Sunday, August 30, 2015

Run for One (less) Cancelled (at least temporarily)

As mentioned on the Run for One (less) post, registration for the run is cancelled (at least temporarily).

It has come to my attention that the shirt may be offensive to some. There has been the concern that an adopted child may feel that they are to be pitied and may be uncomfortable with the scripture and them being referenced as the "least of these".   While I certainly did not mean to imply that adopted children are the "least of these" and are in any way "less than"or meant to be pitied (because we all truly are the least of the these and we are to care for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ as if they are Christ himself and my daughter Felicity and my son Thomas are no less my children than my biological sons are), I can understand that it may send the wrong message unintentionally.  I did not design the shirt (the company I contacted did).  So, because of that, I have decided to pull the shirt.

Each year, I have poured myself into this run.  For the last several years, for Little Flower Projects and this year, for our own TJ.  It takes a great deal of time and effort to organize, get the shirts designed and get them out to everyone so that we can all join in solidarity and prayer the day of the run.  Simply getting a shirt designed takes a great deal of time and communication with the company.  I am unsure I can get a new design done and tweaked,  and mock-ups done in enough time to have the run. ( Not to mention doing that in the midst of starting to home school this week, taking care of a toddler, and getting our adoption paperwork done. )

Thank you all for you support of this run over the years.  Simply being a part of it and seeing so many of you participate year after year has brought me much joy.

*** I wanted to add since so many have commented on Facebook, etc.  I did not make the decision to cancel the run lightly.  I am not one to cave to those who disagree with me.  I was told by someone that we did not deserve our daughter because we were fundraising for our adoption and therefore, must not love her enough.  It did not stop us from continuing to fundraise to bring Felicity home. And while I think that the scripture provides a teachable moment as to what Christ meant, I do not want anyone to feel "less than."

Someone being offended was just the "straw that broke the camel's back" so to speak.  I have not been 100% thrilled with the shirt design (and it had nothing to do with the scripture . . . the scripture and the name of the run are all my idea and I proudly take credit for that).  The shirts with this company happen to cost much more for the exact same brand shirt as I used last year with another company, and it has just been hard to get it all together.  So when this concern came up, I took it as an opportunity to step back and really pray about the run, using a new shirt company, and even if I should have the run at all.  The one thing I do know, is that if I am not to do the run this year, I will not miss the funds . . . . as I know God will provide another way, I will miss seeing all of the different cities and states that you all come from.  I will miss writing names on envelopes that I have written for the last three years.  And I will miss getting up on that Saturday in October, meeting good friends at a park and knowing that so many of you are with us in spirit.  THAT is what has made the run so special.

So, if any of you are good at t-shirt designs or feel like the Holy Spirit is prompting you with a scripture or quote . . . send it my way and it may just be the new shirt design!

Finally, my thoughts on the scripture:  I have actually been pleased that this has come up because it has been a very teachable moment for myself in which I can teach my children what Jesus meant by the scripture and why He used the words He did.  As we define the "least of these" and whom Jesus meant, yes, orphans are among that group too (and PRAISE GOD for that!!).  And should orphans evoke our pity?? YES!! We would be a cold hearted Christian community if we did not hear the plight of the orphan and feel pity and be, at least, moved to prayer.  But, there is an amazing thing that happens to an orphan when they are welcomed into a family . . . they are NO LONGER AN ORPHAN!  And I think there is great rejoicing among the angels in heaven on every Gotcha day.  That orphan is welcomed into a family, they receive a mother and a father, a family.  They even receive a new name.  I have not once pitied my daughter Felicity, because she is not defined by what she was (an orphan), but by who she is in Christ and I hope to teach her that as she grows.  The reason I chose that scripture for the run is because it really is a charge to us all.  It is a reminder that we are to serve and love each other.  That there is a little boy on the other side of the world that is still an orphan, and we all can do something about that, together.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Run for One (less) Virtual Run is here!! --- UPDATE

UPDATE:  The Run is Cancelled.  More to come later.  I may re-do it, but as of right now, it will not be held.  If you ordered a shirt, you should receive a refund shortly.  Thank you.

For the last three years, I have easily (pretty much) been able to pull off the Run for the Little Flowers virtual run without too much trouble.  T-shirt designs were done MONTHS in advance.  I began pre-orders EARLY.  I got LOTS of great giveaway items.  Maybe it is because of the addition of a rambunctious two year old, but for some reason this year, the virtual run has been much harder to get organized, but it is finally here!

This year, the virtual run will benefit our own adoption.  I wish I could still raise funds for Little Flower Projects this year, but when you have to raise $60,000 + over the span of 2 and a half years for two adoptions, it makes raising funds for another organization and luxury we cannot afford right now.

The run is called Run for One (less) and was inspired by this song by Matthew West (He wrote Do Something too . . . . last year's run's inspiration!).  You will be running for One, for One (less), our precious TJ.  The run is affectionately nicknamed 5K4TJ.

 As in the past, the structure is the same.  Here are all the details.

The details of the run:
- The official date of the run will be Saturday, October 17th, but you can run it on any day you would like. Thomas' 2nd Birthday is October 21st, so this run is also in honor of his birthday.
- This is a virtual run, meaning that you run the run where ever you are!  You can run it on a treadmill, around your neighborhood, etc.
- It is a 5K (3.1 miles), but you do not need to complete the full distance.  You can run, walk, bike or complete whatever activity you like!  (And if you just like the shirt and want to buy the shirt, that is fine too).  I just hope whatever you do, that you take a moment to pray for TJ while you wear the shirt.
- By purchasing a shirt here, you are "registered".  There will be giveaways for all who are entered.  All communications will be through your payment email address. More details to follow here on the blog.
-We will take pre-orders until September 20th.  After that point, I will only have a limited number of shirts (in limited styles). All orders will be shipped in time for the run.  
- Due to a change in printer, I am able to offer more colors for the shirt.  The shirts come in unisex, women's and youth sizes.  There are different colors to choose from.  All shirts are the same brands as last year, so they are super soft and comfy.  For sizing details, see our page here.

Finally, you can order your shirt through our page here.
Thank you for your support and for helping us bring Thomas Joseph home!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

She remembers . . .

Felicity has been in our arms for 10 months today.  And over that 10 months, I have prayed about, thought about, and felt sadness for Felicity's losses.  Mainly the loss of her birth parents.  The loss of everything she knew. The loss of her culture.  But, somewhere along this journey, I forgot that she lost one very special person to her.  Just weeks ago, I was reading a book on brain development that stated most children under the age of two will not have any memories because the brain is developing new neural pathways so quickly that they simply do not remember.  Well, the book was not exactly accurate . . .

One morning I was in the kitchen washing dishes.  The boys were in the living room. One of the boys had pulled out our family photos books.  They love sitting down and looking at these books filled with wonderful memories of our family.  Felicity had crawled into Joshua's lap and began looking on.  Suddenly, I heard Felicity say "Mama."  And no sooner did she utter my name, then Joshua said "Oh, Felicity that is not your mama.

My heart fell for a brief moment.  I knew who she was pointing to.  She remembers.  

I went into the room. I asked Joshua who Felicity was pointing to, and although he said he did not know, I could tell he and Felicity were looking at our China photobook.  

"Are you looking at pictures from Orphanage Visit Day?"

Joshua responded, "Yes"

She saw her nanny.  Joshua tried to turn the page and Felicity would not let him.  At that point, I picked Felicity up, still clutching the book, and I sat down with her with her on our other couch.  I pointed to her Nanny and explained that that woman was her Ayi (nanny).  I told her that her Ayi loved her and took care of her while she lived in China. She refused to turn the page.  Felicity just stared at the pictures of her and her Ayi.  We sat like that for about 10 minutes. Finally, she closed the photobook.  And then Felicity cuddled into me even more and put her head in my lap and we sat like that for about another 10 minutes.  

Tears started to flow from my eyes, as I stroked her hair.  Although I know my precious little daughter could not verbalize it, she was grieving.  She loved her Ayi and those pictures brought the memory of her back .  Felicity missed her Ayi.  There is so much loss in adoption and in that moment I could not believe that I had forgotten about this loss.  The woman who really was like a mom to Felicity before she even knew what a mom was.  I have been so thankful for this woman who cared for Felicity so well, yet somewhere I had forgotten that Felicity loved her too.  

After a little while, Felicity began to get up from my lap, and shortly thereafter she returned to her spunky self.  This little one is so resilient!

Since that day, we pull out our China photobook about once a week.  Felicity, now, happily, gets to the pictures of her Ayi and point and yells, "Ayi!" and smiles.  We do this now, because I do not want her to forget.  I want her to hold on to the memories of this lady whom she misses. I want those memories to bring smiles to her face for a long time to come.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Adoption Fundraiser Bracelet Sale

If you are on Facebook, you have probably seen most of this information, but I wanted to post this here too, in case anyone is interested.  Plus, I wanted to post all of pictures in one place, so anyone can look through them.

I am hosting a bracelet sale as a fundraiser for our adoption of Thomas Joseph.  The sale will be Monday, August, 10th @ 9PM EST on our Facebook page here.  If you are not on Facebook, and would like to pre-order one, please read the full details below.  You can comment on this post or email me at katiepetko (at) to order.

Bracelet Sale Details:
1. The sale will begin on Monday, August 10th @9 PM EST. At that time I will begin posting the bracelets for sale in a specific photo album on this page. The first person to comment SOLD, with email address, will get to purchase the bracelet.
2. I only have one of each bracelet at this time, but I am willing to take pre-orders. For most of the bracelets, I do not have enough beads to make another at this time. Most pre-orders will take approx. 2 weeks. All beads are ordered from China and it takes a while for me to get them. There are only a few bracelets that I will not be able to make more of (some of the medals are unique). I will post that in the listing.
3. Once the sale is over, I will contact you by email and you can pay by check or through our YouCaring fundraising page. You will have 24 hours to pay or arrange payment, before the bracelet will be sold to the next person in the comments.
All bracelets are sized for a woman's wrist. All are made with strong elastic jewelry banding. All are made to fit snug, but not tight.
Note: All medals that are "antiqued" are antiqued in design too. Please see the images of the medals as they are meant to look old and worn. They are beautiful, quality made medals, all sterling silver or bronze.
Please let me know if you have any questions! Also, please feel free to PM me if there is a specific bracelet you like and you want to know if I can make another just like it now.

All prices include shipping.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Midsummer update and a few more photos of our son

This space has gotten quite quiet for the last several months.  Life is happening and as much as I love this space, I find little time to document all that is happening.

The summer has been busy with many fun and crazy things happening.

9 months ago THIS happened . . .

October 2015

July 2015 

It is so hard to believe that it has already been 9 months!  Felicity is doing amazingly well!  She had her palate surgery in January and is currently going through speech therapy.  She is saying more and more, but I think we may be the only ones who truly understand what she is saying!

The boys are doing well. We have had fun adventures in Harpers Ferry and vacation in Cape Cod.  They all swam on the swim team and Andrew made his first B meet!!

In June we were rear ended (badly), our van was totalled. Thankfully, the worst of the injuries seem to be me, but thankfully Physical Therapy is helping a bunch.  Thanks to my father who spent countless hours looking for a vehicle for us and found us a new (to us) Town and Country!  We love it.

On the adoption front . . .

We are getting so close to being done with our home study.  We really thought the process would go more quickly this time, but it is not.  It looks like we will probably travel in March, which will be great.  My one struggle with this adoption was that it was not on my timeline (because, you know, my timing is more perfect than God's  . . . . )  I had really hoped that we would get matched with a child late summer/early fall so that we would travel over the summer and it would not interfere with the boys' school.  Yes, we do homeschool and are flexible, even with being a part of a tutorial.  But, I really did not want that for the boys school year to be disrupted again this year.  But, as our process with Thomas gets longer and longer, there is a high likelihood that we will travel right around Easter which would be perfect as the tutorial we are a part of does not meet for three weeks around Easter!

Just two weeks ago, a family from AL, who adopted a little boy from Felicity and Thomas' orphanage, were in China to get their son.  They took a care package from us to Thomas and were able to get a bunch of photos!  We think he is just the cutest and cannot wait to get him home!

Now that there is a paperwork lull, I am beginning to work on fundraisers.  I will be honest, this adoption is tough in many ways.  First. we walked into this adoption knowing we could not pay for it, but knew that God was calling us to it.  Second, truthfully, I am burned out from fundraising for Felicity's adoption.  Add on to that that I have a toddler in the home that takes up 98% of the time I used last time for fundraisers and you get one adoptive mom who is not totally prepared to handle fundraising $30,000 (because the second adoption is no less expensive than the first!).

Right now, I have  a few smaller fundraisers planned.  I am making bracelets which will be sold on my Facebook page.  I you are interested, please like this page  or follow me on Instagram @runningwithboysandagirl for more details.  Some of the bracelets have really beautiful crucifixes and medals.  I have loved making these because I do not get a lot of time to do something creative, and this has been a great outlet.

After that, we will be hosting a virtual run called Run for One(less).  This will be in place of the Run for the Little Flowers (the run for LF will be back next year, there is just no way I can take on raising money for LF this year, when we have our own mountain to move).  I will post details about that in a few weeks.

Beyond that we have nothing definite planned.  We have talked about a fundraising dinner and/or pancake breakfast, but those are still just in the "thought" stage.  Surprisingly, I am fairly at peace with it all.  I have NO IDEA where all the money will come from for this adoption, but God is calling me to a deeper trust and I am working and praying hard to walk in that trust as we walk this road and as the larger checks will need to get written.

Have a happy week everyone!!