Sunday, December 18, 2011


Okay, so it's almost midnight. I've tried a couple of times to write a post but it never quite works out. I'm either too much of a perfectionist or I have too many interruptions to actual complete a post or the toilet overflows or someone is hungry or needing to be held...or I just can't come up with a good title. Since that approach is NOT working for me, I'm trying a different one.

I was told that I should write every day (yeah, right) and not worry about how things read or whether it's well written (you poor readers!). I guess this is the way of the bloggers, so I'll give it a shot.

There is so much to write about, but many of those miracles and stories will have to wait. I have to stay focused...I'm here tonight to record where we are right now in the process. Ultimately, my desire is to have this blog be a journal for Ruslan and Nastia to have so they know all the ins and outs and work and miracles that went in to bringing them here...all the things they couldn't possibly know while they are in an orphanage in Ukraine; all the efforts of people who love them already, people they don't even know.

So back to it being almost midnight...

The typical way of things is that if you don't get your paperwork in to the offices in Ukraine by November 30th, you're kind of up a creek. On November 30th, they close the offices until sometime in January. If your papers aren't in before then, you get stacked in the pile of other papers coming be reviewed at some point in the future after the offices open back up. Because we had been focused primarily on fund raising and the demands of our family and responsibilities, we didn't get our request in for the homestudy until later than some of the other families. We didn't have the funds to do it anyway.

However, it started to get very late in the year and we began to feel concerned about our timing.

On November 21st, we had our homestudy done. A homestudy is when a caseworker comes into your home and interviews you and your children specifically to find out if your environment and parenting style is safe and nurturing. (It's tempting to suggest that everyone have a homestudy done before they are allowed to procreate, but I really don't want the government to have that much say in what we people do...but it's still tempting considering some of the headlines nowadays.)

Honestly, prior to our caseworker's arrival I felt a bit like I was going before the judgment bar. I had no frame of reference for what this would be like. Was she going to care that we have weeds in the front yard? Was she going to look in my basement? Check if my medicines and cleaners were put away? Make sure our animals were well fed?? None of that happened, but it was interesting to go through the mental wringer anyway...really gives you a fresh new look at yourself!

Suzanne came to our door and was delightful to be with. For three hours, she talked with us and our children and asked all the questions she needed to. A few days later, we had a 12 page document in our possession...her write-up of our family and life. A bit like a really long eulogy! What a fabulous thing to have.

Along with copies of this official homestudy, we had other documents that had to go to the lt. governor's office to be apostilled. Apostilling is an international notarizing and can only be done at the capitol building. Of course, I took all the kids and we had a ball going through the capitol and having experiences we've never had before! We raced back down from the capitol and FedEx-ed the paperwork to Ukraine...another thing I'd never done before.

Our agency has been so wonderful getting us every bit of detailed information we need to have the process go so smoothly. When I went to FedEx, I had a paper I had printed from my email that told me exactly what to write and how to fill out the form...everything someone TOTALLY inexperienced would need to have. It was like having my hand held through all the steps. What a relief.

So, the next concern was whether or not we would be able to get our papers in before the office closed...the next day. Actually, that's impossible. You can't overnight to Ukraine. However, while we were busy trying to juggle everything earlier in the fall, they had closed the offices in Ukraine to change the ministry over the adoptions. They had been closed for three weeks. We were told that sometimes they keep the offices open longer when that happens, giving more time to make up for the weeks of the closure. I prayed and prayed they would remain open. We waited anxiously to hear if our paperwork arrived before they closed. It had! Our review date there in Ukraine is February 22nd...which makes our travel time approximately mid-April.

Now our job is to get our immigration paperwork taken care of. Thus, I'm seeing midnight. Immigration is a big, important hurdle. Our caseworker said the paperwork is "coveted". I don't know what they mean by that, but I'm sure I'm going to find out. This whole process has been one learning experience after another, one miracle after another. I've done things I didn't even know people did!

So, on to more paperwork...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cool Kids in Castlerock

I found out a few weeks back that my younger sister and her clan in Colorado were raising money for our adoption.

She shared the following:

"So, after seeing your adoption jar story, we set our own one up on the piano.  As we earned money or got allowance, we would put money into it.  It was slow going, because no real paying jobs. :)  I was praying for ideas to get the boys involved in earning money but nothing was coming to me.  One day, Nick was leaving for work and said, "Boys, I want all those leaves raked up in the yard before I get home."  Then it hit me.  We could rake leaves for the neighbors for a donation of $5-$10.   So I made up a flyer explaining "Raking Leaves for Adoption" and when the boys got home from school, we got warm clothes on and started knocking doors.  We only got done with one house when the rain started to fall, but that didn't stop the boys.  We did 3 more homes before it was way too wet.  That night, the rain turned into snow.  We thought our little business was over, but a few days later, it all dried up and we were back knocking doors.  Most people gave very generously.  One of our friends gave $50.00 because he was adopted and this meant something to him!  One lady saw what we were doing and didn't have leaves, but asked if we would walk her dog for a donation.  The boys loved that!  :) 

Next I asked around our ward for donations for the Garage Sale.  We were given so much stuff.  For two (very cold) mornings in Nov. we sold these items while the boys sold Hot Chocolate and Caramels.  One older (gruff) gentleman came and brought his married son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter to the sale.  The adults were very tattooed and had funky hair, but they were very nice and friendly.  As the others were looking around the yard sale, the older man started asking about the adoption.  We talked for a bit about the ridiculous cost of the adoption, the sad things that can happen to the children when they can no longer stay at the orphanage, and other things.  Our conversation ended, his son purchased some items, then they walked to their truck...the older gentleman walked back up to me and shook my hand.  As he let go of my hand, he left something in it, it was a $50.00 bill!  He said, "Give this to your brother".  Then he turned around and walked away.  The tears started to flow! 

Next, I made Nick's grandma's caramels and sold them to people.  After buying 4 bags of caramels, a good friend of mine, Stephanie, mailed me a letter which said, "I just wanted to make another little contribution to the adoption fund...I am genuinely in awe of people who adopt older children, so I have great admiration for your brother & sister-in-law and want to support their great cause.  Plus all things Ukrainian are almost as good as things Russian (she served a mission in Russia), so that tugs and my heart too! Give them our best wishes! ~Stephanie"    In the letter was $100.00! 

Well, thanks for letting me share our experience.  And thanks for the opportunity to serve!  We love you."

What more can we say than just, "WOW!"  We love you too, Sara and the Boys.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Dance of David

We need to acknowledge the efforts of a young man in our ward. His name is David Green and he is 15 years old (though he looks 25 because he is 6' 4" and sports a full, Grizz'ly Adams beard). A few weeks back, he organized a dance and invited all his peers and then asked them to donate to our adoption fund. Thank you, David!

Hawkes Watching Out From Above

My mother's name is Jane Hawkes, thanks to a man by the name of P. Blaine Hawkes who married her in 2003, and he brought with him a peace, joy, and steadiness to our family.  Grandpa Blaine passed away in December 2007 from complications following heart surgery.  He is missed by so many with 10 children and more than 50 grandchildren and great grandchildren.  He is missed by me as well.  I was especially affected by him in many ways.  He introduced me into the sport and hobby of dog sledding, something that has become a big part of my life for the past six years.  He was a great example of patience and thoughtfulness.  He would sit at his chair and write in his journal every evening.  He would sit in his garage and contemplate new projects.  He spent many hours building a dog training cart for me.  Most of all, he helped my mom and provided activities, companionship, and love for her.  We added the name of Percy (Blaine's first name) to the front of our youngest son's name when we blessed him in tribute to Grandpa Blaine.

About a month ago, Blaine's oldest son Bill invited us over to his home along with my mom, who was visiting from California.  Many of Bill's kids and grandkids, as well as others of Blaine's grand and great-grand kids were there.  We got to listen to a recording of Blaine playing the trumpet and speaking.  Bill taught a lesson about being a good father (and reminded me of Blaine in his demeaner and message).

Then Bill's daughter, Cristina, announced that they were going to host a yard sale to help raise money for our adoption.  We got to tell about Ruslan and Nastia and the events and experiences that led us to pursue their adoption.

Cristina just sent a considerable check in the mail from their sale.

Blaine is still affecting our lives through his posterity.  God bless the day we met him.

Deck the Halls

I found out my dad had given my stepmom a present last year, or at least a promise of a present to build her a new deck off the back of their home in American Fork, Utah.  I found this out when my stepmom told me that, if I helped him keep his promise, she would pay into our adoption fund.
It wasn't a hard decision, because I've always enjoyed working with my dad on carpentry projects.  So, a couple Saturdays, including conference Saturday in October, I traveled the 40 minutes to their home and worked with him on the project.  Also there to help was my brother in law Rick (husband of my stepsister Shannon) and his oldest son.  We had fun jawing at each other and blaming every little thing one on another as only guys can lovingly do.
It turned out great.  There are still a couple little things to do, that my father is finishing up on.
I sure appreciate their thoughts in our behalf.  I could have just as easily helped with nothing in return, but Joan saw it as an opportunity to motivate things along a needed path as well as bless the lives of Ruslan and Nastia.
Thanks for your help.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pampered Chef for Christmas!

Our Pampered Chef online fundraiser is wrapping up this weekend. Please take a look and see if there is anything you'd like to purchase for Christmas presents and help our adoption fund at the same time!


Go to "shop online" at the bottom left hand corner photo.

Select option #1 and type in TWO MORE or HOLLY BENNION as host and order!

Feel free to share this anyone you think might enjoy it!

Thank you Holly and Jodie for all your hard work and effort. You are angels!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fabulous Fundraisers for Friends

We know a few other families adopting from the same orphanage who are also madly fundraising right now. Please spread the word about this wonderful, family-friendly event for the Bahr family in Orem...and support them, too, if you can!

International Music and Dance Adoption Fundraising Concert

UVU, Ragan Theater

Tuesday, November 1

7:00-8:15 pm

Tickets: $10...all proceeds go to the adoption fund of the Bahr family of Orem. They are adopting Tanya from Ukraine.

To obtain tickets:
Phone: 801-360-9350

Performances by:
Jayne Galloway and Donna Fairbanks
BYU Celtic Band
BYU Russian Choir
UVU Vocal Jazz Octet
Narodna International Folk Dance Ensemble
Shelley Irish Dance Company
Rocky Mountain Express Cloggers

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Green in Green Valley!!

My apologies to all those who may have been waiting for this post. I actually did write it, days ago, but for some reason the only thing that ended up being posted was the picture! Please forgive my lack of attention to all the wonderful accounts of generosity sent in our direction.

With six children already living at home (which include a teenager who has just started his first year of high school, one potty-training cutie and another toddling cutie) I have a challenge keeping my eyes open long enough at night to write...let alone make any sense! You are in our prayers, nonetheless. Your kindness and sacrifice is known not only by us but by our loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers. We pray that you will be added upon for all you have given in our behalf...even if we don't post that we do! :) Now to Green Valley...
Marsh's sweet sister, Holly, rallied the sweet sisters in her area to tirelessly create wonderful things to sell at a fantastic rummage and bake sale in Green Valley, California. Here is their mom's account and feelings about the experience:

WOW, is all I can say. What a week this has been, and with hardly any effort on MY part, but LOTS on Holly's part and our ward's fabulous members. All came forth with creativity, muscle, items donated, foods for sale, sorting skills, arranging skills, you name it.
We made about $3,500, mostly from the items sold, and very little from any actual donation. Holly even arraigned a gal to come and make crepes rolled with yummy stuff in them for sale.

I attached a picture taken from the east side of my yard. Look at the food area and you will see Holly's Buttermilk Syrup, my freezer jams, Emma's hand painted cards, Patty's earrings, breads of all kinds including the Caprisun bags on the hat tree, and other crafts on the decorated tables. Past those (hard to see) are the rows of tables and items in the long driveway for sale including a HUGE, LONG table, couch, several chairs, book cases, etc. BABY clothes up the yingyang, and all kinds of just stuff.

As I mentioned to Alisa, I truly believe in volunteerism. Much more effort, love, and dedication is had with volunteering than with being paid to do the really important things of life.

More donations came in later from other generous people bringing the total for this even to $4,000! What a gift of time, effort and resources. What an incredible thing it is to have women so far away do so much for people they have never met. Women of Christ would, though. They would do all they could to serve Him in whatever way He asked.
I would like to share the message of gratitude that I have sent on to them. It says everything I want to say on the matter:
Dear Sisters, What a joy it is to know that, even a few states away, you sisters are there to help and support someone you have never even met. What an incredible organization this church is that allows us to be bound together in such a way.
As sisters in the Gospel, we know it is our duty to be a "relief" to those who suffer, to lift up the hands which hang down, to strengthen the feeble knees. And as followers of Christ we are to concern ourselves with the fatherless. 

With all your hard work and sacrifice of time, talents and means to put together such a successful fundraiser, you have done all these things!
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for being willing to share so much of yourselves. We know very well how much time, effort, thought and work goes in to such an event. We are so touched that you would give so freely. The time and resources you spent in behalf of these children was truly consecrated to the Lord. You are doing His work! 

We just want you to know that the amount you brought in with that one event was equivalent to two of our fundraisers! All that effort really paid off! Please know that we consider all these funds sacred and consecrated to the one purpose of bringing Ruslan and Nastia home.
You are in our prayers. As a family, we pray daily for all those generous souls who have done so much for us. We recognize your sacrifice and so does our Heavenly Father. We pray that all that you have given will be received by you again 100-fold in whatever way the Lord knows you need to be blessed. Thank you again! 

Please keep up with us on our blog to see what your efforts have done and follow our journey. With six children already, it's hard to find time to keep up with posting about each and every blessing we receive, but know that you are in our hearts and minds nonetheless!

Much Gratitude,
Marsh and Alisa Morford and children :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Voices of Angels

We are so grateful for all the generous souls who are out there making a difference in our behalf! We know there are people working in ways we don't even know about. For example, I saw a friend whom I have not seen for several months when picking my son up from soccer practice. She told me about a little girl who was selling chocolates at the soccer field and when asked what she was earning the money for, she told my friend that it was for the Morford's adoption fund! I still do not know who this little girl is and the experience made me realize that there are people out there pulling for us, sacrificing precious time, effort and resources to help us bring these children home. To all those who are these unseen angels, know that we pray for you daily, requesting that the generosity you spend on our cause will be returned to you 100 fold!

Then, there are those we've had the privilege to meet and interact with. We were so blessed to be asked to participate and be benefited by the Payson High School choir concert this last Wednesday. We put together a slide show of families around our community who are working to answer the prayers of the children throughout the world. We have been so blessed by so many generous people, we wanted to take the opportunity to bring to light the other families who are doing similar things to make a difference in the lives of innocent children who have, for whatever reason, ended up in tragic situations:

The Belks of West Mountain who are adopting Kai, their new Down's Syndrome daughter, from Ghana. They are also building a safe house to allow people to stay there for a period of time to train the adults at the orphanage how to teach effectively so the children can get an education.

The Wards of Genola who have started Endowed Prosperity International, a foundation that connects people who want to make a difference with those who have the means to make it possible.

The Millers and Bahrs, families also adopting from the same orphanage in Ukraine where Ruslan and Nastia live.

We are privileged to know such people and are so grateful to Marilyn, Miranda, Melissa and the PHS choirs for making this event possible and for desiring to make a difference!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Benefit Fundraiser Concert

Alisa & Marsh will be speaking at the concert about all the good being done to support children all over the world.
Please come join us and do your part to make a difference!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Voice of Angels

We have been so blessed to have the Payson High School choir directors offer their concert this Wednesday night as a fund raiser for us! We will be speaking and showing a slide show during their performance of "Prayer of the Children".

However, our focus will be to educate the community about many of the families that are making a difference in children's lives throughout the world. All the proceeds will be split with other families adopting from Ukraine.

Come join us! Check out the link under our "Fundraising Events" tab. See you there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day of Miracles

I have to admit, I'm exhausted. I have put off writing this post, sharing the miracles of the last fundraiser, because I can't stay awake late enough at night to be able to write...and my days are so full with the needs of my family and my other responsibilities. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that means those who will be mentioned here may not have an opportunity to read of our gratitude and the change that they have wrought in our lives. I hope that isn't so, that they will still come across this post and know what angels they all were.

I am sure I will forget someone in this review of experiences. Please forgive me if I haven't or do not mention you. Know that every donation of any size has been life-changing and heart-touching to us.

The yard sale two weekends ago brought in $1800. But, more than that, it brought to us an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and...well...surprise. Sometimes I think this experience is partly for the Lord to show me how many good, generous people there are in the world. He also seems to be trying to teach me that He is there, supporting us, carrying us through this time and this journey. He has sent people to us, allowed us to meet people who have changed the way we think, blessed us with peace or given beyond any expectation...a humbling experience in every way.

Here are some accounts from what I now call our "Day of Miracles". I will write what I can tonight and perhaps share more later...I will just use first names in these accounts.

As can be read in a former post, the number of items of clothing to organize and prepare for these sales was literally overwhelming. Only one other time in my married life do I remember praying specfically for the Lord to "send someone". I was in over my head, unable to take care of the needs of my family like I wanted to and I just needed help...someone to help me get through it all and be prepared in time for the sale. No one ever came to my door. But, there was help. They didn't come to organize clothes, but they came to help in ways I needed more than organizing clothes. It is just a testimony to me that the Lord knows our needs. We may think we need something, but He knows better. And He knows when we'll need Him more in the future. And that was the case with me. I thought I was in over my head at home with all the clothes. Little did I know, the time I would really need the help was at the sale itself.

I received an email, out of the blue, from a woman who read our article in the Daily Herald. She simply wrote, "I loved what you're trying to do do. I would love to help! I read about your yard sale and wondered if I could help!" Here was someone I had never met, offering to help. Little did I know, Courtnee would not only be another pair of hands (well, three other pairs considering her hard-working children), she would donate amazing items that would bring in about $500.

Sarah worked to gather youth in her ward to help plan and organize this sale. During the early-pregnant-exhaustion she was going through, she truly went the second mile...and even brought donations and her mother to help!

Jill was there before I even arrived. She was already unloading donations and was ready to get going on whatever I requested that she do. She was gone for a long time dealing with the sign posting headache...and came back with bottles of cold water and graham crackers for my kids. When it came time for me to head back home Friday evening, she stayed and not only maintained the yard sale and then closed it down for the night, but she gathered in $170 more dollars! Her children were also not only valuable in their work skills, but they were so well-behaved and kind. Her son gave us his only silver pieces as his donation. They were all there for the full two days, offering their help, time and energy.

Natasha and her husband were ready to jump into the car in their pajamas to help us the night before the sale. Then, in her first trimester of her first pregnancy, there she was working right along with everyone else...for two whole days.

After hearing horror stories from well-meaning people, Ana stopped at the yard sale and, before walking away with her small children, said, "I was adopted out of California when I was 14 and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I LOVE my adoptive mom and dad. They are my mom and dad in every way. I thought, at first, that my adoptive mom would leave me like my own mother did. But, she didn't and I love her so much for it. It's a wonderful thing you're doing. I am so grateful for my family!" She may never know what that positive comment did for my heart, but I will vividly and gratefully remember her for it.

A young Christian military family came over. They came to see what the sale was all about. Upon learning of what we were doing, they chose a few things and then wrote a check for almost $200...well beyond the value of their purchases. They were so humble, so sweet, so kind. They were the epitome of who and what we should be as followers of Christ. The thing is, they didn't just come and do that on Friday, they came back Saturday...and wrote another check. This time, it was larger. I felt almost pained to accept it, knowing what a sacrifice it must have been for them. The husband then explained to me that they discussed it and considered it their tithing. His wife, through her tears testified, "God provides, God provides." Yes, He does. And, the sum of life is always brought back to the fulness.

For all these angels, I pray that they will receive 1000-fold what their sacrifice was...whether that is monitarily, in abudance of peace or joy or simply a record in Heaven of what they were willing to sacrifice for the lives of two children, it will be returned to them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Continued Support

Just had to mention the several donations that have been coming in through various avenues.  We have had donations of $25, $20, $10, $200, $100, $500, and $40 come in through our DONATE button on this blog.  We have also had donations of $100, $20, and $50 come through our adoption account at Utah Community Credit Union. Several check and cash donations ranging from $10 to $1000 have come in from friends and friends of friends. These donations are precious to us.  We know that every donation has been a sacrifice for whomever offered it.  We hope and pray the Lord will bless you for your willingness to share what you have to help us get closer to our goal of blessing the lives of these children.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time and Irony

I have piles and piles and piles of clothing here at my house...all of it needing to be sorted, tagged and hung on hangers (of which I do not have enough). The kids and I have been working for hours and hours and hours on those piles and piles and piles...and there are still piles.

Now, don't get me wrong...I'm grateful for those piles. You see, last Friday and Saturday was my first experience with a consignment sale. I had never even been to a consignment sale, let alone participate in one and help set one up. My new friends at Second Chance Charm originally came to our yard sale in Santaquin and, after finding out about our cause, invited us to participate with several perks, all of which help benefit our fundraising efforts. These dear, sweet women have helped walk me through my first experience with consigning and answered all my questions patiently. I sold nothing last week...nothing; mostly because my items at that point were all adult size clothing and I learned that this is more of a children's clothing sale, but also because the consignment sale was shut down early. A man from Springville city showed up and announced that the sale had not been set up properly so it would have to be closed down. My new friends tried to help him understand that they had done what they were told to do in order to set it up properly, but he refused to show mercy. So we packed up, disappointed but glad there was a sale this week in Midvale. So, I didn't sell anything, but I did, however, have a new experience and I learned A LOT.

While I was helping with the early pack up, I got a phone call from my friend's sweet mother telling me that she had a source of items that might help our fundraising. She was at a clothing swap held at the BYU married housing church gym. This swap was hosted, organized and planned by seven women, all spouses of the MBA and law school students who make a promise not to work for the first year of their programs. With such a financial need, they were inspired to begin this service of providing clothing for families at no cost. They take donations and store them in various locations until the day of the swap. That day, they serviced more than 500 families. They were willing to let us pick through what remained after their event.

After spending two days consigning, I had a much better idea of what would sell...and I knew I had another week in a more lenient town to try to make a go of it. So, I raced up to BYU as quickly as I could and called my husband for back up...and a trailer.

One trailer load and one giant pick up load later, I have at least a thousand articles of clothing at my house. While we were unloading these giant black bags into my garage, all I could think of was the fact that there are people out there in the world who don't even have a shirt to wear, let alone two. And here I am, loading a store-size inventory of clothes and shoes into my garage...for free.

I haven't written about this before, but recalling those feelings suddenly brings back the memory of our first Saturday with Ruslan. He had been with us since late Monday night/Tuesday morning. There were activities planned almost every day of their stay here and Saturdays were reserved for mandatory dinners/barbecues/get-togethers that we were to take the children we were hosting to attend. Any families interested in adoption were invited to meet the children and other families.

Our first Saturday dinner was held at a large, beautiful home in Draper; up on the hill, trampoline, play equipment, mountain view, tables and canopies set up with serving trays of food piled high. After we had all eaten, the orphans were asked to stand in front of all the guests and were introduced, one by one, to the interested families. (At this point, we knew we loved Ruslan but we weren't financially prepared to make a commitment to adopt him so we didn't feel right about keeping him with us. I also felt we needed time away from each other to know what all our feelings really were. We knew he'd be going with another family the next week and we knew that there was a very real possibility that someone more prepared than we were could decide to pursue the adoption of both children and that would be it.)

Those children were all standing there in a line, Ruslan at the end. He looked uncomfortable and almost sad. I couldn't help myself and I just started to cry. Well, it was more like a sob, to be honest. There was a sudden flood of emotion that came over me. I almost physically hurt to see Rulsan look like that. I imagined what it was like for him to be there, representing himself and his sister to strangers, looking for a way out, a way up. He was suddenly a man, a man with responsibility for more than just himself...and at only 14.

But, it was more than just my feelings about Ruslan. It was a feeling of shame. Here were these children with nothing, literally nothing. No family, no material thing they actually owned, no one they belonged to and nothing belonged to them. Can a child of God be any more humble? Can a person be any more alone? To be a child with no one who loves you...that is the epitome of loneliness. And there they were, standing in the midst of every possible material thing and several loving, intact families...abundance in every sense of the word. What a painful contrast. And never again will I wonder why it was so important to the Lord to admonish us to "visit the fatherless and the widows".

Here I am, again, in the midst of material abundance with my piles of clothes, shoes, toys; ready for sale. What an twist and maneuver within the societal norms into which I have been born, to make it possible to remove that loneliness from two of God's children. To sell material things to accomplish a spiritual goal. And it takes time. Lots and lots of time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why not us?

When we were told a photographer was going to come take a picture of us for the article in the Daily Herald, the wheels in my mind started turning. I realized how almost instantly our story would become much more public than it had already been.

I have to admit that the current size of our family was not something I wanted to divulge at first. I was sure that people would look at our family of already six children and would be uninterested in helping us bring two more into it. We are in a position where we have to rely so much on the generosity of others and their time and resources that I was afraid to turn anyone off to our need.

My wise husband, however, helped me realize that though some people might say, "Why you?" the answer should be, "Why NOT us?" If we are willing and anxious to make a difference in the lives of other children, why would we not do it? Just because we can bring our own, natural children into the world doesn't mean we can't make the world better for other children?

Our friend, Lonny, said he thought this adoption was bigger than just Nastiya and Ruslan coming into our family. When I learned the article ended up on the front page and that the reporter had chosen to focus on the idea of a perpetual adoption fund, I suddenly felt that he was right.

There are children of God in need in this world. "Where much is given, much is required." We have been given a loving, wonderful family and the joy of bringing children onto the Earth. Now, it's time to share that gift and perhaps make a difference in the world. And if that requires countless hours of effort, work and sacrifice, we will do it. All we have is only on loan to us from a God who is waiting to see how we use it.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I have three more fundraisers to prepare for this month. But, first, I have to answer the door. There are two adorable little men in muck boots and pajamas standing there. They have harvested pickling cucumbers for the shelves and sunflowers for the girls. With all this joy, how could the Lord not require us to share it?

Why not us?


Notes from the editor: 
Join the Perpetual Adoption discussion at
See the Daily Herald story about the Morfords here:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Onion Days...An Onion?

I'm sitting here in my lovely little booth at Onion Days in Payson. What an incredibly BEAUTIFUL day!! The temperature is literally perfect in the shade and I actually have time to sit down and write a blog post.
It's not easy for me to have, find or make time to write because, well, I homeschool six children on a little farm and the words "leisure time", "spare time", "quiet time" and any other adjective that can be used to describe time that is anything other than "full" or "busy" are just not included in my vocabulary.

So, here I sit in the loveliness of the oncoming fall and I have plenty of time to sit, think and type. The funny thing is...I don't want the time to do it. The only reason I have it is because nobody is children, no dishes to do, no animals to care for...and no customers. *sigh* We seem to be on the wrong side of the street. The realty chant "location, location, location!" is ringing in my head. I think I may have given away more stuff to cute children who were begging their parents for a giant Pixy Stix or a cool Ring Pop than I have sold today.

So I have to wonder...will Onion Days turn out to be an onion??

Oh, I have had wonderful friends stop by...friends who unfailingly come to every single fund raising activity we've had and always seem to find money to buy something. And other friends whom we know through our parents came by to cheer us on and get treats for the grandkids.

Then, there was a group of three teenagers (whom I've never seen before) that came up and handed me three dollars...I offered for them to take some junk food in exchange, but they refused. "We just want to give this to you," they said.

Another friend, with pregnant belly and four children in tow, came with limited funds and supported us by buying some of our soap.

"Heidi" came by, too. She went out of her way to cross the street to our booth because she saw our "Adoption Fund Raiser" sign. Her husband was adopted from Korea and others in her family were adopted, too. It meant something to her to support us...and she gave us all she had left after a day at the celebration.

Oh, and some lovely ladies just dropped by and handed over $10 for the cause, leaving these items to be "bought my someone else". What selfless gestures so many people have given me today.

Onion Days isn't's only 3:30 in the afternoon and we still have Labor Day left. There still may be hope that we will make a little more with this event.

While I've been sitting here fixing my signs and straightening my displays just to have something to do, I've had time to think. Time to think about that fact that all of this is an act of faith. I have made a pact with myself that I will take every fund raising opportunity that comes in my path. I am bound and determined to give the Lord ample opportunity to bridge the cavernous gap we face. He is all-powerful and fully capable of giving us all the money we need if He wanted to do that. But, as my husband said, He will test our fortitude, our dedication, our endurance.

So, it doesn't really matter if we bring in a lot of money with this event. In the big picture, we're proving to the Lord that we will do what it takes, we will do whatever is necessary, we will work so He can work in our lives. A wise man once said, "People die in bed and so does ambition."

So Onion Days, no matter what happens from this moment on, is not and can never be "an onion". We're here and the Lord is in charge.

With that, I will go back to enjoying the lovely weather and the quiet, leisure, spare time I have been blessed with today. And I might just sneak a cookie, too. (Shhh...don't tell my kids!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Calling All Clothes!

Dear Friends,

One wonderful opportunity after another keeps falling from Heaven!

Yesterday, Marsh was visiting a doctor for his exam (that is required of both of us for the adoption) and called me on the way home. When I answered the phone he simply said, "It happened again." After we had just given thanks for the incredible generosity of anonymous friends, he had left for that appointment and called to say that the doctor didn't charge him for the a donation to our efforts to bring Ruslan and Nastiya home.

Then, this morning, a new friend who found us at the yard sale a weekend or two ago offered for us to participate in her consignment sales over the next two weeks. She jointly owns Second Chance Charm, a consignment business that will have sales in Springville and Midvale over the next two weeks. She has offered for us to not only include items for sale but is allowing us to do a bake sale outside the shop as well. She and her business partner are taking less of an income off of our items, specifically, to allow us to receive more funds!

I am convinced...there are angels everywhere, acting as the Lord's hands. Alma 37:6 reads, "Now ye may suppose this is foolishnes in me; but behold I say unto you, by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and by small means in many instances doth confound the wise." It may seem a simple thing for this friend to call and offer this opportunity or for someone to donate a few dollars or an article of clothing. It may seem foolish to consider that one little act of kindness can change anything in this world. But, I am learning day after day with this experience that one person really can make a difference, that every act has impact...and I don't think I ever truly believed that before!

Now to the title of my post! I learned that the items for this consignment shop are childrens' clothing up to age/size 18; men's/women's clothes; maternity clothes; baby furniture (strollers, bouncy seats, high chairs, etc); toys in good condition with all working parts; gently used kitchen items; costumes; seasonal items.

Now is a great time to de-clutter!

If you have anything that fits into these categories and are willing to donate them, I will happily tag them and submit them to the consignment shop. If they don't sell it there, we do have the possibility of selling them at the yard sale on the 24th of September.

We will happily come pick up any items you have to donate. Thank you for your help and please spread the word!

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass! ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

"...thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly"

Last night, just as the little ones were getting ready for bed and the lightning was giving us quite a summer show, there was a knock at our door. My children have been trained to always check before opening it. When Emma looked through the blinds, she couldn't see anyone and since it was dark outside, she wasn't about to open the door. I put the baby down and went to carefully open the door. All I found was the lightning. I thought I'd better check to see if someone was doing a "knock and run" treat drop-off. I looked around a bit. Just below me were three shining circles. It took me a moment to realize what I was looking at: three jars of different sizes. Upon bending down, I realized that they were full of coins!

I brought them into the house and we found a cute poem inserted into the largest jar:

"We know of your quest to enlarge your nest
With two little orphans whose names will be 'Morfords'
Our vacation cash we'll add to your stash
Best wishes to you and your little crew!"

Knowing that it takes me months to save up this many coins, the sacrifice was evident. Also knowing that my last 3/4 full #10 can of coins was worth about $150, I was very moved by the generosity of the family that left such on offering...especially considering the fact that it was their vacation money!

The kids immediately asked if they could count it (and knowing what a great experience that would be for them, I was tempted to let them), but since we were home late from a friend's house and the older ones were still out in the dark (and lightning and rain!) feeding animals, I told them we would have to wait until tomorrow. Sometimes I hate being a grown up! I wanted to know how much was there just as much as they did!

We did have a conversation, however. As the older kids came in from chores, we showed them the gift that was left on our doorstep and everyone started trying to guess who left it. The focus became trying to figure out who the givers were, rather than the gift itself. I sat them all down and took out the scriptures.

I read Matthew 6:1-4 to them:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thow doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right had doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

I explained that if the family who donated this gift had wanted to be known, they would have made themselves known. It is not our job to go sleuthing and try to figure out who they are because that would deny them the blessings the Lord has in store for them for their generosity and sacrifice.

I asked them, "If the Lord wanted to, could He point His finger and cause the $50,000 we need to suddenly appear on our doorstep?" They, of course, agreed He could.

But He doesn't do that, because He knows that would remove all possibility of blessing us all for the sacrifices we will make to bring Ruslan and Nastiya here. He doesn't want to deny us of the experiences and refinements that will come to us because of the sacrifices, difficulties and joys that are part of the journey. After all, this life is all about becoming like God and learning to walk by faith. Letting go of our will and bowing to His is what we are meant to do. Without trial, effort and the personal sacrifice of our desires and the worldly part of us, we can't become all we are meant to become.

I explained that this generous family was most likely composed of children who had to make the decision to give up their vacation to make a difference in the lives of two other children. They had to be willing and able to see that the vacation would last for a while, but the lives of these children would be eternally changed and blessed through their sacrifice.

And with that, they went to bed...considering whether or not they were personally capable of such a sacrifice.
This morning, after chores and breakfast, I told them they could go ahead and dump out the coins and get counting. They excitedly went to work with the little ones ready to help sort. Imagine our surprise when Emma found a small roll of bills in the big jar! We were all shocked and excited as she started counting and found that it was $143! Suddenly, this wasn't just a jar of coins, it was a bigger sacrifice on the part of a family that had given up something they had planned for.

My children counting the coins. . .
We were newly humbled as we went back to emptying the jars and preparing to count the coins.

As Emma continued to slowly pour the coins out of the big jar another, larger roll of bills was found. There was silence. We all stared at it in disbelief. It was clear that it was a substantial amount of money. And Patty begged to be allowed to count it.

She started with whatever bills were on top. Because of that, the counting got a little difficult. She wasn't dealing with whole numbers anymore! She slowly counted out loud, adding as she went. Since we hadn't sorted the bills into like denominations, there was no way to know how many of each kind of bill there way to know that there were fifties and hundreds in there.

When she counted to $1,000, my tears started. The kids were giggling nervously because they weren't sure how to respond to that kind of generosity. As she counted to $2,000 I started to pace and the kids began to quiet down. When she reached $3,000, we could hardly contain ourselves. I explained to them that this family had given up something extremely grand for Ruslan and Nastiya's sake...a long anticipated trip to Disneyland, perhaps. Patty suggested it might have been a couple who could have gone on a cruise with that amount of money.

There is really no way to describe in words what it was like for us to discover that there was $5,000.91 hidden in those three jars of coins. To us, it was a matter of minutes before all the hard work of so many friends over the past few weeks had been doubled in value. But to the generous angels who left this donation, it may have been many months or, more likely, years of saving for something wonderful to do as a family. That vacation may have made wonderful memories that would have lasted their lifetimes. But, instead they seem to understand Matthew 6:1-4, 19-21 and 33.

Thank you, friends! The Lord sees and knows your hearts and we are praying that he will increase your blessings 100 fold for your willingness to give so much so freely!
So excited and amazed!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them...

Donations for the Yard Sale
This past Friday and Saturday gave us yet more opportunities to be grateful for loving friends and generous people. After Friday's sale, which brought in around $1500, more friends and neighbors donated yard sale items and baked goods for Saturday's sale.
People who had shopped Friday came back Saturday to continue to support our efforts. One very generous woman handed us a $100 bill after coming back the second day. All in all, we were able to bring in almost $3,200 thanks to all the donors of baked goods and yard sale items and our friends down the road who planned and carried out the entire thing!

Friday's Sale
This yard sale was the idea of our young 12-year-old friend, Sidney, who met Ruslan during his first week here. After church that Sunday, she and her family came over to meet him and have some homemade ice cream. She was aware of his situation and bleak future because we had told them before their visit. Our time together that evening was full of fun with lots of children between our two families. She watched Ruslan interact with her siblings and our children and, though his wasn't able to communicate well in English, there were lots of reasons to laugh and enjoy each others' company.

12-year-old Sydney - Making a Difference
About a week later, I received a phone call from Sidney. She told me about her feelings the night she met Ruslan, that she cried when she got home, that her heart was hurting over the fact that such a bright, happy, enjoyable person could have such a difficult life to look forward to. She then determined that she needed to figure out a way to help us afford to adopt him and give him a life that was worth living. She bubbled over with ideas, one of which was this yard and bake sale. At the end of our conversation she said, "I was sad before, but now I feel better!" At such a young age, she's learning that not only can we all make a difference, but that faith without works is dead. We can pray and pray for people who are in need, but if we don't roll up our sleeves and get to work, there will be fewer blessings...for all of us.

As the days passed, she would call me with updates on how many people she had called, which details we still needed to work out and plans she had made. One day I visited her at her home and she showed me the clipboard with her bake sale sign up sheet. I took one look at all those signatures of friends and neighbors who were offering their help and I thought of all the time she had spent talking to people, all the phone calls she had made and I couldn't help but cry. It was as if all the love in the world was enveloping me through the angelic hands and hearts of all these wonderful people I am blessed to have around me.

Saturday's Sale
These wonderful friends went door to door dropping off flyers throughout the neighborhood, went to all the businesses down Main Street to request that they hang up flyers and spent countless hours contacting people and preparing for this fund raiser. Everyone can make a difference...and everyone did. We had babysitters who helped take care of the little ones so we could run the yard sale, two families offered their properties for the days of the sale, several families made food and donated items to sell, others handed us extra money to donate to our efforts and saints came to rescue us from one of the biggest thunderstorms we've ever experienced! Everyone contributed something..."And a little child [did] lead them"!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Angels in the Outfield: Saturday's fundraisers

It seems to me that the outfielders are sometimes overlooked. Sure, when there is a fly ball all eyes are riveted on them for those few seconds before it comes out of the sky. And if that poor outfielder has the sun in his eyes and drops that ball, all he gets for the effort is a groaning, disappointed crowd.

The pitcher and the batters sure get a lot of attention, though. Like the movie stars of baseball, they are the focus of all the praise, their stats and current state of their personal lives announced over the airways in a flurry of excitement before the crack of the bat connecting with the ball takes the conversation in a different direction. But, if those outfielders weren't there, risking their own well-being at times, landing full force on the ground or jumping farther than humanly possible to catch whatever errant ball the movie star batter sent into space, would there even be a game? The outfielders are the grunt men, the behind-the-scenes heroes that really win the game for their team.

We have angels in our outfield. We met some of them yesterday. They are heroes behind the scenes of this adoption effort; people who want to help in whatever way they can and are making things happen, being anxiously engaged in a good cause, motivated by their own desire to make a difference in the lives of these children.

It all started with a group of my dear friends getting together to prepare several items for the craft booth fundraiser. We may have stayed up as late as I would have had to if I were doing it all by myself, but it wouldn't have been as much fun, that's for sure! They were my first group of angels.

Later, a talented friend called and offered some of the beautiful things she makes to sell at the booth. They were more wonderful than anything I had to put up that day!

At the booth, a sweet friend came to support us. She chose a few things to buy and then wrote out a check for $1000...yes, one thousand dollars. Her comment was, "We can't adopt them, so my husband and I want to help you do it." Husband and wife angels! Another friend commented to me today that the Lord will bless this generous little family a thousand-fold for such a sacrifice. It may not come back to them monetarily, but they will be repaid for such a gift.

We brought it almost $400 at our booth and headed home in the 95 degree heat to pull things together for a concert that a friend had set up in our behalf. While I was home trying to tend to the needs of my other children and my church responsibilities, I debated as to whether or not I had the time or the strength to make MORE cookies for the concert. Within minutes, my mom and another dear friend each called me and offered cookies and brownies they had already made for the concert. More angels.

At the concert, the families there willingly gave donations for our cause. The artist, Jhonny K (, offered to donate all he made from people buying songs off his website last night. We went home feeling humbled and amazed that there are so many generous, loving people in the world. Two young girls came up and gave us $3, all they had. The widow's mite. We all do what we can and that is all the Lord requires. I firmly believe that our family is required to do everything we can, to show the Lord we are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to bring these children to our home, and He will bridge the gap. He will open the way.

A friend said to me today, "The Lord knows you and Marsh could almost walk on water, so now he is requiring you to find the stepping stones He has in place and wants you to cross the ocean" (to Ukraine). He also said, "What you're doing is miraculous and He knows that you can do anything you set your mind to. Now He has asked you to do something you cannot do alone."

When people came to us this weekend with open hearts and the willingness to help, I saw joy in their faces and a glimpse of Zion where we are all of one heart and one mind, working together for those who need us most...some of us giving more than others, but all of us giving what we can. And for that, I believe the Lord will send more angels to the outfields of the lives of those who give...because they have proven that they are on His team.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Adoption Jar

Two summers ago, my husband was working on a film project that required him to be an hour away in the city for a period of time. Because of the long hours, he was staying in a hotel there and invited us to come be with him for a couple of nights. Our children had never stayed in a hotel...especially not one with a dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms and two bedrooms! We spent the day at the zoo or other tourist attraction, met with Daddy for dinner, had a great time at night in our "apartment" and just had a ball. It was so much fun, the kids decided we should do it every year.

In order to save the money to pay for our own hotel, admission and food, they created "The Trip Jar". It sits on our counter all year and any money the kids want to donate to it is accumulated to fund the trip.

Not an hour after the kids learned we wanted to adopt Ruslan and Nastiya, the jar label was changed. This is what it looks like now. Every penny means more to them now than it ever had before. They realize that if they save their money for something they think they want or spend it on things that have no lasting value, we are that further away from being able to bring their new siblings home. Not only that, they are willing to give up something they really enjoy and look forward to for something that they realize is of more lasting joy and impact.

Their example reminds me of Christ's admonishment: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:19-21).

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our first donation

This week Marsh was able to take Ruslan and our older children to California for a family wedding. When the family met him, they loved him. The cousins rallied to earn as much money as they could to help support the adoption. A roadside lemonade stand brought in $38.68 in 45 minutes. Go kids!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Matter of Resources

After this experience with Ruslan, I will never look at money the same way again. The reality that there are children out there who have all the love and potential he does, changes the reality of what money can do. It is frustrating to think that a lack of funds will keep people from helping these children because of the expense of it all, but that is also a reality.

I believe we will answer for the choices we make concerning our resources. Nothing we have is our own, no matter how hard we think we worked for it. It all belongs to the Lord and He is the One who has chosen whether or not we have been successful in our efforts to obtain it. I recently heard of women whose wedding budgets were between $30,000 and $75,000. Really?! How can we waste our resources in these selfish ways when there are so many people in need, so many children who need families? Where much is given, much is required.

We have been given so much: a home, a wonderful family, incredibly loving children, the gospel of Jesus Christ, food to eat, clothes to wear and every other need taken care of. How could we not do whatever we can to share these blessings?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Taken By Surprise

This picture says it all. The smallest among us, our baby, knew right away. Though usually a bit shy and wary at first meeting others, our little one-year-old Lucy took right to Ruslan as if she recognized him. After all, they do share the same eye and hair color, unlike the rest of our light blonde and mostly blue eyed crew. We had wondered where those unusual (to our family) physical features came from :).

He had only come with two sets of clothing and one pair of shoes, his bags empty enough to carry donated clothing back to the orphans waiting half a world away.

We had no idea our hearts could be open to anyone else's children, let alone those from another country. It's only been a week...maybe a week and a half...since the first email came. When we read the subject line, it was suddenly one of those moments when your heart skips a beat and you realize everything has just taken a turn...and life will never be the same.

We knew after receiving the email request to host Ukrainian orphans who were coming here to find families that there was no way we could NOT do it. I was up in the middle of the night thinking about the sibiling pairs from Ukraine and my own children. What if my own were left to the mercy of others?

We did our duty and planned ways for them to meet as many other people as possible. When Rob, the man in charge of placing these children, met with us in our home he asked which of the children we thought we could host. My husband immediately said Ruslan was the one who caught his attention off the page of pictures we had been sent. Rob had already decided Ruslan was the one we would have and he felt that it was actually significant that we have him. Little did we know, it was not only significant it was life changing.

After one or two days with Ruslan, we had a new family member. He fit right in and quickly felt at home even though he spoke another language. I marveled at my own son talking and laughing with Ruslan all day long...and not a word of common language was spoken.

It wasn't long before Ruslan told us that he had a sister back in the orphanage. We alerted the leaders of the group and they were able to obtain a picture of her thanks to email. His story was quickly unfolding...orphaned by his mother's death almost two years ago, he and his half sister ended up in the orphanage. No family to take them.

At 16 years of age, the children graduate from the orphange. We know the statistics for these children are bleak. Approximately 70% of the girls end up in unspeakable slave trades and 60% of the boys end up in prison or forced labor situations. Some are taken by the Russian army for use in combat. Few Ukrainians adopt these children. Most don't have the means to take them on, let alone a teenager. Without extended family willing to support them in a schooling situation, they are left to their own devices...which are truly insufficient.

And here was this boy quietly waiting at the table for everyone else to sit down before he ate. Fourteen years old, intelligent, studious, meticulous and obedient. He is full of dreams. He wants to be a builder or a farmer, he says. He said he is his sister's protector and they spend as much time as they can together. He said she loves to read and draw...and skipped 2nd grade because she is so smart. How could we let them go back?

But it was more than that.

It took me a long time to decide what I was feeling. Watching him be introduced to other families made me cry. But why was I crying? Why did I feel so much in my heart for a child I hadn't known but four days? Was it pity? Was it compassion? Was it love? Could I love another person's child the way I love my own? I had never been able to imagine being able to...until now.

It wasn't until he left our home to stay with another family interested in adopting him that I began to realize just what all these feelings were meaning to me. The bed he had slept in was painfully empty...the quilt carefully smoothed by his own hand, the book we had lent him left on the side table. And now there was a void. A tangible absence in our home, at our table and in our lives.

It was only today that we knew he and his sister were ours. We decided to document this process as best we can, feeling that there would be a need for the record...for whatever purpose it may serve in the future or the present.

I understand now why they say adoption is a matter of heart. These children somehow miraculously belong to us. Our children even feel it...they knew it before I did.

After a week of sleepless nights and knees calloused by prayer, I feel the page in the book of our lives turning.