This is CJ Redwine's ultrasound. It's a girl. And she's waiting to be brought home from an orphanage in China.
This is important because CJ and her daughter need our help. Here's her story:
We had three biological boys in four years, and then I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I had a hysterectomy and while I mourned the fact that I couldn't have any more biological children, I was certain our family wasn't finished. My husband wasn't so sure. :) I'd talked about adopting and I always saw us with a little girl from China. He came up with a ton of reasons why now wasn't the right time to adopt. Then, on Mother's Day of 2005, he leaned over to me in church and said, "We have a daughter in China. We need to start the adoption proceedings to bring her home." I adjusted to this unexpected news (we hadn't discussed adoption for months) in about 15 seconds. :)
The next day, we began researching adoption and we picked out her name: Johanna Faith. Johanna means God's Gracious Gift and Faith is what it is taking to bring her home. We signed up with Chinese Children Adoption International agency based out of Colorado. We completed our stateside paperwork and homestudy within a few months, sent off our dossier to China with the understanding that it would be a 6-8 month wait, and eagerly planned to bring our daughter home.
Soon, though, we began to hear rumors that the wait time was extending. Then we heard that the government had cracked down on orphanages who were receiving money from the state but who weren't keeping all of their beds full and the wait slowed to a crawl. Our dreams of having her home for Christmas were dashed. And then our dreams for having her home in time for summer were dashed as well. Before we knew it, another Christmas had passed and we were still waiting. Meanwhile, the Olympics were coming to Beijing, and the word was most adoption processes would stop altogether.
As the wait stretched from 8 months to three years, I struggled with depression. I could hardly bear Christmas, because she wasn't yet there. I shut the door of her bedroom and left it closed because I couldn't bear to walk past it in the hall. It hurt to think about having a child out there whom I couldn't protect. Couldn't love. Couldn't save. Three years became four with no real change. Our homestudy expired. Our immigration petition expired. Three times. Our fingerprints expired. Four times. And China raised the orphanage and court fees by thousands while we waited. Suddenly, the cushion of money we'd raised at the start of this process was almost gone, and China was picking up speed in their child match program.
In September, it will be five years since we officially started our adoption process to bring Johanna home. We expect to receive her picture, information, and permission to travel sometime by the middle of September.
I opened her bedroom door for the first time in 3 1/2 years.
And went a little crazy ordering cute little hand-made hats and headbands on Etsy because I still don't know her size so can't buy her any clothes.
We're so excited to be able to travel soon to bring her home! But we still need to raise $8,000 to ransom her life from the orphanage. And that's where you come in!
The thought behind Skip A Starbucks Day is that if every person who reads this and feels a tug on their heart to be part of Johanna's journey home would give up a personal indulgence (like a cup of coffee) and donate that money toward our adoption instead, we could raise the money needed to bring her home to her forever family.
CJ and many of her supporting bloggy friends are hosting a variety of giveaways that anyone who donates will be eligible for. Donatoions will be accepted through Wednesday, August 25. Unfortunately, I only have this blog post, my own personal donation, and high hopes that the kindness of strangers will be enough to help CJ and her family bring the daughter they have never known into their lives. Wanna skip that Starbucks, still get some coffee, and help the Redwines all in one shot? Check this link out and call it a triple play.
Click here to see CJ's blog for information on how and where to donate to her adoption fund.
Please understand how much this actually means to me. I'm self-centered (unless I'm sleeping), my blog is my personal playground (rarely open to outside opinion or interference), and I'm not getting anything out of this (which takes us back to the self-centered unless I'm sleeping thing). A mother is waiting for her baby. And if you can deny yourself one little indulgence today, perhaps you can help bring that baby home.