Thursday, March 28, 2013


We are SO EXCITED to have just received two new photos from our little Shepard!!!! He is SO PRECIOUS!!!! It is late but we couldn't wait to share with you all these precious photos!! Thank you Lord for blessing us with new pics.  We feel so blessed for this precious little one to be a part of our family! We are ALL very excited!!! Here are the two photos we received!! (Looks like he bruised his head!!! He's a boy for sure!!) Look at those cool jeans!!!

We also got his size!! Praise the Lord!! We needed it to get prepared for meeting him when we are in China.  Only thing is...the sizes came in centimeters and Kilograms.  So I converted them.  But I've got to figure out what size this would make him.

He is 40 inches tall
His chest is 22 inches
His feet are 6.29 inches long
He weighs 39.68 pounds

So...any guesses what size clothing and shoes we should get for him?!?! He almost weighs as much as Silas. Thats not saying much. Silas is TINY....and doesn't eat!! I bet Shep is a good eater!!

You know what else?!?! We think he looks SO MUCH LIKE SADIE!!! What a special blessing for both of them!!! :)

God is good and we could not WAIT to share these new photos and info!!! Thank you all for praying, encouraging and supporting us. It is such a blessing!!! We'll post again soon!!! Have a WONDERFUL Resurrection Sunday with your family!!
Mark & Buffi

Friday, March 22, 2013

Provision & Progress

We have had some more GREAT things happen this week!!! We are so excited to share it with you!!

We are so blessed to be able to share that Bridge of Hope Adoption Ministry has blessed us with a $2000 grant to help us with our adoption expenses. God is SO GOOD!!! Thank you Lord!!  This is an organization we were not aware of until February...but they are based out of Athens, AL...and they have a desire to help give local families grants for their adoption expenses.  We are SO thankful for them considering our family for one of their grants.  Thank you Bridge of Hope!  Please support this ministry if you can!!

They will be having a Chic-Fil-A 5K Fundraiser in April.  Our family will be there to help with the 5k.  We're grateful to support organizations who have the heart to help families raise money toward adoption expenses. If you're not doing anything on April should come on out and participate!!!

We are also waiting to hear from The JSC Foundation to see if we receive a grant from them.  We know that so many people apply for these grants.  Would you please pray that God would give us favor and help provide us with another grant through JSC to help us meet the $16,000 we need to wire to China in about 4 weeks? We have about $8500 so far to go toward that $16,000. Praise God!! That means we still need about $7500 in the next 4 weeks.  Thank you for your prayers concerning this. We know God is faithful and He will provide!! :)

In the last week...our paperwork has been cabled from the NVC (National Visa Center) and has gotten our Article 5 to the CCAA in China.  Our social worker told us today that we will have our Article 5 pick up on April 9. So...estimated...we will receive our Travel Approval 2-3 weeks after April 9th.  Then we will travel around 10-14 days after that. So it is still looking like early May for us to go!! We will keep you posted.  Please keep in your prayers God's perfect plan regarding the time we travel.

We've been looking at plane tickets.  If we leave the first week of May the tickets are around $1200 PER ticket. If we go a week later...they jump to $1500 PER ticket.  Then they jump even more the closer we get to summer.  With us purchasing tickets for 5 of us...this adds up quickly. So pray that the Lord works it out that we can get the lower price tickets...and that He provides for us every dime we need toward these plane tickets!! Your prayers and encouragement mean so much to us!!

We are still hanging on for an update on Shepard. We have had no new news. It's hard waiting.  We wish we had new information every day. But we know that is not possible.  We do want to find out soon what size he is so we can get prepared for him to come home!! :) As soon as we get new info...we promise to share it with you all!!

That's it for now!!! OOPS....ALMOST FORGOT!! We got our Chinese Visa's back this week!!! Isn't that awesome!?!? YAY!! It has been a WONDERFUL week of news!! Things seem to be happening quickly!! It is such a blessing to share this journey with you all. We love and appreciate you much!
Mark & Buffi

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lots of GREAT Things Happening!!

What a WONDERFUL week it has been!!! Yesterday, we received our I-800 provisional approval!! Once we receive our cable letter from NVC (National Visa Center) our agency will send for our Article 5.  It'll take about 2 weeks to get it.  Once we get Article 5 we will have Travel Approval in about 3-4 weeks.  Then it's "on like Donkey Kong!!!" LOL!! Just had to say that!!! We will be leaving for China SOON!!! We are very excited!!!

Wednesday...we received a text from a friend at church that he wanted to stop by and bring us a delivery.  We were problem!! :) We weren't sure what he was delivering.  :) Anyway...what he told us absolutely blew us away and was just a 'kiss from Heaven' to let us know that God KNOWS and He SEES and He will provide.  God's faithfulness is so amazing!!!

What our friend Clint began to tell us was that he and his wife are both in lifegroups at church and they have been doing the Bible Study "The Blessed Life".  Their groups decided that they wanted to come together and  do something to bless someone.  Clint & Amy Jo (who have also adopted a PRECIOUS little boy from India) know the cost of adoption first hand, and they brought up that we are adopting Shep and still have funds to raise before we go.  So both groups decided they wanted to give toward our adoption.  They have absolutely blown us away by blessing us with $1800 to go toward our adoption expenses!!! WOW!!! That is absolutely AMAZING!!! God was saying..."SEE!!! I'm taking care of it! Where I guide...I'll provide!!!" I was in tears.  It was the PERFECT timing and we could not have been more grateful!! With that $1800...we have now reached $6000 to go toward the $16,000 we have to wire once we receive TA.  This is such wonderful news!!!!

For each person that gave anything....we wish we knew who you all were and could PERSONALLY thank you.  But this is the best way we know to say thank you!! You guys will NEVER KNOW how God used you, not only provide and bless us in this last stage of our process, but your act of generosity spoke in a HUGE WAY to our hearts and encouraged and built up our faith SO MUCH!!! We pray God's blessings 100 fold back to each one of you for the gifts you gave toward making a difference in our little boys life!! You ARE changing a life and a destiny!!! Please do keep up with our journey.  We want you to see what the seed you have sown is going toward.  We are SO grateful!! A mere "Thank You" seems like it isn't enough. But we are thankful and we pray blessings on you all!!!

We have a precious friend who sells Thirty-One Gifts who has asked if she can do a fundraiser for our adoption expenses.  She plans to donate the profits from this sale to our adoption.  We thought that was such a SWEET thing for her to do and again...we are so grateful!!! If you or anyone you know would like to purchase anything from Thirty-One...Check out our friend Tammie Burgoon's website HERE!! Thirty-One has some really great products and if you happen to purchase something you need or like there...It'll go toward our adoption expenses!! Thanks SO MUCH Tammie!! We are so grateful!!

We are HOPING that we will receive updated info and pictures from Shepard soon.  We really need to know what size he wears so we can start getting him clothes and shoes and his room ready!! :) As soon as we get info on him or when our Article 5 comes in...we will blog again!!

To be able to share this journey with our friends and family is SUCH a blessing to us. We have had SO MANY of you bless us on this journey. So many of you have been support and encouragement, have offered to help us purchase gifts to take our guides, and have given so sacrificially!  We hope you know just how appreciative we are for all that you have done!! We also want to thank you for your prayers and support. They mean more than you will ever know!!! We anticipate heading to China (as long as there are no delays) in about 8 weeks!!! NOT MUCH LONGER!! We are excited!!

We will be in touch soon!! Have a great weekend!
Mark & Buffi

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How Can We Say It?!?!

We have postponed blogging for a couple of days because we were trying to think of a way to let you all know just how much we are blessed by each one of you.  We are overwhelmed with gratitude by the friendships that we have and how you all are personally taking on the heart to help bring Shepard home.  You are carrying out God's heart for orphan care.  Really...look at the amount on the thermometer to the right....Over $19,000 in a year!!! Y'all...that is a miracle and God has used YOU to make that happen!! You will NEVER know how blessed we are because of your gifts of kindness and your heart to help change the life of a very precious little boy.

We've gotten a few anonymous gifts...and it has just blessed us more than you will ever know.  Whoever you are...THANK YOU so much!!! We just want to shout it from the roof tops just how grateful we are.  When walking in requires stepping in areas where your feet might not feel sure...but HE sets our feet on solid ground and with each and every gift that is donated toward our adoption expenses...we have just been reassured and encouraged that God sees...and He knows...and HE provides.  YOU have been God's hands extended to us as we endeavor to bring Shepard home and give him a loving family! God has shown us HIS faithfulness through your kindness and your gifts.

Saying thank you never seems like enough.  Finding the words to communicate just what our hearts feel is challenging too.  But in as many ways as we possibly can...we wanted to say THANK YOU!!!  Thank you for being HIS hands extended!!!
We cannot WAIT to share with you new information on our process. It will not be long before we go and can bring home our precious little boy!!! We just couldn't wait another day to say thanks!!! We love and appreciate you all so much!! Have a WONDERFUL WEEK!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Made it to the "Lock Box"!!

We wanted to give you all a quick update!! We just received our I-797C paperwork from Homeland Security. Our paperwork is in what they call the "lock box" as we wait on the Cable letter from the National Visa Center.  This is the first part of this paperwork we were waiting on as we wait on Travel Approval....see below:

- Once we get our LOA We will submit our 800 Provisional paperwork.  We will then get a receipt of our actual 800 approval. This will take approximately 2 weeks.  - JUST GOT THIS PART!!!!

- After we receive our provisional approval we will then wait for our cable letter from the NVC (National Visa Center). 

- Once we receive our cable letter then Lifeline will submit our Article 5 letter to the US Consulate.  The takes approximately 2 more weeks.

- After our Article 5 letter is picked up, the CCAA (Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs) wll initiate our TA (Travel Approval process) Our TA should arrive 3-4 weeksafter our Article 5 letter arrives at CCAA.

- Once we have TA (Travel Approval) it will take approximately 2 business days to get a confirmed CA (Consulate appointment)

- Once we have our CA we will likely travel 10-14 days after it is scheduled. looks like we are still on schedule to go in May.  Praying all the paperwork continues to come through smoothly!!

1.  We mailed our Visa Applications off yesterday.  Please pray that we get our Visa's back in a quick manner.

2.  Please continue to pray for our finances to come in.  Our social worker told us we will need to wire $16,000 to China once we get our Travel Approval/Consulate Appointment.  We have $4,000 of that $16,000. (we still have $7000 for airfare on top of what we have to wire as well.) We are waiting on 2 grants we have applied for.  Pray for favor and that these organizations will give our family a grant toward these expenses. God is faithful.  Our faith is SO stretched...but we trust in the Lord and we know that where HE GUIDES...HE PROVIDES!! Thanks for your prayers for this!

3.  Please continue to pray for Shepard and that his foster family is showing him our photos and talking to him about us coming.  Pray that God prepares his little heart for the changes coming.

4.  Pray for all of us as we prepare our home and hearts for adding a new little one.  While we are all very excited...we know that reality sometimes isn't always easy.  But we know God will cause all of us to grow in our faith and trust in Him. 

Thank you all for keeping up with our process and for praying for us as it is getting really close to travel time.  We are all excited...and nervous too!! We are so grateful for all that God is doing in our hearts.  Our faith is being stretched...but we know God is faithful and being in the center of HIS will and trusting HIS heart in this process is where we want to be!! We wouldn't want to be anywhere else! 

We will keep everyone posted when we hear something else! Thank you so much for your prayers!
Mark & Buffi