Confessions: I do things like make my kids stuff envelopes when they’re sick.  Right in the midst of everyone taking turns with flu-like symptoms and Dave being in China for ten days our family was in charge of the big mailing for the BBS organization that I am somehow the Vice President of.  There were 430 families that needed to get the new newsletter and hear about all the new things we are putting together as a new board (more about that back here).  But I told my poor child-labor children that it isn’t so bad to fold and stuff for hours on end if you get to watch things like “Despicable Me” while you’re doing it…even if you have a fever, right?2013-01-17 bbs mailing 68794 Grace really put her shoulder to the wheel I tell you:2013-01-17 bbs mailing 68795 Finally after a few days of stacks of “stuff” all over our kitchen and family room and spilling out the glories of service so I could get everyone (including newly-returned-from-China-Dave) on task: 2013-01-20 Claire's birthday 68376 …I stuck these puppies in the mail:  2013-01-22 iPhone 68682 Hallelujah.  Maybe I will post what Tim (the new President) put in the newsletter on the I Love Lucy blog if I get a chance (that thing has been sadly neglected lately)…I think he did an awesome job. Which brings me to my point: The Vision Walk is quickly approaching.  Dave and I are trying to work with Foundation Fighting Blindness to get them to donate all the money we raise directly to BBS research.  We have realized it may be best to have people donate to a 501c3 directly related to BBS and then donate to the Foundation Fighting Blindness through that entity rather than individually so that our small BBS organization can be taken more seriously when it comes to vision preservation specific to our kind of vision loss.  Problem: Our BBS organization is not an established 501c3 yet.  As a BBS board we are trying to change that.  Apparently it was set up as a different entity in Texas and in order to change it to a 501c3 we need to find someone who is knowledgeable in Texas law that can work with us pro-bono on getting it changed. Any ideas to lead us to someone who could help us would be so very much appreciated! On a completely different service note, my cyber-friend-Allyson-who-I’d-love-to-meet-some-day-because-she-totally-inspires-me has been telling me about this orphanage she and her family of eight (!) worked in last year (I think right before they went to Rising Star).  I have fallen head-over-heels in love with this orphanage just from what she has sent me about it and I want to adopt every child there that she has sent me the bios for.  DSCF4093Oh man their stories tug at your heart strings I tell you!  She is on the board for the orphanage and is looking for people who’d like to sponsor the kids over there.  You can sponsor a child with a one-time donation or with an on-going donation of as low as $5 per month.  Check out her post all about it here if you are interested. 

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  1. I have an old friend in Texas I could ask about your legal question… but you might have a reader who responds who knows someone more personally or who might be connected to these issues. If you don't have anyone contact you in the next few days, please email me at lizcrewzn at gmail dot com and I will try to find my friend.

    Also, I just found your blog (I think through Pinterest?) and I read so much yesterday… I was moved and inspired by your family and your journey. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. i am enlisting my lawyer hubby to see if he has any connections in texas. not sure what he is able to do because he isn't barred in texas. BUT, my mother-in-law just helped get something passed with education in texas this fall. her husband lives in texas…and she actually lives in Gilbert right now. 🙂 if you want to e-mail me some specifics I can do what i can!

  3. Hi, I went to a time out for women that you and your mom spoke at in Dallas and I read your blog regularly. I go to byui and have a few friends whose fathers are lawyers in Texas. I'm not sure what type of law they specialize in, but you can contact me if you need their help. is my address.

  4. Oh my goodness! I thought Thanksgiving cards were hard! Good for you guys! Not only Tim but the kids. That's a job! Just what you needed right now! But such a great cause!

  5. My husband tried to start up a 501c3 this year (But decided to just start it out as a non-profit and change it later). A paralegal I work with used to be the managing paralegal of a firm that set up 501c3s. Like, that's what she did day in and day out. She told us that if we want a 501c3, we'll need to hire an accountant because apparently the paperwork needed for that tax-exempt status is incredibly time consuming — "and that's if you know what you're doing."

    Just what someone told me. 🙂 Thought I'd pass it along.

  6. As you may know most kids in "orphanages" aren't actually orphans.

    The US has strict criteria for the classification of an orphan and what can and can not happen in getting permission from the relatives and parents of the child you want to adopt. And what contact, if any, is allowed before the government there says you can.

  7. I just checked the US state department page on cambodia and they have a warning dated early this month. They aren't processing adoptions. Prospective parents should beware.

    Supporting efforts there is a great idea.

  8. That may be true for Cambodia, but not from china! We thought we were done and after reading our scriptures and much prayer learned IWW needed to open our home and hearts ! At age 13 children age out of the system and most of the girls end up as prostitues. They are considered outcast.

  9. Yes you can adopt from China. I have. I adopted a boy there five years ago. They are not necessarily true orphans either, but they do qualify as orphans for the purposes of the process. I do not have a clue where you read they are sent off on the streets and become prostitutes? They age out for being adopted, but they are not thrown out on the street. Some work within the social welfare system which cares for children and the aged and disabled. Not considered a good job. They are not going to end up doctors and lawyers. Not all children in social welfare institutions are even available for international adoption. Some provinces are closed to the process as scandals develop and need to be investigated. Some children arrive in the system suspiciously and would never pass the US VISA process. Some kids are in SWI's where they are eligible for domestic adoption. Boys spend more time on the special need list in China than girls. They are mostly on the list for being male.

    Cambodia like China is party to Hague. Which means you can't have contact with the child or the people caring for the child or the parents before the proper time in the adoption process or you risk the whole thing and the program being closed down. And the rights of the families to keep ties with their child and parents. The State page actually has Cambodia closed. It is important to check the US gov state page on the country you are adopting from.

  10. Shawni- I've read your blog for some time and am so impressed by you and you family. I am an attorney licensed in CA, but I work in VA doing mainly formations of tax exempt entities (501c3s, c4s, etc.) I also formed a 501c3 recently with a group of friends to raise money for epilepsy after realizing that going through the National chapters wasn't the best for us. The partner I work for is licensed in Texas and I would be happy to look into your current structure. I know this seems bizarre coming from a complete stranger, but if you're interested please email me at and we can talk about it.

  11. I can tell you the Cambodia orphanage is really amazing. My family visited there in October and spent time with these amazing people. They were the most polite, kind, and happy children. And Botvey is an honest and loving woman with a heart of gold. My dad was their "Gramfather" for 2 years as they served as missionaries. Every penny goes towards the children's food and schooling.

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