Monday, September 18, 2017

If you wandered over from the Journal Star: Welcome

Hi there, friends.

I know this blog is sorely overdue for some new writing. I hope the time to do that will be very soon. I have plenty to tell you about the kids.

But for today, because our family's story was featured in the Journal Star this morning, and because some of you might have wandered this way from the link provided, I want to provide some information on how you can help the orphans of Pleven.

As you may know, Chris and I have been working for the last few years to help the children remaining in the orphanage where Sam, Tony and Hannah came from. There have been endless roadblocks and SO much spiritual warfare surrounding this work.

Well, recently, God did something huge for the children of Pleven. By God's grace, another existing 501c3 Christian orphan ministry has agreed to absorb the work of the Pleven Project. I know the directors of Ting Ministries, Brian and Stephanie Carpenter, first hand. I know their hearts are pure and their work is absolutely saturated in prayer. And, they have many years of expertise in Orphan Care, Missions, and Adoption.

Currently, Ting Ministries' work in Pleven will include providing babas (grandmotherly figures who come in to spend one on one time with children), medical and psychological specialists, specialized formula, and medical procedures for children with complex special needs.

There are currently 70 children living in the orphanage as well as 30 children coming in for day services.

You can learn more about Brian and Stephanie and Ting Ministries here.
If you feel led to contribute financially to Ting Ministries' work in Pleven, you can make a donation:
  • by sending a check to 904 State Drive, Lebanon, Pa 17042 (write Pleven in the memo line) 
  • or through paypal here. (Again, be sure to mention Pleven so Ting ministries knows where your donation should be given.)
100% of all donations will go directly to the ministry of Pleven.

I cannot wait to tell you more. God is certainly on the move.

Lot's of love to all of you.

The Tegtmeier clan, minus Madi, who wasn't able to make it in to Lincoln for the photo :)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hannah Joy, Finally Free

As I'm writing this, Hannah is just 5 feet away from me, curled up in a pink kitty cat play pen, a blue fleece blanket covering her up, face to toes. She literally dove into bed, head first in a clumsy summersault when we came back to the room after an emotional breakfast. It's been a busy first few days, and her little brain just needs to shut down for a while. Underneath the blanket she is playing quietly with a rattle and her new sunglasses, and sucking away on her tongue. It's hard, emotional work learning to be part of a family.

The newest tiny Tegtmeier has been a very brave girl. On Monday we walked out of the orphanage and said goodbye to the only home she's known for 15 years.

She was overwhelmed upon our arrival, shaking her head furiously back and forth, walking this way and that, avoiding eye contact and averting our attempts to touch.

But within moments she was ready to leave.

We grabbed onto her hands, one for mom and one for dad, and walked to the car, no looking back.

She had little need to say goodbye. There was no pomp or circumstance. No tears on either side. Hannah probably having no idea she would not return, and for the staff, this being just another day at the office. Her baba was the only exception. She handed me a red paper gift bag holding a small wooden memento of Hannah's birth country and a tiny bottle of rose oil, tears welling in her eyes the same way they had when we met her 4 months ago.

I can only imagine that for Hannah, everything since Monday's events has been a whirlwind. She's been a champion traveler, which is a relief as we look forward to traveling all the way home in just a couple short days. Even riding from Pleven to our hotel in Sofia, a two hour drive, she was content, seemingly soaking in the experience.

By necessity, we've been out and about a fair bit.

Yesterday we made our way to a clinic for her medical exam including blood work, a vaccination (per U.S. requirement), an uncomfortable test for venereal diseases (also thanks to our dear country), as well as a quick once over by both a general practitioner and an ENT (by our request). After desperate prayers for her comfort beforehand, we were all relieved to see our prayers answered with a yes.

We've also had outings to multiple drug stores, a pharmacy, a grocery story and even an H&M for some undershirts. Here's Hannah after our stop in one of the drug stores with a few new treasures.

We're thankful she loves her sunglasses, as her eyes seem to be quite sensitive to light. Her new toys are both rattles. Of all the toys she's met, rattles are the only things that seem to spark an interest. She liked these two rattle even better before I took them out of the boxes. Sorry about that, Hannah Joy!

As to be expected, Hannah's first night in the hotel was difficult. Because Hannah is taller than either Sam or Tony was at pickup, we had decided to try letting her sleep in a small pullout bed next to ours.

Here's how that worked out.

Poor baby girl has never slept in anything other than a crib. Near midnight on that first evening we ended up calling down to reception for a play pen. This is her safe place right now. We're so thankful the hotel was able to accommodate Hannah's needs in this way (and truly also in so many others).

Hannah has been doing some extremely hard emotional work when it comes to eating.

We know she is hungry and thirsty. It's written all over her face. She wants to eat! But its so so hard for her to allow herself to eat. Or drink. We're taking things slow and thankfully are getting enough food in her stomach to sustain her, but we would sure appreciate your prayers for her in this area.

We are completely smitten with our newest little angel. She is a delight. A seriously special, one of kind, more-than-we-deserve kind of girl. Gentle, brave, sweet beyond belief, sensitive, and just beautiful inside and out. She already feels ours and we know she'll fit in just right with the rest of our crazy crew.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

UPDATED! Sneak Peak At our Silent Auction (You're Not Gonna Wanna Miss This!)

Michaela and I did a little bit of work on the silent auction today, and I just had to come here and share some photos will all of you. I can hardly believe the things people have donated to help bring Hannah home. There are some GORGEOUS items here. Some are handmade, some are brand new and beautiful, some are fun, some are practical. There's something here for almost everyone. And there will be more coming!

Check out what we've got so far, and if you haven't yet, BUY A TICKET to the Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction so you can shop! We still have plenty of seats available, and we'd love to fill every chair. If you're not able to come, would you consider sharing this event with a friend? A lot of love and hard work have gone into planning this event and we'd be so thrilled if we could just pack the place out for our Hannah Joy. 

To reserve your tickets, call our church office at 402-476-1567. Or, if you're part of our Calvary family, you'll be able to buy tickets after each worship service this Sunday.

Thank you all for your support.

Lots of love to all of you.

Bid on the Little Girl's dress of your choice from Celandine Lane Boutique on Etsy
Basket of Baked Goodies from Butterfly Bakery (Yum! Chris and my favorite!)
3 Handmade Wooden Decorative Pieces by Conrad Nelson
Young Living Essential Oils Beach Day Basket 
SeneGense Manicure Basket
Princess Activity Basket
Necklace from the Noonday Collection
Necklace from the Noonday Collection
Two Manicures
Wooden truck, handmade by Dean Johnson
Wooden firetruck handmade by Dean Johnson
Coffee Cocktails Basket
Kitchen Utensils Basket  
Mary Kay Cosmetics Basket
Original Painting by Jamie Jacobsen
Professional Grade Electric Toothbrush
Mary Kay Perfume and Body Wash Basket
Baking Basket
Candles and Chocolate Basket
Thirty One Travel Set
Thirty One Insulated Bag Set
Thirty One Purse and Thermal Bag
Mary Kay Manicure Set
Clock Handmade by Leonard Rettig
Lighthouse Handmade by Leonard Rettig
Solid Walnut Table with Live Edges Made by Dick Rockenbach 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Single Girls-There's Nothing Wrong With You

This Valentine's Day I've got a strange bit of heaviness in my heart.

Now, to be fair, I've been married just under a year and a half now, so this year, for the second time in my life (34 years, y'all!), I will not be alone on Valentine's day. I have a husband I absolutely adore and we will be together.

But, of course, I remember those pre-marriage Valentine's Days. Whether I admitted it then or not, those days always stung. Maybe that's the case for you today.

I see you.

I can't count the number of times I've sat across the table from a sweet, beautiful, Jesus-loving, all around stand up young lady with tears in her eyes. Although I do sometimes have that affect on people, the tears I'm talking about here are tears of loneliness. Tears that fall freely at the thought that "happily ever after" has not arrived, and may in fact not be coming.

And so today, this dreaded day of hearts, I've come here with a heart full of love to say to you, single girls: There is nothing wrong with you.

I know, I know, I really and truly know from the most honest of places, the lies that go through your head. The lie that you're not the kind of girl guys are looking for, that maybe you're not worth being pursued, that you're somehow fatally flawed.

I know this because it hasn't been long since those tear-filled eyes belonged to me.

I spent my 20's and early 30's regularly phasing in and out contentedness and longing. There were times when those seasons of longing stretched on endlessly.

In one such season I remember sitting on my front porch in the pitch black night, kids in bed, drink in hand, with my best friend by my side. "I'm going to be alone forever," I said, quite out of nowhere. The words just seemed to fly out of my mouth without my permission and then hung there in the thick humid air. Try as she may, I could not be convinced otherwise.

And then of course, add to my drama that I was a single mother of two. I'd been warned multiple times during both adoption processes to literally kiss my chances goodbye. "No one will want you now," I'd been told. (How's that for encouraging?)

It was all too easy to think I'd been passed over because no one could want a single mother of kids with special needs.

But that wasn't the only lie that would taunt me. Nope, of course it didn't stop there.
You're not pretty enough. 
Or thin enough. 
You talk too much. 
You're a handful.
Your job is intimidating. 
You're getting old. You've missed your chance. 
Sound familiar? I'm guessing some of you have been there.

Can I tell you something? Actually a few true things to combat the lies.

First, I need you to know, to really know, that you are precious. You are lovely. You are enough. That is a fact. God is not holding out on you. And He is certainly not cruelly dangling marriage out in front of you, just out of your reach, because He's waiting for you to be perfectly content in Him. That's not a real thing.

Secondly, it also seems to be true (by my humble observation and limited research) that we Christian women outnumber our Christian male counterparts. I don't think you're imagining things. There really does seem to be more of us than there are of them. Frustrating and unfair, I know. But this is why, for good reason, you continue to wait. Do you want to enter into a lifetime, covenant relationship with someone who doesn't share the most important and only eternal part of your DNA? Likely not. Which leads me to...

True thing number 3. Girl, you do not have to settle. (I know this one from experience.) Again, do you want to spend the rest of your life with a partner who has no desire to chase after the things of God? Right this very minute, just as you are, you have the freedom to follow the Holy Spirit in all things, even if that means its just you and Him for a while. See the world. Share the gospel. Change somebody's life. Do something brave. Make a dream come true. Allow the Spirit to help you find a new dream! I don't think you'll regret your time together.

Date or no date, get out there and love and be loved this Valentine's Day.

Hold your head high. There is nothing wrong with you.

Lots of love to all of you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

T-shirts! Get your t-shirts here!

As promised, they are here! (And they look even better in person!)

First, let me say these are the softest most comfortable t-shirts. Any Lutherans out there have a Thrivent shirt? These are the same brand. You will absolutely love them!

Fund the Nations helped me come up with the design. You may recognize Hannah's future state (Nebraska!) featured in white with an imprint of Bulgaria over our hometown, Lincoln, and a heart over hers. 

We love the verse referenced, 1 Peter 1:3-9, for Hannah JOY.  Check it out.

And for all you Husker fans out there? Y'all, these shirts are for you! Next time you head out to a husker game, you can represent Hannah Joy in all your red and white Nebraskan glory. 

Here's how to order!

1.) Click on the donate button on the right side of the blog.
2.) Pay for your shirt(s). $20 each
3.) You should receive an invoice from Reece's Rainbow via email after you pay. Please forward that email to, so I know you've paid.
4.) You're almost done.
5.) Send me another email to telling me your size(s) as well as an address for shipping (or personal delivery if you're local).

I have a limited number of shirts in stock right now that can be shipped out right away. If your size is no longer in stock, you can expect to receive your shirt within 4-6 weeks. (I will be placing a second order for shirts in two weeks. Those shirt orders will be shipped to you as soon as I receive them.)

Thank you so much for ordering! Every dollar you spend (minus the cost of shipping) will go directly toward the cost of Hannah Joy's adoption.

*A BIG thank you to Thrivent Financial for funding this project! If you're a member and haven't checked it out, take a look at their Action Team program. They have been so helpful to us in our fundraising. 

Lots of love to all of you.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Come Party With Us for Hannah Joy!

I may have mentioned at one time or another that Chris and I have some pretty incredible friends and family.

Well, can I go ahead and say it again?

We have some pretty incredible friends and family!

Some of our most favorite people have teamed together to host a Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction for our little Miss Hannah Joy. (But, as we call all gatherings of people when talking to our kids, let's go ahead and call it a PARTY!)
And of course, you all are invited.

My friend, Michaela, decided on a puzzle theme, which we think is just perfect, as Hannah is our missing piece. And you can bet there will plenty of balloons in honor of our girl who thinks balloons are the best thing that ever was. 
Did I also mention there will be a silent auction? Some incredible, brand new, exciting donations have been pouring in. We think you'll love shopping through them for that perfect gift, or even treat for yourself!

Tickets are on sale now!

Mark your calendars. 

March 4th, 2017
Calvary Lutheran Church
2788 Franklin Street, Lincoln, NE

Tickets are available NOW by calling our church office, 402-875-1324.
Adult tickets: $15
Child tickets: $8
Children 0-4 eat free!

We can't wait to see you all there!

Lots of love to all of you.


Also! Stay tuned for our Super-Cute-Tshirt fundraiser. 
(NEBRASKA FANS! See what we did here?)