Feed on

First of all, we received great news from our agency a couple of weeks ago! Russia’s president has signed the adoption treaty into effect and the Ministry of Education is ready to work with our international agency like normal! Praise God, we were so excited to receive this news!  That means, once all of our paperwork is in order, there shouldn’t be any delays outside of the normal waiting period.

Speaking of paperwork, we have finished all of our requirements for the home study.  We had our final two home study meetings in July.  On the 16th, our social worker came to the house for our home inspection, and we met her at the agency on the 18th for our final interviews.  Since then we’ve been playing the waiting game….waiting for the home study draft to be written, waiting for the office to do a file review and confirm they have everything they need. We should have the first draft of the home study in our hands any day now.  Once we confirm that everything is correct, the home study will be sent on to our international agency.  They will make sure it meets all of the requirements for Russia, and then we’ll be ready to send it along with our registration dossier to Russia to be translated and submitted to the MOE.  If all goes well, we could be headed to Russia for our first trip in the next 2 months!

In the meantime, we’re working hard on the financial end of things.  Chris has been designing some websites on the side, and even did some free lance work at one of our local rodeos.  He also won a small bonus at work in a competition between the sister TV stations! He received an Honorable Mention for Most Innovative Employee!

Fundraising has been a little slow lately, but as soon as the home study is finalized, we can start applying for grants.  We’re up to 28 puzzle pieces, which is awesome!!!

28 Pieces Sold!

To learn more about our Puzzle Fundraiser, CLICK HERE!

I hope you’re all planning to come see us at Parktacular tomorrow! The event is from noon to 6pm at Settler’s Park, Meridian. What is Parktacular? Go here for details:  http://895ktsy.org/parktacular/

Also, check out this post for more information about what we’ll be doing at Parktacular.

Basically, we have three different ways you can help us out tomorrow:




We’ll be collecting spare change for our “Can You Help Us Change Her Life?” campaign.

Bring all your extra quarters, dimes, nickels; every penny helps! :)





2. So, I’ve spent the last 2 days sewing like crazy and I’m really excited about these adorable pillowcases!

The fringe edge is what makes these so unique!

Isn't this sooo adorable?!











We’ll be selling them tomorrow! We have several different prints for boys and girls!

They’re all made out of flannel and/or fleece so they’re super soft and comfy!

Only $8.00 each!


3. We’ll be bringing our puzzle fundraiser! Check out all the details HERE.

Check out our progress so far!

We’ve sold 15 pieces so far! Hopefully we’ll be able to put a big dent in the puzzle tomorrow! (Ignore the chip in widget in the corner for now. I know it only says 10 but I can’t manually update it. After Parktacular, I’ll be creating a new graphic that I’ll update myself to show our progress)

I’m so excited  and can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow! Each big event like this brings us this much closer to Bringing Home our Baby Sister! Thank you so much for being a part of this amazing story God is writing in our lives!

Our First Two Puzzle Pieces Sold to Brian Taylor & Family!

First off, we would like to thank Brian & Jamie Taylor’s family for buying our first two puzzle pieces! I’m so excited! Sorry for the semi-blurry picture! Anyone who knows Mason knows what a typical 4 year old he is.  It was quite the adventure trying to get a decent picture where he was: 1) smiling, 2) not wiggling all over, and 3) holding the pieces so that I could (sort of) see them!

I’m also sooooo excited to say that, after starting a year ago, we should be finished with our home study this month!!! And no, it is absolutely not typical for a home study to take a year.  According to our agency, they should follow a 90-day track….oops… Ours took much, much longer for several reasons: we started our home study before we had decided on which international agency we would be using and before finalizing our country choice, we had several financial setbacks during all of this, but also we just let time get away from us! I can’t say how excited we are to being this close to done with the home study.

We have two appointments left with our social worker before she can draft up the home study. She’ll be coming to our home to do the quick home inspection on Monday, July 16th, and then we’ll have our individual interviews at the agency on Wednesday, July 18th. After that, we just have to wait for her to draft the actual home study document.

Once the home study is done, we can finish our dossier which is the paperwork we send to Russia. Our dossier is practically done as well, we just can’t send it in without the home study.  Chris and I have a couple more hours of adoption training to complete online, and then it’s a matter of signing and notarizing all the documents.  Then we send them to our agency, who forwards them to their coordinator in Russia, who then translates them all and tries to submit them to the Russia MOE (ministry of education).  If the paperwork is accepted and approved, we should receive an invitation to come to Russia and meet our little girl!!!!!

Once our paperwork reaches Russia, things may get a little tricky.  I’ve mentioned the tension that exists in Russia at the moment regarding international adoption, it’s just a matter of waiting to see how the situation plays out.  Russia and the US sat down together last July and wrote up a new treaty regarding international adoption after some controversial cases regarding Russian children adopted to the US.  The treaty was signed by both countries but it doesn’t take effect in Russia until it is ratified by the Russian Duma (parliament), which keeps getting postponed. The Duma’s last session was last Friday, July 6th.  In this session, they postponed the ratification until this week.  In the meantime, adoptions are processing really slowly at the moment.  Please pray with us that Baby Sister’s region will continue accepting registrations from American families while this is all going on so that we can get to her and get her home soon!

So, that is where we are at at the moment. This is why our puzzle fundraiser is so important to us right now. In order to receive the final draft of our home study, we need to pay for our post-placement visits.  Russia requires each adoptive family to submit four post-placement visits over the first few years that their adopted child comes home. Our agency charges $250 for each visit/report.  There’s $1,000.  In order to submit our dossier to our international agency, we need to pay our next installment of agency fees and foreign fees. That total is $2,500. So, we have at least $3,500 in adoption expenses coming up this month that we are working toward! If you feel led to do so, we would love your help getting our little girl home!

Please keep the prayers coming! We serve such an awesome God!


The Burrups

Six years ago today, I married my best friend. We have been so blessed over those six years.


He was my best friend six years ago, and he’s my best friend today. I couldn’t ask for a better husband and father for my children.  I’m so excited to see what life has in store for us for the next six (or sixty) years!

So, what exciting plans do we have to celebrate this momentous occasion?! Well, I’m so glad you asked! :) We are gearing up for some more fundraising! This week, we’ll be getting ready for PARKTACULAR! That’s right, Chris and I are running a fundraising booth at Parktacular next Sunday, July 15th.  What is Parktacular? Well, check out the details here: http://895ktsy.org/parktacular/ It is from noon-6pm at Settler’s Park in Meridian.


We’ll have a change jar to fill up for our spare change campaign,:

I’m also hoping to get some sewing done this week, so there may be some handmade things to be purchased….we’ll see. :) My sewing machine is broken and I’m using my mother-in-law’s at the moment. I think it might be too fancy for me…it’s really old and has lot of levers and knobs…

I think the most exciting thing we’ll be doing at Parktacular is…..A Puzzle Fundraiser! And guess what? We’re debuting this fundraiser on our blog today! So, even if you’re unable to get in on the Parktacular action, you can still be a part of this really cool project! Here’s how the puzzle fundraiser works: Chris and I purchased, and assembled, a 5oo piece puzzle of St. Basil’s Cathedral located in Red Square, Moscow.  It looks like this:

For every $10 that is donated, we’ll write your name on the back of a puzzle piece. When all the pieces are “purchased”, we will put the puzzle together and frame it between glass. It will hang in Baby Sister’s room and we’ll all be able to see the names of everyone who helped us bring her home.  Won’t you be a part of her story?

There are a couple of ways you can make your donation:

1. Use the chip-in (located on the right side bar) This money is deposited directly into our Paypal account. (Paypal takes out a small percentage for a processing fee.)

2. Send cash/check. (Please leave a comment with your email if you would like to mail us a check and I will email you our mailing address).

3. Come to Parktacular, Sunday, July 15th. The event is from noon-6pm at Settler’s Park in Meridian. Hope to see you there!

If you donate online, please be sure to make a note or comment on the blog with how many pieces you are purchasing and what names you would like on the pieces.  I can’t wait to get started! Be sure to check back soon for updates. I’ll post some progress pictures of our puzzle as we are able to put it together!

Don’t forget to come see us at Parktacular!



Just Checking In…

Since we’ve been awfully quiet lately, I figured I’d better check in with everybody and give you a little update on our process, as well as request some prayers. We’re still plugging away on the paperwork end of things.  We are still working on our home study and our dossier and hope to have them both finished by the end of June. (Keep your fingers crossed for us!)  My passport came in the mail today which is pretty exciting! Chris’s should be arriving in the next couple of days, and we’ve scheduled our next meeting with our home study case worker.

I’ve added two new pages up top. One is “Our Adoption Process”, which gives more details about our process and what all goes into this adoption. The second page is called “How Can You Help?” Check it out to see some ways you can be involved in our journey.

I know this isn’t a very exciting post, but we’re still just working on all the boring paperwork…

Lastly, I’d like to request some prayers. I don’t want to go into too much detail online, but the climate in Baby Sister’s region of her country has been pretty tense lately.  A new treaty regarding international adoption was created last year between her country and ours and the ratification of the treaty keeps being postponed.  In the meantime, her region hasn’t really been accepting any registrations from American families.  The treaty is now scheduled to be ratified at the end of the month.  Please pray that this takes place and things can move forward swiftly for families like us who are waiting to bring our precious children home.

Thanks everybody! And stay tuned…we have plans to announce another fundraising coming up soon! We’re hoping you’ll be able to help us put some pieces together… ;o)

So, here we are, thinking that we’re going on mission to Haiti with a group from our church, so why am I feeling so uneasy about it?


I’ll never forget the Sunday that Pastor Dave played the following video as part of his sermon. This video and song shook my whole world, and it stills brings tears to my eyes when I watch it. It seriously gives me chills. Please take a moment to watch it….betcha can’t guess which verses touched me the most! :)

After a prayerful week spent listening to God, Chris and I realized why we both felt a little unsettled about the Haiti mission.  A little voice kept whispering in my heart, “This is not your mission…this is not your mission.”  I knew that I wanted to go on a “mission”, and as soon as the word “mission” was said in church, I jumped all over it.  But, I had jumped on a mission that wasn’t mine.  It was then that I realized that, somewhere in the world, there was a little girl “with no family of her own” and she was waiting…waiting for her family to come get her and bring her home and love her for the rest of her life. She needed a mother and a father and two big brothers to be her family, and *that* was my mission.


God Blessed…

Chris and I talked with Jon, who was running the Haiti mission, and let him know that we would not be going to Haiti after all.  If we were going to be adopting, we decided that we would need to focus all our resources, financial and otherwise, into our adoption efforts.

About a month later, I was vegging out one night after the kids had gone to bed and I happened upon a blog. I had been checking my cousins’s blog, where I found a link to another blog, and another.  Somehow this chain reaction led me to her:

Meet “Anika”.  Just look at that beautiful little girl.  Someone had written a blog post advocating for Anika.  She was a waiting child in Eastern Europe who needed a forever family.  The girl who wrote the blog had a great idea.  She talked about the odds stacked against Anika, one of them being the huge amount that her adoption would cost.  She did not want this to be a factor that held her family back.  The blog encouraged everyone to host a “Love for Anika” party.  What is a “Love for Anika” party?  This:

“150 people [you!] have a get together in the month of May.
they invite 9 of their friends to have a night in instead of a night out.
each of those 9 friends [and you!] bring $20 to donate to Anika’s adoption fund.
150 parties x 10 people x 20 dollars = $30,000
Anika’s life spared from an institution & the hope of being part 
of a loving family simply because you shared her story & had
a fun night with your friends in her honor!”

Isn’t that such a neat idea!!!! I spent the rest of the evening doing more adoption research.  I learned that there are numerous grants available for families who want to adopt internationally.  I learned that many families get really creative with fundraising for their adoptions.  There are so many families out there, just like my family, who don’t have an extra $35,000 sitting in the bank, but who have enough love and space for another child.  They make it work! And if they can do it, why couldn’t we?

Chris was working late that night, but as soon as he got home I showed him her picture.  For days, she was all I could think about.  Finally, I said to Chris, “I want to be her mama.” His response floored me…he had been thinking the same thing!  The very next morning, we  emailed the organization that had Anika listed and found out how to get started.  In the meantime, we started looking at local adoption agencies so we could get started on our home study.

Several days later, we heard back from the agency that would facilitates Anika’s adoption.  She let us know the situation regarding Anika.  The region in her country where she lived would be closing for the summer and not accepting dossiers from new families until that September (this was in April). So, in order to adopt Anika before the summer closing, she needed a family who was “Home study ready” (either finalized or mostly done) and who would be able to get their dossier put together in just a couple weeks and be ready to travel soon. These were huge odds stacked against us.   There were also several families who had inquired about Anika, and the families were contacted in the order they inquired.

So, here’s how the story went: Family #1 was very excited to hear that several others were wanting to adopt Anika and were already in the process of adopting another child; Family #2 was having trouble finding a home study agency and wouldn’t be able to complete all the requirements in time; Family #3 (this seriously gives me chills, and I probably won’t get all the details right, but that’s ok :) )This family had seen Anika in the past and knew that she was meant to be their daughter, but ran into some bumps along the way. Their family size was considered too large by Anika’s region. When they saw her picture again, they were determined to make it work.  Their home study need a couple changes and tweaks, but they were already planning a mission trip to Anika’s region, and they were able to extend their trip to travel for Anika’s adoption. They were able to finalize their home study, get their dossier together in record time, get an exception regarding their family size, and Anika came home to her forever family in August!!!!!!

We were family #4.

…The Broken Road…

My heart was broken just a little.  It’s amazing how much you get attached to the thought of a person.  But, luckily, I was able to follow Anika’s journey on her family’s blog.  Their story was AMAZING! And had the fingerprints of God all over it. This was definitely her family. I felt so blessed to be a little bit of a witness to it.
So, a random evening surfing the internet led us to Anika…..Anika led us to an organization who advocates for waiting children in other countries…and that organization led us to…

Baby “Helen”.  Isn’t she a doll?! Helen is located in the same region as our Baby Sister and they share the same birth month and year, May 2010.  We were put in touch with Helen’s adoption agency and found out that several other families had also inquired about Helen.  Can’t blame them!  Helen ended up being adopted by a family local to her.  What a lucky little girl! She went home with her forever family in June 2010.

By now, we knew which country we felt lead to adopt from. We knew that we were looking for a little girl and what age range we were hoping for.  We had learned so much more about the international adoption process including that there are numerous grants that families can apply for to help with the cost, and all the fundraising options that are available.  We knew that if God really was calling us to adopt that it was definitely possible and, with Him on our side, we would make it a reality. We really liked the agency that would have facilitated Helen’s adoption, Hand in Hand International Adoption Agency.  We let them know our preferences and then sat back to do the hard part…..wait.

That Led Me Straight to You!

August 2011. Redfish weekend! Every year my family has a “Family Reunion that is NOT a Family Reunion” camping trip at Redfish Lake near Stanley, Idaho.  Chris, the kids, and I were on our way out of town for the weekend and I get an email from Hand in Hand.  Their coordinator in the region we were looking into had received referrals for two little girls who matched our preferences and we needed to let them know as soon as possible if we wanted to pursue the adoption of one of them.  It is such a weird feeling to read this in an email and to receive pictures of a child who may someday become your daughter…


And That is the Story of How We Met “Baby Sister.”

I could hardly think of anything else for the rest of the weekend.  We had not shared our adoption plans with our family yet, so I couldn’t tell anybody.  We prayed over it and when we came home, I emailed the agency and let them know that we wanted to adopt her.

Hopefully, and God-Willing, the rest will someday be history.

Phew! That took me awhile to get all down and organized. I hope you enjoyed reading my story :)  It is so incredible to me, and so reassuring, to see how God puts everything together. I can definitely feel His presence woven into the details of our journey so far, and can’t wait to see what He has in store for our family!

So, I know many of you out there have expressed curiosity as to our decision to adopt.  If the quick and simple question is: “Why Adoption?”, then the quick and simple answer is: “Because He said so!”  But, since we all know God is in the details, I’ve got a story for you! It might be a long one, so I recommend you take a quick potty break, grab a tasty beverage and/or snack and settle in for awhile with me…


From the time I was young, I remember always wanting to adopt. I love the thought of providing a warm and loving home and family to a child who might not otherwise have that chance. When Chris and I were dating and started discussing our future plans, we both knew we wanted kids.  I told him that I was hoping someday to adopt as well, and he loved the idea.  Mason came along shortly before our second wedding anniversary and we became pregnant with Silas shortly after Mason’s first birthday.  Mason and Silas are only 22 months apart and, now that they are 3 1/2 and almost 2, they are quickly becoming the best of friends.


I sometimes wonder if Silas had been a girl, if we wouldn’t have decided that two children were enough and been done.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore my two boys! I’ve learned to be enamored with trucks, airplanes, tractors, monsters, dinosaurs, camo, dirt, mud, etc, but our family will never be truly complete without a little girl in it. I’ve always thought of this as a not-so-subtle reminder from God that my daughter is out there somewhere, just waiting for us to come find her.

I don’t remember when we decided for certain that we wanted to pursue adoption for the next child in our family, but, knowing that the process could take up to a year, we decided to get started the fall after Silas’s first birthday.  At that time, we were still picturing ourselves adopting a newborn and we figured that would be a good age gap.  I began researching our options.  The idea of international adoption has always appealed to me.  There are so many orphaned children all over the world in need of a home and we are so lucky to live in such a great country.  We were definitely thrown for a loop once we discovered the cost of international adoption.  It was at that point that we decided that international adoption probably wouldn’t be a feasible route for our family. It just seemed impossible.


Choose Your Dream

Shortly after my husband and I started attending our church, Grace Bible Church, our pastor preached a sermon that resonated deep within me.  The message was about dreams that come from God.  Basically, Pastor Dave encouraged each of us to pursue a dream, or begin a new dream to further God’s Kingdom.  He discussed how to know whether a dream was from God, and really emphasized how amazing God is and that NOTHING is impossible or too big for God.   I remember squeezing Chris’s hand and whispering the word, “Mission!” to him several times during the course of the sermon.  I was so fired up! On the drive home, I told Chris that I already knew exactly what my dream was.  I have always, always, always wanted to go on a mission. I’d researched different types of missions before, but never really seriously pursued it, until…

We’re Going On Mission

It was probably six weeks later that Pastor Dave gave another sermon that really hit home with me.  It was the beginning of 2011 and he was relaying what he felt was God’s mission and purpose for our church for the year ahead.  It was toward the end of service when he told us the big kicker: our church would be sending a mission team to Haiti before the end of the summer! You should have seen me trying to sit still in my seat! My eyes shot over to Chris and he nodded at me, as if to say, “I’m one step ahead of you, babe.” I was awed at the timing of everything! We had a church class to attend that night and I remember sitting down with Pastor Dave beforehand and telling him that, if it were at all possible, I would be going on that mission. Weeks went by and Chris and I attended several meetings regarding the Haiti mission.



My Premier Designs Jewelry party fundraiser has officially closed! Let me say a big, HUGE thank you to all of you who came to the party and to those who couldn’t make it but submitted an order! We are so thankful for all of you who are so supportive of this endeavor! A million thank you’s again to Deanna for making this all happen! As soon as I find out the total, I’ll let you all know exactly how much money we raised! God is sooooo good!

Make sure you check back here Monday. I am planning to write a big blog post this weekend chronicling the story of how we chose this specific adoption route and the amazing way it all came together…Let’s just say it’s very evident that God’s hands have been moving in our lives over the past year.  It’s very amazing to feel so at peace with such a huge decision, and just absolutely wondrous to know that we’re doing exactly what we’re meant to be doing.

Have a great weekend!



As many of you know, we held our first adoption fundraiser this week!!! It went great!! I hosted a Premier Designs jewelry party at my house with Deanna Bartlett.  I first met Deanna about a year ago.   Her mom attends my church and invited me to a jewelry party at her home.  Since then, I’ve been invited to several Premier parties hosted by various friends from church, but I hadn’t attended one until several weeks ago when my friend, Anna, invited me to hers.  Knowing that we plan on hosting a silent auction fundraiser sometime in the future, I thought it would be a good idea to host my own jewelry party and use the free jewelry I would receive (which is a TON of jewelry when you have a Premier party) for our silent auction.  I scheduled a party with Deanna and inquired as to whether Premier did any sort of fundraising.  I told her about the adoption and she was super excited.  We decided to go for it and have an adoption fundraiser and Deanna donated 100% of her profits from our show to our adoption fund!!! I was over the moon excited and felt so blessed! Deanna is truly an angel!

There were about 15 guests in attendance at the party and we had a great time! So far, we’re up to almost $400 in our adoption fund strictly from jewelry sales, and we still have orders coming in! We are raffling off two certificates for $50 in free jewelry.  The first one went to Chanci, and the second winner will be announced once the party is closed next Wednesday.

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to attend! We appreciate you all so much and feel so blessed to be surrounded by such supportive friends and family! A special thank you to Deanna for donating her profits to our adoption! You are amazing!


That’s right! We have some news…and it’s BIG! Mason and Silas will soon be big brothers!

That’s right, we’re adopting! Due to privacy reasons, we’ll be referring to our little girl as “Baby Sister” until things are official.  Baby Sister will be 2 in May, which makes her just a few weeks younger than our Silas.  She lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, and, God-willing, she will soon be our daughter.  The process could take up to 9-12 months.

International adoption has been called a leap of faith, as well as a roller coaster ride. Many things could potentially happen between now and then, but we feel that this is the direction that God has called our family and we are following His lead the best that we can.

Stay tuned for more details on our family’s decision to adopt! We hope you’ll bookmark us and follow along on our journey to Baby Sister!

All our love,

Chris, Brandi, Mason & Silas

« Newer Posts