Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas in July!

We are selling Christmas ornaments to help a friend bring their boy home!  We sold them last year and they were a huge hit! Last year we did silver balls with the Positivity logo and this year's will be white balls with the Positivity logo! The ornaments are shatterproof and they are hand painted with love! There are 4 backgrounds-shiny, matte, sparkly, and slightly different sparkly!

Ornaments are $10 a piece. Shipping will be $5 for those that live out of state.  Your payment, through the chip in, is tax deductible.  YOU HAVE TO LEAVE A NOTE THAT TELLS ME YOU ARE PAYING FOR X NUMBER OF ORNAMENTS AND WHERE TO SHIP THEM.  When you click on the chip in, there is a place to write a note.  

Every time you look at your tree you will know you helped bring a very special little girl home to her family.  AND THAT IS IN THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS! THANK YOU SO SO MUCH! 

The team here at Positivity had a very different vision for these ornaments.  My husband, an artist, wanted them PERFECT. He wanted a stencil so they would all be just alike, have neat edges and very straight lines.  In my mind they were each a little different, rough around the edges, not perfectly symmetrical, but still BEAUTIFUL.  The kids we are reaching with Positivity are individuals.  These kids may be seen as a little rough around the edges.  But they are so beautiful and so deserving.  They are viewed as "imperfect", but they are perfect just the way they are.  And adoption is messy.  It isn't always straight lines and it looks different for every family.  

Guess who won?  Each of these ornaments is hand painted without a stencil or a pattern.  They are straight from our heart to yours.  Like the children they will help to bring home, they are not cookie cutter, but they are just as they are supposed to be.  We hope you love them and that they bring another level of meaning and joy to your Christmas!

Last year's ornament-

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Art Sale!

Come to Art Night in Downtown Northport and purchase all types of art to support the Hogeland family's adoption! The art sale will be located in front of Ander's Hardware and Ander's Toy Store. Bring the kids for a make & take art activity! Tell all your friends.  We are really excited about this. It will be an awesome time!  WE are still accepting art donations.  Just comment below and I will let you know where to send the art. Thank you!!

There will also be some of the artwork posted on the Facebook event page that will be available for pre-sale and shipped to your home if you are unable to come to the sale. 

419 Main Avenue, Northport, Alabama 35476
When: From 5-9 on August 2nd

Check out the Facebook event page-Hogeland Adoption Art Sale 

WE STILL NEED ART!!!  IF YOU ARE ADOPTED, HAVE ADOPTED, ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT ADOPTION, HAVE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT ADOPTION-MAKE SOME ART!! We really want art from kids.  Please, please have your kids paint, sculpt, take a picture, seriously-anything. anything the kids make. splatter paint. a thumb print. a crooked photograph. On canvas, on cardboard, on a toothbrush.  ANYTHING. :) ANY KIND OF ART!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yard Sale Success???

There are question marks after success for a reason. The yard sale definitely WAS a success. The question is-"how was it a success?". Let me explain...

Last year our yard sale made 2 grand. How insane is that? I know. So, we were not expecting to repeat that. But we were HOPING that we might get 1/2 that. I was reaching for One thousand, but then also setting a lower goal of at least $800.

We put an ad in the paper. Put it on Facebook. Put it on Craiglist. Blogged about it. We begged for donations and shoppers. Well, we got donations. Lots of awesome stuff came in! We are very very grateful for the donations. You can not have a yard sale without stuff to sell!

What we were missing was shoppers. We started out strong. Before 7 we had shoppers. We made $165 dollars in the first hour!!! This was going GREAT!!! Then by 8:30 we were done. Empty. Tumble weeds. No cars.

We had girls in sesame street costumes dancing by the street holding signs and still no one came. TONS of traffic drove by. But no one stopped.

But we were having fun. We were sitting in the air conditioning laughing, talking, eating dehydrated watermelon (you have to try this), and being silly. We had a really good time.

And I would say, total, about 15 people showed up. I knew probably 11 of them. I am very grateful for those that came. You really, truly, kept me from having a come apart. And you kept me laughing and smiling.

They also helped us pack up. At 11:30 we decided to call it quits. And we had a TON of stuff to repack and load up to haul off. Thankfully people stayed to help us. We are also extremely grateful for that. I do not know what we would have done without the help!

So, then I sit down to count the money. I am thinking MAYBE 250 dollars. Then take out the money for the ad, and all the gas it took to haul everything to and from. Maybe we would come out a little over 200 bucks.

Except that I counted to almost 400. And then we were given a check for 200!!!! I want to say who gave it but don't know if I should, so I will wait. So that put us at almost 600. Then my friend reminded me that some people had "ordered" stuff that will be paid through the chip in. That was just over $100 worth of stuff.

That puts our yard sale total at $700!!!!! WHAT???? How did that happen. Where did that money come from??? I have no idea. No clue. At all. But we are so incredibly thankful. I know I say that a lot. But we truly are. Grateful.

And we got a $250 dollar donation totally unrelated to the garage sale, but since it came in on garage sale day, I am counting it. That would put our total today at $950. I know that is cheating, but I am OK with it. :)

We are also going to be pulling all this stuff out in 3 weeks and having another sale at a different location. So, stay tuned. I'll update you on that ASAP!

Thank you so much to everyone who donated items, shared our links, told their friends, helped set up, helped at the sale, shopped at the sale, baked something, helped us pull it all down, and wished us well. We are grateful. We are much closer today than we were yesterday. And I can see the finish line up ahead. Please don't get tired of us now. WE ARE SO CLOSE!!! Thank you! We love you guys!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


In honor of our sweet girl's 5th birthday we are doing a big iPad GIVEAWAY!!! 4G 16gb value of $499! We are so grateful to be able to do this to help bring our daughter home!! You don't have to be local here.  We will ship anywhere in the United States, so spread the word far and wide please!  You also get a FREE entry (no purchase necessary here!!) for every time you share on your blog, twitter, pinterest, facebook, email, or a billboard in your neighborhood (only kidding about the billboard...sort of). Just be sure to comment below to let me know you shared so you can get those entries!   :)

Here is how it works-

One entry per each $5 donated, up to $25, then we start upping the entries.

$5 = 1 entry

$25 = 7 entries

$50 = 15 entries

$75 = 25 entries

$100 = 40 entries

 Please leave a comment that you are entering for the ipad! thanks!

You can also make checks out to Circle of Hope and mail your entries to:
Circle of Hope,
P.O. Box 4921
Huntsville, Alabama, 35815, 
*Specify Hogeland Ipad in the memo please!*

 WE WILL TAKE ENTRIES UNTIL MIDNIGHT ON AUGUST 14TH!!!  We will announce on August 15th by 10:00 am.  and we will be drawing using!


Happy 5th Birthday, Sweet Girl

Your child's 5th birthday is a big deal. 5 is one of those big, transitional numbers.  At 5 a child is BIG.  Today one of our children turns 5.  But there will be no cake.  no candles. certainly no presents.  no singing.  Her parents won't hug her and kiss her and lavish love on her to mark this momentous milestone.  In fact, her sister tells us she won't even know it is her birthday.

And my heart is broken today. Because I want to give her those things. I want her to know she is loved and wanted and that her birthday is a BIG deal to us. We are so grateful she was born.  But she doesn't know this.

We thought we would be there, in her country for her 4th birthday. We thought she would be home shortly after. This is what I wrote one year ago today-Happy Birthday! We also thought we would be over there immediately after this birthday.  Delays prevented that from happening.  And another birthday has passed and we are still apart.

Only about 6 to 7 more weeks until we can hold her in our arms.  But $8000 still separates us.  We have less than a month to knock down this wall.

I hate being "needy".  I hate asking, begging, for help.  I don't know what else to say that we haven't already said. The awful fact is we do need help. Lots of it. We need people to share our links with new eyes.  We need people to donate.  Our daughter needs help.  We need help to get to her.

I have been struggling even more than usual with all this, and I think a huge part of it has been looking at her birthday looming on the calendar.

Knowing she would be spending it without her family.

For V's 5th birthday would you consider sharing her story, donating if you haven't or have a few extra dollars. The video is at over 2500 views. If everyone who viewed it had donated less than $3.50 the fundraising would be finished. I am not saying that to make anyone feel guilty, but to remind everyone that every little bit REALLY TRULY does help. And right now we have a matching grant so your donation is doubled!

Could you give a little girl a BIG gift for her birthday-help her come home to her family who loves and wants her very much.? Thank you for your help.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


You guys, I am so excited to tell you that we have a $500 matching grant. We have one week to raise our Chip in to $9700 in order to receive the grant! One Week!!! Can you help us get there? Thank you guys so much. We are so close and I am trying so hard to remain calm and trust that this will all happen. This grant will help so much.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Help

We urgently need your help in bringing home our sweet "V" - less than 8 weeks until we travel to the orphanage and we are $8k short of what we need!


1. Make a tax-deductable online donation using the Chip-In button over there on the right side of this page. Credit cards and PayPal accepted. Checks can be mailed to Circle of Hope at the address under the Chip-In button.

2. Yard Sale!
We need donations and bargain hunters!
Sat 7/21 7 AM - 3 PM
Donations accepted Friday 5-8 PM and early Sat morning
LOCATION: Alabama Baseball Academy
3400 Oak Mountain State Park Rd. Pelham 35124
(Next to the entrance to Oak Mt. 2 miles from 119. If you turn at the Pizza Hut on 119, go 2 miles and it's on the right.)

3. Come check our FABULOUS & FUN online auction on facebook:

4. Shop at The Enchanted Cupboard where 25% of all July sales will be donated to our adoption fund!

5. Sunday, August 5 10 AM - 4 PM
Come out to Bang! Salon for "Hope Cuts" where Kate and another talented stylist will be doing discounted $25 hair cuts, walk-in only. ALL of the money will go to the adoption fund!
4213 Dolly Ridge Rd, Vestavia/Cahaba Heights AL 35243
(205) 970-6786

6. Donate to our upcoming Art Auction!
We need art! If you are adopted, are passionate about adoption, have adopted - make some art! We really want art from kids! Please, please have your kids paint, sculpt, take a picture, seriously - anything. Anything the kids make! Splatter paint. A thumb print. A crooked photograph. On canvas, on cardboard, on a toothbrush. ANYTHING. [:)] ANY KIND OF ART!!!

If you want to know where to send art comment below and I will email you. More info on this will be up in the next day!

Not necessary but we would love an index-card with the name and age of artist and anything else you or the artist might like to share. Thank you so much!

The art auction will be held the firstof August, more details to come very soon!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Hope Cuts

We are going to be doing a HOPE cuts!!! Two other very talented stylists, Hillary Blackwelder, Stephanie Hirsch, and myself will be doing cuts on August 5 from 10-4. All of the money will go to our adoption fund. We will not be taking appointments. There will be a sign in sheet and people will come in, sign up, and we will call you back. With all of us working it will go quickly and it will be a lot of fun!!  Cuts will be $25.  Cuts are normally $35. So come see us!!  And Please, please spread the word!

August 5 10-4 at
4213 Dolly Ridge Rd, Vestavia, AL 35243


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Number Crunching

People have asked a lot about the money involved in adoption. Where it goes, how people fundraise, how much it all costs. So,I thought I would break it down for you guys. This is our adoption. Each adoption and country is different. Home study agencies charge different fees, facilitators charge different fees, etc. This is THIS adoption as of this moment.

How much have we fundraised and how?

Offline Fundraisers-
Left from last adoption-$2500 (used 1K of this to pay promise trust to RR andwill get it back)
Memorial Day family fun day-$750
Birthday Blitz/6 for our 6th/Blendtec-$950
In person donations-$250

Fundraisers that are reflected in the Chip in-
31 Party-$134
Hope Suds-$174
Matching grants-$3000
Sez Me Photography-$750
Donors/Auction so far-2514.70

Reese's Rainbow FSP-

Total brought in so far-16,988

Spent so far-
Fee's from chip in-$219.70 (yes, i am an idiot. i thought there were not any!)
Background checks-$120
Mailing Documents-$417.00
Gasoline to get to Montgomery-$30
Translation fee-$500

Total brought in minus total spent so far-$13869.30

Fees we still have to pay based on last adoption-
Plane tickets for 2 trips for Dale, Kate, Seamus, Eva, and one way for V-$9100
In country food/transport/apartments-$5500
Facilitation Fee-$8500
V's Passport-$350
V's Visa-$230
V's medical-$110
Immigration fee-$720
Placement/readoption costs-$700

What we need minus what we have-$11,340.70

That is how we got it, where it has gone, and where it will go. I thought we needed a bit less than this.  But here it is laid out bare.  And this is based on our trip in Jan/Feb. So if prices have changed I might be a bit off.

Also, that is why the chip in shows a different number than we need-the cash and the RR money are not in there.  BUT "V" will have an oral surgery (just like the one Eva had) that costs about $2600 when she gets home.  We have to pay 1/2 up front so if we did happen to go over (seems like a looong shot right now) that is what the money would go towards and that would equal about the full chip in.

 So there ya go.  You all know I like to be transparent.


Our dossier was submitted today!!! This is huge!! Now we just wait on a travel date. NOW WE JUST WAIT ON A TRAVEL DATE!!!! WOWZA!!! WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!

Right now that timeline is about 7-8 weeks from submittal! Our bank needs AT LEAST 2 weeks to order the money we need to take (you need newer, nicer bills to exchange). That means we need about $8500 in 5-6 weeks. If you ever thought about donating, or sharing our video, or telling someone about us, please don't wait. We are so close now. The ONLY thing left is fundraising!

THANK YOU for sticking with us and helping us cross this finish line. We are so close to bringing our girl home!!!.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our Story

Here is a great video made by some awesome people-Lindely and Michael "Bear" Praytor with the help of Hunter films and a whole bunch of other awesome people. It tells our story pretty succinctly. If every person who watched this video donated 5 dollars and shared it, we would be funded in just a couple days. That is the truth. You don't have to be rich to make a difference. Just a couple dollars and the click of a button changes lives. And we are so grateful for every penny.

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UPDATE-WE ARE AT 1846 VIEWS ON THE VIDEO. IF EACH PERSON WHO VIEWED DONATED JUST 5 DOLLARS THAT WOULD EQUAL $9,230. People think that 5 dollars doesn't help. This powerfully illustrates that if each person does a little BIG thinks happen. The video has brought in about $2000 so far, for which we are EXTREMELY grateful!! THANK YOU!

Monday, July 9, 2012


IT IS TIME FOR OUR YARD SALE!!  We are in need of donations!!  Now is a great time to clean out those closets for a good cause!  We are running short on time so we have to get on this.  The yard sale will be on

LOCATION:ALABAMA BASEBALL ACADEMY- 3400 Oak Mountain State Park Rd. Pelham 35124
(right next to the entrance to Oak Mt.  2 miles from 119. If you turn at the Pizza Hut on 119, go 2 miles and its on the right)

We will also have a bake sale so if you would like to donate some baked goods that would be great as well.  And we will be selling water!  

You can bring your stuff Friday night. I will be there from 5-8:00 to receive donations. You can also come early Saturday to drop things off if you need to. 

And come on out Saturday prepared to shop! We will not be pricing items. Just know that what you give will be used to help a little girl come home to family, love, medical care, and HOPE!  

This is short notice so please help us spread the word quickly.  Thank you guys so so much!! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Enchanted Cupboard

The Enchanted Cupboard Etsy Shop is one of the coolest Etsy stores I have ever seen! She has generously offered to donate 25% of all her July sales to help bring V home! Seriously, you need to check her shop out!

Here is some info from her site

My items are intended to spark the imagination of young and young at heart. My natural toys are engaging and add a wonderment to any childhood. My cake toppers and other items for adults are meant to recapture the feeling of enchantment for one's own childhood.

~*~*All items made and ship from a smoke-free home*~*~

-Hand painted by the award winning Artist, Beccijo, let her creations enchant you •.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:•
As seen on: Nickelodeon's ParentsConnect,,,, , Fall/Winter 2011 issue of "The Knot Chicago", AOL's AisleDash, Little Acorn Learning, and more.

July 2012
Christmas in July
25% of my sales for July will be donated to The Hogeland family.
Help them give a little girl the best gift of all a forever home.

Find out more here:

You can stock up for Christmas, birthdays, or just a nice surprise! Thank you guys and HAPPY SHOPPING!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dossier is on the way!!!

I just got home from Montgomery where I had the last few documents apostilled and sent them on their way to EE!!  They are scheduled to arrive on Monday.  Because this is me we are talking about V's country happens to be on a 2 week summer break.  They open back up on July 16th.  I am hoping our dossier will be submitted just after they open back up.  Shipping our dossier was $172.12!!!!  That was a bit more than anticipated, but well worth it as long as they don't lose it!!

I am excited, but will feel better when our papers actually arrive and then even better when we are submitted!  But it feels so good to have ALL our papers off.  Today is a big day!!!

UPDATE 7-9-2012- Dossier has been signed for.  Now it will be translated and  we are hoping to be submitted on July 19th (that is the earliest possible date of submission due to the summer break)!.  Thoughts and prayers appreciated. Thanks!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


We got our fingerprints for USCIS done this morning!! We already have approval and are just updating. I sent everything to them today! So that part is almost done!

The big news is that the final copies of our home study arrived in the mail today!! This is huge! ALL the paperwork for our dossier is done now. I am getting up early tomorrow and driving it to Montgomery to be apostilled and putting it in the mail to EE!! It is taking about a week to submit and then about 4-5 weeks to be informed of a travel date. Travel dates right now are around 3-4 weeks later. Most likely we will be traveling in just about 2 months from now!!!

This is really exciting and really scary. As of right now we still have a good bit of fundraising to do. We are on our final expense for the first trip. To see what we have left check this out.

Our auction is still jumping and their are some amazing things up for bid!  Please check it out and tell your friends!  

Right now we are working towards our plane tickets for the first trip.  We are thinking they will be about $1300 round trip per person. That is what we paid last time.  So, that is what we are shooting for right now.  Once we have these tickets our first trip will be covered!  Yay!!!  Step by step we are getting closer thanks to you guys!  We are so so very grateful!!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Photo listings and Trolls

Photolisting. This is a hot word going around the adoption world right now. Some countries allow photos of children to be circulated in hopes a family will see a child and feel an instant connection. I know this feeling as I had it when I saw my girls. Other countries do not allow it. Some think that photolisting intrudes on their privacy. That is why we don't mention V's real name or her country.

I, as well as dozens of other adopting parents, have had some trolls complain about us putting up pictures of the children on our blogs. They have said that it is illegal. They have also actively tried to interrupt and prevent our adoptions. Let me repeat that for you-They have actively tried to interrupt and prevent our adoption and the adoptions of dozens of other families. It will not work because we are doing nothing wrong. But it shows the type of people we have been dealing with.

So, here is an answer to the questions about the legality of photo listing from our facilitator in the girl's country:

Recently there have been discussions on-line and in forums about the use of photo-listing to help **** orphans find a family. Some people are falsely claiming that it is against *** law to photo list children waiting to be adopted. They refer to Resolution # 905 from October 2008 as their basis. If they read and translate this entire resolution clearly, before making such claims, they would see that public advocacy for the adoption of orphans waiting to be adopted is actually encouraged, provided that the child’s name and location are protected.
Please, read below directly from **** Law, Resolution 905, paragraphs 46 and 47:
Пункт 46:
З метою заохочення громадян до усиновлення повідомлення про дітей можуть розміщуватися в засобах масової інформації, на офіційних веб-сайтах районних держадміністрацій, виконавчих органів міських, районних у містах рад, обласних держадміністрацій та Департаменту.
Paragraph 46:
In order to encourage citizens for adoption information about children may be posted in mass media, on official web-sites of district state administrations, executive organs of city/district in the cities/regional state administrations and the ***.
Пункт 47: Інформація про дітей, яка розміщується відповідно до п. 46 цього Порядку, може містити фотокартку дитини, відомості про її імя, вік, форму влаштування (без зазначення назви та адреси закладу, в якому перебуває дитина, прізвища, імені, по батькові, адреси прийомних батьків, батьків-вихователів, опікунів, піклувальників), наявність братів, сестер, їх вік та форму влаштування, особливі потреби дитини, а також контактні телефони та адресу служби у справах дітей, Департаменту, де можна отримати направлення для знайомства з дитиною.
Paragraph 47:
Information about children which is posted in accordance to paragraph 47 of this Resolution about procedure of adoption may include photo of the child, information like name, age, status (without name and address of establishment where the child is living, name and last name and address of foster parents, guardians, custodians, caregivers), presence of siblings, their age and status, special needs of the child, as well as contact telephone numbers and address of Children Service, the *** where it is possible to get referral for meeting with the child.
There is no misinterpretation possible of our law, which clearly PROMOTES careful advocacy for children who need adoptive families. There is no distinction between **** (domestic) or foreign adoptive families. There are many **** websites and ministries which do this, as well as foreign organizations. I have spoken to several **** attorneys, as well as the Prosecutor General, about this situation, and they all confirm that **** law promotes open advocacy for orphan children as long as their identifying information and location are protected.
Photo-listing is a very effective way to serve the orphans of ****. The children are posted in a general way, not at the request of a potential adoptive family (which IS illegal), but to help find a family for those children who are waiting. According to Privacy Law, publishing of “legal information” of the child is prohibited. “Legal information” of the child is considered to be court decree about termination of parental rights, social security number, etc. and/or other personal documents of the child including reason of abandonment, place of birth, etc. You will never see such detailed information in any photo listing, newspaper, etc. This is only available to the parents at their official appointment with the ***. Eligibility of the child, age, needs, medical information, personality are all legal and encouraged for permanent placement for the child.
In ***, the referral or “hold” on a child is only official once a dossier has been submitted/approved and parents have traveled for their appointment with the ***. There is no guarantee that you’ll 100% adopt this child because this child continues to be available for adoption, because anyone before you can come and legally adopt this child. . Every family wanting to adopt a child makes a written request to the *** to adopt this specific child (called CSP). The *** supports the implementation of this law fully by allowing families to request specific children (who meet the current criteria permitted, some special needs and over 5, with expansion of special needs list coming soon). If it was illegal to preselect children, the *** would never accept your petition and approve your adoption case. In the last 3 years, our facilitation team alone has processed more than 400 orphans in this exact manner. The *** cooperates fully for families requesting special needs, older children, and those met from legal hosting programs. Photo-listing of special needs kids has resulted in HUNDREDS of orphans to find families, which in previous 5 years (before 2006), very few were adopted in the old way of blind referral. The *** and **** officials recognize the value and effectiveness of photo listing, many of them find their families which would have not been possible on blind appointments.

We filled out the above mentioned papers called "Child Specific Petitions" and filed them with the government agency in our girl's country. If we could not preidentify a child there would be no document such as a CSP.

In addition, V is not just a picture. I have held her hand. My arms have been wrapped around her. I have heard her voice and she has heard mine. I have cupped her sweet chin in the palm of my hand and told her she is beautiful. I have seen her dance and sing and laugh.

We are going to this country in hopes to adopt her because she is a real person that we have met and fallen in love with. She is our daughter's best friend. Our girls lived together in extremely close quarters for years. So, just because they are not blood relatives does not mean they are not sisters.

We have gone to this country. We have adopted a child with FAS and HIV who is thriving. We know the risks, the hardships, the stresses involved in special needs adoption. We know that every time is different and that we are by no means experts. But we also know that the risks and difficulties are worth it.

I hope this clears some things up for the trolls who are so clearly very concerned about the best interests of the world's orphans (did the sarcasm come across enough there?). We will continue to do what we are doing and working to get to this sweet girl as fast as we possibly can while working within the laws of our country and hers.