Sunday, September 29, 2013

This is our story...Part One

I can make you a promise that at some point during the time of typing this blog post, there will be tears streaming down my face. You won't be able to see them, but they will be here soon. These are not tears of sadness. They are tears of awe and joy that come quickly when I think of what God has allowed me to see and to be a tiny part of for the last 2 months.

To witness, first-hand, God so dramatically and specifically pour out His love upon the life of an individual and to see how that unstoppable, furious, deep, grace-saturated love can begin the process of transformation in that person's life has amazed and humbled and changed me.

(Here are the tears, already...I told you it wouldn't take long).

To see how God chooses to work through so many different people from so many different places in life, people who might not agree on very much otherwise, to change the story for one person, and to change the hearts and perspectives of countless others, including me, has given me renewed hope and encouragement.

(Still crying, just in case you were wondering).

To realize, as I look back on the events of our lives and those we know of our new son from halfway across the world, and see how God has brought us, the most unlikely people to find one another, together as a family, has helped me to see once again that God's plans for us are so much better than those we could ever make for ourselves, and to see that despite the brokenness and pain in this world, He can bring hope and healing.

(Taking me longer than it should to type this, because I keep wiping my tears).

So, when people tell me they want to know how "all of this" happened (in other words, "what in the world brought you to a place where you wanted to bring a teenage boy from Ukraine into your home?"), a few words and a brief explanation just don't seem adequate. If you know me very well, you are probably chuckling at this statement, because everyone who knows me at all will tell you a few words are never adequate for me. But I believe this story really does matter. Not because I am part of it. Not because I love this young man so very much. Not because our family is growing by one more. It matters because it is a story that only God could write, a story that I believe can remind all of us how much He really does love us in ways that we cannot even fathom. And that when we experience his redemptive, wild, and total love, there is no possible way we stay the same. We don't change because of guilt, or lists of rules, others' expectations, religious rituals, or any other outward motivation. We are changed because we were made to be loved that way, by the One who made us. The other loves and passions we pursue to fill that longing will never be enough. The real love of our Father is not a Valentine's Day, Hallmark card, teddy bears and chocolate kind of love. It is fierce and real and overwhelming. And as the words to one of my favorite songs says, it is "waking hearts to life".  I pray that you have experienced that kind of love in your life. If not, I hope you will continue to follow as I share this story. Maybe God will show you more about who He is and who you are as you do.

I realize I have provided no details of this story yet. Notice that the post title ends in "Part One". This is because I knew it would take me one post just to begin telling the story. I hope you will subscribe to the blog so you can read Part Two in the next week or so.  I am thankful you have read this far and our entire family is grateful for your support, encouragement and prayers as we continue this journey.

Until he is home,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Team Dima - Sponsor us in The Almighty Mud Run

The Almighty Mud Run is a 5k endurance race hosted by and benefitting Bridges of Faith, the ministry through which we met our son. On October 12, we have a team including me (Casey), running this race in honor of Dima, to support Bridges of Faith, and to raise funds for our adoption expenses. You can sponsor our team with any donation amount to our adoption! I will list all sponsors, including businesses and individuals, here on the blog and on our Facebook page. To give, you can use Paypal to send money to loveandtots3 at gmail dot com, you can write a check (message me for mailing address), or you can donate through our gofundme site at
Donations of any amount are a BIG blessing, and we hope that you will consider being a sponsor. Then, come to the run on Saturday, Oct. 12 and enjoy watching all of us get muddy for a great cause!

*For more information about The Almighty Mud Run, go here or here.

Until he is home,
Jeff & Casey

Friday, September 20, 2013

For a anytime way for you to give a song to someone and support our adoption!

As an ongoing fundraiser, I (Casey) am offering in exchange for a donation in any amount to our adoption fund, to perform a special song for a special occasion and special person in your life! I recently sang Patsy Cline's "Crazy" for the Dad of a friend of mine on his birthday! I can sing to someone over the phone, on voice mail, or even as a CD recording to make their day brighter and give them a unique memory of whatever special occasion you are celebrating with them! I can't sing everything, but contact me by email at loveandtots3 at gmail dot com or comment on this blog post, if you have a request or want a list of songs. I love to sing for people, and would like to use this to help bring our son home! It's our updated version of singing telegrams.

Shop with a purpose - THIS Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2 pm

Please come join us for a fun and informative presentation from our friend and Arbonne representative, Crystal Storey, about living a healthier lifestyle and how Arbonne products can help you do just that! We will be hosting this show this Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2 pm, at The Church at Shelby Crossings in Calera.  Crystal is generously giving her time and her commission from all purchases to our adoption expenses. This will be a laid back and educational presentation, with product samples available, and many different products you can order. From skin care to supplements, healthy snacks and personal care items, as well as gifts for many people on your list (Christmas is just 3 months and a few days away), there is a great selection.  Every purchase supports our family as we work to bring Dima home. So, grab a bite to eat after church and come shop to help us bring Dima home. If you cannot make it, I have catalogs you can browse and you can shop online as we. Thanks in advance for your support!

*The Church at Shelby Crossings is located near exit #234 off of I65 in Calera, just past Victory GMC and Camper World on George Roy Parkway. We will be meeting in Building C, through the side entrance double doors. Address is 532 George Roy Parkway, Calera, AL 35040.

**This is the first of my fundraiser information posts. If you are not in mobile view, but in web view, you can see on the right side of your screen, a full list of links to ongoing and upcoming opportunities to partner with our family in bringing Dima home. If you click on the links, you will be taken to a post or page with details about how to participate. I am updating this list today, so bear with me until all links are updated! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


We are glad you stopped by. This is my first post on our new blog, so welcome to everyone who is visiting, whether you are old friends, new friends, family, or someone who randomly landed here by chance or curiosity! We hope that you will check the blog often or subscribe to receive updates, so that you can follow along with us as we work to bring our son home from Ukraine. Not only will I share our progress here on the blog. Because of the many fundraising events, activities, and opportunities for you to give to help with our adoption, it will serve as a centralized location for fundraising information and links to giving/purchasing opportunities. I will be updating and posting the links and info over the next few days. Also, please check back next week to read the crazy-beautiful story of how God brought our hearts together as a family!

Grace and peace,

The Tatums (aka "the Ukraine 6" to our youngest son)