‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gearing Up For The Next Orphanage Visit!

100 colored pencils at about 4 cents a piece.
Ok, I can't help it. I was at Target today to get household basics like trash bags, sponges, and the like. Someone on blogspot had mentioned big sales currently at Target for toys and things, so I thought I'd just take a look while I was there. In the end, the toys were actually not on sale at my area store, but what they did have was awesome! I scrounged the clearance aisle and found bulk pencils for sale, colorful erasers, heart-shaped notepads, ultra mini soccer balls and baseballs,sports theme notebooks, and such.

Soooooo cheap!

 I was able to buy something for every single child at the orphanage for UNDER TEN DOLLARS! Yes, that is $10 spent for 100 children! Can't beat that!

Heart-shaped erasers, at about  3 cents a piece!

So, I think I'm going to become an obsessive bargain hunter. If I can find savings like every week before I go back, I'll be so happy! I can see how serial shoppers get addicted to bargain hunting. I've never been much of a shopper, but that has changed since my last trip to Siberia. If I can find inexpensive items I can afford to buy for the kids, I  get a feeling of utter elation.
Little notebooks for the boys at less than 5 cents a piece!!!!


So my new weekend hobby will be ultra-bargain hunting for the kids. I know, I know, my financial priority right nowmust be Daniel's adoption. But I vowed years ago to always give at least 10% of my earnings to charity. (Last year I managed over 25%! ) But, c'mon folks, who could find fault in my spending just $20-30 a week on these types of little gifts for the children? It's almost a waste of money NOT to buy them! I know how happy they will be at receiving these little gifts. It is a very small price to pay to witness their joy.

And did I mention that my gently-used 'American Girl Doll' Drive is coming along? These dolls are so well made, they will withstand years of wear and tear at the orphanage. Several people tried to caution me that I wouldn't get any donations as the dolls are so expensive, but here are the ones I've received so far! I can fit a dozen in my suitcase. And there are exactly twelve girls between the ages of 7 and 10. I hope to hand deliver each of these into their arms next month:)


Finally, I am cooking up a plan that you could be a part of! When I hosted Dasha through NHFC, they had this amazing project where families could fill a gallon sized ziploc freezer bag with goodies for a particular child, and they would hand deliver it and take a photo. Of course they did this as a fundraiser & charged a hefty fee, but I'm not a non-profit (yet!) and I would simply do this as a way to both help the kids feel special and give anyone out there reading this a chance to connect with a child and do something special just for them!

I plan to leave between February 26th and 28th, if all goes well. If you'd like to fill a bag for a particular child, let me know and I will send you my address. You can fill it, label it, and send it to me through the mail, and I'll see that it gets to your child. I'll post details in a week or two. I'm guessing I can fit 20-25 gallon bags in a large suitcase.

Nite everyone. I've got piles of adoption work in front of me! This blog break is over!

31 comments:

  1. hi - i can't remember how i happened upon your blog a while ago, but i would like to send a bag or two. i'm mom to two russian-born daughters, and two sons-of-my-heart who did not get to come home. i left two huge chunks of my heart in both ends of russia, and would count it a privilege to be able to touch the lives of one or two children. only wish i could do more. please email me at votemom at yahoo dot com. thanks!

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  2. Hi Kerri

    I was wondering what the name of the little girl who was sick at one point was. You featured her in one of your posts from Siberia, and had mentioned that she was in the hospital the first time you visited the orphanage (I think!). I was hoping to get her name/age and try and put together some things for her.

    Thanks so much!

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  3. I would love to take part in your baggy drive! I'll be watching for the address and more info. I am a teacher and have a TEAM of students that I meet with daily as their adviser. This would be a fun and worthwhile activity to fill some large baggies for some wonderful kids.

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  4. Kelly, That is Polina! Honestly, if she did not have 3 older brothers, I'm sure I'd be adopting her too. I just know that four more is not something I could handle as a single mom. I pray often for her and her brothers. I hope I can help to find them a family by the end of the year!

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  5. Keri, I will be happy to send a ziploc bag for Rosa! My email is mrbrent622@yahoo.com. I am happy to see you found some things at Target. I went back to see what else was there...and the shelves were wiped clean. I am so glad we happened to be there the day they marked down the items and were able to find what we did. I should have those shipped by the end of the week. Best to you and send me your address when you have a chance and I will send my bag!
    Mary Rae Moore

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  6. I am so excited to hear you are going back! This time I won't be leaving for China for 2 new kids and hope to stay in touch with you both before you leave and during the trip. I definitely want to send some pictures of Christina, gifts, and money also. I can't wait to follow along. Blessings and hugs to you and Nastia with hugs sent across the ocean for your other children!

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  7. Hi Keri, Count me in on the zip lock bag project! Mary

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  8. What a nice idea!

    I remember becoming an obsessive bargain hunter before all our trips, for the same reason! And, also I loved giving nice gifts to the caregivers and orphanage staff.

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  9. Klaire and I want to do a bag! Please e-mail with sex/age of child! kollis22@hotmail.com. I would love to do this.

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  10. We'll take Christina!

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  11. I am a lurker, but I am going to de-lurk to say hi and I would love to take a Genya (from this post). How old is she? I am also a member of a group of moms and I am going to post the idea on our message board and see if I can get some of them to participate as well.

    My e-mail: anjul.of.grace@gmail.com

    So excited to help you with these gorgeous children.

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  12. We would love to do one!

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  13. Keri - I found your blog one day this past August when you were getting ready to head out on your trip. It was late at night and I forgot to write down the address. All of this time I have wanted to get back to your page and I finally happened upon it again last night. The timing is perfect since I feel led to contribute to this project you are heading up. I would love to stuff a few bags for you to take with you. I will stuff one for Elena, one for Sasha (the little boy), and a couple others for whoever you choose. Do you want just toys in the bags or are the children in need of clothes and hygiene items also? Please let me know (ashley.berdine@gmail.com) Thanks for taking on this project and I look forward to continuing to follow your journey.

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  16. Gosh, your baggies are filling up fast!! We'd like to do 4--one for each bigger kiddo to fill. Could you email if they should be girl or boy bags and possibly ages of the children?


    My email is:
    jamiejo99 AT gmail.com
    (no spaces and use that little @ sign)

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  17. I would also like to do a bag. We just got home 2 weeks ago with our own 5 year old Siberian princess and it would be wonderful to send something to a child over there. Please email me with the age/name/gender of a child and I will send you a bag too.
    amatoangel@yahoo.com

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  19. Hi Keri,

    I would love to help. I'd like to do 2 bags if I could. What about sending a pair of pj's for a child if it would fit in a gallon size bag? I read a post that you wrote about most kids going to sleep in their underwear because they just don't have pajamas. As a mother of a 3 year old little girl, that image made me want to cry. I can't imagine a little one going to sleep and not being warm.

    So I thought I'd stick with the younger ones (smaller pjs to pack :) if you think that's an ok idea. Maybe one girl and boy? Please specify ages.

    Thanks!
    Melissa

    melissapurtell@verizon.net


    Please specify gender/age.

    Thanks
    Melissa

    melissapurtell@verizon.net

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  20. Keri, if you don't think pj's would fit into the ziplocks, maybe there could be a pajama drive down the road, if you think they would be a good idea (I am with Melissa about wanting the kids to be cozy in bed, but i also remember you said the kids, even the little ones, wash their own clothes in the sink! I would hate to add more wash work for them if pj's are not common in their culture. . .) We would be so happy to donate pj's!

    And I applaud your idea of keeping your eye out for good prices on gifts year round--that is what I do for stocking Operation CHristmas Child shoeboxes. I just keep a tub in storage and keep adding to it over the year, getting things just like you have pictured.

    I would love to put together a bag for a child. I am learning towards Ksusha (is that her name? teen girl you shared a bit about), and would love to know if there are personal care items that would be appreciated by a teen in her situation. But if she has already been "claimed" then please just give me another name! My heart is breaking for the older ones, who are nearing the end of childhood--would love to show one of them some love. : ) blesseday at gmail dot com.

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  21. I'm posting information about the American Girl doll drive on a american girl collectors message board I'm on. They support things like this. So you might get your 4 dolls easily in the next couple weeks. ;-)

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  22. I have a couple more volunteers, so the total now is as follows:

    Boy: 1
    Girl: 1
    Unspecified: 9

    anjul.of.grace@gmail.com

    (I deleted all of my previous comments so as not to confuse you!)

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  23. Oh, and of course, Genya for me. :)

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  24. Keri - when shopping Target check right after any type of holiday. The items you showed from th $1 Spot will usually go to 30%, then 50%, then 75% off. Most I've found is 90% but there are usually very few items left at that point. Also always shop the end caps in the toy and other departments. If you just walk through there may be one week you don't see any deals but another week you see a ton. I've already started my Toys for Tots and Operation Shoebox purchases for this year and many of the items for the shoeboxes were just $.25. I LOVE Target!

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  25. I would love to fill 2 or more baggies. I would love to fill one for a little girl (I have two daughters) and then assign me at least one more of your choice. I read your blog every day and have been moved to tears on many an occasion. This is a wonderful idea. Leesa
    lspitler@yahoo.com

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  26. Hi Kerri, I would love to do the zip lock project! We just completed our third Russian adoption 4 weeks ago tomorrow and I would love to send a child a bag. My email is sarahwalkersage@yahoo.com. Thanks!

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  27. Hi could you pm at moon-babies@hotmail.com..id like to see if I can get some american girl clothes sent to you..thanks..

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  28. Keri count me in! I'll send you and email, please reply with your address!

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  29. I would like to participate in your ziplock bag project. My email is judicook@me.com

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  30. I'd love to make a bag for someone :) this is a great idea. Please email me at Ashley (dot) TOBIE (at) gmail (dot) com. I can do two- one for a boy and one for a girl. I have a heart for older children. Please tell me the ages I should buy for and their names if you have specific children in mind.

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