I have neglected the blog...just have not been able to think about it after the decision was made not to proceed with the adoption. Very few probably know the pain I have felt since. I feel like I am in a place now to write about it, as well as wanting to share an experience I had recently. My heart shattered when we decided not to proceed. The main reason. Money. It costs A LOT of money to adopt. We, unfortunately, are not wealthy people. We have average jobs with average salaries. We, do, however, have HUGE hearts and a lot of love to share. But, that, unfortunately, does not go towards the cost of adoption. I can't say that I have completely given up. I haven't. I still pray about it every day. My heart still hurts. Life continues.

Shortly after the decision, I felt the calling to travel to Uganda for a mission trip. We were blessed with people that donated money to go towards this experience, as well as donations (monetary and items) for the orphanage (6 large suitcases worth!). My daughter and I traveled to Uganda for 10 days. For 10 days, we were able to love on the children, assist with chores at the orphanage, experience a home visit, deliver 30 care packages to 15 needy families, love on the child we have sponsored for the last 4 years and want to adopt, and experience a culture and a people that would steal our hearts forever. TEN days. The time went so fast. I felt so at home there...I now have 2 families – one in Wisconsin and one at AHCM. They may be on the other side of the world, but I love them so dearly. The Lord blessed us greatly...

I don't know that the experience healed my heart in the sense I thought it would. Many of the children stole a piece of my heart. I love H more each day. In regards to adoption, the flicker is still there. I don't know if it will ever happen. Even if it doesn't, I will forever refer to H as my daughter. She might live thousands of miles away, but I will always love her like my own.

I don't know what the future holds. I pray daily and praise the Lord for bringing me through this painful experience. Will another child be in our future? Perhaps. Only God knows the answer to that. Perhaps a domestic adoption, international, or not at all.

It is with a heavy heart that I share the following:
Because of personal reaons we are choosing to keep private, we are no longer proceeding with the adoption. Please understand and respect our privacy during this difficult time. We appreciate all of you that chose to be a part of this journey, whether by donation, prayer, or both. Blessings to all of you.

A piece of my heart is broken....it hurts, I hurt...but I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. The reason for this may never be clear to me...but just the same, life must move forward. My passion for Uganda and its people will
 There are times in our lives when we ask "why" did something happen, or "why is this not" happening? I have been on both sides of those questions...recently asking "why" a good friend of mine was battling cancer...it isn't fair. She is such a good person. She helped me through a very difficult time in my life. Why her?! Why does it seem like things are just not happening for me? Why? Why? Why? It is easy to get caught up in asking the question over and over again. Frustrated. Defeated. Angry. I know, I have been there. It can become an all too familiar place if we don't seek a way out. Prayer is the best defense that I know. Don't get me wrong. You can slip. And fall. All the way back to where you were. But you stand up, dust yourself off, and get moving again. Pray. Look for the things in your life that bring you joy.Pray. Keep a gratitude journal. And pray some more. You will be amazed at how your perspective changes. You will gain strength, and peace. Prayer does amazing things.

Fundraising updates...
1. We will be closing our jigsaw puzzle fundraiser on Friday, June 7. We have raised $3600 thus far and are hoping to reach the $4000 mark by June 7. My birthday wish (which is June 7) is to reach that goal....just $400 to raise in 5 days...it is attainable...there is no doubt about that!! The puzzle will then be framed with double glass so that we can always see the back of the puzzle...an incredible reminder of all the wonderful people that assisted in bringing a little girl home.
2. We will be participating in the Suring Area Craft Fair and Classic Wheels Fair on Saturday, June 8, in Suring, Wisconsin. We have some incredible donations of hand crafted hats, scarves, and gloves (some even made by me!) and my daughter has made some bracelets that she will have for sale. Then, our good friend, Debbie, will be showcasing her Sunny Dreams Beach Glass. She makes necklaces, earrings, wine glass charms, and bracelets from beach glass. She is being incredibly generous and donating 50% of all profits to our adoption. So, come and see us! 9:00am-3:00pm at Veterans Memorial Park in Suring, Wisconsin!!

"When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a hundred weeds, or a hundred wishes." - unknown
It is amazing how quickly May is flying by...where is the time going?!  We just celebrated Mother's Day...my family had a nice weekend away together. It was nice to have some time together...games, basketball, movies, swimming, tennis, and relaxation. Memories created mean more to me than any gift...being a mom to incredible kids...I am so very blessed. Summer is just around the corner...school is done June 11...then what?! Camp, kayaking, camping, campfires, smores, walks, hiking...I love summer.

My birthday is coming up June 7...just 20 days away. Why is this significant? I was hoping to have raised a total of $4000 with our fundraisers. We have raised $3485...so we are just $515 short of our goal. If we receive $26 each day for the next 20 days, our goal will be met!!  Thank you to each one of you that has chosen to be a piece in bringing a little home. Thank you, Denise, for donating half of your Origami Owl profits to the adoption. Thank you to those that have donated items towards our rummage sale. We are still accepting items!!

I have found that my patience has been tested in the last few months...not with just the adoption, but with other areas of my life as well. I am trying to remain faithful and believe that all things happen when they should, but it can be so hard sometimes. I will convince myself that my plan needs to happen...when all along, it is not my plan at all, but God's. God has this whole path figured out...He already knows how things are going to work out...He already knows when our daughter will come home...He knows what is going to happen in all areas of my life where I am so desperately seeking answers...He knows. I need to trust in His plan. Trust. And BE STILL.
I think spring is finally here...the sun is shining, the snow is officially gone, the birds are singing, the grass is getting green, and, well, it is just nice out!!!  Spring also means fishing for my son, Russell....he was quite the fisherman of walleye this year. He had a "spot" that he would catch one nearly every day. We enjoyed his catches too...nothing better than fresh fish! I am looking forward to getting the kayaks out, too...

I won tickets to an amazing concert...Jason Gray, Andrew Peterson and CaleA brief update on the fundraisers...
1. First, a HUGE thank you to my friend, Denise, for being so generous in having an Origami Owl party and donating 50% of her profit to the adoption fund. This means so much and is appreciated more than words can describe. I hope everyone that ordered loves their living locket!!
2. There are still jigsaw puzzles pieces available...a total of 50 people of donated to bring a little girl home...thank you to each of you for being so generous. You will forever be remembered for your thoughfulness each time we look at the puzzle. You can still be a part of the jigsaw puzzle fundraiser...the closing date is June 7 (yep, my birthday!). I want to raise a total of $4000 by my birthday...we have just 34 days left until JUNE 7!!!  This is how it breaks down...we currently have $3265, which means we need $735 to reach our goal. It might seem like a lot of money, but when you think about it, it is just $22 a day that needs to be donated. Each piece is just $5. Do you want to be a piece in bringing a little girl home?
3. Rummage sale....we have had some donations...thanks to those that have donated goods. We are busy pricing and organzing as items come in. So, if you have been doing some spring cleaning and want to donate items, let us know!!  You can get rid of your items and they go towards a good cause! WIN-WIN!

A few updates on fundraisers we have going right now...

1. Origami Owl...beautiful living lockets...and new items coming out April 22! This would be a great gift for a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, wife, girlfriend!!  They can be personalized to fit each person's interests or personality. My friend, Denise, will donate 50% of her profit towards our adoption! How cool is that?! So, help my friend, Denise, get her business off to a good start by going to her website,
www.deniseshaffer.origamiowl.com and help a little girl come home at the same time! :) And, if you order, you will get a puzzle piece too! So, help a friend get her business going by placing an order... get a beautiful piece of jewlery....get your name on a jigsaw puzzle piece...and help Alison come home!!  Party closes on May 5!

2. Jigsaw Puzzle Fundraiser...the back of the puzzle looks amazing with all those that have claimed a piece...we have names, words of encouragement and Bible verses on many of the pieces. There are plenty of pieces to be claimed yet...just $5 a piece or order from Origami Owl and you automatically get a piece! I can't wait to get the puzzle framed...we will have it framed with double glass so we can always see how many people were a piece of bringing our daughter home. This fundraiser will end June 7. 

How much can we raise in the next 48 days?!
We currently have $3240...and I would love to see a total of $4000 by June 7. What is the significance of this date? It is my birthday!!! The only thing I want for my birthday is to raise $760!!! In order to do this, we would need to have approximately $16 donated every day. Each puzzle piece is $5...so, if $760 is donated, that is another 152 puzzle pieces claimed...do you want to be a piece in bringing a little girl home?! Please donate today!!

3. We will be having a rummage/craft sale this summer (haven't officially selected a date yet, but looking at the end of July). We have received some donations already -- thank you so much! We are pricing and organizing as the goods come in. 

"If we say we love God but do nothing on the behalf of the world's vulnerable children, we're kidding ourselves; we're ignorant and misinformed. You cannot love God without developing a  passion for orphans." -Kay Warren
I have had pets my whole life…they are an important part of who I am, have helped me through tough times of my life, and have always been there to love me. Unconditionally. I knew when I had kids that I wanted them to experience the love of a pet. But, with the unconditional love of a pet also comes the pain when it is time to let them go. Last June, at age 8 years, we lost our boxer, Autumn, suddenly and unexpectedly. Heartbreak. And, now, our dear 9 year old boxer boy, Clyde, is nearing the end of his earthly life. Tears. Lots of tears, have been shed. It is has been difficult to watch him deteriorate, and even more difficult to watch my kids hearts’ be broken. In the pain, we will also remember how BIG his personality has been. If you knew Clyde, he had a scary appearance to him…brindle in color and solid muscle. People would often move to the other side of the street when we were out for walks. But there was not a mean bone in this dog’s body. He was scared of the water bowl, the broom, and even let the cat lay on top of him. He would be jumping up and down at the back door when you came home, always had a wiggle, and kisses for anyone that accepted. He loved to have his family in one room, had a “spot” on the couch he claimed, and if you chose to sit there, he would sit on your lap (all 70 lbs of him!).  It is now time for him to join Autumn, chase squirrels, and be pain free. Love ya boy...we'll never forget you. It isn't good bye, my love, it is see you later. Make sure you are waiting for me when I get there.

Dear Russell and Katrina,

I am in awe of what incredible kids - or shall I say, young adults, you are becoming.

You have been so supportive and excited about adopting a child, a sister.

 I can't say I know too many kids that would do what you have done.

 You had the idea to give up your allowances so that money can go towards our adoption. 

You have put some of your own money in the adoption fund.

You think of ways to raise money...be it donuts, selling water/soda at the rummage, bath salts, etc....

You help organize, price, set up, and work the rummage sales.

You speak of things she will need to see or experience...Pictured Rocks, drive in movie theatre, waterpark, sledding, snow angels, building a snowman, the fair, and the list goes on and on.

You both have such big hearts for a little girl who needs a family...

 I am so proud to be your mom.

Love you Russell and Katrina.
Gosh...I hadn't realized it had been so long since I updated...

Life has been, well, busy, I guess. Each day flies by...and here it is March already! I am looking forward to spring...the snow is slowly melting away...making way for spring, and warmer weather, and flowers, and grass, and long walks....yes, I am ready for spring! 

We have been blessed with some incredible friends....friends that have rallied around us and supported while we embark on this journey of a lifetime. They have opened their hearts to a child they don't even know with prayer and donations. We have reached $3033.00 since we began fundraising in December. BLESSED!  We still have lots of puzzle pieces...and, well, there is a new fundraiser I would like to combine with the jigsaw puzzle fundraiser....

A friend has recently started a business, Origami Owl. She will donate 50% of her profit towards our adoption! How cool is that?! So, help my friend, Denise, get her business off to a good start by going to her website,
www.deniseshaffer.origamiowl.com and help a little girl come home at the same time! :) And, if you order from Denise, you will get a puzzle piece too! So, help a friend get her business going by placing an order... get a beautiful piece of jewlery....get your name on a jigsaw puzzle piece...and help Alison come home!! 

I don't know what this post will be about...but I am in the mood to write, so I will do just that...write. I have been struggling with patience lately in several areas of my life. I am a wife, a mom, a nurse...I thought I had patience mastered. Well, apparently God thought I needed a lesson or two...so He has decided to test me. As a friend reminded me, "Be still and know that I am God"...I decided I needed to do just that. Be STILL and PRAY. God has a plan for me and I can worry and stress all I want about it...it isn't going to change His plan. When I prayed about it, I was able to sleep peacefully. When I prayed about it, my stomach wasn't so upset. When I prayed about it, I felt peace. Sometimes those gentle reminders are all we need.

In an earlier post, I had mentioned we would refer to the little girl we are hoping to adopt as Alison. This isn't her real name, nor is it what we will call her when she is finally home, but since we aren't able to reveal her given name, Alison it is. Why Alison?! Alison is the name of a very good friend of mine that passed away in 2005. We didn't have a long friendship, but in the time we were friends, we became close...encouraging each other through our difficulties and growing together in our faith. We were suppose to have lunch..."I have something important to share with you, Jill...we have to see each other"...lunch never happened. Alison went to be with our Lord...I still wonder to this day what she was going to share with me. I miss her to this day. So, Alison, or Ali, is what we refer to our Ugandan daughter for now.

Many of you know how much I love quotes. The quote today is from a book written by a young woman, Katie Davis. "Kisses from Kate" is about Katie's life in Uganda. Born and raised in the United States, Katie demonstrates what it means to "Go and Serve". She is an amazing woman with a love of her Lord and a love of the Ugandan people. From Katie...so well stated...

    “The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any orphan statistics left.  No more143 million orphans, no more 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases, no more 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions.  No more 2.3 million who live with HIV.  That adds up to 164.8 million needy children.  The truth is that God loves these children just as much as He loves me and now that I know, I am responsible.”


    My name is Jill and I am a Christian with a love for life, my husband, my children, and my Lord! We are on this journey together to bring another child into our home through adoption!