Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our final fundraising push- July only!

 Starting July 1, 2011, we will be having a month-long "Thirty One"  & "Scentsy"Sale!  For those who are not already familiar with these fabulous companies or their quality products, please take some time to familiarize yourselves with their catalogs.  

Option #1!!!: Thirty-One Products

Please check out our "Thirty-One" Fundraiser, generously provided by Anne Little, a fellow adoptive mom with a beautiful daughter born in China.  Anne is donating 100% of her profits to our adoption fund (and will do likewise for other adoptive families).  All orders placed via her website starting TOMORROW will qualify for us.  We are still $11,500 short of our needed funds, so please think about upcoming birthdays, Christmas, Baby Showers, etc.. and know that approximately 25% of your sales will come back to us just in time for our trip to China in early August!

Commission is paid on the July orders by August 10th and it will come just in the nick of time as we anticipate traveling to China the very next week.  Each of you can HELP, just by re-posting this notice to your respective facebook pages and emailing to all your friends!   There are so many fans of Thirty-One all over the nation and who wouldn't want to help a great cause at the same time?  All orders come directly to you, so you will get your products quickly and easily!   Below are some pics of Thirty-One items.  You can get a better look in their online catalog too!

Check out this video of all the great specials for orders in July!

To order and to see this catalog a bit better, log on here.....

We thank you so much for your prayers and financial support as we see the finish line in sight!


The Rylands

Option #2!!!: Scentsy Products

Much like our Thirty-One fundraiser, a personal friend has offered to partner with us to offer these amazing Scentsy products to our supporters to assist with our adoption efforts. This sale will run throughout the month of July as well.  The benefits of a candle without the safety hazards!

Scentsy's latest catalog

Below is a letter from the consultant:

I am honored to be part of such a wonderful and special time in The Rylands Family’s lives!  Adoption is a really big deal and my hat is truly off to those who give of themselves so selflessly to serve others.  Being an independent consultant for Scentsy’s line of wickless, smokeless, and flameless candles, I have been given a wonderful opportunity to provide not only a supreme product, but I also have an opportunity to give back a little to this special family.  During the month of July, I am sponsoring a fundraiser for the Rylands family’s adoption efforts.  Orders may be placed online at my secure website, via telephone, or in person.  I am available to hold any size party or gathering (or small lunch meeting) to answer questions, demo products, or provide time to test our many scents.  At the end of the fundraiser, I will donate one-half of my commissions to the Rylands Family to help them reach their goal before they travel abroad to bring their newest family member home!  God bless and keep this family in your prayers!
With pleasure,
T.Ann Gandy Jackson, Scentsy Independent Consultant
website:  NOTE:  Click on the link for the Rylands’ adoption.
phone:  843-452-8201

More good news! LID!

Boy, after a long week of waiting and no news, we have gotten two great emails in the last 24 hours.  I was just notified by our adoption agency that our dossier is now "Logged In" and being translated now for review.  Shortly after this, they will issue our "Letter Seeking Confirmation" which will act as our formal letter of approval.  We might even have this within the next week.  This is another key milestone that drives our ability to file the next phase of immigration paperwork.  This is a very good timeframe.  Thanks for all your prayers.  I think we can take a moment to celebrate getting to this point.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

He knows we are coming!!

I received an email awhile back from someone on a yahoo advocacy group who recommended that I email her guide from Shenyang and see if she could get an update from the orphanage.  I sent that email back on June 16th. I had not heard anything for some time and tonight I got a response!!!

She was able to contact the Director of the Shenyang orphanage and get a response to all our questions. She indicated that he knows we are coming for him and that he is excited.  The staff describes him as kind, honest and warm-hearted.   When asked if he had ever given them difficulties, the response was "He is a very good child, always easy to communicate and willing to help others. The staff including teachers and nannies all like him a lot."

While he is taking English in a public school near the orphanage, his scores are pretty poor.  She says that he loves reading and music.  I am thrilled to know that he finally knows we are on our way. I have asked if they will allow us to skype with him, so say a prayer!  We should be, Lord willing, about 6 weeks away from travel.  Just had to share.  It is exactly the lifeline that I needed right now.  God is good!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mark 12: 41-44

This morning, I had a Mark, chapter twelve moment....

As I went outside to pick up the newspaper, I saw an envelope under my door mat. When I opened it, I saw a handwritten note and a 5 dollar bill.  The note was simple, but said that this "fiver" was a gift from the cousin of one of my dear friends who wanted to help bring our son home.

So to set the context of this gift....

1. I don't know this cousin.
2. The gift was given without fanfare.
3. I had been praying last night for the Lord to provide a tremendous amount of money for the completion of our adoption.  I acknowledged that He had provided so much already, but that I was starting to worry because we are mere weeks away from travel.

As I opened that envelope, I was reminded of the woman in Mark chapter 12 who was giving two small coins to the church. All around her were wealthy individuals who were pouring great sums of money into the church coffers and, by comparison, she put in what would amount to a fraction of a penny!  A penny.  What followed, was one of the Bible's greatest lessons....  Jesus said,

"I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything- all she had to live on."
Christ was teaching us about giving sacrificially. He did not mean that the wealthy should not have given. He did not mean that their gifts (or in our case... the larger gifts we've received) were not meaningful or necessary.   But, He chose to honor this poor widow for giving until it hurt.

He knew, as so many of you know, that a $5 gift is HUGE!  That it can make a difference and it can touch a heart as it has done mine this morning.  I have often been embarrassed by the small gifts that I have been able to give to a worthy cause and have therefore not given.  I allowed my pride to keep me from blessing someone else.

Now it's true, that I do not know if this gift was given out of sacrifice or out of plenty.  But, what I do know is....

God used that $5 gift to:

1. Remind me of the blessings of giving what I can.
2. Answer my prayer for a sign that we were still on the right track and that He would provide the funds that we need to complete this work to which He has called us.

I am more confident than ever that God will do with that 5 dollar bill what only He can. He will use it to bring our son home from China to a family that loves him already more than is logical.  He will provide in ways that we can not.

A heartfelt thank you to our friend's cousin and to each of you who are walking this path with us.  Your prayers have sustained us and allowed us to keep moving ahead down a road fraught with obstacles and one where doubt comes so easily.  I hope that this woman's gift has touched your hearts as well today.

Blessings to you all,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shenyang City

Now that we are closer to traveling, I have been doing more research about our son's birth city. I wanted to show where he is currently living in China. Here is a map of the city (Shenyang City) and province (Liaoning).

If you look closely, you can see that to the east of Liaoning is North Korea. To the west of Liaoning is Beijing. Shenyang is the capital city of Liaoning province. Liaoning is located way into northern China.  It will be interesting seeing northern China and  hopefully,the Great Wall since this will likely be a once in a lifetime trip!
These are some of the tidbits that I have uncovered about this city. Shenyang means "city to the north of Shen River".  The Hun River on the city's south side used to be called the Shen River. Shenyang was first established around 300 B.C. and currently has a population of 7.4 million.  
It is the largest city in northeastern China by population and contains 38 of China's 56 ethnic groups, including the Han Chinese majority which makes up over 90% of Shenyang's population.
According to one tourism video I saw:
Shenyang is the birthplace of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and has many cultural relics which symbolize the prosperity and subsequent decline of China's last feudal dynasty... The most famous of these is the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is of great historic and artistic significance and second only to the Forbidden City in Beijing in the extent of its preservation.

Shenyang Imperial Palace

The Children's Welfare Institute in Shenyang City is our son's home.  After much searching, I finally found this picture on another adoptive mom's blog:

It struck me as a very nice facility which eased some of my fears.  Here is what another Mother shared about her visit to Shenyang in 2010:

"We were very impressed when touring the facility and meeting the staff.  We had the privilege of meeting and spending some time on 3 different days with Mrs. Tan who is the director of the adoptions there.  She is very loving and kind and seems very interested in the children's well being."
A different adoptive mom who's daughter came from Shenyand CWI sent these pictures of her trip there June 1, 2011 where she attended the Children's Day celebration...
What beautiful costumes!  It is a very bright and colorful event.

I searched and searched, but I don't see Junchi anywhere in this pic.


See these pink shirts?  They are the same as the one that Junchi
is wearing in one of the updated pics we were sent.
This next photo COULD be Junchi, but we can not be sure.... Same shirt, same bracelet, but no way to tell for sure since he is looking away.
Far right....
Can you tell that we are anxious and excited about getting on that plane?  Ok, maybe not so much excited about the plane ride, but the destination- YES! 
I am hopeful that we can visit the place where he was abandoned and learn as much as possible about his history so that we can help him as he matures.  We also hope that we can visit with folks who knew him as a younger boy. 
Presently, my heart is heavy with the desire to take our son, Tommy to China with us to meet his brother.  We are still so far away from our financial goals, but I know that this will be an experience that we will never be able to replicate and one that will be very meaningful to us all in years to come.  I just hate to leave him behind.  Join me in praying for the added funds that we need to travel together as a family to get our boy!

Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tommy at CAMP!

So, my sweet boy is having so much fun at camp (Summer Institute for the Gifted-- ok, so it's really school, but feels like camp!) that he doesn't even miss his mama! (Boo..) Well, actually, for Tommy this is huge progress, so while I am mildly sad that we have hit this phase, it is also a really good thing.  Each day I speak to him he is so excited to tell me all the cool things they are doing in school.  Tom is meeting some neat parents and getting a chance to talk with others who are parenting children like Tommy and I think it is really encouraging for him.  He is in Sarasota, FL at the Out of Door Academy campus.  He is taking classes on storytelling, patterns of the world, strategy games and recreation!  He reports that he loves all his new classmates and has so much fun each day!

He better not get used to having his own laptop! :-)

Sandy Elliott, Head of School

They have rec period the last 90 minutes of each day.

Hangin' with his pals!

LOVES his popsicles.
Only 1 1/2 more weeks until my guys come home.  Can't wait to get my morning hugs again!  (I do have to admit that my kitchen has never been cleaner!) Special thanks to my gal pals who have been keeping me fed in their absence. (For those who don't know me well.... Tom is the chief chef in our home and I am perfectly happy to eat cereal 3 meals a day.  Ok, not perfectly happy, but willing...

I am praying that the Lord would provide enough money for us to take Tommy with us to China.  I so want him to be with us when we meet his "big brother" and to experience the trip of a lifetime.  Time will tell. We hope to travel by mid-August, sooner if I get my way.... Looking for our dossier to arrive in China tomorrow or Friday.  Will let everyone know as soon as we have a logged in date.


Monday, June 20, 2011

DTC! (Dossier to China!!)

We finally received our approval notice from USCIS-- the last piece of our dossier puzzle. So, today is officially our DTC date!  So excited.  We anticipate a faster than normal "Logged in Date" (LID) and will be looking for that to happen in about a week or so.

Please keep praying for this process. We are not there yet, but we are pleased with our progress so far.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

As I think about Father's Day, this year is different. For the first time in my life, I am painfully aware of all the children who have no parents.  Orphans all over the world who aren't making cards in Sunday School today, who aren't "cooking" breakfast and jumping into bed with mom & dad.  Children who aren't toddling around in their Daddy's loafers or throwing a ball together.

Consequently, it causes me to think about my own family, my father, my husband---differently.  I am, as I have always been, grateful that I was blessed with a Dad to grow up with and a husband who is a great Dad to his children.  But, this year, as we wait to be united with our older son, I am excited that this will be the last Father's Day that he will be without a Dad.  Next year, he will be able to do all those traditional "Father's Day" things that we all take for granted. He will have a Father and a grandfather here on this earth.  A father who can share with him about his heavenly Father who has had this in his design all along.

Each day as I talk online with other current and future adoptive families, I become more aware of the countless numbers of children who never get that family.  Children in China who, once they reach their 14th birthday, lose that chance forever.  Forever.  Each day, another child "ages out" and celebrates their birthday knowing that they are now on their own.

As I look over the visitors widget on this blog each day, I see that we have visitors from all over the world. Total strangers who take a moment to read about our journey.  So, on this Father's Day, I thought I would honor the fathers in my life by asking, could one of these young boys or girls be your child?  Is it possible that they are waiting on you?  I know one thing for sure, there are no perfect families and no magic formula for being "ready".  Tom and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in January and we had NO IDEA then that the Lord was preparing us for this walk to China.  Boy, has our life changed since Easter!  We didn't even meet the qualifications for adoption and still, here we are.  There are countless reasons to ignore that tug. We did. More than once.  I am glad, for our son's sake, that we didn't ignore it this time.

So, hug your kids, tell the Dads in your life you appreciate them and thank God for the ways He has blessed you.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thirty-One Fundraiser- JULY ONLY!

 Starting July 1, 2011, we will be having a month-long "Thirty One" Sale!  For those who are not already familiar with this fabulous company or their quality products, please take some time to familiarize yourselves with their catalog.  Anne Little, a fellow adoptive mom, is a consultant with Thirty-One who's sole purpose is to help adoptive families bridge the financial gap and complete their adoptions!  She donates 100% of her commission to families just like us who desire to adopt without debt.  So, in the month of July, all who order from her website as a part of the "Rylands Adoption Fund" will be helping us to reach our ambitious goals!  Commission is paid on the July orders by August 10th and it will come just in the nick of time as we anticipate traveling to China the very next week.  Each of you can HELP, just by re-posting this notice to your respective facebook pages and emailing to all your friends!   There are so many fans of Thirty-One all over the nation and who wouldn't want to help a great cause at the same time?  All orders come directly to you, so you will get your products quickly and easily!   Below are some pics of Thirty-One items.  You can get a better look in their online catalog too!

To see this catalog a bit better, log on here.....
Once on this site, click on the right "My Events"  then find our family name and start SHOPPING!!  

Many Thanks! The Rylands

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kristen's done it again! Paci Clips!!

These are the cutest things ever!
Custom Paci-Clips!

Look at this sweet Monkey.  Little Liam is the most stylish baby in MI!
$10 each

Giraffe paci-clip (You might have to have the hat and stuffed toy too!)
$10 each

Sweet female owl! (Also have matching bibs, purses, hats...)- just sayin'!
$10 each

Assortment of paci clips- $10 each
Orders are already coming in. Don't miss out. Who else will have this? Perfect specialty baby shower gift!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Calling all Little (and big) Girls!

So, some of you have seen the super cute creations that my cousin produces. Well, she and her sister have donated a bunch of their hair pretties for the cause!  I have them displayed here and they are extremely reasonable.  Let me know if I can save some for your precious princess.  And, in case you think these are just for the little ones.... she has some great larger crocheted flowers for your hair of lapel accessory. I wore one today in my ponytail!

100% of the funds in this batch go directly to the adoption fund and I have them in stock.  If you want to special order anything, like one of her amazing crocheted animals or a hat, bib or purse, let me know and I will get you in touch with her.

To order.... email me at or for items not in my current stock, email *** When ordering from Kristen directly, PLEASE put "RYLANDS ADOPTION" in the subject. Thx!!  Kristen ships orders on Tuesdays and Thursdays after payment is received. All Charleston orders can be shipped to me each week if you want to save on shipping.

In stock selection. Get 'em quick!

Polka Dots. A Classic! $2/pair

Super Fun!  $2/pair.

Racy animal prints  $2/pair

Nothing says Summer like Pink and Orange together!

Colorful circles. These will go with almost any summer attire.

Small crocheted flower clips
$2.50 each

Fabric Rose Clip
$2.00 each
Smaller flower clips for hair or lapel
$3 each
PURPLE GONE, but available from Kristen

Larger flower clips for hair or lapel
$4 each
ONLY Red & Purple left in my stock. 
All others available from Kristen directly.

Larger Crocheted Flower Clips
$5 each
Only HOT PINK LEFT, but multi-colored available from Kristen

Larger bow clips (pinch style)
$3 each

smaller child sized bow clip
$2 each

Crocheted Headbands
$2 each
Only ONE set left in my stock, but all available from Kristen
White & Brown gone, but available from Kristen Directly.