Saturday, June 26, 2010

BUSY!!! Starting to pack our bags!

Well, this week sure has been a BUSY one! Robby was a team leader this week at VBS in Owensboro & Caitlin spent the week at SPACE camp at BUMC. So proud of my "not so little" ones giving back to others!! Robby moved others at VBS to lend supplies to our "packing for Ethiopia" campaign. Caitlin served at numerous charities this week ranging from Meals on Wheels to Haiti's closet with many more in between! She also stepped on a tack, which made me think of an OLD song I used to sing in Vacation Bible School..."If the devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack, what? sit on a tack, sit on a tack...." Pretty sure they don't sing that one anymore! Ha! I loved singing it! Anyone else remember that one? An oldie, but a goodie and a fond memory of VBS church days with MY grandma!

Thursday evening Robby & I had our first Ordianry Hero team meeting with the other folks going on our trip to Ethiopia! We learned about our "proposed" iteniary and learned a lot about what to expect in Ethiopia! Oh, we so can't wait! Only 17 more days!!! We were able to all meet together and talk about what we need to pack in our
luggage for the children of Ethiopia! We will be taking our personal items in our carry on and our checked bags will be for the orphaned children of Ethiopia! That is 2 checked bags each X 2 = 4 bags of goodies to collect for very deserving children who have so little!!!

We are collecting donations if you would like to donate! Here are a few ideas of what we need! :)

#1 Your prayers for safe travels and that God may use us as he desires on this trip.
#2 That our hearts will be opened and filled with his plans on how we should act FOLLOWING this life changing journey
#3 SOCCER BALLS-- at this point they don't have to be deflated. I will figure out how to deflate those suckers! Ha! Apparently, the inflated one's are easier to find and cheaper, so GO FOR IT!! I need a lot! This is the #1, universal sport in ET!
#4 Fingernail polish, lipgloss, small decorative notebooks for the older girls in the orpahanges. Anything else you can think of for older girls-- I need that too!
#5 Individual peanut butter or cheese crackers... this is what we will hand out to beggars... this is one of the 5 poorest countries so, there is GREAT need here! :)
#6 Candy!!!- Gum, lollipops, gummi bears, pixie sticks, anything that doesnt melt- no chocolate!
#7 New or gently used toys- small enough for me to pack! ALL Ages!!!!
#8 Craft paint ( bottles), paint brushes, popcicle sticks, glue, craft t-shirts for art projects... beads, frienship bracelet kits, etc... anything crafty for the kids to work on - all ages! :)
#9 I am still collecting cash donations- I am HAPPY to shop for you! :) Email me at and I will get you my address!

We have a donation bin for your donations on our front porch (Art work by the talented Catalina Payne) or I am happy to meet you somewhere for a pick up! Clean out your kids toy bins, hit the Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby/Target! Robby and I can't wait to show the kids of ET what you have packed in our bags for them! We are so blessed! Our hearts are so full! Thanks to EVERYONE who has already supported our trip with your donations and prayers! :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day to all the men in my Life!

Happy Father's Day to my sweet huband, Philip! He is such an awesome father! He loves to talk sports with his son and loves to tell jokes with his daughter! They all have their favorite TV shows and he has seen EVERY show with them on Disney and Nickelodeon! Happy Father's Day!!!

fa·ther (fär)
a. A male person whose sperm unites with an egg, resulting in the conception of a child.
b. A man who adopts a child.
c. A man who raises a child

What exactly is a Father? Well, Webster states the obvious above. We are blessed to have had the opportunity to be parents. We are blessed that our children are safe and comforted by our love. Now imagine a child that only has a father by definiton A. and that is it. No one to raise him, no one to love him. A Father is more than creating a child. A Father is someone who loves his children unconditionally, raises them to be strong men and women, believes in his children and would go to the end of the earth for them to make them happy. A father is a good leader in the household and dishes out love to his children on a daily basis. I am blessed to have a husband who does all of this for his kids. I am blessed to have had my father's love, guidance and support. I was lucky and had 2 father figures in my life. One biological father and one step father. They both were BIG influences in my life! I was given so much love by these 2 men in my life! Happy Father's Day Daddy and Warren! I am also blessed to have an amazing father-in-law who is so loving! Happy Father's Day Danny and thanks so much for raising such a Great son who I love so dearly!

As thankful as I am today to have all of these wonderful men in my life, I am also saddened to think of all the Fatherless kids today. I tell you people, I just can't get this adoption stuff off my heart. There are 147 Million orphans out there that want a dad and need a father so badly! This day truly pierces their hearts. They sit in an orphanage each and every day wondering WHEN their father will come. I have married such a wonderful man and he is opening his heart to a FATHERLESS child! I hope this time next year that maybe, just maybe, there will be one less Fatherless child in this world and that somehow I move some of you to do the same. Open up your hearts... I promise we all have more to give! Let's re-read Webster's definition and please consider the two latter definitions...

b. A man who adopts a child.
c. A man who raises a child

Webster recognizies the possibilty for your family, do you?

Happy Father's Day Philip, Dad, Warren, Danny, Matt, Luke, Josh, David, Dave and Jeremy! You are all strong men in my life and are all Terrific Father's! I hope you have a wonderful day! There is so much to celebrate because of you!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

WOW! What continent do you see in our family picture background?

Caitlin was proofing my last post tonight and she noticed that we finally had our family pics on the blog. She said "So cool that our picture has AFRICA in the background." We were like what????... Look again. We had only "seen" the globe of the earth. But look..." She is right! :)There sits Africa in our "family" picture! :)

God's Plan....

Well, we have been overwhelmed with charitable contributions over the past week from friends, family and people we don't personally know! Our hearts are sooo full!! God funds what he favors!!! We are going to continue our fundraising efforts until our trip! We still have jerseys left, and of course cash donations are welcome so PLEASE continue to pass the word along about our trip! Cash donations will be used once we hit the ground in Africa to buy clothes, shoes, mattresses, medical supplies, or whatever needs that are unmet once we get there!

Here are some answers to a lot of questions to some questions we have been asked over the past week!

Why AFRICA????

Well, not exactly sure I know the answer to that one.... I found Katie Davis' blog a little over a year and a half ago and I guess that was my first draw to Africa. Then I started talking with the girls from 147 Million Orphans and they too were adopting or had already adopted from Africa. Then we started reseaching all over the globe and there is just such a need in this country. I started reaching out to other people who are helping with the Orphan Crisis and many of their roots are in Africa too. I did meet others who adopted from the Ukraine and South America but my heart just YEARNS for Africa. They have so little and we just have so much. I guess the only way to really answer this is " It is God's plan for us to go and see and feel the depth of what is really going on and how we may help!

Are you really going to adopt from Africa?

Not 100% sure on this just yet, but it definitely feels like a strong possibility. Robby and I are going on this Mission Trip to hopefully understand what God has planned for us in the future.

What does your family think about you possibly adopting a black child?

They think it is wonderful. My mom said "Jesus loves all the children of the world. Red, Yellow, Black or white..they are all precious in his site..." My dad said " a child is a child." When we asked the kids if it would be ok for us to maybe adopt a black child they asked us " why wouldn't it be?" I realize being from the South there will be some stares, comments and who knows what else but we are ok with that. If this is Gods' plan then we are ready for it. My friend Suzanne said that God gives you an extra heaping of Grace when you adopt a child of color into your fold. Bottom line... there are 147 Million orphans out there that do not have a forever family. If we are called to be a forever family for one then I don't care what color they are, period. My kids picked "How to Save a Life" by the Fray for the background music for our blog because Caitlin said isn't that what we will be doing after all? Now, let that sink in. She is 11 and she gets it. :)

Why Ethiopia?

Well, initially I was drawn to Uganda where Katie lives. I met up with Gwen and Suzanne who have both adopted from Uganda and they told me about Ethiopia. There is more of a clear adoption path in Ethiopia vs. Uganda. There is also a greater need right up the road in Ethiopia. There are 4.6 Million orphans in Ethiopia alone. And these numbers are estimated numbers from 2006. A lot of these children are orphaned due to poverty and a quarter of them are due to AIDS. This is one of the largest group of orphans in the world, the need is great, and the numbers are growing rapidly. There were well over 2,000 adoptions in Ethiopia last year and again there is a clear documented path here. Also, this Ethiopia mission trip just fell in our lap so I think we are pursuing in the right direction.

Is adopting from there expensive?

Yes, and no we don't have that kind of money hanging out in our bank account! Ha! We haven't figred that part out yet! I just keep telling Philip that God funds what he favors. If it is his plan we will figure it out!!

Why is adopting so expensive?

Well there are alot of factors that go into this. There are agency fees, dossier prep fees, air travel fees and donations to the child's home orphange. Keep in mind that airfare is pricey for where we are going. Mine and Robby's air ticket alone was $1900 each. That does not include meals and lodging. If we adopt we will have to travel to Ethiopia twice. Once to go before the judge to get the adoption finalized by the judge and the second time to bring the child home once their visa is finalzied. That is a large chunk of the total cost. Not all of it, but an idea of what all goes in to adopting a child internationally.

Why are you blogging all of this?

2 reasons... 1) to create awareness of the orphan CRISIS that exists today. To stop and make people THINK of ways they can help. By creating awareness maybe we can open someone else's heart to SAVE A CHILD. On our mission trip with Ordinary Hero we will be advocating for the WAITING child (a child who's paperwork is ready and just WAITING for a Forever family.) Can you begin to imagine what it must be like to sit wondering each day if someone will PICK you today? They watch friends come and go and they remain...why? They want a mother and father to love them, and a safe place to sleep and food when they are hungry. More than ANYTHING they want LOVE. Oh, how this I know IS my purpose is to advocate for them....
One of the adoptive mothers I spoke to said that the children just follow you around and touch you. They yearn for touch and to be loved. She said one of the children just purred as she was touching her. God created all of us to be loved and folks there are children out there who do NOT get this. Now imagine your children "purring for your touch" or anyone else's for that matter. This is why I am going and why I am opening my heart to what lies ahead....

and 2) we want to remember this journey and to be able to share it with our friends, family and who knows who else! We will be updating our blog from AFRICA so it won't feel like those who are not with us are so far away! Even though you can't be there with us we hope to capture as much of Africa as we can through video, photos and our thoughts! Thanks for joining us on our journey!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fundrasing Blessings are Pouring In!

Dear Family and Friends,
Robby and I are writing this letter to let you know of a very exciting journey we are going to embark upon! We are leaving for Ethiopia, Africa July 14-24th. We are going on a mission trip through Ordinary Hero and Visiting Orphans and we will be aiding orphans, playing with them and loving on them. There are 4.6+ million orphans estimated in Ethiopia. 800,000+ of them have been orphaned due to Aids. There is an orphan crisis here and in many other parts of the world and God has led us here to Ethiopia to see for ourselves what we may do to help!
Obviously, this is an expensive journey so we are asking for your help. There are many ways to do this!
We are going to be helping with soccer camps for the kids in Ethiopia. The title of our trip is “The Kicking and Dreaming Tour”. Soccer is an integral part of the Ethiopian culture. Soccer brings hope to orphaned children even in the worst of circumstances and through our soccer camps, we will create a powerful connection between the Kicking and Dreaming mission team and the orphans we strive to help! We are traveling with soccer coaches and the Ravenwood soccer coach has offered to “sell” the old girls soccer uniforms. This is where you get a chance to donate towards our trip while getting something in return!! When you donate $55 (feel free to do more if you like) you will get a jersey sent to you and have the opportunity to write or draw whatever you like on that jersey. Mail your jersey back with your family’s picture. We will take your picture, along with your jersey, with us to Ethiopia. When we get there we will give it to an orphaned child along with your picture. Once we give the child your jersey and photo we will host a game with the children wearing the jersey you donated to them and post it on our blog so that you can follow along on our journey. The child will then keep the jersey and you can know that you quite possibly gave this child their first ever soccer jersey or real shirt for that matter. Of course we will do our best to take pictures of all the kids wearing your jersey!  Now HOW COOL is that???? What a GREAT way to get our family involved!! Teach them about giving and about praying for orphans all over the world!
If you want to take it a step further…. We are also collecting NEW soccer balls (deflated) and your family can sign them! We will be handing them out to street children and orphans. You can drop them off at my home or mail them to me.
Still want to do MORE? How about a Donation of $40? This donation will provide an orphan with a new outfit, pair of shoes and a brand new soccer ball. This is a VERY poor country and well let’s face it being in an orphanage doesn’t come with all the perks of a nice wardrobe like we have here at home! This means so much to the kids and we can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces…All because of YOUR generosity!
Well, as you can imagine you can help in other ways too- donations from $100 plus will help us once we hit the ground to get supplies, clothing, basic hygiene, beds, etc for the orphans. Just let me know if you want to help out over and above the items I have listed!
So Robby and I are setting the bar HIGH!
We are hoping to sell 40 (FORTY) Jerseys by THIS Friday!
Email me or call me NOW and let me know if you would like to buy a jersey!!  It is best to take action NOW so you don’t forget about this later. This is a GREAT opportunity to get your family involved through our trip! This is a GREAT teaching moment and we hope you will GRAB it!!
We have joined this trip late so we are way behind on raising donations for this trip! I don’t know exactly how many jerseys are left so please email me if you are interested ASAP so I can work on getting those to you. Email me too regarding your interest level in helping and I will let you know how to get me your donation! Again, help us sell 40 jerseys by THIS Friday! Please! Feel free to pass this email along to friends and family that you think may be interested in helping! Thanks so much for your support!
How awesome would it be to also have 40 balls and 40 outfits to accompany those 40 jerseys on our journey? Each family is different so look in your hearts and your finances to see what is comfortable for you to do.
We will have more opportunities before we go to such as candy donations, small toys for the kids, school supplies, etc for the kids so we will keep you posted….
It is hard sometimes to ask friends and family for money. We are not asking money for US. We are asking you to help God’s children half way across the world to continue God’s work and help orphans! We are very passionate about this trip. We will tell each child that we see that they are special, that they are beautiful, that they are important and that GOD loves them.
Please pray that our team will have unity and that our travels will be safe and we’ll remain healthy. Pray also that God will teach us more about Himself and especially pray that we’ll be able to communicate God’s love to the children we meet.

Gina and Robby Payne 
James 1:27 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress..."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

We are Going To AFRICA!!! Someone pinch me!!

WE ARE GOING TO AFRICA!!!!!!! Robby and I just have to get pumped with shots, pack and shotput over to Ethiopia, Africa!!! I am so excited, scared, nervous, and running on adrenalin! So many emotions follows the booking of this BIG trip! Trip is July 14-24th!!!!

My first follower... of course my sweet, sweet husband! Actually I should say OUR first follower to OUR blog is my husband. Bless his heart... he is being dragged on this journey.. not kicking or screaming but definitley being "not so sure" and "sure" at the same time... Honey I love you! He has called several times today to tell me he loves me and that he trusts this is the right decision. He is hyper-ventilating just a tad and I LOVE HIM for it! Honey, just breathe in the little brown bag in and out.. in and out! :) She loves you!!! God is in control ... not us!!

The kids found the blog today- I was trying to get it all set up but no such luck... all I have done is post a few entries. I can't seem to figure out how to do anything else. If you know me well then you know I am not the best at the computer. I called my friend in Texas who I sorely miss and she's gonna check it out and do her thing. I can't figure out how to add the buttons or the links I want to our site! What is a gidget and a widget anyways?? I can't figure out how to add music so Robby and Caitlin spent an hour & 1/2 tonight compliling THEIR song list for OUR blog and trying to figure out how to get it on there! Well, it's on there after a whole lot of effort and is right at the TOP of the Blog now SCREAMING at everyone as soon as you open the blog... Oh, and it is BIG! LOL. Poor Robby has to get up at 4:45 am tomorrow but he just kept trying to figure out how to get it on, how to move it, how to get it to work, etc.... It only cost us nine bucks to figure out we could have used the FREE playlist site.... which is the one he ended up using ( thanks Katie!- he used your site as a guide (!) He also informed me Katie that I quoted you wrong on our first post... I said you had 13 kiddos in Uganda. This is proof my kids read her blog because he corrected me to her 14th addition! Unh..hum ... little Patricia....I knew that! :) I wonder what tomorrow brings....

Ready, Set, GO!

My husband says this is how I make decisions --- without little hesitation! I am the "reactor" and he on the other hand is the "processor"... To prove this point it took him 7 years for him to ask me to marry him! 7 days later I had the entire wedding planned! Ha!
Since March I have had a yearing for Africa but I have been waiting for my husband to "catch up!" He was never far behind, truthfully almost immediately on board but we have been all over the globe trying to decide WHERE we look for our child! It is a lot to take in and each country has their own attractiveness and their own pitfalls. My heart NEVER left Africa and I just couldn't get connected as deeply anywhere else.
Fast forward to Friday morning June 4th. I had my best quarter ever for work and my check had just been deposited. I find a Mission Trip through Ordianry Hero that leaves NEXT MONTH with a few available spots! Hmmmm..... I immediately thought of taking my son since I knew my husband couldn't go. I told the kids about the Mission Trip I found and my son's response was " when are we going?" He is my "little" reactor! Decisions have to be made and finalized today because they are booking air travel next week! Oh my Gosh!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"Living a Better Story".....Our Payne Family Blessings

Ok, we have been wanting to this for a while and I am just now getting around to figuring this all out. We thought it would be neat to update a journey that we are finding ourselves on, so here goes...........

A few months back our church handed us an envelope and enclosed was $35. They asked us to multiply the gift and then to give it away. The rules were it had to go outside the walls of our church. I knew immediately that I wanted to help Katie Davis with Amazima Ministries (! Our family organzied a garage sale ( collecting donations from friends and family) and the kids set up a breakfast stand! They sold sausage/biscuits and juice and we raised $563 for Katie's Ministry!

I had never met Katie at this point and did not know her personally but she is a young 21 year old mom from Brentwood, TN who now lives in Uganda, Africa. Her blog is some of the BEST reading I have ever read. My whole family has read her blog and we were all so moved by her strength, her love for Jesus and her love for Africa. Katie made me personally desire Africa. This is where all of a sudden raising money for her didn't seem to be enough.

This is where I started reaching out to the girls at 147 Million Orphans for guidance in the adoption process. 147 Million Orphans is a local non-profit led by 2 AMAZING women with a passion for creating awareness of the Orphan Crisis and they also assist those in fundraising for adoptions! They are truly amazing and between the 2 of them they have 13 kids! WOW, is all I can say! I have heard people say that "God laid something on their hearts" before but I truly have never experienced anything like it until NOW! Since early March I have been borderline obsessed with reading Katie's blog, the girls at 147 Million Orphans Blogs, Ordinary Hero's Blog, and the list goes on and on. I have read international adoption books, blogs, info on line, etc...I have contacted and researched adotpion agencies and I have read many, many books and online posts about the Orphan Crisis that exists!

The thought of a child not being tucked in at night, not having a parent or anyone in the world to care and love them, not having someone to tell them how smart and beautiful they are, not having anyone to show them the love that Jesus has for them just literally made my heart hurt. And YEARN... This is how our journey starts..... I have a loving husband who supports me and loves me to the end of the earth. I have 2 beautiful children that are becoming passionate about adoption and their willingness to give LOVE to someone they have never met-- someone that doesn't have a Forever family. I have a son who said he had a dream that he had a brother and that he was dark skinned.... This is where our journey starts and we are hungry for what tomorrow brings! Shout out to my grandma who taught me to "Put it in God's hands!" Well, grandma... I think I will do just that! We will just see what his plans are....