Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ok paperchasers, this one's for you!

Ok, so we have had lots of inquires about being featured families! Hooray! So, if you've been featured in the past you know that you used to email us and we sent you an app, you filled t out and sent it back with your video and such, right?

Well, here's some new an exciting news.

Now, you just go to over to Pure Charity and click our awesome little Give1 Button and you can get all set up there! And then we get notified when you get your account all figured out and ready and then we'll contact you with a date.  As usual, if you guys have any questions you can totally email us!

So, if you've read up on Pure Charity at all (and if you haven't you should!) you'll know that the funds get distributed to your agency, which is great, but that also means that you need to make sure you have some agency fees to raise money for! :) Some agencies include travel in their fees and some don't, so make sure you check up on that when you're getting ready to apply. So, are you paper chasing?! This is great for you! You can maybe fundraise for that hefty dossier payment! (we all know how awesome it finally feels to get that dossier sent off)

So, paper chasers! We want you! Make sure you get your tush over there and sign up with us at Pure Charity! 

Just make sure you go over there! Go! Go! 

And have a fantastic Tuesday loves!

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Week, New Family - The Marrs Family

Hey guys!
So this is it, our first Pure Charity Give1Save1 week! Meet the Marrs Family! They're our "guinea pigs" as you might say, the first one's to go all out with with Pure Charity! And they're pretty much the cutest family ever, like you'll wanna reach through the screen and just squeeze them.

So, they're bringing home a 13 month old little cutie from the DRC, and they need your help! SO, what you need to do  is give them that $1, or more if you feel led.

So, here's how it's gonna work, to donate-you need to click on the widget below, and that'll take you to their Pure Charity page where you can give your tax deductible donation. If you want to help even more, go ahead and add that widget to your blog post this week giving them an even greater audience! You'll be able to get the code on their Pure Charity page. 

Ready to help big?! Ok, GO! Donate by clicking below.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pure Charity + Give1Save1

Sooo... in case you haven't figured it out yet, we've teamed up with Pure Charity to make fundraising more transparent, easier to share, and well... also cooler looking. Here's what sold me on it, and I'm hoping you're going to fall in love with it too. I mean, it's your dollars we're using here, so I want you to love it.

  • Money donated through Pure Charity is tax deductible. 
  • Money donated goes directly to the agency of the adopting family. 
  • The fundraising family gets to keep more of the funds. Paypal takes quite the little chunk. 
  • The WIDGET! Ok, this is the total geek in me here, but I LOVE the widget like a spaz. Each family gets a widget that can be embedded on this blog, (but here's my favorite part) and also YOUR blog. That's right! You get to play a bigger part in this by smacking that widget in your  post each week. Any time any donation is made it's updated and you get to watch this little bar go higher and higher. I think this is really going to equal more sharing and giving and that's what we're all about, right? 
  • You can also donate to your favorite adoption just like you would your favorite charity, by shopping. I'm sure you can guess how I feel about that. 
So, this next week we're going to test drive our first family with Pure Charity. I bet you might be able to figure out who they are if you head on over and create your account.... :)

And, by the way, you'll want to do that. Your going to need to make an account to give or receive funds, but it's easy peasy and looks super classy. Also, if you're hoping to apply to be a Give1 family, just look for our tab on there. You'll be able to send us an application straight from the site. It'll be our first week, so be patient and definitely let us know if there are any kinks, but the Pure Charity folks are pros and I think it's going to be smooth as silk. So what are you waiting for?! If you plan on supporting adoptions and are a regular Give1... um, giver (?) just head over the Pure Charity and make sure you have an account. If you plan on setting up your own fundraiser or applying to be a Give1 featured family, head this way. And that's it. You've got all weekend. I hope it's a good one. We'll meet you back here Monday morning to get this party started. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pure Charity

Hey guys, I've got some really exciting news to share with you about Pure Charity. Tomorrow we'll talk about how it's going to help you. And me too. But today let's start with the basics. What is Pure Charity?

OK, so how cool is that?! So today's assignment is to simply go and create an account. Install the plug-in if you do some online shopping. It's so easy, I could do it. And the phrase "install the plug-in" makes me almost nauseous. But it was easy. I've even done a bit of shopping on it and grew my giving fund. So just create your account and poke around the site a bit. Trust me, you'll want to do this! I'll tell you why tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rice and Beans month...the impact...

Hey guys,
So remember a while back when Beth wrote about Rice and Beans Month? I know some of you that participated (or attempted and that's awesome too!)

Anyway, I have some friends who are missionaries in Uganda right now and over on their blog they posted some pictures of the impact that Rice and Beans Month had in the community they serve in...

I was reading on the Rice and Beans Facebook page that so far the giving total is $6,475!!!
And that money will go directly towards the agriculture and farming program in Uganda!

Make sure you check our Rick and Haley's blog to see more about what Lahash is doing in Northern Uganda

So, did you participate in Rice and Beans month? Tell us about it! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let's talk quiet time...

Devos, devotionals, 1:1 time, quiet time, meditation, whatever you call it-it's important.  I think that all too often we find ourselves in the midst of a crazy busy life and sadly, sometimes Jesus takes the back burner.  It's not like we mean to put Him in the back though right? It just kind of happens, sometimes it just seems like the "easiest" thing to cut out in a day.  You've gotta get to the store right? And the kids, they need help with their homework and then there's dinner, baths, stories bed and then you're just plain exhausted!

I don't know about you, but I find myself in a super busy season of life, and knowing it's just going to get busier gives me more gray hairs. Yes,  a few months ago I began spotting some wise hairs (I heard them referred to as that once and I like the ring, so I'm gonna call them my wise hairs) but you know when I'm able to get some time away with Jesus, just Him and me-the busy doesn't seem as busy and the stress doesn't seem that bad.

I think sometimes we think we have to wake up at the crack of dawn for good quiet time, and if you're one of those people who do wake up, I give you major props because I'm just not a morning person..or a night person actually.  I'm a really good mid-day person though, so that's when I get some quality God time in, right smack dab in the middle of the day.  I turn on my current favorite Pandora station (Rend Collective Experiment) and pray, read my Bible, sometimes I read a specific book (I've got about 4 that I'm currently working on) I recently got done with the James study by Beth Moore and it was so awesome.  I'll be honest sometimes I'm not the biggest Beth Moore fan (side note: I'm sure she is an amazing person, I just have had a hard time following her studies sometimes) but James was amazing. I really recommend it.

Anyway, the point of this kind of chaotic post was basically to encourage all you mama's and mamas to be to make sure you're getting your Jesus time in, and to let you know that any time of the day that you spend with God is valuable, not just a certain hour.  We wanna know what you're reading, and if you're not, that's ok! Share what you want to start doing and how you think you'll accomplish it, we're in this together right? Sisters in Christ so we're here to encourage and build each other up.

Right now here's some of my recent faves:

And I really want this one, the 1,000 Gifts Devotional, anyone have it?

Ok mama's what are you reading? Or what are you going to start reading? 


Monday, April 22, 2013

Meet This Weeks Family...round two!

Hey everyone,
I hope you all had a great weekend, it's starting to get warm here in California so I spent most of my weekend outside (hooray for springtime!) Anyway, you might remember this weeks family, they were featured last year as they prepared for bringing home their son from Ethiopia.  Well, he's home now and they're at it again, going back to get one of his friends from the same orphanage! How awesome is that?! Meet The Thompsons.


Ok, so a little background; both of the boys were transferred to AHOPE together and so the Thompsons were able to spend time with their new little guy when they traveled for court and embassy for their son.

They're working hard to get their little guy home, he's been very sick this year and needs to get home as soon as possible.

Will you help?

So far you have raised $81.00 for the Thompson Family

Friday, April 19, 2013

HIV and adoption

Hey guys! I'm so excited to share this guest post with you today.  I "met" Katie through the adoption network and was so excited that she agreed to guest post for us about HIV and adoption.  Let's me honest, our information about HIV is probably outdated, and fears might be present when thinking about adopting a child that his HIV+, but the reality is that there are children in the world who need homes and have this disease, so whether you're adopting a + child yourself or have entertained the idea just once, here is some info that will hopefully help you along the way...

So, here's Katie!

"Our adoption agency has this amazing group of people... families really, from all over the USA (and the world) that are in the process of adopting their sweet kiddos from Ethiopia. Over the past 3 years we’ve connected with many of them via social media and have had the pleasure of meeting a few handfuls of them IRL. We’ve been home with B & M for 17 months now, and with 6 kids, I’m just starting to feel like I’m getting my groove back.

Having adopted two sweet children with HIV, we’ve learned a lot over the last couple of years, and somehow I’ve been asked to share that information so that others may glean from it.

We live in the information age. With the advent of the internet, information is at our fingertips. It is our responsibility to review it and assess its validity based on the authors’ credentials and if the website is trustworthy. Please bear in mind, I am not a physician. I would encourage any of you exploring these topics to contact your local PID (physician of infectious disease) and ask these questions of them as well.

The majority of the information that I’m sharing, is not new. There are a lot of valuable resources we accessed when researching HIV. The majority of it we learned from fellow HIV adoptive mama and advocate, Carolyn Twietmeyer, and the Project Hopeful website. There are many other resources that affirm these details. Many we discovered while doing our own research.

Let’s start with facts.

The CDC states: "Only specific fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk) from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV. These specific fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the blood-stream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to possibly occur." (source: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/transmission.htm#9)

In case you missed it, you can only contract HIV in three primary ways.
  • Unprotected sex
  • Sharing of needles
  • By birth/breastfeeding

With that being said, let’s try and answer some of the questions:

What precautions do you have to take in the home? To glove or not to glove?

We do have latex gloves, wipes, and a first aid kit available should either of our beauties scrape a knee, etc. But honestly, I typically just get a wet paper towel and wipe the blood away, and put a bandaid on... just like I would with any of my other kids. I don’t ever pull out the latex gloves... because honestly, your skin is the BEST barrier available. I just wash my hands with soap after cleaning up after any blood.

Again, from Project Hopeful’s website, “HIV has never been transmitted through normal family living conditions. It cannot be transmitted through casual contact. HIV is not found in sweat, urine, feces, tears, saliva or mucus. It is found in blood, semen and vaginal secretions, as well as breast milk”.

That’s it. So, you can drink from the same cup, hug, and even give a kiss on the lips, without fear.

Again, the degree of risk is often directly related to the person’s viral load. If the child is on a proper regimen of ARV’s the risk of transmission is near zero."

“Viral load is the greatest risk factor for HIV transmission, and lowering the viral load is critical to
interrupting transmission and preventing morbidity and mortality. Studies suggest that the risk
of transmission is near zero when the viral load is below 1500 copies/mm3.”

Will he/she be able to have children? What about unprotected sex within a marriage?

This is an area that is becoming much more of a reality than it ever was before. Let’s look at the second question first. Can a husband or wife with HIV have unprotected sex? Research is showing us the following:

A recent trial has confirmed if an HIV-positive person adheres to an effective antiretroviral therapy regimen, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partner can be reduced by 96%. For couples in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other HIV-negative, WHO recommends offering ART (anti retroviral treatment) for the HIV-positive partner regardless of her/his CD4 count.

This is encouraging news. ARV’s continue to be a valuable asset in fighting off the HIV virus. So much so, that it can reduce the risk by 96%. Clearly a step in the right direction.

As it relates to having children, there continues to be much discussion and debate over the how, but again, with the development of ARV’s, the answer is yes, a person with HIV will be able to have a child with very little chance of transmitting the virus, if he/she is on an effect ARV treatment regimen.

“Can I have children if I have HIV? Yes. If you want to be a parent, having HIV shouldn’t stop you. There are several options for HIV-positive women and men who want to be parents.”

In addition to the information above, research is currently being gathered that may suggest that sperm washing may not be needed. Clearly far from definitive, but this information provides hope that one day, additional measures may not be required for individuals living with HIV to have regular sexual relations with their spouse and the ability to conceive children.

“Draft UK guidance on fertility treatment says that sperm washing may no longer be necessary for couples where the man has HIV and the woman does not. As long as the man is on effective antiretroviral treatment and unprotected sex is limited to days when his partner is ovulating, “sperm washing may not further reduce the risk of infection.”

What is the life expectancy of a person with HIV? When does HIV turn into AIDS?

HIV is considered a chronic but manageable disease. With the advance of medicine, through the administration of ARV’s, those that have HIV are no longer given the death sentence of AIDS that they once were. A person with HIV can live a full life, with no health limitations, as long as their viral load remains low, or even undetectable, thanks to the effectiveness of ARV’s, as well as maintaining a high CD4 count (white blood cells, which fight off infection).

“In general, maintaining a higher CD4 count promised significant extra years of life. Five years into ARV treatment, 35-year-old male patients with counts between 350 and 500 could expect to live to 77—and to 81 if their CD4 counts were higher than 500.”

HIV only turns into AIDS if a person’s immune system is not able to fight off secondary infections due to a high viral load. This happens in places where there are often poor living conditions (ie. disease from unsafe drinking water, lack of proper nutrition), and medications/ARV’s are not readily available.

Who in my small/rural community needs to know?

Regardless of whether you live in a small community or a large one, legally speaking, no one needs to know. Thanks to “universal precautions” you don’t need to tell anyone. Your child can play sports at any level (pre-school to high school) without ever having to tell anyone. Full disclosure is a personal choice.  

However, we have found that it can be a great opportunity to educate those in your circle of friends/family. If we don’t stand up and be a voice, how will the untrue information, stigma, discrimination from the 80’s re: HIV and AIDS end? Something that you’ll need to pray about with your spouse/family.

How much will the ARV's cost? Will my insurance company cover the cost of the meds?

This really depends on the insurance company, as well as the medications that your PID physcian prescribes. In my experience, with each of our 2 kiddos on 3 meds each, our copay was $60-$100 per month, per child. But depending on what state you live in, there are some really great programs out there that will cover these fees as well. In the great state of Ohio, we have a government program that is actually beneficial to our kiddos (shocking, I know). It's called the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps, also known as BCMH. After calling our county health department, providing income information, as well as insurance coverage available, we were approved for both our kiddos to have full coverage until their 18th birthday. This applies to all BCMH participating providers (including their PID -infectious disease doc, labs, pharmacy, specialist appts. with the cardiologist, eye doctor etc) Therefore, we pay nothing. zilch. nada. for their meds, there are no copays at the PID, no deductibles at the quarterly blood draws, etc. So, be sure to check with your county health department to see if they might have a similar program to assist families with kids with special needs/medical needs.

Also, there are other programs available such as the Ryan White foundation, which assists families with a child with HIV. As well as going directly to the pharmaceutical provider itself (get the generic names of the drugs your child will be taking) contact the drug provider, and ask for a rebate. You can use this rebate to cover the co pays that you have at the pharmacy. At the end of the day, there are lots of ways to get around paying for the meds.

So, what DO I do if my child is playing a sport and receives an injury while on the soccer field, or the wrestling match?

If the team is following proper protocol, they will use universal precautions and therefore there is nothing to fear. Remember, unless they are having unprotected sex, IV/drug needle sharing or birthing/breastfeeding a child, you should have nothing to fear.

“There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted during participation in sports. The very low risk of transmission during sports participation would involve sports with direct body contact in which bleeding might be expected to occur.”

This is HUGE people. The reason the chance of being infected is so low? It's HARD to get HIV. It's a very fragile virus. Not to mention, if the person with HIV is on ARV's, their viral load is likely super low… making it that much harder to transmit to another person.

“When people take antiretrovirals, the amount of HIV in their body is decreased, making them much less likely to pass the virus to others. If we can get, and keep, more people on treatment, and reduce their virus levels, we can reduce the number of new people who are infected.”
Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of the HIV Department at WHO

We hope that this information has been valuable to you as you prayerfully consider adopting a “positive” child. As for us, we believe it is one of the most amazing things that has happened to our family."

So, there you have it. A little bit of info on HIV adoption and how it really isn't as scary as maybe you might think. If you have any questions or would like to get connected to Katie, please let us know and we'll get you hooked up with the right people to answer your questions.

And Katie mentions Project Hopeful above, they're an awesome site for information, here's a fun video from there too to make your Friday more enjoyable.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Greenlight Update

Hey guys,

I want to start keeping you posted here on Give1 about our community in Ethiopia. If you're new here, let me catch you up to speed. About a year ago we spent a whole day finding sponsors, one by one, for the kids in a Drop-In center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia called Greenlight. The center provides meals and discipleship daily. They help the kids and families by occasionally providing medical assessments, school uniforms and things like that.

A few things are going down there right now. One is that many of the children's "homes" were made out of trash and mud built alongside a river. The government came and knocked them all down, leaving many of our kids homeless.

Another is that my husband, Brandon, and I have taken over as carepoint coordinators and will be responsible for finding sponsors for all the kids and visiting once a year. That trip planning is underway and will be happening in June. Wynne and her gang will be there too. It's a big old party. Also, email me if you'd like to send a small care package with us. If you'd like to go, shoot me an email at b.cupitt(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Twenty new children have come into the carepoint this week. Twenty. And here's the scoop. Right now they are all being fed. It's just that everyone is being fed less. For most of these kids, the meal they get at Greenlight is the only one they get all day. For every child that gets sponsored, the quality and quantity of food and care is increased. So can I just bug you today to open up to one more? If you can squeeze it out at all? I know you think you can't do one more, but I bet you can. And I'll do it too, ok? We just signed up to sponsor Robel. I let Abby pick this time, thinking maybe she'd like a little girl her age. Nope, she picked a boy her brothers age. Here's our new guy.

To sponsor a child from Greenlight (whom we will be meeting very soon!) click here. Browse through or choose 'unsponsored'. Now we you may notice something slightly disturbing. Many of the children appear to be in need of medical care. We are trying to find a nurse to come with us on this trip, but we're really needing some money in the medical fund too. If you'd like to donate to that you can do so here. Thanks so much. Let me leave you with a few precious faces in need of sponsors. Maybe it's you. 

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. -Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cupcake Taste Test

This week I was supposed to be baking cupcakes (but, um, you guessed it... I went to Target and bought some instead). It's time to get in the zone for Cupcake Kids! My kids have so much fun with this. And I do too. Like maybe past the point of normal.

So, let me tell you a bit about it. I'm sure you're going to be all over this.

Sixty Feet is an action-based organization created to bring hope and restoration to the imprisoned children of Africa in Jesus' name. We are not referring to a figurative prison of poverty or circumstance, but real places, with real bars.

Sixty Feet exists to improve the conditions of these children's 'prisons' by offering medical, counseling, infrastructure support, mentoring, and discipleship. They also serve as a voice to advocate for the kids, getting some released and placed back with their families. But, as with all things, that requires money. That's where Cupcake Kids comes in.

On May 4, 2013 kids all over the country will be selling cupcakes and donating the proceeds to Sixty Feet. It's gotten huge over the years. This year, I think we'll be making some whoopie pies. So don't get bogged down with the logistics (the date, the cupcakes, whatever). Just do what you can to raise awareness and cash! And this year I need your pictures!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From a Daddy's Perspective...

Hey guys! I'm so excited to share our guest blogger with you today, he's my husband, Justin!  I've been begging him to write a guest post for a long time, something from a dads perspective, because let's be honest, our husbands probably took longer than we did to jump on the adoption train, and if you're like me, you've maybe thrown some new "twists" to your husband, some new plans perhaps? I've done that once, twice, several times to my husband. So, here's a little bit from the daddy's side... 

Well after many attempts to get me to guest blog, Steph has finally talked me into it. When we first started on this road of adoption, I had many fears. My fears were way different than my wife’s though.  Although I was excited about becoming a dad and bringing two boys home, fear has been the prominent feeling that I had in the beginning.  While my wife was worrying about nursery plans, I was worried about where the money was going to come from to get him home.  While my wife was talking about “attachment plans” with me, I was worrying about how I was going to connect with two children that not only didn’t have my DNA, but were also born in an entirely different part of the world.  While my wife was dreaming of being a stay-at-home mom, I was worrying about how I would provide for my soon to be family of four.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been beyond excited to become a dad, and I know that I will love my sons more than anything-but I had allowed fear to get in my way.  I allowed the enemy to get in.  I began to think about my relationship with Christ, He didn’t worry about how much it would cost Him to save my life, so I was I worrying? I am not “biologically” Christ’s son, but He adopted me as His own, we don’t share DNA, we probably don’t look alike at all, but He loves me unconditionally, so why was I worrying? If I am calling myself a follower of Christ, why was I worrying about providing for my family when HE is the provider?  God was and IS bigger than all of my fears.
Now that we have been on this journey for a little over a year, my fear has turned into fighting. I can say the only fear that I have today is that tomorrow will be another day without my boys. I was talking to a co-worker and friend the other day and trying to explain my thoughts and the adoption paper chasing process. I asked her, if her son was in another state and all she needed was one signed piece of paper from a person in Sacramento what would she do? She responded with stand there until it was signed. This is totally the journey that God has taking me on during this process.
I am sure that I still have fears deep inside but they are masked by the fight. I don’t care how much it costs just get them here, I don’t care that we don’t share the same DNA I just want to hold them, I don’t care that I don’t know how I am going to provide for a family of four.
Yesterday I just celebrated my 27th birthday, and I am fighting for this to be the last with out my two boys.