There’s a fire in my belly

April 26th, 2016

Friends, I’m going to be completely transparent and tell you that I am praying earnestly that you hang with me here for a bit rather than waiting me out.  God has put a fire in my belly for Annie’s adoption, and as He gives me breath, I am going to stick with the Carpenters until their full goal is reached.  I know Brian and Stephanie in real life.  This couple is completely devoted to the Lord.  He has called them to orphan care and special needs adoption, and I’m planning to tell you more about their family and ministry in future blog posts, including before and after photos.  When God makes something clear to them, they go for it wholeheartedly.  A month ago, they had never heard of Annie and had no inkling of what was ahead.  After two weeks of praying and considering, they began the race to adopt her with confidence that God will see them through this thing He has called them to do.

Could you please read my clarification below, and then read the short and sweet update Sasha Carpenter wrote?

In my last post, I mentioned that the Carpenters needed X amount of funds each week between now and Annie’s fourteenth birthday on June 28th.  I think I did them a disservice by breaking it down that way.  In actuality, a majority of the funds are needed within the next month.  In order to keep the process moving as fast as possible, Stephanie has been working like crazy on all three parts of the adoption process at the same time, and everyone has to be paid.  China has said they will do all they can to expedite their part of the proceedings in light of the approaching cut-off date.  (You may be interested, like I was, to learn that the shortest China adoption process was something like seven weeks starting from zero, no home study!  Wow.)

So doors have already been opening before them and everyone involved is moving or ready to move as quickly as possible.  Only lack of funds is holding things up now.  I can’t stress this enough.  Stephanie wrote to me, “We also now need $10,000 for all the agency fees and China stuff for them to do the dossier, so I am working on it now myself because we are not near that amount.”  With a typical, slower-moving adoption process, a family first completes a home study, and then they can fill out more paperwork to apply to various grant organizations; if their application is accepted, they can then offer donors the option of tax-deductible giving.  But with an expedited adoption like Annie’s has to be, some significant fees are coming due before Brian and Stephanie have their home study back, even though their social worker will try to have it written in two weeks.  And once it’s back, it will have to be paid for as well, all this before Brian and Stephanie could even apply to an adoption grant organization.  I hope I’m explaining this clearly.

So I’m setting the first goal at $10,000.

As an added incentive to reach that $10,000, friends of the Carpenters (who are not themselves wealthy) are stepping out in faith and starting a matching grant fund with $300.  They are praying for some visionary givers to add some large gifts to that.  We’d love to see that matching grant grow to $5000.  That would mean that as soon as the YouCaring account reached $10,000, the matching grant of $5000 would be added to it for a total of $15,000.  Does this make sense?  If this is something you can do, please contact me at

All I can do is to put the need out there and plead with the Lord to move some hearts to give big and give quickly.  I have seen Him do it many times in other urgent situations, and am asking Him to do it again for Annie.

Please don’t forget–if you haven’t already done so and even if you have, please copy, paste, and share the following link every way you are able to:

Thank you so much for hearing me out, friends!  Maybe none of us have the capability to write one check and cover the entire cost of this adoption, but we can all share the need with others, give what we can, and pray for God to provide in full!



Hi Everyone, it’s Sasha again. Here at Bucknell the trees are blossoming and I have dug myself out of my pile of final papers and projects to write another Annie update! A BIG thank you to everyone who has shared and donated so far. We are at $3,680 dollars! To reach our current goal of $10,000 we need ONLY 6,320 dollars! I KNOW we can do it! Please share this post and go to Race to China 2016 to donate! Annie is relying on all of our support to get her home in time.

Update on Our Process: We have submitted our documents to China and are waiting for Pre-Approval. Typically, we would have had our PA already. However, since it is so close to the day Annie ages out, no one thought a family would ever want to adopt her. So, a file was never compiled. Without a file, it is like Annie does not exist! Once the file is completed (by May 1st) we will have our PA and will keep moving forward with the adoption. In the meantime, we are moving quickly ahead with our Home study, I-800A and Dossier all at the same time. This is why we need to raise money so quickly, because all of these different parts have to be paid for at once! Thank you to everyone who has been supporting and encouraging us in this process. Please keep sharing Annie’s story! Thank you!


Annie wheelchair[1]




Ordinary days, extraordinary opportunity

April 22nd, 2016

First, a great, big thank you to those of you who heard and responded to the call for help on behalf of a little girl named Annie and our good friends who are racing with all their might to bring her home from China before her time runs out at the end of June.  

THANK YOU to those of you who have given!!!

For the rest of you…could you please take a few minutes and read the next several paragraphs carefully?  Thank you, one and all!

Brian and Stephanie Carpenter have about 10 1/2 weeks to adopt Annie, or she will never have a family.  After much prayer and wrestling over their decision, Brian decided, “We have to try.”  For so many reasons, this family will be ideal for Annie.

When I watched the video of Annie (you can view it at the end of this blog post), I couldn’t stop the tears from coming.  Annie and Josie are the same age, they have the same disability, they were born in the same country, and they love and pray to the same Jesus.  But Josie is surrounded by a family who deeply loves her and is committed to her for the rest of her life.  Annie knows her time is running out, and she and her friends are praying and praying that she will receive a family of her very own.

Of the hundreds of adoptive families I’ve known, none of them love fundraising!  But the reality for Annie is that the Carpenters need the equivalent of $2K to $3K each week between now and her fourteenth birthday at the end of June if they are going to be her family.

Five years ago, Stephanie Carpenter gave me the very hardest and the very best fundraising advice I’ve ever received–“Keep your eyes on Jesus!”  Brian and Stephanie are taking their own advice.  Their eyes are not on anyone but their mighty Provider, because as hard as they are working, they know that He is Annie’s only hope.

Please, friends, I ask you to do three small things that will make a big difference.

One)  SHARE this urgent need on your Facebook page and other social media!  I’m making it easy for you–here’s the link to Sasha’s post you can copy and paste and share freely!

Two)  GIVE as much as you possibly can, and then give again!  Be watching our blog for a matching grant offer!

Three)  PRAY along with Annie, the Carpenter family, our family, and many others, that He will move on her behalf!  Print out her photo and put it where it will remind you to pray often for this beautiful girl!

Annie wheelchair[1]



That’s the extraordinary opportunity, my friends.  We are so rich–all of us are!–because we all have something to give.

Now for a little snippet of happy ordinary.


A couple of photos from the Easter sunrise service a month ago, shared by friends~







When Josie arrived home at Christmastime, we needed to switch all her official paperwork over to our names.  The next step was to switch from her old insurance to her new health care plan.  Only then could we switch over to all her new medical providers–our family doctor, our family dentist, her pediatrician at the Clinic for Special Children, and Nemours DuPont specialists.  Now she’s visiting all of them one at a time so they can meet her and assess her needs.

Yesterday, Josie had a day off school to go down to DuPont!  It was Peter’s turn to be the helper, so he did his schoolwork and Josie drew and colored as we traveled.

Hey kids!  Are you ready for an adventure?  Cute new glasses, Josie!



Mom!  Did you really wake me from a sound sleep for…for…that black thing in front of your face??



Josie stopped by the LaWalls Orthotics and Prosthetics office to have her MAFOs repaired.

The staff let her take a peek into their work room.  She has an inquiring mind and is always asking, “Why?  What does that mean?  How do they make those?”  And so on.  So it was fun for her to see behind the scenes!



She came home from school today with another letter informing us that she made the honor roll again this marking period.  We are not a bit surprised; she takes her schoolwork and homework seriously and works at it so diligently!




Katie looked so cute and so grown-up after I got her ready for school this morning that I was compelled to grab the camera.



I’ve been wanting to update you all on her school situation.  As you may remember, the school year has not gone well for her.  She has exhibited some troubling behaviors.  After receiving valuable insight and advice from the biological father of an adolescent daughter with Down syndrome, we decided to move her to a new school situation next year.



We’ve been working on teaching her acceptable alternatives to expressing emotions using sign language, and she seems to be responding to that.  Here is one of her contented, happy moments.  She has several facial expressions and noises that correspond to “happy;” this one is a moderately loud hooting noise.




Just this evening, when I came into the living room and sat down beside her, casually saying, “Hi Kate,” she unexpectedly responded with a happy face and the word,”Mama!”  After the ongoing attachment struggles of these past several years, I receive that gladly as an early Mother’s Day gift.

Dear Katie, I understand.  I have trust issues, too.  And mine are far less humanly understandable than yours.  You were treated with inhuman neglect for almost ten years and have been home for only four.  My Father spent the last forty-four years holding me in His arms pouring into me everything that I need.  And still, when I’m feeling stressed, how often do I first turn to something I think will make me feel better–something other than HIM?  Ouch. What excuse do I have for that?  So take your time, sweet girl.  His grace is sufficient for us; His strength is being made perfect in our weakness, yours and mine.





Race to China 2016: Guest Post by Sasha Carpenter

April 17th, 2016

Hi everyone!

My name is Sasha. A wonderful friend of our family, Susanna, has graciously allowed me to share this important guest post with you.

I was adopted from a Russian mental institution when I was 17 months old. Doctors said I would never walk and would always need special needs classes. Today, I can run a ten-minute mile and I am finishing my first year at Bucknell University with a double major and minor. I also have five younger sisters with special needs that were all adopted from different countries.

Today, I would like to introduce you to someone.

This is Annie.

Annie wheelchair[1]
Every day, she and her friends pray that a family will come for her. She has 2 months left until her 14th birthday at which time she will age out in China!

We believe that Annie will thrive in our family. She has spastic cerebral palsy that affects her upper and lower body and her speech. She has a very bright mind and is a treasure waiting for someone to see her value!

Annie has cerebral palsy just like me. When I see her picture, I see a future and potential. But unless we get to her in time, Annie will live the rest of her life in an orphanage. She will never know what it is like to have a mama, a papa and sisters. Her dreams will remain only dreams.

But we have to hurry!

We have two months to raise 26,000 dollars to bring Annie home forever! We need miracles for every document to be processed at an expedited pace!

Can you imagine her joy when she realizes the Lord has answered her prayers?
Imagine how much her faith will be strengthened!

“And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'” 

Words cannot express how deeply I desire to see Annie a part of my family – to be an adopted sister and a sister in Christ.

So today, I plead with you, will you help us bring Annie home?
We have a You Caring page set up at:  Race to China
Will you help answer Annie’s prayer?

2 months.
26,000 dollars.
Our Race to China has begun…join us!

In a season filled with political campaigns, the need for orphan awareness becomes even greater. Individual candidates have raised up to 224 million dollars. How many adoptions could be funded for the price of a campaign? How many children could have families for the price of television advertising?
To learn more about our family, please find Ting Ministries on Facebook or at


~Sasha Carpenter
Please visit my blog at
Indescribable Gift of Joy



[P.S. from Susanna:  We have known the Carpenters personally for about five years now and they have grown to be very dear to us.  They are some of the most passionate advocates for orphans with special needs I have ever met.  More than that, they are deeply loving and committed parents to their girls.  Whatever their girls need, Brian and Stephanie make it happen.  These two will be diligently fundraising over the next two months and I’d love to see others gather around them in support.  With a China adoption, if Annie reaches her 14th birthday in June and the Carpenters aren’t there to pick her up, the whole adoption is called off, even if they were very close.  Please consider helping them bring Annie home, by praying and giving and sharing their YouCaring page!  I just put their YouCaring page on our sidebar and hope to soon be able to post a video of Annie.  Let’s make their YouCaring fund grow!]