Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Year End Opportunity

As you reflect on your Christmas and year-end giving, we would like to ask you to consider a financial gift to Village to Village Intl. 

Did you know that Village to Village Intl. does not take an administrative fee from any donation?  From our inception, over two years ago, we have been committed to 100% of every donation going toward the givers intended purpose.

I think the following thank you note, from one of our families to an anonymous donor, illustrates why we are committed to continue with our 100% pledge.

To the person who touched my heart today,
I am trying to find the words to express my gratitude…I am still in awe of your generosity!  When I was told I received a $2,000 donation from someone I didn’t even know, I literally began to cry…right there while I was at work!  I was told that you wished to remain anonymous & I respect that; however, I had to let you know how grateful I am for your incredibly generous gift!   The impact goes far beyond financial…it is just another confirmation that God does hear our prayers & He answers them in the most amazing ways!  Your gift is life-changing…for my future daughter & for our entire family.  I can’t thank you enough for being part of our adoption journey & our faith walk. 
Thank you for blessing our family!
As you all know, there are expenses to run an organization.  We are committed to operate Village to Village Intl. as lean as possible in order to bless more children worldwide, however, we cannot ignore our need for operating expenses.  Some of our on-going expenses are:  insurance, web hosting, web domain registration, email marketing, staff, marketing, etc.  Your year-end gift will allow us to continue to do what we are doing to help children all over the world as well as help us to maintain our 100% pledge.
You can give your year-end gift on our website by clicking here and choosing "One time admin gift" from the drop down menu during checkout.  You can also give by check.  If you are giving by check please make the check out to Village to Village Intl. and mail it to 317 East Blvd, Elkhart, IN 46514.
From the board of directors here at Village to Village Intl. we would like to thank you all for loving children - Because they matter.  Together we are making a difference! 


Reed Famliy Spotlight

We are introducing something new called "Family Spotlight."  This is simply a post for you to get to know one of the families we are helping a little better.  We are starting with the Reed family from California.  Enjoy!

1. What is your name and where are you from?
Daniel and Sarah Reed.  Daniel was born in Washington state and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but really grew up in San Diego from early high school on.  Sarah is a born and bred, die-hard San Diegan.

2. What is your favorite place you have visited?
When we hit our 10 year dating Anniversary in 2009, we went on an amazing trip throughout northern Italy.  While Rome's history was captivating, and Venice's canals were iconic, Florence stole our hearts with its peaceful beauty.

3. What is your favorite movie?
So many to choose from...Daniel's favorite is between "Big Fish" and the LOTR trilogy (for different reasons) and Sarah's current choice has been "Couples Retreat."

4. What is your favorite thing to do on a date?
Daniel loves trying out new and fun places to eat, and Sarah will humor him from time to time.  As long as it involves some time to chat and walk about before/after, we're generally both happy. 

5. What is your favorite sports team, if you have one?
We are really not sports people, which likely is partially due to our location.  We will dutifully cheer for the Padres and Chargers, but have no real expectation of any championships any time soon!

6. What is your favorite food?
Such a hard question (for Daniel)! The best I can do is pick a category: Asian cuisine.  Whether Thai, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese...these bold flavors just can't be beat!  Sarah, on the other hand, is satisfied with a turkey and cheese sandwich or some steamed broccoli - though she's also quite fond of our local Nepalese place.

7. What is your favorite book?
Since Daniel read the LOTR trilogy in early high school that has been his favorite, but more recently, he's found "The Five Love Languages" and Terry Pratchett's Discworld series to be quite good. Sarah is a Dickens fan with how thoroughly he describes things, bringing you right into the scene with the characters. 

8. How did you meet your spouse?
We met through our church when we were 15 and 13.  Our first date was a Homecoming dance, and soon after, we began the 7 year countdown until we could get married.  Scoffers were proven wrong when they came to our wedding, 7 years later. :)

9. Who is someone you would like to meet someday and why?
As a special education teacher, Sarah would love to have met her inspiration, Anne Sulivan - Helen Keller's teacher.  Daniel would like to have met either of his grandfathers to know a bit more of their stories.  

10. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Daniel wanted to be a football player from about 5th-9th grade - but his build didn't quite agree with him! Sarah wanted to be a special education teacher nearly all her life.

11. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you tell them?
Learning how to love your mate in a Godly, self-sacrificing, grace-filled way is the key to a successful relationship and a satisfying life.

12. Have you ever tried sushi? Did you like it?
You kidding? We love sushi!  Ever tried guinea pig? Now there's an animal that could put on another pound or two...

13. What are two of your favorite websites?
I'm convinced that the productivity of the modern world was reduced significantly when Youtube was released...nonetheless, Daniel is addicted.  Sarah is a big fan of Pinterest.

14. Do you have any updates on your adoption process?
Sadly, we were not able to proceed with the adoption of twin toddler boys whose referral we accepted in May.  While this was heartbreaking news, we know that God's plan - for them and for us - will continue.  We are in the process of starting again with a new referral from the DR Congo.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Introducing...Corinne Gettel

I recently read a book entitled "Raving Fans" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.  The premise of this book is that you do not just want satisfied customers but you want "Raving Fans."  Corrine Gettel has been a raving fan of Village to Village Intl. since I first met her about a year ago.  She came to a fundraiser that we had in Detroit, then planned her own fundraiser in Grand Rapids, helped make blankets for the children who Village to Village Intl. has helped, and then helped her sister with another fundraiser in Birmingham, AL.  So with no further ado, I am excited to introduce to you, our newest board member, Corrine Gettel.  

From L to R; Corrine, her brother Graham, & her sister Erin

 Whether enjoying her new hobby, paddle boarding, or relaxing in a sailboat with her family, Corinne Gettel, makes time to enjoy Lake Michigan.  Corinne grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, and currently lives in East Grand Rapids.  During the day she works with elementary students at Northpointe Christian School, providing them with extra help in math and reading.  Watching the classic movie Steel Magnolias while eating Chipotle would be considered a relaxing weekend alternative.  For many years, Corinne has had a desire to help children, which led her to Hope College where she received her degree in Learning Disabilities.  Now her love for children brings her to the board of Village to Village Intl.  In the past few years she has become more familiar and passionate about the importance and beauty of adoption.  She embraces the philosophy of Village to Village Intl. and desires to help adopting families raise funds for this expensive process.  

“Adoption is the greatest gift we have all been given, and since I am not in a place to adopt at present, I am excited and thankful to partner in this way.” - Corinne   

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Thank You Note

One of the things I love about my job is being able to see how God is the God of the unexpected.  This past week the Mol family received an unexpected donation from someone they did not even know.  When Kim noticed the increase in her account she contacted me and I was able to share with her how a donor wanted to give to someone, but wanted to remain anonymous.  Kim still wanted to show her appreciation and asked me to pass this on to the individual who had given.  Here is what Kim wrote...

To the person who touched my heart today,
I am trying to find the words to express my gratitude…I am still in awe of your generosity!  When I was told I received a $2,000 donation from someone I didn’t even know, I literally began to cry…right there while I was at work!  I was told that you wished to remain anonymous & I respect that; however, I had to let you know how grateful I am for your incredibly generous gift!   The impact goes far beyond financial…it is just another confirmation that God does hear our prayers & He answers them in the most amazing ways!  Your gift is life-changing…for my future daughter & for our entire family.  I can’t thank you enough for being part of our adoption journey & our faith walk. 
I’d love to invite you to follow our journey via our blog (…I try to keep it updated as the adoption progresses.
Thank you for blessing our family!

I am so thankful that I get to be a part of things like this.  I will end with this quote from Mother Teresa, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Takeaway's from Together For Adoption

As many of you know, this past week I was at the Together for Adoption Conference in Louisville, KY.  I wanted to take some time and share with you some of the biggest takeaways from this year's conference.

Here is a picture of our booth

1.  Just Love Coffee has teamed up with America World Adoption and now offers a specific blend that is just for America World Adoption, and when you offer free coffee at your booth, more people come.  I am from Iowa, and this sounds an awful lot like, "If you build it, they will come" from the famous movie "Field of Dreams."  So I would like to thank Just Love Coffee and America World for this amazing lesson of "If you serve it, they will come."

2.  "Adoption is not the first day of happily ever after."  Thank you, Dr. Jon Bergeron.

3.  One of my favorite sayings from the weekend was from Mike Reeves: "Grace is like a 'spiritual' Red Bull."

4.  I have mentioned Project Hopeful before, but in a workshop led by Traci Heim, she spoke about adopting children with HIV and the issue of disclosure came up as it always does.  Who do you tell and who do you not tell?  Here is what she said that I thought was so good:  "HIV is a private issue not a secret.  Secrets bring shame."  This is so true.

Traci Heim from Project Hopeful. Thanks for the great pose.

5.  A staggering statistic that was shared by Dr. Sharen Ford was that 60% of people in prison have spent time in Foster Care.  "There should NEVER be a child who leaves the Child Welfare System without people who will invest in them."  Will you be one who will invest in the life of a child as they age out of our Child Welfare System.  You CAN make a difference.

6.  From Dr. Susan Hillis from the CDC (my personal favorite).  In speaking about parenting our children, she said, "We are fed (by Christ) to feed (our children), raised (by Christ) to raise (our children), and loved (by Christ) to love (our children)." 

Susan Hillis and her family

Thursday, September 19, 2013

For those weathering the storm...

Stepping out our front door this morning we were greeted by a beautiful, double-rainbow.  “It’s so neat that God put that in the sky after the rain,” said our nine-year-old daughter.  My husband and I smiled at each other because if anyone needed to know that God is still there it is our daughter, Liberty.  Three weeks ago we uprooted our family from Chicago and moved them to Elkhart, Indiana.  Not a big move considering miles, but we left dear friends and a lovely city behind and our daughter, Liberty, is expressing it the most.  Many nights she’s gone to bed with a tear-dripped pillow because of the loss she feels inside. 

I’ve been thinking of that rainbow all day.  I’ve also been thinking of Liberty’s words and the look on her sweet face.  I, too, like when I’ve weathered the storm and see a rainbow hanging in the clear, blue sky afterwards.  However, as the day has unfolded that has not been the case.  Yes, the rainbow came, but so have more storms.  More thunder and more lightening.  More and more and more rain.

As I think of many of the children and adopting families we advocate for at Village to Village Intl., I can’t help but wander if they feel like they are caught in a flash flood storm.  The thunder and lightening of unethical bureaucracy, the downpour of financial pressure, and the weighted down feeling of being drenched by a storm out of their control.  While I wish I could tell you that the storm will end soon, I can’t.  But I can tell you what I learned from that rainbow today.  The same Maker that put that colorful sign in the sky many years ago is still communicating to us.  Saying to people that have been through and are heading into storms – I am still here.     

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Up North and Down South


Marie Boggess, a wife and mother of two young boys living in Minot, North Dakota, wanted to challenge herself to run this summer.  So she contacted Village to Village Intl. and asked if she could run for a purpose.  Marie created a Facebook page called Team Village to Village and began recruiting her friends to join her on this mission.  They looked through the Village to Village Intl. website and selected the Jensen family and began running to raise money for them.  At the end of July they completed their challenge and sent their donations in, moving the Jensen family closer to their goal.  Thank you, Marie and Team Village to Village Intl. for taking the initiative to bless someone you've never met.
Marie with her son Kohen

When we notified the Jensen family that this was going on this was their response:
"That is such an unexpected blessing!  Wow, I can't believe it….have read over this email several times.  shocked :)  People always say stuff like this doesn't really happen to people...that is a massive, massive gift and blessing for complete strangers to give support in this way (especially since i'm noooooooo runner.  that is a huge effort right there, that people are going out of their way. to run.  who does that?!)" - Erika Jensen
Erika and Brad Jensen


The Gettel family began supporting Village to Village Intl. by attending a Detroit Fundraiser.  Corinne Gettel was moved by the mission of Village to Village Intl. and wanted to help spread the word so she set up another fundraiser in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Following that fundraiser, she contacted her sister Erin Gettel, living in Birmingham, Alabama, and they began planning another fundraiser to help Village to Village Intl.  This month, Matt Borst and Toussaint Goudeaux, traveled to Seeds Coffee Co. in Birmingham as representatives of Village to Village Intl.  They were so blessed by Corrine and Erin and were further encouraged that their brother, Graham, had flown in to join the event.  The event was an enormous encouragement to Village to Village Intl. as several individuals became monthly donors, one individual gave a matching grant, and others began planning more fundraising opportunities.  Village to Village Intl. wants to thank the Gettel family, their planning team, and Seeds Coffee Co. for your support.  Thank you for caring for children all over the world!

The team in Birmingham that made it happen.

If you would be interested in hosting an event for Village to Village Intl. please email Matt at

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why Did You Adopt Me If You Can't Help Me???

The tires of my purple van would have screeched on the pavement had I arrived early enough to secure one of those coveted spots.  But today there was no sound of burning rubber because I arrived late and the only spot left was far out in the grass.  Across the parking lot, keys jingling and purse thumping my hip, cursing Google Maps that had given me faulty directions, I ran.  The auditorium was full and although a friend had saved me a seat near the front, my insecurities resigned me to the balcony.  So I slithered in trying to avoid drawing attention, my mind like a shaken snow globe trying to settle.

She stood on the platform, Dr. Karin Purvis, with her humble manner and relaxed posture.  Her passion, seeing children from hurt places experience healing.  My paper was out and notes were being scribbled as she spoke.  Why do I care what she has to say?  Because I've seen it.  I've seen the hollow look and awoke to the screams at night.  I've seen the anger bottled up and heard the cry that comes from the toes.  I've heard the questions that I can't answer about unknowns of the past and I've seen the shadow that haunts periodically.  The auditorium was full of adoptive parents and social workers that have seen it too.

"Why did you adopt me if you can't help me?"  asked one older child to his bewildered mother.  She shared the question with us and it seemed to take the breath out of all in the auditorium.  Another mother of nine shared that she began adopting because she wanted her children to feel safe and offer them a home, but after years she realized it wasn't enough.  Their hearts were broken and needed healing and this brokeness was effecting them physically.  Actually causing the brain to send mixed messages that was confusing everyone.  Like many before her and after her, she tried to parent in the same ways that had been passed down through the generations and was spinning in circles as her children were lost in grief and confusion. 

The Empowered to Connect Conference blew through Chicago in two days but left a lasting mark on me and my fellow note-takers.  If you have adopted, are adopting, or have thought of adopting please consider reading Dr. Purvis' book, The Connected Child.  Because there may come a day when the bubble of "that won't be my child" will pop and you'll be able to dust off a great resource from someone who's been there.

With coffee in hand and time on your side, consider watching this video of Dr. Purvis.  It is an investment that your children will thank you for.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Small Hole, A Huge Risk

This is not a child from New Day, but this gives you an idea about what a cleft lip is.

"Will you take him?  He will die if he stays here because we don't have time to feed him?"  This call came in to New Day Foster Home concerning a little boy with a small hole in his lip and palate.

When this story was shared with me by one of the New Day staff, I was shocked.  Holes in hearts are big deals.  Holes in spines are life threatening.  But I hadn't realized the seriousness of an orphan with a hole in their lip and/or palate.  On our last trip to New Day, I met a few children that were born with a cleft lip and palate and had learned how to feed them.  But what I didn't know was that these children are at risk of starvation because there are not enough hands to feed them in some orphanages.  This is not putting down the nannies that care for these kids in any way, they are stretched so thin.  But my eyes were opened to the risk these sweet kiddos face.

His name is Wayne, and his smile was beautifully marked by a fresh scar when I first held him earlier this month.  Wayne was the baby that the phone call was about.  The hole in Wayne's lip and palate prevented him from sucking from a conventional bottle. His feeding required a different technique that took individual attention from one of the care-givers.  In the first orphanage there simply were not enough hands to hold each baby and feed them one-on-one.  Thankfully, New Day became a temporary home to Wayne and once he arrived he was able to have surgery to correct his cleft lip.  As soon as his lip is healed he will receive surgery to repair his cleft palate.  His smile is contagious and I'm thankful that New Day answered that call with a "Yes."  Read more about Wayne here.

There are many other precious children waiting for corrective surgery.  If you would like to help other children like Wayne please consider making a donation to our New Day Surgery Fund.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Good News for Philip!

Last night we received this email from New Day Foster Home in Beijing, China!

Dear Friends,
I just wanted to write you with the wonderful news that Philip has been adopted!  He has left the foster home on Mar 10 to join his new family.  We are so thankful that little Philip's wait for a family is finally over, and we are especially appreciative of your support and prayers for him while he waited. 

Thank you for all you've done in Philip's life!

Kevin Zhu
Sponsorship Coordinator
New Day Foster Home
This sweet little boy was waiting in 2011 when we first met him.  Now he has a family!!!!!  What great news!  Thanks for supporting Philip while he waited!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Way To Go, Philip!

Doctors had little hope for Philip when he was born.  The medical complications seemed insurmountable back then.  But today, Philip is growing, learning and now walking with the help of his new brace.  New Day Foster Home in Beijing, China, is the home for many children like Philip.  Children with motivation and determination, however, most facing medical hurdles.  Thank you for giving to Village to Village Intl. to help purchase Philip's brace.  From "vegetable" state to walking on his own is a miracle.  Thank you, New Day Foster Home, for providing a safe environment for Philip where he could reach his full potential!

Philip is almost 7 years old now and loves his foster family.  He likes to paint pictures and explain what he's painted.

Village to Village Intl. is anxious to return to New Day Foster Home in Beijing, this April.  Six of us will be delivering the formula you have helped purchase.  Thank you for caring for these children.  We love you Philip!

 The soul is healed by being with children.  
-Fyodor Dostoevsky

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teaching the Next Generation to Care

 At a Village to Village Intl. fundraiser in Detroit I met Corinne.  Corinne connected with the purpose and mission of Village to Village Intl. and passed this passion on to her students.  Corinne contacted me shortly after the fundraiser and wanted to bless the children that had recently been brought into a family by involving her students.  Below is Corinne’s story:

I am a teacher at Northpointe Christian School in Grand Rapids, MI.  This past week, a group of about 25 high school students completed a number of outreach projects. Most days we were off campus serving at various locations around the city. On Friday, the students took the time to make baby blankets for the children who have found homes with families who have been a part of Village to Village Intl. We began by reviewing and discussing the purpose of Village to Village. The students were very interested in learning about the organization and asked amazing questions. From there, we were able to view each child and family's biography page. Being able to see the child they were making the blanket for was so helpful in gaining the students' involvement and passion for this project.

Our theme for the week was "A Servant's Heart." Throughout the week, I was very impressed with how thoroughly and carefully the students worked on their different projects at hand. The blankets proved to be no different. Each blanket was made by three to four students. They did everything from the cutting and pinning of the ribbons to sowing the fabrics together. Afterwards, they took some time to write cards for the child to go along with the blanket. Each group also produced a brief response to this experience. Here is what one group wrote: "This week we have been working on having a 'servant's heart.' One of our projects was to make a baby blanket for Shaun. We really enjoyed making this blanket for this little guy. Jeremiah 29:11 says, 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jesus has a plan for every child in the world, like He had a plan for Shaun." Written by Naomi, Emily, Sam, and Anthony.

This week Village to Village Intl. families will receive these blankets for their children.  Thank you Northpointe Christian School Students for your thoughtfulness!  Thank you, Corinne, for teaching the next generation to care.

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