Friday, July 27, 2012

Buy A Print- Help Bring Our Son Home

I know I have been bombarding everyone with new opportunities to help support our adoption but here's one more that I have been working on. I designed these prints and opened up my own Etsy shop. I am actually pretty happy with how they turned out. 

My Etsy Store is For This Child I Prayed 

8x10 Prints are $12.00 plus shipping if needed 

11x14 Prints are $15.00 plus shipping if needed

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Origami Owl Custom Jewelry Fundraiser

I have another awesome opportunity for you to support our adoption while purchasing some seriously cute stuff. 

Shannon, whom I have never met but has a heart for adoption {seeing a pattern here?} is holding an Origami Owl Custom Jewelry Fundraiser for our family and is giving 25% of all orders made in our name to help bring our little guy home. These necklaces are such a cute idea and so fun and original. They would make a wonderful gift if you are already thinking about holiday shopping ;) 
Customize your own 
LOVE this mommy necklace 

Make sure you are under Shannon's page HERE and when you order, use the company line of the check out and write "Fortner Adoption" and then she will know to apply those sales to our fund! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tastefully Simple Fundraiser

Can I just tell you how much the love and support from so many I have never even met has been totally overwhelming me. A friend of my {Amazing} friend Taryn is hosting a Tastefully Simple Fundraiser event for our family.  20% of all purchases are being donated to our adoption and that's just awesome. So check out the site and do a little shopping and help bring our little Levi home at the same time! 

Now here's the specifics on what to do: 
All orders are placed online and get shipped directly to your home. So, it doesn't matter where you live. Tastefully Simple offers a wide variety of delicious and easy to prepare foods. The products also make great gifts! Here's how to order:

1. Visit Karen's Tastefully Simple website at to shop. 

2. Click on Shop Our Products and add the items you wish to purchase to your cart. 

3. Check out. Click on Find Host/Event and search for Fortner Family. Make sure you specify Fortner Family as the host, so your order will go onto the fundraiser.

4. Pay with any major credit card. Items will be shipped directly to your home within 10 business days.

If you prefer not to place orders online, you can email your order and contact information to Karen Keene at, and she can arrange with you to make your payment by check or over the phone. Make sure your orders are placed by Wed, Aug 22. 

Here's a few suggestions from me to wet your appetite. 
Or maybe a refreshing   CARAMEL MOCHA FRAPPÉ MIX
or for you grilling folk, some POMEGRANATE CHIPOTLE SAUCE

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Why have we decided to be a family who discloses our child'sHIV status? 

There is absolutely nothing our child has to be ashamed of regarding having the HIV virus. So that being said... why would I then turn around and act as if it was something that needed to be hidden? 
I totally understand that in some cases disclosing is not the best thing for every family and I totally respect that. We can not say that there will never be a time that we are not as open as we are now. As our son grows up he may choose not to be so vocal and open and we will respect that but until then I will focus on speaking the truth into his little heart about who he is and that this virus does not define him. So, we will cross that bridge when we get there. Right now in our country and all over the world there is a HUGE problem with ignorance, lack of information, negative stigmas, and in some cases hate regarding HIV/AIDS and the only way to flush this out is to help educate, speak up, and fight to make changes. 
In addition to this, I personally didn't feel right at all hiding something from most/everyone we know. Do I plan on broadcasting to everyone I meet that our son is HIV+? Absolutely not but I also could not imagine the burden of trying to keep such a thing secret and then what message would I be sending my other children about their sibling? No it's nothing to be ashamed of but it's also a secret. If my child had diabetes, or cancer, or Autism I wouldn't try to hide it so why is this any different. The answer is the way others may or may not treat them, and that's not OK. However being silent will not change a thing. "The problem isn't with the ones who hide in shame, it's with the ones that shame them into hiding." Carolyn Twietmeyer, Project Hopeful. 

THIS blog post from another mom explains it all better than I could, also not miss her blog post HERE, very eye opening. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


I don't think I really put it together in my mind that when we bring Levi home we will have "kinda" twins. Our little Zoë is 22 months old {birthday in September 2010 } and looking more closely at the paperwork we have on our little guy I think he may be closer to 17-18 months old. That's about a 4-5 month gap. So, for a good part of each year both Zoë and Levi will be the same age. This realization is really more of a "wow, that's kinda crazy!" than anything. I know our little guy will still easily take on the role as baby of the family. In many ways he will have a lot to look up to his older sisters with but I know he will will grow by leaps and bounds with love and care once he is home. I can't wait to see that happen. Right now our little guy doesn't walk and the orphanage he is at only speaks in Lugandan. {crazy right?} I am picturing this sweet little boy looking up at me and wondering, "what in the world is this crazy mzungu lady trying to tell me?" We will get to help teach him to walk and to learn English and I think that's pretty cool. However... today while at Costco as I was hurling another gigantic box of diapers into my cart I was thinking to myself "Diapers are expensive, especially for two! I need to get Zoë potty trained asap!" Ya know with all that free time I have on my hands right now... 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Answered Prayer and a Prayer Request

Just an update and prayer request... we started the process to update our Home Study and fingerprints (they told us it would take 6-8 weeks) an then upon further discussions with our lawyer we found out the day after we paid for and sent them in that we were going to go ahead and move ahead and not update since it was so close to a year and we need to get him home asap. SO God answered the prayer even though it cost us some money and it's all good, no waiting. So we are praying that {Lord willing} in 8 weeks we will be going to UG rather than waiting for paperwork to come in. We are praying for a September court date. Now we are working super hard to finish getting our Dossier together to send to UG next week and we need to send about $7,250.00 for our next costs. SO we are about $2000.00 short. SO please pray it will all come together : )

Just a little picture of some of the first things we have gotten for our little guy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Update Part 2 {the money}

Like I said we have become very friendly with the employees at our local bank branch. Evelyn actually got a birthday card and lollipop in the mail from them after they heard it was her birthday last weekend and we got to share our new pictures with everyone. 

As far as the money is concerned God has totally been providing. I have been going over the numbers A LOT trying to figure out what we have paid so far, what we still need to pay, and how much we have. Without the right focus the need can become overwhelming. We thank God for what He has provided thus far and know that He will work it all out!

Less than a month ago, when we first announced here that we had received a referral and needed help we had $1,675.54 in our adoption account and as of today God has provided: 

$3,334.83- DONATIONS (many from people who we have never met)
$300.00- BAKE SALE (held by a dear out of town friend and her students) 
$328.50- NECKLACES (sold out of remaining necklaces)
$2,860.00- CAR WASH (multiple large donations from friends & family here)

Total Raised in less than a month : $6,823.33 + the previous balance

It's been amazing so far to see how God has provided every step and how He is moving in others to step up and support us. It has been so encouraging and we are so thankful. Below I have listed out all our expenses thus far as well as our upcoming estimated expenses. I hope this will give a good idea to those supporting us and also help give an idea to those in the process of adopting or thinking about adopting.                                                                            

------------------------------------------- Before referral---------------------------
$1,200.00- Home Study (April 2011)
$62.00- Official copies of birth certificates (April 2011)
$30.00 Finger prints done(April 2011)
$62.00-Finger Prints processed (April 2011)
$280.00- Passports (May 2011)
$244.00- Trip supplies (Aug 2011)
$480.00- Immunizations and Anti Malaria Meds (Aug 2011)
$100.00- Visa in Uganda ($50 each) (Sept 2011)
$4,750.00- September Trip (Plane, lodging, Food) (Sept 2011)
$100.00- Bought Necklaces and Purses to re-sell (Sept 2011) 
$890.00- USCIS (immigration approval) (Nov 2011)
$10.00- Printed background check from police (Feb 2012)
$100.00 Update Home Study {Ages, Special needs} (May 2012)
------------------------------------------- After referral---------------------------
$250.00- Agency application fee (June 2012)
$400.00- Humanitarian aid donation (July 2012)
$2,000.00- Agency Fee (reduced from 4k for our little guy) (June 2012)0
$113.15- Shipping, Ink, stamps for necklaces and letters (Oct 2011-present)
$33.50- Certified Marriage Certificate for Dossier (July 2012)
$30.00- Updated Fingerprints Done (July 2012)
$58.00- Updated Fingerprints Processed (July 2012)
$200.00- Update Home Study (ended up not needing, applied to post placement) (July 2012) 
$70.00- Required learning classes (July 2012)
Total Paid so far: $11,462.65

NOT PAID (Estimated)
$4,500.00- UG Attorney Fees
$550.00- Child birth certificate and passport
$2,000- Foster Care Fees
$110.00- Child Medical Exam
$200.00- Fed Ex Charges for Dossier papers
$100.00- Wire funds charges to Uganda
$230.00-Child Visa
$100.00- Our Visa in Uganda
$4,000- Plane Tickets
$250.00- Child lap Ticket
$1,200.00- Lodging in Country
$1,500.00- Transportation in Country
$1,300.00- Food and supplies in Country
$500.00- Adoption Finalization in US
Total Not Paid yet: $16,540.00

Total Estimated Adoption Costs: $28,002.65

In the bank now: $5,363.41

Estimated NEED : $11,476.59

{Just some background...we started our Adoption process going Independent and then switched to an agency when we heard of our little guy. We decided to go to Uganda last September to help build relationships and serve which not everyone does but for us it was instrumental in opening our eyes to special needs and fall more in love with our sons country. We went with a mission group which helped lower some of the costs.  Just recently (last week) we paid and submitted to have our fingerprints and home study updated and found out the next day that we ended up not needing it. It was an answer to prayer that we wouldn't have to wait 6-8 weeks for this BUT we also were out the money. The in country expenses are estimated for both parents staying for two weeks and one staying the remainder of the time which we hope to be about 5 weeks total but if the stay increased so would the expenses. }

We are planning some sort of Silent Auction for sometime next month and also are hoping to hear back on some grants that we applied for. We are confident that God will provide and thankful for everyone who has helped us so far. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Update Part 1 {The Paper Chase}

Since I first wrote THIS post it feels like days are flying by.  We have been knee deep in paper work and it's been a blur. I am a regular at our bank now since I am either depositing more donations or getting something notarized every other day (even had a chance to share my heart with the teller so that was awesome). We have filled out 2 grant applications and sent out 70+ support letters to anyone I ever had an address for all our friends and family :) 

We are currently working on preparing our Dossier. This consists of gathering the craziest list of documents you can imagine and making copies and more copies and having it ALL notarized and sent to our attorney in UG. We have also realized that our Arizona Home Study and clearances are all about to reach the 1 year mark so we need to have those all updated and fingerprints re-done so we can be up to date. (add an extra $350 for that) Needless to say we have had our hands full . 

We have also received more pictures of our sweet little guy which reminds us that it is all TOTALLY worth it! A team was serving at the home where our little boy is at and they gave us tons of wonderful pictures and a lot of feedback about him. From what I heard everyone was smitten with him. I was SO thankful to get these pictures because they really showed more than the first ones we got. He has the sweetest smile and brightest eyes. { wish I could share here but we have to wait until we get him home.} It was so touching to know there were people there visiting and loving on him. So thankful. 

Another cute little hand pic
Little blurry but love his little feet.

The courts go on break for a month so we are hoping to get everything ready on our end while our lawyer is working to get her stuff done so we can file when the courts reconvene August 15th and then we will wait for a court date and get arrangements ready to travel! 
Tomorrow I hope to write about specifics on how God is providing financially and give an update on where we are at on that front! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4 Years

My little girl is 4 years old today! We are so blessed and thankful to have such a beautiful and sweet daughter. We love her so much and pray big things for her life. She definitely dances to the beat of her own drum and we love that about her. 

Happy Birthday Evelyn Mae