Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let's Go Shopping

How many of you LOVE to shop?  Shop 'til you drop?  Retail therapy?  It's a girl thing, right?  Not necessarily.  I hate shopping.  Oh, I like buying new things and having new stuff (especially technology gadgets), but I don't enjoy the shopping.

Knowing that most normal people enjoy shopping, I thought I'd set up a way for others to shop for M and V.  Call it a fundraiser if you want.  Or even call it the adoption equivalent of a baby shower.  I went to Walmart's website and set up a registry.  (You can go here.)  It is in my name (since I can't use theirs), and the occasion is simply "Special Occasion" (because they didn't have "adoption" as a choice).  The list of items includes things like beds for the boys' room, a ceiling fan for them since they will all be sleeping near the ceiling, storage and bedding for V's room, underwear, socks, jeans, shoes, pajamas, etc.   I didn't register for many clothes because Walmart either didn't have what I liked or wouldn't let me put it on a registry.  But they did let me leave an option for Walmart gift cards.  Now I realize that a bed is a little expensive for most individuals.  But you can either go in on a gift with a few others, or just do the gift cards.  We will put them together for the big items.

So let's go shopping!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yard Sale For Sale

(First a venting.  Then some good news.  Mean, aren't I?)

Can you sell a yard sale?  If I could, I'd sell mine.  Don't get me wrong:  I am so thankful for all of the donations people have made.  I am so thankful for those who have worked or just sat through the sales with us.  I am so thankful for the many people who have bought stuff.  I am so thankful for the people who have NOT bought anything but gave us money anyway.  I am thankful that yard sales plus craigslisting (like that word?) donated items has raised almost $8,000 for us in the last 5 years.  But did I mention that we've been doing yard sales for FIVE YEARS?  Six years ago, I didn't like yard sales.  I didn't have yard sales; I didn't go to yard sales.  Nothing against them.  I just don't enjoy them...from any angle.  I don't like shopping of almost any kind.  Tim is the shopper in the family.  Manly-man that he is, he shops in the style of a woman:  browses, compares prices, checks multiple stores, and even returns the item if he finds it cheaper before using it.  I shop like a man: I want to know what I'm going after; go in and out of stores without slowing down until I find the item; if the first item I find is at a reasonable price, pay it and go home; done.  I like buying; I just HATE shopping.  Now, I have officially lived through 30 yard sales.  That's right.  Our yard sales have taken on a life of their own and "celebrated" the big 3-0!

As I've told many folks lately, my house (and my life) is a lot like those slide puzzles we had when we were little.  Remember those?

You have only one empty spot, and you to rearrange the tiles to a particular order or to make a picture.  The catch is that you can't just move "this tile" directly to its location.  You may have to first move this here so you can move that there so you can move this one over here and then move the desired tile one step closer to its destination.  That's my house.  Before I can move furniture out of the boys' room into V's room, I need to empty her room.  But right now there is only a footpath through it.  Before I can empty her room.  I need to create some (possibly long-term) storage in the garage so I can clean out the house (her room included).  But the garage is packed wall to wall with yard sale stuff.  I could easily be having yard sales through October, and yes I could use the funds that would raise, but I need time to reorganize my house. Fellow-moms, my nesting instinct is going haywire because I can't find the nest to prepare for it for them.  I have piano lessons tomorrow, but first I need to move the computer cabinet in the middle of my living room because it is in front of said piano.  So much for having a TV remote because you have to get off the couch to aim the remote around the computer cabinet to change the channel.  We would sit on the futon instead, but it is still piled with clothes Colton has outgrown.  I'm trying to avoid buying new storage tubs, because I'm hoping to free some up from the yard sales.  Ugh, there's the yard sale impeding my cleaning again!  Maybe we should just sit on the back seat from the Navigator.  After all, it is also sitting in my living room because we removed it to go on our mini vacation (went to visit family...maybe I'll get around to telling you about that another time).  For those of you who have been to my house, you know that my living room is not very big to begin with.

Sometimes I think I'm going insane.  I feel like I'm standing on the ledge of a tall building, and a big yard sale sign is going to come by and just push me off.  I'm reading to just get rid of everything and commit to finding another way to do this thing.

Okay, I feel a little better.  Hope I didn't lose you through that.  Just be thankful you aren't in my garage.  In there, I might lose you.

Now, on to the good news.  We have received a very large grant and had that big season-opening yard sale and had a few other donations come in.  Our total now stands at $9500.  Yea!!!!!!  Thank you, Lord.  We have been trying to get an update from the kids, but we haven't heard anything yet.  I wouldn't have thought it would be too difficult.  We call/email our agency, they call/email the agency in Bulgaria, and they call/email the directors at each orphanage.  Then the process reverses.  It seemed simple at the time, but I first requested information about 2 weeks ago.  As with many aspects of this journey, there must be things I don't understand.  We did learn that our dossier is in some kind of process that will lead to our court date being set.  They think this date may be in October, and we would travel about 4 weeks after that.  Right now that seems a long way off -- at least until I look at my house and think, "I'm not ready!!  I'll never be ready in time!!"

As usual, please pray for us.  Please pray for my kids--the ones there waiting and the ones here waiting.  Please pray for funding.  Please pray for my house to be ready.  Pray for me as I try to get the house organized while trying to start the new school year (just as soon as I can finish the old one).  I told Tim that I feel like I am working 3 full-time jobs (house, homeschool, and adoption) and one part-time job at church.  I'm tired.  My muscles ache with stress.  I'm almost literally nauseated at the thought of another yard sale.  But I am so excited about the work God is doing here.  I'm humbled that he has asked us to be a part of this rather than just reading it in a book as someone else's story.  I'm learning to trust Him more.  I'm seeing ways that I hope I can help someone later when we have solid ground under our feet again.  I'm excited about what Colton and Eli are learning through this process, and I'm excited about seeing M and V again and finally bringing them home.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


July 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Since my last fundraiser letter, we have been to Bulgaria!!  We met M & V, and they are just wonderful!  Now we are in a whirlwind of activity.  There is more paperwork to do, more fingerprints, more medicals, and way more fundraising.  We also have lots of reorganizing to do in our house to make room for everyone. 
Right now, the earliest we would travel is September.  Naturally, I would like to be ready by then.  More realistically speaking, we may travel in October or even November.  I told Colton and Eli to shoot for Christmas and be excited for anything sooner.

Phase 2 fundraising (leading up to the first trip) went well.  We raised a little over $5600.  I think that’s great, especially since we only had about a month to do it!  But we began May with a hole about $7900 deep, and Phase 3 has already grown a little larger than Phase 2.  Just the official fees now total $16,367.50.  I don’t know how much their medical exams to leave Bulgaria will be.  This total also does not include the cost of any additional gifts we may have to take, the cost of replacing the items stolen from our suitcases on the first trip (and hopefully not on the second trip), the cost of making their rooms ready (like buying beds and clothes and other “getting started” expenses which we had saved but spent on the first trip), or the possibility that my estimates might be low.  With all things considered, I’m setting our Phase 3 goal at $22,000.  Please understand if I change that daily.  It really is a guess – an educated guess, but a guess.
As for grants, I have 3 pending, and I will soon begin searching for more.  Keep in mind, applying is not the same as getting.   While we have received 3 so far (for a total of $5000), we have already been turned down for another.  Can you believe we are not the only ones out there adopting??  Bad for us; awesome for the millions of kids needing homes.

Recently, I asked you to help us out by participating in TEAM UP.  Basically I asked you to form a team that could send in $100.  I sent out 143 letters and emails, and I posted on Facebook and my blog.  I had 23 people respond – some for more than $100.  If you helped in that campaign, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!  If you missed out on that round, here is another chance to help.  Think about it.  If the other 120 letters could result in a $100 donation, that would be $12,000!  That is awesome!  At the same time, it is only around a little over half of what we need.  Are you overwhelmed by these numbers?  Sometimes I am.  I’ll be honest with you.  I’m very hopeful for lots of grants, but I don’t know if we will be able to do half of our need that way.  We’ll see.
With TEAM UP 2, I’m putting a slight spin on the original plan.   (Check my blog for the entry titled TEAM UP (April) if you want to refresh your memory about that one.)  This isn’t fancy.  I’m just going to give you some ideas for ways you could send in $100.  Maybe you are fortunate enough to just write a check for $100.  I don’t expect that of you, but maybe you can.  On the other hand, you might be able to have a lot of fun with one of the following ideas and raise $100 to send.  Or maybe you could give us one Saturday and do a special project that would raise $100.  Now, you may look at the list and ask yourself, “Why can’t the DeMosses just do all of these things themselves to raise the money?”  Because there isn’t time.  Tim has just spent June working a summer job; I’m still trying to finish homeschooling the boys for this year, plan and purchase for next year, do the adoption paperwork, and get the house ready; AND we are still trying to do fundraisers along the way.  Besides, every fundraiser we do targets the same group of people.  We need our friends and family to reach beyond our circle and into your own circles.

WAYS TO SEND $100 (or more)
  • Donate it.
  • 10 friends at $10 each
  • 20 friends at $5 each
  • Sell 20 of my bracelets ($5 each)
  • Sell 34 of our puzzle pieces at $3 each
  • Parents’ Night Out – Offer to babysit 10 kids for $10 each (maybe a little more to provide pizza or snacks).  If you have a small space, babysit 5 kids on two occasions.  Maybe fewer kids at $15 each.
  • Bunco Night (or any game) – For example, a $10 donation to play and bring a snack.
  • Cookie Contest (or any cooking) – You could do this like a cookie swap but charge an entrance fee, judge the cookies, and have a small prize for the winner.
  • Yard sale – We’ve done 30 of these.  Maybe you could do one where you live and send in the proceeds (or just $100 of the proceeds).  We average about $250 per day if we advertise that it is for an adoption and just take donations for items.  Price if you like.
  • Concession stand – Set up a concession stand at a yard sale or another function.  Maybe instead of having your own yard sale, you could set up snacks and cold drinks to sell at a friend’s sale.  You could bake your own items or just sell candy bars from Sam’s.  We have found icy bottled water sells pretty well on those really hot days.
  • Silent Auction – We had a very successful one of these at church before the first trip.  Many items were donated; some purchased.  Then baskets were put together around different themes like gardening, the beach, date night, coffee shop, etc.  I have some ideas for a different kind later on.  Contact me privately if you want more info.  It’s pretty easy to get my own secrets out of me.
  • Many of you go to churches other than mine.  Maybe you could do something with your Sunday School class.  Or maybe you have a child in the youth group that could perhaps use a short project this summer.
  • Do you have a child in a service organization like scouts?   Do they need a project?
  • I’ve heard of fundraisers in offices where you can donate an amount to be able to dress casually on a given day.  That never worked at school, but I thought I’d throw it out.
  • Is there something you already do that you could turn into a fundraiser?  I have a friend who rides her bike almost daily for her health.  She offered to ride 200 miles for us this summer and get sponsors.  She already has a donation for $50 and a sponsor for $1 per mile.  That’s $250 for something she was already doing!!!  Amazing!

If anyone would like to read about our story or follow the progress of this fundraiser, feel free to share my blog at thedemossfamily.blogspot.com.  Look for the entry titled TEAM UP 2 for a copy of this information, and look for the TEAM UP entry from April for suggestions on how to build your team. Your donation can be made in one of three ways:
  1. If you have the opportunity, give it to us personally.
  2. Send a check to us at 3438 Leslie Ln., Murfreesboro, TN 37128.  Just make it out to Libby DeMoss.
  3. Use the “Donate” button on the right side of my blog to pay with PayPal.  While we prefer cash or check to avoid the PayPal fees, we know that the convenience of PayPal is real, and we don’t mind if you use it.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or additional ideas you may have.  Hopefully, by Thanksgiving I’ll be able to post pictures so you can see these beautiful children you have helped.

With all our thanks,
The DeMoss Family (Tim, Libby, Colton, Eli, M, & V)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yard Sale Season Begins

I always hate doing this, but I must start with a correction from the last post.  While I will never forget about the grants we have received so far, I do sometimes forget to include them in the amount already paid when they were sent directly to our agency instead of going through us.  For that reason the total I gave you in the last post should be about $4000 more for the expenses already paid and the total cost of our adoption.  When we are entirely finished, I'll do a better post with the final totals.

As for now, we have officially begun yard sale season.  I was going to start a couple of weeks ago, but our Sunday school class offered to help us with one which was held this weekend.  Since I had an offer of help, it seemed insane to try to get things going by myself.  Plus, Tim's summer job was keeping him from being available for a Friday sale.  With help, I could do a Friday sale, and now Tim is off for the rest of the summer.

Anyway, we had a really big sale this past weekend.  With more people helping, I didn't have to leave things in the garage or attic.  We actually got it ALL out.  With so much more volume, we raised almost twice what we normally do.  **THANKS to everyone who donated and helped work!!** What we did NOT plan for was the record-breaking temperature.  I have a digital thermometer on our deck, and it read 108F before we closed for the day.  By the end of the day, our highest temp (at our house) was 113.5 F.  On Saturday, the temps weren't quite as high.  We ONLY reached 110 (point something), but the humidity was much higher, so it felt worse.

But everything is sorted and on tables now, so all we have to do is drag it all out again to have another one.  The best difference about this sale was that we were able to post pictures of M and V.  People who have been coming for a while FINALLY got to see pictures.   (Can you believe this is our 5th summer of yard sales??)  I felt like we finally had proof that we really are in the adoption process, not just claiming to be in order to get people to buy things.

We haven't heard anything from the kids yet.  Don't know if we will, but our agency is supposed to be working on getting an update for us.

We have three grant applications submitted, and tomorrow I will begin looking for more.  The ones submitted are Gift of Adoption, A Child Waits, and Show Hope.  Does anyone know of others?  We may also have a lead on an interest free loan (just in case we need a back-up plan).