Adoption Update

 I wanted to give a quick adoption update.


If anything deserves a medal, that does. It was hard, but I’m pretty sure we got it all done. We have also sent into our first grant application and have two more grant apps waiting to be filled out and an application for an adoption loan.

It’s all slowly coming together!

We are working really hard to use several different avenues to raise the needed funds. Adoption is extremely expensive and we don’t for a second assume that we can bring the money in without a lot of work. I’m searching out ways to pull in extra funds through as many channels as I can and we have committed to saving bonuses and cutting back expenses in every way we can.

Right now, we are about $2,500 short of our first payment, which will allow us to have our paperwork looked over and checked for errors. Once that process is finished we can send it all in to have it apostilled, and when that is finished our dossier will be complete.

Friends, this is huge. A completed dossier means we are so much closer to meeting our daughter. I get so emotional when I think about meeting her. Just the other day, Tia and I were cleaning out her drawers and setting aside clothes that don’t fit any more.

“These can be for my sister,” Tia said, very matter of factly.

Her sister.

We are close….and yet, we’re still really far.

We’re $2,500 short of taking the next step. If you feel so impressed, would you be part of this journey with us? We need 250 people who would be willing to give $10. Or 125 people who could give $20. Or 100 people who could give $25.

Would you be part of this journey with us? We don’t take your participation lightly and we are infinitely grateful for all who have joined us so far. It is humbling to ask for help – it is more humbling to receive it. I have been floored by the generosity.

And I know that these are tough times, so please know that our feelings are not hurt if you don’t give financially. Your prayers are equally coveted – prayers for our daughter’s safety and well being (she is very likely already born); prayers that the Lord will bring the finances needed to bring her home; prayers for the emotional safety and protection of our family and children.

We need you all in so many ways. Thank you for joining us.

On Halloween and Pumpkins and being a Scrooge

I’m going to go ahead and lay it all out for you. I am not into Halloween this year. It can just pass on by for all I care, because I have put zero effort in. We haven’t bought costumes, we haven’t carved pumpkins and I’ve got one bag of candy corn to give out.

I’m like the Halloween version of Scrooge. BAH HUMBUG!

Every year, we carve pumpkins. I bake the seeds, we enjoy this very fall-like tradition, but this year? Not interested. Because you see, what really happens is this: Every year the children draw their faces on the pumpkins, then I spend the next two hours scooping the gunk and carving by myself.

This year I decided no. And the kids really haven’t seemed too disappointed, which has diminished my mom guilt only slightly. Now if you all could quit posting your amazing works of pumpkin art on Facebook that would really be helpful.

I did buy three small pumpkins and let them paint them, so I haven’t completely failed. In fact, bring me a friggin medal people!




Tia and Landon are digging costumes out of the costume chest. We have plenty to choose from and that suits them just fine. Sloan wanted to be a zombie or a vampire or something else equally boyish and “cool” but we put the kibosh on those things. I finally suggested he wear his David Freese jersey and a Cardinals hat and told him to go as David Freese.

He agreed.

I’m still waiting on my medal…



I want to move on past Halloween and into Thanksgiving and Christmas, though if I’m honest, I’m not overly ready for either of those holidays yet, either. The cooler weather this week has gotten me a little more in the holiday spirit, though. Scones and hot tea in the morning make me feel festive. I may have to start listening to Christmas music starting tomorrow to psych myself up for it all.

Micheal Buble Christmas? Yes, please.

So what about you? Are you in the holiday spirit?

Which holiday are you ready for?

Climbing the Mountain: Part 2

This week, I am beginning one of the first treks up the mountain as I kick start a few fundraising efforts. I have a first chunk of money set out before us to raise and I’d like to have it by mid-November. I have no idea if that is an unrealistic goal or not, but I’m setting it out there.

To be honest, I’m not overly comfortable talking about the funding on ye old blog, but I also know I can’t do this without a little help, so with that in mind, I have a few ideas up my sleeve to start traversing up this first peak in our journey to Russia. We would really love to have all the funds needed to complete all the paper work by early Spring so that we can get on a waiting list for a referral with the hope that we will be able to start our travels sometime late next summer or early fall. I’m willing to work for these funds, and we plan to work hard, but I’ll need some help spreading the word.

And I am entirely open to suggestions as well!

So without further ado, here are a few things I’ve set in place to kick off our fundraising.



Do you have a small business or indie-biz that you would like to advertise? Are you selling products or in need of a boost in your site stats? I am opening up private ads for the first time and would love to chat with you about it. I’ve set very reasonable prices and there are a couple of different options that we can discuss in your advertising.

From buttons in the sidebar to sponsored posts, I am willing to discuss what your goals are for your business and work with you to increase your traffic through the solid network of readers that give me the honor of their time here at Minivan Are Hot. With that in mind, though, I have always tried hard to keep the content on this blog fresh and relevant to motherhood and parenting, so while I am open to increasing the sumbers of sponsored posts I write, I will also be working hard to make sure the content is new and engaging and real and honest and I promise not to talk only about the adoption!!! Contact me at kellistuart00 (at) hotmail (dot) com for more information.



Did you know that my actual job for the last ten years has been ghostwriting and editing books? I haven’t done too much this past year with the move, but I am ready to take on a couple of projects if you are in need of any writing/editing. Have you written an E-Book or a book for print and don’t know what to do with it next?

Email me. Seriously, I’ve practically made a career out of pitching book ideas to publishers and have learned quite a few tricks and tips along the way. Do you just need a fresh set of eyes to go over the manuscript and help polish it? I would love to help! The super nerd in me gets giddy over editing. Giddy, I tell you!

Do you have a website that is in need of some fresh content? Let’s talk and see if we can work out a way to help one another out! Whatever your writing/editing needs are, I would love to help out. Email me at kellistuart00 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Adoption Bug


One of the organizations that works tirelessly to help families fund adoptions is Steven Curtis Chapman’s Show Hope. I frequent this site often for encouragement, wisdom and tips on how to take this journey well. In an effort to kick start our fundraising, Lee and I have set up an Adoption Bug store, which is a free service offered to adoptive families through the Show Hope foundation.

There are six styles of t-shirts that you can choose from, and I tried to select a variety of styles and colors, all of which I would wear myself (and will, since I plan on ordering some of them!) We receive anywhere from 35%-45% on each sale of the shirts that come directly from our page and that money will go straight to adoption costs. Would you consider purchasing a shirt today?

And if you wouldn’t mind, would you spread the word about this Adoption Bug site? You can simply post this link ( to your Facebook, Twitter or blog to send people directly to our page where they can purchase the shirts we have chosen to sell. I’ve also placed a widget in our side bar that you can click that will link you directly to our Adoption Bug site.

Thank you for your help, my friends. This means so much to us.

Garage Sale


I have big plans over Labor Day weekend. Huge plans, indeed. I plan to ransack my house for each and every thing we do not use on a frequent basis and begin setting up shop for a gigantic garage sale sometime in late September/early October.

I know, it sounds like SO MUCH FUN. Don’t be jealous…

If you have tips or tricks on how to throw the perfect fundraising garage sale, I am all ears. If you live in the Tampa Bay/Clearwater/anywhere in Florida area and have items you would like to donate, please shoot me an email and let’s try and set up a time to meet. I will happily drive to you to pick up any items you might have to donate.

I am intimidated by this idea, but I’ve heard of so many people having great success with large garage sales, so I plan to roll up my sleeves and give it the old college try. The kids, for their part, are super excited because I’ve told them they can sell lemonade and cookies during the garage sale. Party!

Suggestions Welcome


Our home study is in two weeks. Once that has been completed and submitted, we will have a little more freedom to pursue other options for fundraising. We are all ears when it comes to this piece of the adoption puzzle and we welcome any suggestions you might have. I know that so many of you have climbed this mountain ahead of us so if you have something that worked for you, please feel free to share and thanks in advance!

There are a lot of things to consider and a lot of options out there for adoptive families. I even thought about selling spray painted curtain rods in an effort to raise funds.

No I didn’t…

The biggest piece of this fundraising puzzle is pray, pray, pray!! I can’t tell you how many people have told us that somehow, when they needed the money for the next big payment, it was always there. We are trusting fully that our hard work, paired with the grace and provision of the Lord, is going to result in met goals and we look forward to rejoicing in that with you all!

And if I may be so bold to ask, would you all be willing to share this post with others? If I can spread the word a bit on what we’re trying to do and hoping to accomplish, I think I could have a little more success in accomplishing these goals. Thank you. Seriously, I know I say it a lot and I’ll be saying it more and more, but thank you. Thank you for helping us make this happen.

Happy weekend all! I pray you have great fun awaiting you!