Friday, January 20, 2012

So Many Red Threads

"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break."

~ Ancient Chinese Proverb

We became familiar with this proverb when we began this journey to Kemeri & thought it was very neat. I must say, in the past couple of weeks, it has taken on a whole new meaning for us.

Back track. A couple of weeks ago, we stepped out & asked if people might want to become part of our "team", essentially, our family, to help us bring Kemeri home. To be completely honest, I'm not sure when I've felt quite so vulnerable. It sort of felt like, okay, we're inviting people to this party, but what if nobody comes? Rejection is not one of my favorite feelings. Or worse, what if we're judged? I know of too many families that have stepped out in faith only to have somebody say, "Well, if you can't afford it, why are you doing it?" That could be a whole blog post in & of itself, but I will leave it that we feel fortunate that we have not encountered this...People seem to understand that we can afford to raise another child, but as a dear friend says, the ransom is high & not many of us have it at our immediate disposal. Any-whooo...

After a lot of prayer, we really felt like the Lord was reminding us once again that this isn't about us. It's about Him & about Kemeri. So we took the plunge, & I have to say that never, ever in my wildest dreams did I expect the outpouring of love & support that we have received for Kemeri. What began as a feeling of vulnerability has evolved into feeling a connectedness (is that a word?) to so many people....just like the Red Thread.

We've had children give for Kemeri from their piggy banks, organize a fundraiser through student council at their school, & one young lady is "giving" her birthday to Kemeri, asking that friends & relatives donate in her honor.

We've had new friends, old friends, & extended family jump in with "100% support & love".

We've had college students & young people give in ways that blow my mind, knowing that they're just getting started & money is tight.

We've had other adoptive parents give generously, & some are either just home or smack dab in the middle of fundraising for their own adoptions.

We've had people putting donations in our hands at work, at sporting events, & in church.

We've been so blessed to reconnect with former classmates, the Sunday school class we used to belong to, & many friends we just don't get to see very often.

We've had donations come from all over the US as well as Canada & Germany, many from people we've never even met.

To date, we have received $6615. THAT is amazing. But above & beyond the donations, the love, support, & encouragement we have received has so powerfully impacted our family. I wish, I wish, I wish I could put into words how you have made us feel. Maybe my friend, Amy, said it best when she commented, "smiling along with you while we watch God be God..." Yes, we have experienced God's love through you, & it has forever changed us. I wish I could share every comment & every story, but there is so much. We are saving every one of them!!You can read some of the messages here:

We still have the donation page open for a few more days...we are so blessed by everyone that has joined the Team for Bringing Kemeri Home, becoming yet another red thread in our story of becoming family.

XO ~ Dardi

Oh, & for those wanting an update...OUR ARTICLE 5 WAS DROPPED OFF TODAY!!! This is for processing Kemeri's visa, so in a few weeks, we will officially be waiting for Travel Approval. Please continue to pray for Kemeri, for the process, & that we might have the opportunity to be with her when she turns 2 (March 18)!

Monday, January 9, 2012

God's Finger on Our Shoulders?

As I was looking at the numbers for the donations that have come in both online & in-person this morning, I was in awe that we are over $4000 in a week's time. How amazing. Then I looked at how many days we have left, & we would have to average about $1000/day to meet our goal. Wow. That's a lot.

And then a $1000 donation came in a couple hours later. No lie. Go look.

So here we are. I literally shake when we receive EVERY.SINGLE.DONATION. Why? Because each time I know it is sacrificial. I know each person or group stopped what they were doing to extend love. Just because. Why do I know this? When I look at the donors, aside from my family, these are people we don't see or talk to all the time. Some we don't even know! Some are other adoptive families we've only known online, many of whom are in the middle of their own adoptions or just finished with one!! We have now received donations from $10 to $1000, & from the bottom of my heart I can honestly say that every single one, regardless of the amount, is priceless. Every single one represents people that have said, "We're here, & we're sharing in your journey." It means more than words can say when you feel like people are excited with you & choose to be part of Kemeri's story.

As Joe & I stared at the computer screen over his lunch break dumbfounded, I looked at him & said, "There's not many times in your life where you feel like you're part of something bigger than yourself. This isn't about us."

Our 4-year-old daughter, Kaya, piped in, "It's about Kemeri, Mom." Indeed.

$1000/day over the next 11 days? With God, all things are possible.

"There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God's finger on man's shoulder." ~Charles Morgan

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finding Words

I've made it no secret over the last few days that we have been overwhelmed by the love & support we have received from so many & that I've had trouble finding the words to explain it. This morning, I decided to do some writing in my much neglected personal journal (sorry, peeps, I don't share everything here). :o)

As I was writing & reflecting, I just flat out asked God to help me find the words. I want to share. I want to be real. I want you to understand.

After my few minutes with my journal & the Lord, I had this urge to really give my wretched dirty floor a good scrubbing. No steam mop. This bad boy needed the good old-fashioned hands & knees kind of scrubbin'. So, after getting Lil Miss down for her nap, I got everything ready & started in.

That's when the memories came that finally gave way to the words.

When I was VERY pregnant with our fifth child, Kade, we were also building our home. We were on 2 time crunches: New baby coming & our temporary digs were being razed to become more parking for a church. Thankfully, everything was falling into place, but it was still an exhausting time. Nearing the end of my pregnancy, I was physically & emotionally tired, a bit overwhelmed with everything going on, yet still trying to enjoy the anticipation of the baby that was coming. Understand, I'm not complaining. It's just that you get to a point that you are tired.

I will never forget my major meltdown moment. A friend of ours was so generous to lay the laminate floor in our downstairs, & when it was finished, I was so excited to get it all cleaned up & looking pretty. Instead, when I began mopping, it became uglier & uglier. With all the construction dust, it was just becoming a mess. I lost it, & it wasn't a pretty scene.

The next day, our friend's wife, Kim, came over with a bucket & knee pads in hand. That beautiful woman cleaned every inch of that floor for me, knowing that I just couldn't. And the next day, another friend, Michelle, came over & washed my windows. Another friend, Susan, came with a coffee cake. Other friends had come a few weeks prior & helped Joe with the painting. All just because they saw a way to step in & ease the burden. At first, it was a little uncomfortable, but then the feelings of relief came, followed by just feeling so loved. So cared for. It was such a very, very special feeling.

When I didn't think it could possibly be any sweeter, it did. I hosted a baby shower for my sister, who was also expecting, & she & some friends were in cahoots. Her baby shower became a double baby shower to include me. Blown away. Who gets to have a baby shower for their fifth child?? That people were so thoughtful, loving, & enthusiastically sharing in our joy...Yes, I cried. My heart was so full in ways different than what you experience with your husband & children. People were making themselves a very special part of that chapter of our story.

An adoption journey is much like pregnancy. Toward the end, you just get tired. Not because you're not super-excited, but because it's hard, you get thrown curve balls, you wait, I still gain weight...whatupwitdat??? Anyway...

When we found ourselves in a place of being overwhelmed & needing some help, we have had people step in. I knew the feeling was familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. I guess it's just not something you have the opportunity to experience everyday. As I sat on the floor this afternoon, though, I remembered.

I feel so loved. I feel joy & enthusiasm from others that rejuvenates me in a way that nothing else can. I feel cared for. We've received prayers, support, & notes of encouragement from people we've never met face to face. Donations have come in from all over the country & Canada! We had people giving us notes & money & hugs at our daughter's basketball game last night (some were from the "other" team!). People are excited to help bring Kemeri Abigail home!

I have been in tears many times over the last few days. But it's not from's because my heart is overflowing, & it's got nowhere else to go. We are so honored to be connected to so many people through a precious little girl....Go God!!!

Thank you to every person that has jumped in so far to bring our little girl home to her family. If you'd like to see what's been going on & how you might feel led to help, please click on this link:

We feel incredibly blessed to be part of this story, and through it all, we get to see just how much the Lord loves Kemeri. As my friend Susan said, "We can't wait to see what God has in store for Kemeri's life!"

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~James 1:27

Thursday, January 5, 2012

One Powerful Moment

We are in awe of the response to our request for people to help us bring Kemeri home. Honestly, I have been wanting to post, but words escape me. Today, I decided that since we said we were inviting people into our lives on a very personal level, that I need to share some of the more intimate moments from this journey.

The honest truth is that we really wrestled with this. Our hearts wanted to jump in, but nothing made any sense...the timing, the finances...nothing. But once we said "yes", it seemed like anytime we began to doubt or grow weary, God would put something in our path as affirmation or encouragement that we're headed in the right direction.

Shortly after we received pre-approval from China & began the daunting paperwork process, I stumbled across this video. It gave us so much courage & determination to go where He said "go".

Thank you to everyone that has stepped into this journey with us to bring Kemeri home through our donation page. We would be thrilled if you would continue sharing the link & participating any other way you feel led. I have so many emotions & thoughts...I hope to be able to put it into coherent words to share what the Lord has been teaching our family through this experience. Here is the link:

Thank you, thank you, & thank you again for the love & enthusiasm so many of you have shared with our family & especially for a little punkin' waiting for her family on the other side of the world. We can't wait to see the rest of the story!

Love ~ Dardi & Family

Monday, January 2, 2012

We've Launched!

After much prayerful consideration, we have launched a donation page with "Hope: A Charity Project".

Please visit the above link for the details & to see how you might be able to help either financially or by sharing our page. We also appreciate prayers for our family and the whole process.

"If you take the first step with faith and obedience, God will always meet you there with His faithfulness and provision."

I'm pretty much out of words at this point. I am already blown away by all the "shares" on FB, by the donations that have already begun to come in, & especially by the love & encouragement that has overflowed. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for caring about a little girl finding her way home.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Catching Up {Christmas in Pictures}

If you need an excuse to sit down for a minute, you've come to the right place!

Being that it's already New Year's day, I thought it's now or never for posting the Christmas pictures. Getting that LOA from China right before Christmas put this mama into the best kind of tailspin. :)

So as not to make this post resemble a novel, the pictures are plenty & the words are few.

You're welcome.

Books & jammies are the Christmas Eve tradition. We've been reminiscing about how I used to dress the 3 oldest the same for special occasions when they were little. Oh, yes I did.

Another Christmas Eve tradition: The kids have a gift exchange. They each draw the name of a sibling at Thanksgiving. Kyler got Kaya, & Kaya was most pleased with her gift. Yep, she's a Bieber fan.

Ahhh, Christmas morning. 5:17 a.m. Christmas morning. Five.Seven.teen. And this was not Kaya & K'Tyo's idea. This early morning awakening was instigated by the teen/adult child sector.

Kaya looks a bit sleepy, don't ya think?

This was the ONLY gift Kendi perked up for...she loves her some basketball! She got a dolly, too, but thought it was only good for slam dunking in the hoop.

Not a ninja. Just a cool ski mask.

These were a hit!

This may be my absolute favorite picture. Kaelee just happened to grab the camera & catch these two playing. What a hoot!

Wishing you & yours an exciting, blessed new year! Happy 2012!!