Become a "Jar Head" with a Penny Jar Shirt. All the cool kids are doing it!

That's right... get a Penny Jar shirt and you too can become an official "Jar Head"! Click the drop down in the shopping cart to select your sizes.  Shirts are $25 each [including shipping]. When you purchase a Penny Jar t-shirt you fill a jar, bringing us one jar closer to bringing our kids home!


3 months waiting...

Another month has gone by and no phone call. That's ok because I am really not expecting it anytime real soon. It takes awhile. But, it still could be any day!

I was looking at the Penny Jar Project funds and got excited about the jars coming in. Just in the past four months we have raised over $ 1700.oo with pennies! That is pretty cool! We only need about $17,000.00 more (not including travel costs). We have raised over $5000 so far. We are applying for grants and working on some fundraising events for next year. We want to say thank you to everyone who has donated a "jar" or two or lots more. We appreciate you all more than you could ever know. We know God will provide every penny that is needed for our kids to come home. THANKS EVERYONE!

Also, I realized that it has been one year since we started our adoption process. We applied for our adoption through Gladney in December. We decided to adopt in November of last year. I can't believe how fast time goes by. We will have our babies in our arms before we know it. We can't wait! I think about them every single day; how old will they be, girls or boys, what will they look like, are they ready for us to come get them, am I ready for four kids, how will they adapt to our family, and so many other thoughts. Every single thing I do during the day I think about doing it with four kids. I can't wait!

Oh, and by the way we are #6 on the waiting list for sibblings. We were #10 last month. There were 8 referrals just last month with Gladney. The list is moving fast. It could be any day!

Well, that is all for today. I have four kids over my house right now (good practice) and need to get off the computer. :)

(look at the 3 month picture good because the kids made it and it tells a little story)


Lessons about Ethiopia and the culture...

I am sitting at home sick right now all by myself. The kids are at a friends house and Scott is, you guessed it, working. Note: it's 7:40pm. Sick, by myself, what do I do? So, I got out our Hague Training videos we are to watch before we travel to get our kids. We also have to take a quiz online when we are done. I watched two videos so far and they are each two hours long.
The first video was about attachment and bonding. It was interesting and informative because we will be going through that soon, I hope. I do pray that our kids will bond with our family quickly and without much trouble. But, I would be silly to think there would not be some struggle in the process. On the video they make you take an "adult attachment" quiz. I praise the Lord for my mom who loves me the way she does and therefore I don't have a problem with attachment. And I think my kids have a very healthy love in our home already.

So, the six things they said to watch out for are: 1)fails to make eye contact, 2) may be stiff when you hold them, 3) very friendly to strangers, 4)doesn't ask for help or comfort, 5) has an increased tolerance for pain (because there is not anyone to run to when they get hurt), and 6) may be unkind to animals (because they don't have pets, they only have watch dogs that are mean).
Now I will explain some of the culture differences that explain the above a little more.
1) Faith and Family are key to them. They are very traditional in everything they do. The family is very close-knit and extended family and/or even other families live together in one space.
2) Respect and Humility - they are taught to be very respectful to the elders and really anyone. They would never interrupt a conversation between two adults. (imagine that) With the elderly they bow and shake hands and with friends (either gender) they give four kisses per check. They will not give you eye contact because it is considered disrespectful to look into someones eyes.
3) The gender roles are different. The man is the dominant bread winner and would never be caught doing any house hold chores. (So, if I get a boy I have some teaching to do :)
4) They don't date, ever. Most marriages are arranged. I am for that!
5) Religion - they are very religious and may attend church daily. They fast often. They are either Christian or Muslim.
6) Race and Color - they do not see themselves as inferior in any way. They wouldn't understand any racial issues we have here in America.
7) They are used to a structured life-style. They want guidelines.
8) Hair and Skin care - they need a moisturizing shampoo but only about once a week. Braids are best for the girls when they are little. They will need education on brushing teeth and proper hygiene.
9) Safety - they are not used to the things we have in our home like ovens, irons, etc. that could harm them. So we need to teach all of that right away. And they don't know a stranger, so we need to teach "stranger rules" right away. And they don't know boundaries. They would wonder off and come back when they are ready. That could cause some stress on us.
10) And the last for now...Food - that is a big change for them. They have very spicy food and a totally different texture. They also use their hands to eat. We have already experienced the food when we went to the Ethiopian restaurant in OK City this summer. It's "different", but I did eat it. It is an acquired taste for sure. Looks yummy, huh!!!
Well, there is so much more to learn. We are learning as we sit and wait on our phone call from Gladney. Wait, wait, and wait some more. We have a lot of waiting to do since we are only 2 months into the waiting process.


Orphan Sunday - November is Adoption Awareness Month

Orphan Sunday from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

2 Months Waiting

Well, it has been 2 1/2 months now waiting. I have been so busy with school and work and church that I have not had time to update. We have not heard any word on our adoption, but that is expected right now. But, God is doing so many great things all around us with adoption. We have some friends who are leaving this week to go get their 3 children from Africa. And some other friends getting their baby boy, Silas, very soon. I love that others all around us have a heart for adoption also. There are so many orphans that are waiting for their forever families. Our kids are out there waiting too. They have no idea how much we already love them and can't wait for them to come home. We are number 9 on the "unofficial" waiting list. Someone has put together a list of everyone adopting from Gladney with what age child(ren) they are waiting for right now and where they are in the process, etc. And out of all who are waiting for a sibling group like us, we are the ninth on the list. We still have no idea how long that will take to move up the list. But, God knows the exact date that we will hold our children in our arms!


One Month and counting...

We have been waiting one month now. It flew by so fast. Ever since we have been placed on the official waiting list for our adoption I can't stop thinking about that phone call that could come at any time. Although, I have been so busy that this month really did go fast and it made me realize how fast this time will go by just waiting. I am also reminded that God is in complete control of the time that is perfect for us to bring our kids home. I constantly think about the details and possibilities: what ages the kids might be, where they are right now and what are they doing, what they will look like, will they be boys or girls, are they ready for their forever family to come and bring them home, are they happy and safe, will they understand our language or speak it...so many questions going through my mind all day long. The kids talk about their brothers/sisters all the time also. They can't wait! But, for now, it is like being pregnant and dreaming of the day they arrive. We need this time to prepare for them to come home, finish all the details of the adoption process and raise the funds to complete the adoption. Our plan is to take Sophia and Silas with us to Ethiopia when we pick up the kids, so we are trying to raise enough money for that too. My mom might try to come also and help us with our 4 children while in Ethiopia.

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." John 14:18
God did not leave us as orphans, He adopted me and my family into His kingdom as His children. Therefore, we are adopting our children into our family so they may be adopted into His kingdom one day. What a blessing it is to be walking with the Lord in His journey!


They are getting TOO BIG! Kids "school pictures"

Here are the latest pictures of my awesome kids...

Sophia Rose is now 8 years old. She is such a beautiful young lady

Silas Jaxon is my handsome little man. He will be 6 years old next month. Wow!
My kids are just getting too big. These are the picture we took one day when they got some new school clothes for their birthdays. We just said these would be the "school pictures" this year. I will be taking more later this fall.


The WAIT begins...

We are OFFICIALLY on the WAITING LIST for our children in Ethiopia as of August 26, 2009. We got the email yesterday on the way to Tennessee. We are so glad to be to this point in our journey. This is all becoming so real to us now. Our friends at church Sarah and Johnathan just got their referral on Tuesday night. I was with them and got to video tape the news. I was in tears as I watched them get their news of their new baby boy. I can't wait until we get our phone call like that. They can't tell us how long our wait is for siblings. We are waiting for two siblings or cousins ages 5 years old and younger. So, the wait begins...


OUR children are waiting for us to come get them!

When I watch this video and others like it my heart swells. I feel love for every one of those beautiful children, all 4.8 million of them. Two of those children in Ethiopia are ours and waiting for us to love them, feed them, play with them, teach them, and just hold them. They are yearning for a family and I can't wait to give them that. My arms can't wait to hold them and my eyes can't wait to see their smile.
As Christians we are all in some way responsible to meet the needs of the orphans and widows. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 So that makes me think, what is OUR role? We are bringing two home soon. What can YOU do? Whatever God leads you to do; pray, give, serve, help, feed, educate, or adopt. There are so many ways we can help these children in Ethiopia have hope. That is why we want to extend the Penny Jar Project to go beyond our adoption and help others to adopt or help a certain orphanage. We don't know yet what God has planned for the Penny Jar Project, but we know it doesn't end with us and our adoption. Please watch this video and them pray for these children.
This video is from Children's Hope Chest...


Penny Jars Coming In...

We have Penny Jars coming in all the time now. It is so fun to see them coming to us on paypal and people just handing jars to us. Today I had one of my students in swim lessons (3 years old) hand me a bag of pennies for the Penny Jar Project. It was so sweet and so cute! Thanks Savannah! And thank you to EVERYONE who has given us their jars so far. Please don't forget to take a picture of yourself (kids) holding the jar and send it to Scott on the http://www.pennyjarproject.com/PJP/Welcome.html website. We have to pay our next big chuck of money for the adoption this month, so if you have your Penny Jar ready send it our way. Our family is going to go door to door in our neighborhood to see if anyone has some change and see how much we can get that way. We are trying to think of creative ways to do the Jars. If you have any other ideas send them our way. Thanks again! The Penny Jar Project Rocks!!!!!!!

Gladney Approved!!!!!!!

We are officially Gladney Approved as of July 9, 2009. That means we are approved to adopt a child(ren) from Ethiopia. Our dossier (foreign paperwork) is almost complete. All we have left to get is our CIS approval letter (after we get our fingerprints done). That is exciting news. We are so excited to be done with the paperwork part of our journey. It took us 7.5 months to complete the paperwork. Soon we will be on the waiting list for our kids in Ethiopia. We can't wait for that. I can't tell you how much we already love these children. We always tell people that we have four kids, but two are in Ethiopia waiting to come home. God knows the exact time that we will hold our kids for the first time and not a moment sooner. That is what we are holding on to right now. We want them home now, but we are patiently waiting on God's perfect timing. Keep up the praying! We feel all your prayers daily, thanks! We will keep you posted.


Our Website is up and running now...

Check out the Penny Jar Project website. It is up and running. You can donate your pennies now on the site. Don't forget to take a picture of you and/or your family after you have filled your jars! We want pictures. Everything is explained on the site.



Yard Sale Results

We had a great yard sale to start the fundraising for our adoption. And we also launched The Penny Jar Project and everyone loved the idea. We even had some people at the yard sale give us a "jar" ($10 gift)! We raised over $1800!!!!!!!!! Thank you to all who helped with the sale. And a special thank you to my wonderful in-laws for hosting this at their house. Marilyn worked so hard to get this done for us. Thanks Marilyn! And thanks to everyone who came out to support us. We are still moving right along in our final paperwork and will soon be on a waiting list for our babies! I will add pictures as soon as I get them from my mom.


Introducing the Penny Jar Project!

Like all families considering adoption, the daunting question of finances loomed over Toni and I like an impending storm cloud. There was never much conversation about whether we could afford $25,000 or not. In fact, the only sound you would’ve heard when that amount was mentioned was a collective snicker. And yet, we knew God had led us to this decision. I began researching all of the possible financial aids. Grants. Loans. Credit Cards. Tax Credits. There are many great organizations ready to assist families looking to adopt once the home study is complete. So I bookmarked the sites that I would eventually come back to and we waited for our home study…

 I should mention here that I have an entrepreneurial spirit. At least that’s what I would call it. My wife would just call me a hopeless dreamer. But somewhere between the bookmarks and the home study, probably over a good cup of coffee, I got the idea to start filling Penny Jars. I know… genius, right?

 The Penny Jar Project was birthed from a desire to include our children in the financial process. We pray as a family every night for the adoption. Sophia and Silas pray this prayer; “God, we pray for the adoption; for the kids, for the paperwork, for their salvations and purity, and for the money.” Sincere as it is, it occurred to me that they had no idea how much money it would cost, or the sacrifices it would take unless they too contributed. Hence the penny jars. My recollection of past penny jars was that a full jar equated to approximately ten dollars. Unless of course your whole jar was full of bills, in which case you were much better at saving than I.

 So… $25,000.00 / $10.00 = 2,500 jars… Suddenly the ugly, grey storm cloud that loomed began to seem less intimidating. 2,500 jars are attainable. Not simply by my family, of course. This would require the collaboration of many. Those we already know, and hopefully many more that we don’t. Compassionate people with a heart for helping children. Children who, unfortunately, face nearly insurmountable odds to merely survive past the age of five without being rescued. People that can spare their loose change or small bills for a month or two. Friends who believe with us, that ten dollars is a small sacrifice to save a life. Friends desiring to share in our journey to adoption.

 2500 friends to be more specific. Friends that we have affectionately termed, “Jarheads”.

So, here's what you do... 

1 / Fill it! Pick a jar from home and fill it. 

2 / Snap it! When it's full, take a picture of yourself (or family) with your jar and upload it to www.pennyjarproject.com. 

3 / Give it! Then count the change and donate that amount via paypal. 

Thanks. The Kingsbury's



Our Angels in Africa Fundraiser
Adoption Yard Sale / Bake Sale and more...
When: May 15-16
Where: 512 Tyler Ct. White House, TN
(Mike and Marilyn Kingsbury's home)
What Time: 8-4

Thank you to everyone who has already donated (even some from Michigan). We will have all kinds of items and some great baked goods also. The kids will be doing a lemonade stand too. If anyone else has anything they want to donate please email me at tonikingsbury@cox.net . I will be bringing some things from Oklahoma with me too. I will fit as much as I can in my van. For those in Oklahoma, I will be having a yard sale at our new house too if you want to donate. Thanks again for everyone's help. And, if you would like to help in any way we will need LOTS of hands to help! Please come out and help us bring our babies home from Ethiopia.


A Thunder-Snow in March

Well, here in Oklahoma we have what they call "Thunder-Snows"! It is a snow storm with thunder and lightning. Go figure! Crazy weather! It started with thunder, lightning and heavy rain this morning and then turned into heavy snow fast. And now we have about 6 inches and it is still coming down very hard. Here are some pictures of the kids having fun in the very heavy thick SNOW.

We have leaves and snow on the trees at the same time...

Sophia had some friends over last night and they wanted to play outside. They got so wet fast!

Well, we had fun in our Thunder-Snow today!


We adopted a new member to our family today, Fluffy.

Yes, we got another pet. We got a guinea pig today named Fluffy. Sophia has been saving up her money to get a hamster. They lady at the store said that the hamsters were harder to hold and they bite a little. So then we looked at the guinea pigs. They cost $20 more than the hamsters so that would mean we have to pitch in some money. Sophia was going to get the cage and everything. Well, guinea pigs are bigger and need bigger cages. So, you guessed it, we pitched in a lot more than we planned. Anyway, he is cute and cuddly.

So far, Chester (our cat) sniffed him out and then has left him alone. Lucy (our dog) doesn't care.

She is so proud of little Fluffy. He is about 4 weeks old. They say he could live about 7 years. I never had one live that long. But, she is planning the next 7 years out with Fluffy. So cute!

Fluffy has made himself right at home and went to the bathroom on our bed already. Yes, Fluffy was on our bed with the kids already.


My mom is taking pictures for a cause...

My mom and dad live in Michigan. My mom loves to take pictures and alway has as long as I can remember. She has been doing photo shoots for years for family and friends. Now she has decided to help us bring our child(ren) home from Ethiopia with her talent. Here is what she posted on Facebook.

"I'm taking appointments for photo shoots of families, couples & children, etc. from Spring thru Fall 2009. $100 for 1 to 2 hours at a park or my backyard gardens, with change of clothing if desired. You will receive 1 or 2 CD's with 100 to 200+ digital photographs, some enhanced with special effects. 100% of the cost will go towards a fund raiser to help my daughter and her family adopt a child (or two children) from Ethiopia. There is a sample album uploaded, that includes pictures of Toni & Scott and their children, Sophia (7) and Silas (5). Please help me to help them bring their precious child(ren) home from Africa. Contact me on FB (Nancy Rudnik) or email for an appointment. I'm looking forward to working with you. May God bless you.More photos and information on my Kodak website - http://www.kodakgallery.com/nansplace ."

So, if you live in Michigan and want your pictures done, here is a great way to help us too. Even if you don't live by her, you can still enjoy many pictures of my family on her website. She is very talented and loves what she does. Here are some samples:


On hold!

We are on hold right now with the adoption process. We are still waiting to see if we are going to be moving or not before we can complete our home study. The home study is a big step in the adoption process and until we can get that done we are on hold. Gladney is our adoption agency and they are ready when we are to complete it. We will know by March 23rd if we are moving or not and then we can move forward with our home study. Yea!
Also, on a conference call today with the Ethiopian team at Gladney I learned a few things. The wait time for our home study paperwork to be completed will be 4-8 weeks after the actual study. Then there are still many other details that need to be in place before we are placed on a waiting list. And, once we are on a waiting list the wait is about 6 months average right now in Ethiopia. Then when we accept a referral it is another 4-6 months before we can bring the child/children home. This puts this into a little more of a "real time" for all of us. I just wanted to share that with all of you. We pray daily for these children and can't wait to meet them.


Our house...maybe

Well, we were going to close on our new house today. That is not going to happen now. In fact, we may not even get the house now. The loan is approved and ready to close except for one important detail. The bank wants us to pay off the rental until June when our lease is up or have a renter with a contract. Well, this is new to us in the last couple of days as far as the "paying off the rental contract" goes. And we, along with many other people, are trying to find a renter. We have had some people come through the house and even apply for the rental but then changed their minds. So, today is closing day and nothing is happening. We extended our contract until next Friday, so there is still a chance to get this done. Right now, Scott and I are just ready for all this to be over either way. I will keep you all posted.


We are finally blogging!

Well, I started this blog in MI over Christmas and now I am only writing my second post. The reason I have taken so long is because I have been knee deep in adoption paperwork since we got back from Christmas break. I have a small break in the paperwork until we do our home study next month. So, the latest on what is happening is: #1 we are buying a house and closing next week, #2 we are waiting until we get into the new house until we can do our home study for the adoption, #3 we are still working on our dossier (Ethiopia paperwork) and #4 we are trying to keep up with all our daily activities in the middle of all this. But that is all!