Thompson Tuesday: The Twins Are Ours

As of today, the twins are officially ours!  Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers!

Want to Help Us Adopt By Doing What You’re Already Doing?

We’re adopting again!  Woohoo!

Last fall, my hubby and I started the process to adopt again.  We thought we would adopt from Jamaica because we absolutely love the country and its people and because it’s very affordable from an adoption standpoint.  We also knew that the process is typically long (around 2-3 years), so we figured it would give us the time we need to save the money so we can adopt without debt.

Apparently God had different plans.  In November, we found out about 6 year old twins that needed a family and just 4 short days before Christmas, they moved in with us.  Although these are older kids, this adoption is a private adoption and not through the foster care system which means we need to come up with some money rather quickly!  Not only do we have to pay for an adoption (actually 2 adoptions as the case would be), but now that we’ve added 2 kids (1 of which is a boy) to our family, we desperately need more space which means a move is imminent!

We would love it if you would help us out!  You can help us raise money by doing things you’re already doing!

For starters, did you know that when you print coupons you see on this site, I get a few cents?  It’s true!  While most of you use a variety of sites to print your coupons, if each of my readers and friends printed a few coupons every day for a month using the link below, it would fund almost all of our adoption!

Coupons.com

You can also help fund our adoption by shopping!  Talk about a win-win!

Amazon

Crocs

Disney Store

Housewares Deals

Kohl’s

Macy’s

Motivated Moms Planner

Sephora

Target

Walmart

Last but not least, you can help fund our adoption by purchasing some of my favorite ebooks (and an audio course)!  These are books that are hugely helpful in time management, household management, and more!

28 Days to Hope for Your Home

31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way

Drowing in Clutter?

From Garbage to Gourmet

Frumps to Pumps

Grocery University

Teaching Kids to Clean

Tell Your Time

That Works for Me

If you’re looking for other ways to help, consider having me speak at your next event!

 

Exciting News at Our House

Sisters

I’m extremely blessed!  My hubby and I have 2 beautiful, talented, smart daughters who are also a lot of fun to be around.  Five years ago, when we traveled to Ukraine, we had no idea that we’d be coming home with 2 daughters instead of 1.  It was a huge change for us, and it wasn’t without challenges, but what a blessing it has been.  We’re so thankful that God knew what we needed even before we did!

Over the last few years, things have settled down around here (or as settled as they can be with teenagers!).  While we love our life now, we’re excited to share that we’ve just started the adoption process again!  We’re hoping to adopt 2 girls between the ages of 4 and 6…which will be a big change for us since we’re quite used to having teenaged girls!

We’re not sure exactly how long this process will take us.  Our last adoption was extremely fast, but I’m guessing this one could take us 1-2 years….although I’m hoping it will be much quicker!  We’re also not sure how expensive this adoption will be.  Our last adoption cost over $50,000.  We’re committed to adopting debt-free this time around, so we will be making some serious adjustments to our finances.  We’re already pretty disciplined with our spending, but we’ll definitely need to cut out more extras! I’ll be sharing more as we get further along in this process.

Please keep us in your prayers!

 

Play Station Black Friday Bundle for $299 Shipped plus $25 Future Promotional Video Game Credit

If you’re in the market for a Playstation 3, you’ll want to check out this deal on Amazon. You can get a PlayStation 3 Bundle for $299 Shipped Plus get a $25 Video Game Credit.  This bundle includes Uncharted 2, Pixel Junk Shooter, and Karate Kid Blu-Ray plus PlayStation 3 160 GB system.

Here are the details on the $25 credit:

Want free shipping on your Amazon purchases?  If you’re eligible for Amazon Mom or Amazon Student, you’ll get free 2 day shipping on most items!

Like this deal? Sign up for my free daily emailsubscribe to my RSS feed, or like me on Facebook to have the deals come to you!

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month…something I am extremely passionate about.  Over the past 4 years, adoption has completely changed my life!

Today I’m sharing my story over at (in)courageand there’s even a giveaway!  Come by and check it out!  While you’re there, be sure to read some of the other stories!  They’re bound to encourage your heart!

May is National Foster Care Month

One of my biggest passions is watching people reach their full potential.  It has been such a joy to watch my daughters (adopted at ages 9 and 11, now 12 and 14) grow and thrive and discover the things they’re passionate about.  I’m so ready to do that again!  For the last few years, my husband and I have prayed about becoming foster parents.  We have seen firsthand the difference a loving adult can make in the life of a child or teenager and we want to be part of that!  We set some goals to make our dream a reality and I’m thrilled to be able to say, we’re almost there!  We’ve paid off all of our debt (this was our personal goal, not a requirement for becoming foster parents) and we’re working on getting our house ready to sell so we can move into a bigger house (ours barely contains our family now)!  As we prepare for this exciting journey in our family, I hope you’ll consider what your family can do!

I want to share this guest post from Adopt Us Kids with you.  I hope you’ll also take the time to head over to the Adopt Us Kids website and watch the “Children in Foster Care” video.

Did you know it would take less than 1% of the U.S. population to provide a family for every child in foster care?

May is National Foster Care Month and there has never been a greater need to bring attention to children waiting for forever homes.  More than 463,000 children are currently in foster care and 123,000 children are waiting to be adopted.

Children in foster care are loving children.  They are children like Shaquane and Edlina and Albert.  Every child deserves to have a home with caring and supportive parents.

Visit www.adoptuskids.org to learn more about fostering and adopting. You can also join our online communities on Facebook and Twitter.

The Ultimate Blog Par-tay!!! (and a $20 Target Gift Card Giveaway) (CLOSED)

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I love a good party (and by good party I mean, one where I know at least 25% of the people there).  Surprisingly enough, I get really nervous meeting new people if I’m not with a few people I already know well.  That’s why 5 Minutes for Mom’s 2010 Ultimate Blog Party is such a great party.  I can get to know other bloggers (and more of my readers) without any of those awkward moments (I hope).  This is my first Ultimate Blog Party!  The 2010 Ultimate Blog Party is hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom.  I was privileged to meet the sisters behind 5 Minutes for Mom at Disney’s Social Media Mom’s Conference in February. The idea behind the Ultimate Blog Party is to introduce yourself to other bloggers and get to know other bloggers as well!  Make sure you visit the Ultimate Blog Party 2010.  You’ll get a chance to read some other great blogs and they’re giving away prizes!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (or if you start reading about me and your eyes glaze over), feel free to scroll past the “all about me…blah blah blah” right to the good stuff…the $20 Target Gift Card Giveaway.

My name is Lisa and I’m 33 years old.  I’ve been married to my amazing husband Fred for 5 years.  Our lives have been insanely crazy during those 5 years and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Six years ago, I met my husband on eHarmony.  He’s incredibly awesome and I knew I wanted to marry him within the first month of meeting him!

Five years ago, we got married and began our life of wedded bliss in warm, sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

Four years ago, we moved to warm, sunny Fort Wayne Indiana.  During that year, we also met and fell in love with an 8 year old girl named Khrystyna who lived in an orphanage in Ukraine.  We immediately began the process of adopting her.

Three years ago, we got our approval to travel to Ukraine to adopt Khrystyna.  While in Ukraine, we met and fell in love with an 11 year old girl named Amina.  Five weeks later, we were the official parents of both Amina and Khrystyna.  We have been so blessed by them! I can’t even begin to imagine life without them.

Two years ago, we decided that we wanted to move closer to the school our daughters attend and so we bought a major fixer-upper and moved from Fort Wayne to Auburn.  We also realized we had a ridiculous amount of debt (partly due to the adoption and partly due to not living within our means).

One year ago, I started blogging at savingmoneylivingbetter.blogspot.com as a way to stay financially accountable and as a way to share the things I was learning about saving money and paying off debt!

Three months ago, I moved to WordPress and SimplifiedSaving.com was launched.  I love to share deals I find, freebies, and tips and tricks for saving money.  I also like to review books and products and do giveaways.   Although you will primarily find deals, reviews, and giveaways, there are also quite a few posts on weight loss and fitness since I am currently a contestant on Fort Wayne’s Smallest Winner, a weight loss competition similar to The Biggest Loser.  We’re only in our second week of competition, but during the first week I lost 5.8 pounds.

I have tons more to share with you, but I know you have other things you’d like to be doing, so I’ll wrap it up!

Giveaway

As a way of saying “Thanks” for visiting and/or subscribing to Simplified Saving, I’m going to be giving away a $20 Target Gift Card.

Want to Win?

Leave me a comment! Don’t just say something boring like I want to win…Be original!  Tell me something interesting about yourself (or your blog) or tell me what you’d like to see in the future on Simplified Saving.

Additional Entries:  Leave a comment for each.

1.  Subscribe to Simplified Saving by Email.

2.  Subscribe to Simplified Saving in a Reader.

3.  Follow @LisaAboutLife on Twitter.

4. Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect (in the right-hand sidebar).

5. Become a Fan of Simplified Saving on Facebook.

Winner will be chosen on April 17th at 8 pm Eastern time.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Adoption Twitter Party: Tuesday February 23rd

I’m so excited to share that AdoptUsKids will be hosting another Twitter party.  I am passionate about seeing children connected with families who will love them and nurture them.

Last year AdoptUsKids hosted two adoption chats on Twitter.  As a result, some Twitter users actually made the decision to move forward with the adoption process.

If you missed our earlier events, please join us for a live Twitter party later this month, sponsored by AdoptUsKids. AdoptUsKids is a national project whose role is to recruit and connect foster and adoptive families with waiting children throughout the United States.

Funded by the Children’s Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families, AdoptUsKids hosts a national photo listing website contains photos and information about children in foster care waiting for families to adopt them. You may have seen some of the Public Service Announcementswith the message “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.”

Each year the campaign has a specialized target, based on the needs of children in care.  This year’s focus is finding homes for African-American children in care, who make up 31% of the children waiting to be adopted. African-American children are overrepresented in the foster care populationrelative to their percentage in the U.S. general population. Because of this, African American children often wait longer to be adopted.

To learn more about adopting from foster care and how to help spread the word about children in care waiting for a forever family, please visit AdoptUsKids. To search for children in your area, visit the AdoptUsKids Child Search.

Please join us Tuesday, February 23rd from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST on Twitter for a safe and open informational chat about the benefits of adoption, as well as adoption from foster care with representatives from AdoptUsKids.

To participate, please follow @AdoptUsKids and @ResourcefulMom, and use the hashtag #AdoptUsKids. Facebook users may also wish to become a fan of AdoptUsKids on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AdoptUsKids.

This campaign is brought to you by Global Influence Network.

Facts About Orphans Around the World

As Americans, we have it pretty easy. Our communities seem pretty insulated from the horrors of slavery and human trafficking, yet in the rest of the world, these horrors are extremely real…especially for those without a loving family to protect them.


Did you know…

Over 140 million orphans and waiting children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents.
United Nations Children’s Fund, The State of the World’s Children 2008. Dec 2007, p. 129)

Over 13 million orphans under the age of 18 have lost both parents.
(UNAIDS, UNICEF and United States Agency for International Development/USAID, Africa’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Generation, 2006. Aug, 2006, p. 35)

Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in human trafficking.
(Ibid, The State of the World’s Children 2006, p. 50)

Orphans are more vulnerable and at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination, or other abuses.
(UNICEF, Aug 2006. From website, “Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse”)

Over 1/3 of Americans have considered adopting, but no more than 2% of Americans have actually adopted.
(Child Welfare Information Gateway, Persons Seeking to Adopt: Numbers and Trends, 2005)

The above facts were included in an email I recently received from Advocate for Orphans, the organization through which we hosted our youngest daughter. To make these facts a little more personal, I’d like to share some facts about orphans in Ukraine. (It scares me when I think this is what my girls would have had to look forward to had they not been adopted.)

Our daughters at the orphanage in Ukraine

It has been reported that after the age of 5, a Ukrainian orphan has only a 20% chance of being adopted.

Orphans in Ukraine “graduate” from the orphanage system at the age of 16 years old.

Many “graduates” will become homeless, alone and lacking the education necessary to provide for themselves.

Approximately 20% will find adequate work.

70% of the boys will enter a life of crime.

60% of the girls will survive through prostitution.

10% will have committed suicide by their 18th birthday.

Although these statistics are bleak, they are the reality for children in the orphanage system in Ukraine.

You Can Make A Difference

The most obvious difference you could make would be to provide a home for one (or more) of these children. If you are interested in learning more about adopting from Ukraine, you can contact Advocate for Orphans (or look for an agency in your area that specializes in Ukrainian adoption.)

There are many ways to be involved in caring for orphans besides adopting. Here are a just a few.

Pray that God would raise up Christian families who would not only care for these children’s physical needs, but who would also care for their spiritual needs. Pray that God would protect these children from the many dangers they constantly face and that God provide people who would care for their needs.

If God has blessed you financially, consider partnering with a family who would like to adopt, but lacks the resources. We would not have been able to adopt our girls if it were not for people who partnered with us in this way.

If you have construction skills, consider a missions trip to an orphanage to raise the quality of living conditions.

Consider partnering with an organization like World Hope Ukraine and their Hope House. Hope House provides a Christian home for girls from the streets and orphanages who need a place to live. What an incredible ministry!

This is the second in a series of posts about caring for orphans. To see the first post, click here.

All I Really Want For Christmas

Facts About Orphans Around the World

As Americans, we have it pretty easy. Our communities seem pretty insulated from the horrors of slavery and human trafficking, yet in the rest of the world, these horrors are extremely real…especially for those without a loving family to protect them.


Did you know…

Over 140 million orphans and waiting children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents.
United Nations Children’s Fund, The State of the World’s Children 2008. Dec 2007, p. 129)

Over 13 million orphans under the age of 18 have lost both parents.
(UNAIDS, UNICEF and United States Agency for International Development/USAID, Africa’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Generation, 2006. Aug, 2006, p. 35)

Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in human trafficking.
(Ibid, The State of the World’s Children 2006, p. 50)

Orphans are more vulnerable and at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination, or other abuses.
(UNICEF, Aug 2006. From website, “Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse”)

Over 1/3 of Americans have considered adopting, but no more than 2% of Americans have actually adopted.
(Child Welfare Information Gateway, Persons Seeking to Adopt: Numbers and Trends, 2005)

The above facts were included in an email I recently received from Advocate for Orphans, the organization through which we hosted our youngest daughter. To make these facts a little more personal, I’d like to share some facts about orphans in Ukraine. (It scares me when I think this is what my girls would have had to look forward to had they not been adopted.)

Our daughters at the orphanage in Ukraine

It has been reported that after the age of 5, a Ukrainian orphan has only a 20% chance of being adopted.

Orphans in Ukraine “graduate” from the orphanage system at the age of 16 years old.

Many “graduates” will become homeless, alone and lacking the education necessary to provide for themselves.

Approximately 20% will find adequate work.

70% of the boys will enter a life of crime.

60% of the girls will survive through prostitution.

10% will have committed suicide by their 18th birthday.

Although these statistics are bleak, they are the reality for children in the orphanage system in Ukraine.

You Can Make A Difference

The most obvious difference you could make would be to provide a home for one (or more) of these children. If you are interested in learning more about adopting from Ukraine, you can contact Advocate for Orphans (or look for an agency in your area that specializes in Ukrainian adoption.)

There are many ways to be involved in caring for orphans besides adopting. Here are a just a few.

Pray that God would raise up Christian families who would not only care for these children’s physical needs, but who would also care for their spiritual needs. Pray that God would protect these children from the many dangers they constantly face and that God provide people who would care for their needs.

If God has blessed you financially, consider partnering with a family who would like to adopt, but lacks the resources. We would not have been able to adopt our girls if it were not for people who partnered with us in this way.

If you have construction skills, consider a missions trip to an orphanage to raise the quality of living conditions.

Consider partnering with an organization like World Hope Ukraine and their Hope House. Hope House provides a Christian home for girls from the streets and orphanages who need a place to live. What an incredible ministry!

This is the second in a series of posts about caring for orphans. To see the first post, click here.

All I Really Want For Christmas

All I Really Want For Christmas

First Day of School 2009 for my daughters

I am passionate about adoption. Adoption is such a great picture of God’s relationship with us. You may not be aware that both of my daughters are adopted. We adopted our girls from Ukraine when they were 9 and 11. Never in our lives have we seen God’s hand and provision so clearly. We have watched God do incredible things in the hearts of our girls. We have watched them grow and learn and adjust to family life.

Although November was National Adoption Month (and I never got around to posting about it), I can’t help but think of how many children there are without families at Christmas. How sad to watch the merriment of Christmas while wishing for someone to share it with. I love the words of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, “All I Want”. Although they always make me cry, they remind me that there is so much more I can be doing.

Well I don’t know if you remember me or not
I’m one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me – I was standing off alone
I didn’t come and talk to you, ‘cause that’s never worked before
And you’ll prob’ly never see this letter anyway
But just in case there’s something you can do to help me out
I’ll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for
But there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Well I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it’s really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I’m really trying hard not to be bad
But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Well, maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I’ve heard
Sounds like the greatest gift on earth would be a mom

All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for
But there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas

Is someone who’ll be there
To sing me “Happy Birthday”
For the next 100 years
And it’s OK if they’re not perfect
Well, even if they’re a little broken, that’s alright
‘Cause so am I

Well, I guess I should go
It’s almost time for bed
And maybe next time I write you
I’ll be at home

‘Cause all I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I’ll never be alone
Someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for
Well, there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Just a family

That’s all I really need

See what I mean. They are quite moving. Over the next few days, I am going to be posting facts and statistics as well as things you can do to make a difference in the lives of orphans here and overseas. I pray that you will open your hearts to whatever God is calling you to do.

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday hosted by Amy’s Finer Things because being a mom and caring for orphans truly is a finer thing!

All I Really Want For Christmas

First Day of School 2009 for my daughters

I am passionate about adoption. Adoption is such a great picture of God’s relationship with us. You may not be aware that both of my daughters are adopted. We adopted our girls from Ukraine when they were 9 and 11. Never in our lives have we seen God’s hand and provision so clearly. We have watched God do incredible things in the hearts of our girls. We have watched them grow and learn and adjust to family life.

Although November was National Adoption Month (and I never got around to posting about it), I can’t help but think of how many children there are without families at Christmas. How sad to watch the merriment of Christmas while wishing for someone to share it with. I love the words of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, “All I Want”. Although they always make me cry, they remind me that there is so much more I can be doing.

Well I don’t know if you remember me or not
I’m one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me – I was standing off alone
I didn’t come and talk to you, ‘cause that’s never worked before
And you’ll prob’ly never see this letter anyway
But just in case there’s something you can do to help me out
I’ll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for
But there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Well I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it’s really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I’m really trying hard not to be bad
But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Well, maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I’ve heard
Sounds like the greatest gift on earth would be a mom

All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for
But there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas

Is someone who’ll be there
To sing me “Happy Birthday”
For the next 100 years
And it’s OK if they’re not perfect
Well, even if they’re a little broken, that’s alright
‘Cause so am I

Well, I guess I should go
It’s almost time for bed
And maybe next time I write you
I’ll be at home

‘Cause all I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I’ll never be alone
Someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for
Well, there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Just a family

That’s all I really need

See what I mean. They are quite moving. Over the next few days, I am going to be posting facts and statistics as well as things you can do to make a difference in the lives of orphans here and overseas. I pray that you will open your hearts to whatever God is calling you to do.

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday hosted by Amy’s Finer Things because being a mom and caring for orphans truly is a finer thing!