Thursday, March 31, 2016

But God!

As I reflect on the events of today and these past few weeks and months, I'm drawn to a phrase in Ephesians 2: "BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--..." (vs. 4-5).  "But God"...  Our dossier was submitted today!  It was an unlikely feat--apostilling the last document in Raleigh on Tuesday morning and mailing it out 2-day...the team in country received it just in time to do what they needed to do in order to submit--before the governmental break from accepting new dossiers 4/1-4/10!  Now, we just wait for a travel date! 

Thankful tonight and praising God!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

After a week-long debacle with the NC Secretary of State, emotions flaring, 2 day trips to Raleigh, checking and re-checking paperwork and checklists, some quality time with God, and a deep breath...

Our entire dossier, with the exception of immigration approval (which hopefully will come in the next few weeks), is en-route or has already arrived in Ukraine!  We were blessed to meet a new friend, Roman, through our mentors, who took our "paper baby" and will deliver it to our facilitation agency in Kiev!!!  They will begin translating documents and once they receive immigration and finish translation...they can submit and we just wait for a travel date to go get our Levi!!! 

A fundraising update...
  • The auction went really well!!  We are so encouraged by the response of those who donated items and/or bid on them! 
  • Local LNBC peeps/friends/family...our Sunday School class at LNBC is hosting a spaghetti lunch fundraiser for our adoption.  As soon as I get details, I'll post them!  Looking at one Sunday at the end of April/beginning of May.  You can eat at church after service or get a plate to go! 

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Graham Adoption Auction!!!

1)      Scroll through each item and decide what you’d like to bid on…reference the minimum bid for each item.
2)      Email Phil and Celeste at with
1)      your name
2)      what item(s) you’d like to bid on
3)      bid amount
3)      Current bid updates will be posted daily. (see end of this post)
4)      The auction will close Friday, March 11th at 8pm.
5)      We will notify all of the winning bids by Saturday at 12pm with instructions on how to make your bid amount donation on our Reece’s Rainbow Family Support Page (Tax-Deductible!!!). 
NOTE:  If you local, we will deliver your item(s).  If you are not local, $5 will be added to your bid for shipping costs.

Graham Adoption Auction…Minimum Bids (actual bid amounts will have bidder's initials beside value)

1. Tenders Basket - $100 LE
2. Roy Williams Basketball - $55 CH
3. 3 Month SNAP Membership - $100
4. Handmade Leather Cuff - $25
5. Handlettering Print - $25 SB
6. Wooden Cutting Board - $30 DC
7. Choice of Wooden Pen - $25 CW
8. Panthers Home Sign - $55 LG
9. Hendrick/Dupont Jacket - $50
10. Dale Jr. Autographed Visor - $50 SG
11. Dale Jr. Hat - $20 MG
12. Jimmie Johnson Autographed Hat - $30 SG
13. Jimmie Johnson Autographed Picture - $25 CH
14. Chesney/Urban Cowboy Hat - $25
15. Lowes Racing Hat - $25 MG
16. 2006 Panthers Football - $30 DC
17. Pete Rose Coke Bottle - $50
18. Pampered Chef Measuring Bowls - $40 DC
19. Pottery-Butterfly Birdhouse - $20 SB
20. Pottery-Iridescent Vase - $20 JW
21. Pottery-Blue/White Bundt Pan - $20
22. Pottery-Blue Bundt Pan - $20
23. Pottery-Multicolored Set - $20
24. Pottery-Red Vase - $20 SB
25. Relaxation Basket - $50 YB

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Getting closer!

I think it's safe to say that we can both see a 'glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel'!  We are getting closer to bringing Levi home!  Yesterday, we had the final 'interview' for our homestudy.  We are hoping to have the report around the first of March.  It then has to be sent to immigration...we will get fingerprinted again and then receive a letter in the mail--that should take about 3 weeks or so.  Meanwhile, we are working on and finishing up the rest of the paperwork.  Once we receive approval from immigration, we should be ready to mail/send off our dossier to be submitted!!!  Once submitted, we just wait for a travel date!  :)  We are still hoping for a travel time frame of April/beginning of May...I have to keep reminding myself that everything will happen in God's timing! 

It's been a while since we've blogged, so let me catch you up a bit on what's been going on...  The holidays were super busy...spending time together, hanging out with friends, visiting family, baking, shopping for gifts, traditions, decorating, cooking, church activities, settling in to our new home.  We thought of and think of Levi often, wanting him HERE to celebrate with us.  It is hard knowing your child is halfway across the world, in an orphanage!

We have also been blessed by the support of family, friends, co-workers, and our church towards our adoption of Levi.  Some have offered their prayerful support and words of encouragement as we meander through this process.  Others have donated to our adoption fund.  Some have offered clothes, toys, and furniture.  Yet others have participated in various fundraisers, with proceeds going towards the adoption.  Fundraisers so far have included: babysitting nights, t-shirts, coffee, cookbooks, Arbonne, Jamberry, and Wholesale Boutique.  There is a 31 fundraiser going on until Monday and we are having a paint night fundraiser tomorrow night.  We are about to have an online auction fundraiser, and possibly a few more...another babysitting night, KEEP Collective, and Origami Owl. 

We are soo incredibly blessed to have the support of our church behind us!  It has been amazing to see the shift toward being outwardly and inwardly mission focused over the past several years.  There are a few families at church who have recently adopted from Eastern Europe, and we are so grateful for their guidance, advice, and support!  The missions team (on behalf of the church) granted us a donation towards our adoption, and has offered guidance as we begin to set up travel. 

So, thank you!!!  Thanks be to God for all the support, encouragement, prayers, donations, and love shown by so many!!!  We continue to be amazed day-by-day at what God has in store for us as we journey with Him!

Celeste & Phil (& Paisley)

P.S.  Our link to our Reece's Rainbow page is live now...just another tax-deductible option to donate towards bringing Levi home!  :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

'Tis the Season!

As I sit here reflecting on this Christmas season, I can't help but be thankful for the memories we've created this year.  We have enjoyed time as a family, as well as time with each of our families and some of our friends...from a chicken stew to Thanksgiving meals to Christmas gatherings.  We have cooked and baked lots of yummy food and treats.  Paisley has been a little more aware of Christmas this year.  While she doesn't like Santa up close, she LOVES looking at Christmas lights!  She absolutely had a blast at our annual tradition of the Festival of Lights.  She also seemed to enjoy unwrapping presents moreso this year.  We started new traditions this year with breakfast on Thanksgiving with best friends and continued traditions started in 2014: attending our Christmas Eve service at church, opening new jammies and a Christmas book on Christmas Eve, making cookies together for Santa, having Christmas morning together as a family, and eating baked pancakes (my mom's recipe) and sausage for breakfast on Christmas china. 

I am also super excited for what's to come.  Typically, I am super sad for the Christmas season to end...don't get me wrong--Jesus' birth is just the beginning of the story and Easter's a'comin'!  But, I love the hustle and bustle of the season...the decorations...the music...the lights...getting to see family and friends...wrapping presents.  However, this year, I am filled with excitement and anxiousness for the next few months.  We.  Can't.  Wait.  To bring Levi home!  It seems like it is taking forever, but we know it will be here soon enough!  Most of the paperwork is complete, and the main thing left is the completion of our home study and receiving our immigration document. 

We have been blessed beyond measure with words of encouragement, prayers, and donations over the past few months!  Words can't express how much you each mean to us!  We have had a couple of fundraisers (t-shirts/cookbooks/coffee/Wholesale Boutique/Jamberry), sent out support letters, and are planning a few more fundraisers in the next month or two.  We still have a ways to go, but we are well on our way!  God continues to impress upon our hearts His will for our lives...our faith and reliance on Him are growing daily! 

Current fundraisers include:
*"To Belong...To Be Loved" T-shirts =
*Enderly Coffee = or contact us
*Cookbooks = filled with recipes from around the us
*And as always...donations can be sent: directly to us, to LNBC (tax deductible--please give us a heads up you made a donation so we can make sure the church is aware), or to our YouCaring page. 

Fundraisers to come include:
*Painting Night
*Babysitting for Date Night
*Auction...some items include: Roy Williams autographed basketball, Jimmie Johnson autographed hat, Dale Jr. autographed used driver's shield, Jeff Gordon leather jacket, pottery, and more!  

Sorry it's taken us a month or so to update.  We will try to be more regular as updates happen...especially as we get closer to traveling!  

We hope your New Year is full of JOY!  Much love...Phil, Celeste, & Paisley

Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's a boy!

It's a boy!

We have committed to a child!!!  This makes the process all the more real, knowing he is our son (barring any unforeseen circumstances in country between now and our court date).  Phil and I struggled with going through profiles and narrowing down to only a few possible children.  However, we were able to do that with an unbelievable peace-that could only come from the Holy Spirit.  We were looking at a girl and 2 boys.  We then struggled with clarity and guidance as to who God would have us become mommy and daddy to.  We had been thinking we would adopt a child with Cerebral Palsy and were reminded afresh of this fact one day, so we were able to narrow it down to 2 children.  We then received information that the girl had been placed in foster care in country and wasn't available (we have since received conflicting information, but are considering it confirmation from God on who we were meant to adopt).  So, we committed to a 3 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy.  Unfortunately, we do not have much other information.  It looks like it doesn't affect him too a few pictures we have seen, it appears only to affect 1 or both of his hands.  However, we won't know anything else until we go to get him. 

As for his name, his psuedo-name on the Hand of Help and Reece's Rainbow websites is "Jonah".  Phil and I would like to keep part of his given name, but we have had a boy's name in mind since we were pregnant with Paisley...Levi.  The other day, I looked up what "Levi" meant--it means "joined in harmony"!  What a perfect confirmation that this was our little guy!  Phil and I are in love and excited to bring Levi home.  We have started talking to Paisley about her brother and showing her his picture. Levi!!!

On another note, Phil and I are working on some items to 'auction' off to help us raise funds.  Some of the items we have received are: an autographed driver's shield by Dale Earnhardt Jr., an autographed Jimmie Johnson hat and picture, a couple of special edition Hendrick hats, a football autographed by some of the 2007-2008 Carolina Panthers, and a cowboy hat autographed by Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban.  We are trying to get an autographed football by the Tarheels and an autographed basketball by Roy Williams.  If you have any item/service/gift certificate you'd like to donate, let Phil or I know!  :)

Again, we know that this is a trying time for many of our friends and family, as well as the world we live in.  We truly appreciate all of your prayers and support!!!  It is our hope that you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving together, a time filled with love, laughter, and holiday memories!

Phil, Celeste, and Paisley

Saturday, November 14, 2015

So, not to keep bothering you guys with fundraising opportunities...but we totally are... :)   Help us bring our new addition home from Eastern Europe!

Our next opportunity for everyone to get involved is locally roasted coffee! $15/bag!! What a great gift combination for and shirts-- your friends will be warm and alert!!!

(the coffee)

(the shirt)

I have an Arbonne fundraiser going right now on Facebook...let me know if you use Arbonne or want to try it and I'll add you!  

[or as always, donate directly on the YouCaring page (not tax deductible) or by mailing a check to Lake Norman Baptist with "Missions-Phil & Celeste Graham" in the memo line (tax deductible)]