A Final Push!

We are so incredibly grateful for all of you who are partnering with us to bring our boys HOME!  We can't wait to tell them how many people love them!

With our travel date drawing near (hopefully sometime in October!), we want to do one final push to get to the fundraising finish line (check the thermometer on the right for a current tally)A generous friend donated a brand new (in the box) 42" TV for us to use to raise funds for our adoption, so how's that for an incentive?!

For the next 2 weeks (now through Friday, September 6th), every $30 contribution to our adoption will give you a chance to win this TV!

Here are the details on the TV...
LG 42" LCD 1080P HDTV (model number 42LK450) - retail value is $600

Here is the "fine print"...
- Everyone is eligible to win (except Ben & Lauren Huss, of course).
- You can make your donation by cash, check, or online (click on our AdoptTogether link on the right).
- We'll use the same Excel random number generator formula as we did for the iPad mini drawing to determine the winner.
- If the winner doesn't live in the Houston area, we're going to ask you to pay the shipping fees.

Thank YOU for helping us bring our boys HOME!

Got It!

We received the coveted I-171H, Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition in the mail today!

"It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan(s) as defined in Section 101(B)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act."

The USCIS reviewed all of our documents (a TON of documents!), ran our fingerprints through their systems, and gave us their stamp of approval to adopt our boys!

What this means for our timeframe: 
There are some specific documents required for the Ukraine that we could not begin until we received this FDL document.  So, we can now request our employment verification letters that will list our most recent pay information, then get those notarized and sent to Austin for apostille.  Those things will COMPLETE our dossier!

Once our dossier is sent to Ukraine, it's approximately 1 month for them to review our dossier files and issue our appointment to come to Ukraine.  We will likely have 15 days notice for travel.  We are praying that we will be in Ukraine by sometime in October!

We are a BIG step closer to bringing our boys HOME!!

Click here if you want to check out more of the answers to questions about travel, etc.


Many of you have asked how you can support Team Huss during our adoption journey. 

First of all, thanks for asking!  Seriously--we get overwhelmed with gratitude when we think of how many of you are lifting us up!  It is truly a TEAM effort!

So, back to your question...

Honestly, the best way to support us is to pray for us.  And the best way to pray for us is to truly understand where we are coming from.  And the best way to understand where we are coming from (outside of actually adopting internationally yourself!) is to educate yourself by reading some of the articles that we've read and watching some of the videos we've watched.

(and no, we won't ask you to write a "book report" like we had to on some of these!)

Here is our "must-read" list (we didn't want to overload you...but if you want more, we're happy to send more!):

- Advice from an adoptee about adopting an older child (click here to read)

- Trauma doesn't tell time (click here to read)

- What both of us are going through during the waiting stage (click here to read)

- 7 Insights and 7 Gifts - Dr. Karyn Purvis (click here to watch)

NOTE: Dr. Purvis has a very "ooey-gooey-ness" to her, but she is extremely knowledgeable and has dedicated her life to kiddos from hard places.  She is very well-respected in adoption networks, and we have learned a LOT from her (and will continue to learn more when the boys get home).  You can watch any of her videos or read any of her books to learn more about attachment, connecting, etc. 

Want more?  The Tapestry Ministry in Irving, TX has a TON of free resources for adoptive families (and they work with Dr. Purvis), so click here if you want to learn more!

Thank you for loving us!

Red Tape

Ben and I returned home from a weekend out of town with our family to find this in the mail. 

This is what you could call "red tape."  One of the MANY barriers that we have to knock down to get our boys HOME.

Government Agency #1 - Secretary of State's office from The State of Texas
The document on the left is from the State of Texas and is a "notice of deficiency" on one of our documents that we had to send to them for authentication.  It's a copy of our doctor's medical license that we had notarized in front of the doctor (i.e., a notary traveled to our doctor's office with us to notarize it).  What our Secretary of State is saying is that the phrase we used on it is off by a few words so we have to re-do the entire thing.

Translation: make another appointment with our doctor, get calendars coordinated with a notary for that appointment date/time, re-do the signatures, make more copies, send it again to Austin, and wait for them to authenticate it and send it back.

Bottom line:  more money...but worst of all, more TIME

Government Agency #2 - USCIS office from the US Dept of Homeland Security
The document on the right is from the USCIS and is a "request for evidence" on our home study that we had to send them as part of our I-600A application (to be able to adopt).  They said that our homestudy failed to have the exact words stating that our social worker asked us if we had previously been rejected as a prospective adoptive parent or been the subject of an unfavorable home study.  This is ridiculous on so many levels, including the fact that the home study did specifically state that we previously were approved and adopted Eden in 2011.  Oh, and the other thing they said they needed is something that's actually already included in our home study.  Seriously.

Translation: email our social worker and ask her to add this phrase to our home study, print several more copies and have them notarized, send 1 of those notarized copies to the USCIS to fulfill this request, send 2 of those notarized copies to the State of Texas for authentication (which we had already done with our now "outdated" homestudy), wait for them to authenticate it and send it back, and wait for the USCIS to process this new homestudy and (hopefully) approve it.

Bottom line: more money...but worst of all, more TIME

I'm not gonna lie--Ben and I were in a funk all night after receiving these requests in the mail.  We feel like we're in the "dance" of 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.  It's SO hard to not have all of your lovies under one roof! 

Then I read this during my brief quiet time this morning...

This is what it says... (emphasis mine)
"Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."  Then why ask?  The idea of prayer is not in order to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God.  If we pray because we want answers, we will get huffed with God.  The answers come every time, but not always in the way we expect, and our spiritual huff shows a refusal to identify ourselves with our Lord in prayer.  We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God's grace.

Ben and I have to remind ourselves that we went through many hurdles and a ton of hard times during our adoption of Eden.  However, now that we look back, we can see His PERFECT timing of bringing her home (like, seriously--PERFECT). 

Bottom line:  We have to remember that it's not about usIt's not even about our boysIt's about God.  We want HIM to be glorified through us.  No matter what.

Back-to-School Shopping

We are SO close to funding our adoption thanks to so many of YOU!  With summer coming to an end and school right around the corner for many of you, we thought we'd remind you of our 2 ongoing fundraisers:  coffee (that every parent needs!) and t-shirts (to look stylish at school or in the carpool line!). 

Just Love Coffee
This is amazing Fair Trade coffee (most of it is also Organic, Kosher, and the packaging is recyclable!) AND we get $5/bag for our adoption fund when you purchase from our "store." https://justlovecoffee.com/teamhuss/

New product for your singer serve coffee makers: along with their traditional whole bean and ground coffee, you can now purchase the most popular varieties of their hand-roasted coffees in single-cup packaging!

If you are a coffee drinker and you've never given Just Love a try, we challenge you to do it.  Our favorite blends are: African Skies (medium roast that is sweet with a medium body and bright acidity), Valentines Blend (dark roast featuring Indonesian chocolate and caramel notes, sweet Eastern African fruitiness, and a hint of nuttiness), and Goodnight Moon (medium roast with notes of nuts and berries and a very clean finish)

Try it, you'll be glad you did.

Wild Olive Tees
These are really cute t-shirts (not necessarily "adoption themed," just FYI) AND $7.50/shirt goes to our adoption fund if you use "HUSS524" as your "coupon code" when you check out. http://store.wildolivetees.com/fundraising-c6.aspx

We have sold 14 shirts so far and there is a 15 tee minimum to qualify for the program (and get the $7.50/shirt), so please consider shopping!  And if we sell over 50 shirts, the proceeds go up to $10/shirt!

 Eden modeling one of the Wild Olive tees
Thank you SO much for helping bring our boys HOME!

Golf Tourney Recap

Because of the support of so many of YOU, our golf tournament was a great success!  Our golfers seemed to have a good time and were all very generous and genuinely interested in hearing more about our boys.  THANK YOU!!

A Priceless Connection
The coolest part of the whole tournament was that we made a very valuable connection with a man named Greg Buchai.  Greg is from the Ukraine and "happened to" (i.e., God ordained the whole thing!) be in one of our foursomes.  His formal title is "The Honorable Gregory Buchai - Honorary Consul of Ukraine"--sounds pretty cool, huh?!  Basically, Greg is from the Ukraine, lives in Sugar Land, and has offered to help our boys when they get home.  Some ways that he can help us include connections with other adolescent Ukrainian-Americans here in our area (some who were also adopted), information on classes for Ukrainian culture, language, etc.  Basically, he's going to be vital in helping our boys keep their Ukrainian heritage alive (and teaching us about it!), which will certainly help them feel more at home in their new forever family.

Getting our Message Across
We kept our passions at the forefront of this tournament so that our golfers would know exactly what "cause" they were supporting.  Ukrainian flags were displayed (and the colors blue and yellow were our theme), the goodie bags contained t-shirts from the STUCK documentary, the t-shirts given as prizes spoke the message "it's not about me" from Project Hopeful, our boys' pictures were running on screens in every room we were in, we spoke for 5-10 minutes about international adoption (and even showed a 2 minute clip from the STUCK documentary, detailing the process that adoptive families go through for international adoptions), and Greg even stood up after us to speak for a few minutes about the country of Ukraine (totally awesome!).

The Bottom Line
I'm sure you're wondering how much we raised for our adoption fund!  Drumroll, please...


And if you look at the total raised to date (on the right-hand side of the blog), we are now at $19,836!  All of that is because of YOU!  So THANK YOU!  

The Tournament in Pictures

packing up the goodie bags a few days before

getting the room ready the day before

the décor


signing in; enjoying breakfast; and buying mulligans, putting string, and raffle tickets!


ready to hit the course!

golfing for a cause!

our awesome drink cart drivers!


cooling off and enjoying lunch!


prizes for the winners!

silent auction and raffle items!

Extra Thanks!
There were so many who helped make this tournament a success, so I hesitate to do this because I don't want to leave anyone out.  But I have to give MAD PROPS to the following peeps for their skills and their willingness to give up valuable time to support our family. 
Graphic Design - my little sister, Sarah Spears created all of the images for our tournament (invites, signs, silent auction sheets, mulligan cards, etc.), which truly made the event look professional!
Idea Man - my brother-in-law, Leon Verriere has participated in several golf tournaments and was an invaluable sounding board for ideas to make our tournament a success--and he traveled 10 hours round trip with 2 of his sons to play in the tournament (and behind every good man is a good woman, so equal props to my sister, Kim Verriere).
Setup - my friend and neighbor, Melissa Soileau stepped up big time to help haul everything to the event site, unload all of the heavy boxes, and get everything setup--she took the ball and ran with it, which is exactly what I needed!
Décor - my friend, Shelley Burke created all of the décor for our tournament (Ukrainian flag table runners, tee box centerpieces, etc.) and my friend, Carie Lawson brought it all to life when Shelley got called out of town for work at the last minute--I am truly in awe of their creative abilities!

Right-Hand Girl - my sister-in-law, Traci Huss came early and stayed late to help with anything I needed her to--such a trooper!
Tech Help - my brother-in-law, Josh Huss took a day off work so he could help--and he helped this non-tech savvy girl more than he probably knows by handling the setup and running the video and photos (and he also stood in the heat with our friend, Kurt Lawson to run the marshmallow drive competition!).
Grunt Work - my mom, Patty Alewyne and our family friend, Pam Andrews drove 10 hours round trip to do whatever I needed them to do--and they did everything from picking up breakfast at 6am to taking care of the trash--a huge help all around!
Greeters and Drink Cart Drivers - my friends, Aimee Flores and Shannon Peterson came bright and early with smiles on their faces to help with the tournament.  They kept our golfers hydrated in the boiling Texas temps!
Photographer - my cousin-in-law, Daniela Ruiz-Ochoada drove from Austin for the tournament so her hubby could play and she could help--she strapped her kiddo on and took pictures of all of our golfers out on the course (in the heat!)--a huge help!
Sugar Fix - my friend and neighbor, Tiffany Wilks had a cake pop party to make a ton of delicious cake pops for our golfers--and believe me when I say they tasted amazing!