet but you do have one word down, “mum-mum.” That’s right, you learned the name of your favorite cracker as your first word! You are your father’s son :)

You are officially a little boy now. I can see it more and more every day. Still, I know that when you wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream or whatever it is that wakes you, you will still want to snuggle in close to me. I know that when we’re in a new situation and there’s people you don’t know and you get all shy that you will hold on to me a little tighter. When I see the connection we have my mama’s heart is satisfied and I can be free to let you run and explore and climb.

I love you little bobo. I’m glad we got you and you got us! Forever and ever.

~Mom (feel free to learn to say mama as your next word! it’s so close to mum-mum… I know you can do it!)