Category Archives: Fundraising

Final Fundraiser

With travel coming up soon, we have about $20,000 still to go in expenses – flights, food in country, hotel, gov’t fees in China, medical exam fee, the mandatory Orphanage donation, and guide/translator service, etc. All the details are here. So we’re ready to launch our final fundraiser and we hope you’ll agree that these are some great T-shirts! You can get yours at www.bonfire.com/hamiltons-adoption-fundraiser. We plan to wear ours on the planes to and from China!

Kevin and I collaborated on these, but I have to give him credit for the final concept and for helping me create something that would appeal to men and women. And we didn’t want to just make a t-shirt. We wanted to give people something that would inspire others and move them to action in response to the need of millions of children in our world who are without a family. We chose a variety of styles and colors and tried to make the pricing as reasonable as possible. We’ll receive about $10 from each t-shirt sold. These are great quality shirts that are super comfy! All the details are on the website, but I’ve also put together a summary of each style with its sizes, colors and pricing.

Let’s Get Craaaazy!

Our letter of acceptance is expected in the next few weeks which means it’s time to launch our next fundraiser which is all about getting big sister Gabi to China to meet Emily! It’s time to get a little craaazzyy for some crazy fun socks!

Anyone who knows Gabi knows that she is a fun, outgoing, enthusiastic girl with a passion for creativity and a truly kind heart. So when we came across this fundraiser idea we thought it would be perfect for our favorite ten year old girl!

Check out this video to learn all about it and even catch some never before publicly shared video of Emily! 🙂

Sock Fundraiser Launchv2 from Kevin Hamilton on Vimeo.

So here’s the nuts and bolts of things – 

GOAL: 112 packages of socks/$1000 towards Gabi’s plane ticket which will likely be close to $2000 since summer is peak travel time

THE SOCKS: You get 3 pairs in a package for $15 and they are SO FUN! You’ll have a great story to share with anyone who sees them!

THE BONUS: This fundraiser is made possible by WeHelpTwo which serves individuals, families, schools and other organizations by allowing them to raise funds for their cause and the local charity of their choice. New York City Relief is an amazing organization that we have been proud to support and volunteer with for awhile now. They serve the homeless and hurting on the streets of NYC and Newark. For every package of socks purchased to help Gabi’s flight fundraiser, WeHelpTwo will donate a pair of socks to NYC Relief for distribution to those in need!

HOW TO ORDER: You can click HERE to order online from our WeHelpTwo page or you if you are local you can order through us directly and pay by cash, check or PayPal.

HOW TO HELP: Please consider sharing this with your co-workers, friends, family, neighbors, and kids groups especially. The socks would be a fun extra for birthdays – young and old alike!

DEADLINE: The fundraiser will run from April 21 – May 13th.

Thank you for your support!!

Watch What God Will Do

That’s what SHE said…and her words meant the world to me.

The first one to jump in. The first one to say “Yes, we are with you. Yes, we will believe with you. Yes, we’ll put skin in the game.”

It was two years ago that I would wake up every morning eagerly hoping she’d posted again. On the other side of the world was this brave mama walking into a journey of crazy faith in China as she and her husband became Mama and Baba to their two sweet girls. Two sweet girls that God had given an extra chromosome of happiness and spunk. They would bring them home to their four biological children and become a family of 8 overnight. The road ahead unclear. The challenges not fully known. But a faith in a God that would move mountains. And in the early days of our first adoption, I clung to her words as a gift from God to inspire and encourage my excited, but nervous heart.

Her honesty, persistence, and courage in the days to follow have been a grace for my oft weary heart. As a mom, a wife, a citizen…a fellow sojourner. So when she wrote about our road to Emily, and encouraged others to “Watch What God Will Do”, well, I found myself so deeply humbled. And honored. And I exhaled. Because when you are an adoptive parent just trying to help people understand your heart, and not misunderstand your intentions in this sometimes complicated task of fundraising, you just need that person who comes in and says, “Yes, we are with you. Yes, we believe with you. Yes, we’ll put skin in the game.”

So Erin? Thank you. A thousand times thank you. We’re watching and God is doing great things. Not only in the donations that have come in, but in the people and relationships and stories behind them all. The people who are saying “We’re giving the 2 fish and 5 loaves we have. Here God – use it. Multiply. Provide. We believe.”

As of tonight, we’ve seen him provide just over 31% now of our goal in the first week! Thank you to everyone that has given. We are so very grateful! EDIT: We’re now at 37% of our goal – 7 pieces to go to reach 40%!!

Be a PIECE of our Adoption!

Our dossier goes to China THIS WEEK which means that the bulk of the paperwork is behind us and we can focus on fundraising for a little while. You can check out our “Support Our Adoption” page to get an overview of the costs of this adoption and the timeframe of when things are due. Hint: it’s more than last time 🙂 

We are really excited about this first fundraiser! We think this is a really fun and meaningful way for our community of friends and family to come together to help bring Emily home! Here’s how it works…

  1. We had a 250 piece puzzle created with a design from Etsy.
  2. We are “selling” each piece for $20. You can choose to buy 1, 2, 3, or 10!
  3. To purchase one or more pieces, and receive a tax deductible receipt, click HERE to go to our AdoptTogether page. There’s also a button on the homepage that will take you there. Other payment options: Cash, check, PayPal.
  4. Once you purchase a piece, we will write your name on the back of the puzzle piece(s) and we’ll post a weekly update of those pieces and the progress we’re making in assembling the puzzle. If you purchase more than one we can add to the message by including first names or even a Bible verse that you would like to designate as a special blessing/prayer for her.
  5. Once all the pieces have been covered, we will put the puzzle together and hang it in a double-sided glass frame for Emily’s room so that we can always look back and be reminded of all the people that were a piece of the effort to bring Emily home!  

I can just imagine, a few years from now, being able to explain to her that this puzzle is an amazing representation of the many loving people who gave to bring her home to her family. As we read over the names I can tell her about the family and friends who believed in her before they even met her, who saw her worth and her value from across the ocean, who were willing to come alongside her parents to make sure she had a forever family.  

So, our goal with this Puzzle Fundraiser is to sell all 250 pieces which will raise $5,000 and take care of our final agency fee which will be due as soon as our Letter of Acceptance from China arrives – likely in early May! How awesome would it be to have this completely covered! We’d be honored and humbled to have you be a part of this story.

The other amazing thing that you could do to help would be to spread this opportunity to make a difference in the life of one child – forever! Please share this with your families and friends. Thank you! 

15 weeks…

…it’s been 15 weeks since I held her hands. 15 weeks since we heard their voices. 15 weeks since we all said goodbye.

15 weeks seems like entirely too long because the memories are so very vivid it seems like yesterday in many ways.

I wonder what it feels like to James. It’s been 15 weeks since he said a final goodbye to the only place he’d ever known as “home.” I try to imagine what that would be like, and what it would be like as a four year old…

In a few weeks, my friend Cathy and her family will travel to China for their little girl who is at James’ SWI. We can’t wait to see this family finally brought together! We’re also super excited about the opportunity for this family to get help the children and staff there get some critically needed supplies. During our visit, they told us about the broken air conditioners and fans, and the need for diapers, formula, clothing and vitamins. So, Cathy and I started up a YouCaring fund to raise money for the waiting children who continue to live day after day in this institution, and today I am shamelessly asking you to be part of this effort. Whether it’s $10, $20, $50 or more, every single dollar helps. 

Like you, I get requests for help every day in the mail and in my Facebook news feed. The needs can be overwhelming. And I know that many of you helped us pay for the necessary fees for James’ adoption. But I ask you to consider what it might cost you to do even just a little something to provide the basic necessities for these boys and girls that we now know by name. They aren’t statistics, they aren’t just more stories. To me, they are as real as my children that sleep down the hall from me tonight in their warm, comfy beds in this safe house amongst a family. I wish I could give them all a family tomorrow. I wish I could promise them the security and commitment of unconditional love from a Mommy and Daddy. I can do something though. I can alleviate a little bit of the burden for them and their caregivers. Will you join me? Will you help us help the children of Lechang SWI? We’ve sent a private donation to Cathy to purchase vitamins from Costco to take on the trip with instruction labels printed in Chinese. Although it’s not a big supply we know it will be a help to the children.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. For reading, and for considering. I promise you we are so grateful and they are too.

To donate, please click here.

Wondering what’s happening with Ping Ping?

Cathy and her family sent their daughter a final care package for her birthday recently and in response they received a few pictures including one with Ping Ping. Her smile gets me every time. Her hair has grown a little more since we saw her last. As of now, we have no indication that the Director has filed her paperwork. We paid to have a letter translated into Chinese that Cathy will hand deliver to the director. The letter gives a brief update on James and some pictures, and appeals to the director to file papers for Ping Ping. We sent a similar letter by email in December but we don’t know if she was able to read it or not. When we have a confirmed date for Cathy’s day to meet her daughter, which will be the day the letter will be delivered, we will share that and ask you to pray over that meeting for Cathy and her husband and their daughter, but also that the Director would read the letter and be so moved in her heart and mind to issue the paperwork. There is a chance that there are other mitigating circumstances that we are not aware of that are blocking the paperwork. So we will pray for those to be resolved as well so that she could know the love of a family as soon as possible, before it is too late.

Ping Ping (left)
Ping Ping (left)

In the home stretch

It’s been awhile since my last post – I’ve mostly been updating on Facebook – but it has been an exciting few weeks for sure!

James – While we don’t have any new information we expect that he has or will soon be receiving our care package and hopefully they will give him everything that is inside and talk through the photo album with him. We are praying that in those moments God would put a spirit of peace in his heart as we he anticipate the major changes to come.

Fundraising – Wow! The last few weeks have been amazing! We are just about $2600 away from being fully funded! Tax deductible donations can be made to our Adopt Together Fund. In a couple of weeks we’ll be running a small online auction through Facebook through which we hope to raise some of the final funds. We are so grateful for so many who’ve stepped up with financial gifts to help us meet the costs of bringing James home.

Process – We are currently waiting on our Adoption Letter from the National Visa Center. We had expected it by Tuesday, but it looks like there has been a general slowdown of the system as there are several families on the same timeline as us waiting on this letter. Unfortunately there are several holidays coming up in China that will result in closures of the American consulate where this letter (and other paperwork) are headed, so this does delay things for us by a few days. Here are the remaining steps:

  1. Get Adoption Letter from NVC by email. Send to our case manager at our agency who sends it on, along with other key documents, to the American Consulate in Guanghzhou, China. This is called “Article 5 Drop Off.”
  2. Article 5 is processed. This typically takes 10 business days. In our case it will be much longer because of the holidays.
  3. Article 5 Pick Up – If the Drop off happens this Monday, we are looking at a Pick Up date of October 9th.
  4. Article 5 sent to the CCCWA in Beijing and the wait for TA (Travel Approval) begins! Typically the Article 5 is received in 1-2 days, and TA is issued in 1-2 weeks later.

I would love it if this meant that we could get on a plane the next day! 🙂 But, there are a few other things to figure out.

  1. Request CA (Consulate Appointment) which is the very last step before we can leave with James. This is requested electronically and typically setup within 24-48 hours of receiving TA.
  2. Go backwards from CA to figure out requested Family Day – the day when we meet and take custody of James. Typically about 10 days before CA. In his province it’s most often on a Monday but sometimes can be a different day.
  3. Make sure the province (it’s like the state in the US) can do the requested Family Day. We are praying for a family day of November 2nd.
  4. Book our flights! We are still planning on Kevin leaving early to work for his company in their Hong Kong office because that will be a financial help to us to have his ticket covered – tickets are close to or at $1000 right now. However, he needs to go over about a week ahead of time.

Preparation – there are a variety of things happening on this front!

  • We should have our Visas by early next week. Getting these required sending off our Passports which is never an comfortable thing to do when you’re hoping to leave the country in a matter of weeks.
  • We are trying to get our Power of Attorneys complete (this is a special power of attorney so that if there were an emergency back home that one of us had to leave for during the trip, the adoption can still be completed by just one parent.) This type of POA has to be notarized, authenticated by the state and then the Chinese Consulate in NYC. The state sent them back to us rejected, in error. We are waiting to hear back from them.
  • A friend has connected us to a Cantonese speaking pediatrician in our town! We’re hoping to setup an appointment to talk to her.
  • We’re starting to work on some Cantonese phrases
  • His carseat is ready to go!
  • We’ve got all our size 3 and 4 clothes ready to pack…now we just need a new dresser for the boys’ room. Hoping to have some luck on Craig’s List soon!
  • I am handing off my responsibilities at our church to the new Kids Director!
  • We’re picking up needed travel items like a luggage scale, neck pillows, ear plugs, luggage tags, etc.
  • We’ll soon start preparing everything for our kids’ caregivers and school for while we’re gone
  • We’ll soon be setting up post-homecoming doctor appointments, and make arrangements to put him on our insurance.

Thanks for reading and journeying with us this far! We love being able to count weeks and not months!

Looking for feedback

As we head into the final weeks before travel, we’re considering options for final fundraisers to help us meet the remaining fees and costs of this journey to James ($13,700 – read more about that here) One option is an online auction. We’re considering running that at the end of September and doing it on Facebook.

But, to really get the kind of participation that makes an auction successful, we’ve been told from others who’ve BTDT (been there done that) that we should aim to have at least 10-20 highly desirable items. So far we have a photography session, a basket of items from a Thirty-One Gifts Consultant, and some beautiful artwork and home decor items (see samples below).

11252767_10204842756372137_2389243925978708413_n1610817_10204841910470990_3128677167600430885_nIMG_3212We need to determine soon if we’ll have enough items to do a full auction. Donating an item, or a service could be a great way to get advertising for your business! You don’t have to live locally here in NJ – anyone can bid in the auction, and shipping costs will be included. If you would consider making a donation to help bring James home, we would be so very grateful. We would need to know by the end of this week. Here are some ideas of the kinds of donations that we are looking for:

  • A big item to draw traffic – something like a tablet, or camera, or even tickets for a timeshare or vacation package, or big sporting event or concert or broadway show
  • Gift certificates- restaurants, salons, sporting events, recreation, retail stores, movie theater
  • Memorabilia – sports, movies, theater, etc.
  • Handmade items (i.e. things sold in Etsy shops, quilts, door wreaths, holiday decor, key chains, teacher gifts, home decor, wall art)
  • Services – florist, baker, housecleaning, car detailing, etc.
  • Fitness and wellness donations – products or gift cards (Beach Body, Advocare, Vitamins, Essential Oils)
  • Cosmetics and personal care – products or gift cards (Avon, Mary Kay, Arbonne, anti-aging)
  • Housewares – products or gift cards (Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Norwex, Scentsy, PartyLite, Tastefully Simple)
  • Jewelry – products or gift cards (Premier Designs, Silpada, Lia Sophia, Stella & Dot)
  • Themed gift baskets – tailgating, personal pampering, fitness, beach, picnic, wine & cheese, gourmet foods

Thank you for considering helping us in this way!