Thursday, December 27, 2012

God Has A Plan For Us...

and I can't wait to see what His plan is!  We have been searching and searching for a place to stay while we are in Colombia that is in a good area and is affordable to us.  We have been quoted anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000!  That's a lot of money.  Many friends and even strangers are looking on our behalf, and we just wanted to say thank you for that!  The less we have to pay while we are there, the less we have to pay back when we are home and the more we can concentrate on our children instead of finances. 

Wherever God has us, I pray that He uses our time in Colombia in a way that is honoring to Him.  Maybe in some way He will use us to show someone in Colombia who He is.  Maybe He will use someone to draw us closer.  Maybe both.

Whatever His plans are, I can't wait to experience them!

In Christ,


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Um... did you recently order 10 bars of soap?

Hi - if you ordered 10 bars of soap within the last couple of days could you email me again? I have lots of soap still and would be happy to get that to you, but I must have accidentally deleted your email!  I looked at it once when we were in Michigan and think your name is Joann???  I hope you get this :)

To everyone else reading this, please disregard my absentmindedness for the next, oh, 10 years or so...



Update just after I posted this:  I found her!  

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  May God bless you and your family during this winter season!

This has been a Christmas like no other for my own family.  In the rush to prepare for the all the snow that we keep hearing is coming we went outside and chopped and stacked wood today!  Never would have guessed I would have been doing that on Christmas Day, but I have to admit that the exercise and fresh air felt really good :)

We visited family/friends in Michigan over the weekend and had a wonderful time.  It was our plan to get back by about 5:00 pm on Christmas Eve to eat pizza and have a quiet evening, but the time with our friends/family was well worth the late night drive back home.  We pulled in our drive-way at about 11:45 pm!  No gifts had been wrapped and no tree had been lit (or even chopped down!) because of all the running around we have been doing getting prepared for Colombia. 

After the children were tucked in their beds with visions of sugar plums Kevin and I brought out three small fake trees we had in our attic.  I decorated them with lights and tinsel and made a funky star for the top of the tree that resembled more of a shiny turtle than a beautiful, guiding light for the wise men! Still, at 2:00 in the morning, just before we headed to bed, I took a second glance at all of our work and thought it quite a beautiful site.  The three trees standing together reminded me of our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit.

Kevin, the kids and I had our drawing just a little bit ago for the free soap give-away.  I'm sorry that all of you who commented, emailed or helped spread the word about our blog couldn't win, but we did get to have 5 winners and I'm pretty excited about having that many.  If your name is below please email me at and let me know your address!  I also emailed or messaged you if your name was drawn.

Ami B.(you commented below about posting on Homeschool Share) your name was drawn first so you get 7 free bars of soap!

Alix - thank you for commenting below!  Your name was drawn second, which means we will be sending you 5 free bars of our all-natural goat milk soap!

Bonita T.  - thank you for emailing!  Your name was drawn third.  I'll be sending you 4 bars of our soap because the third child we are adopting is 4 years old!

Jennifer S. - thanks for sharing on facebook!  Your name was drawn 4th!  The fourth child we are adopting soon is 3 years old so you will get 3 bars of our all-natural goat milk soap!

Tina H. - your name was drawn 5th so you will get one free bar of our soap!  Congratulations!

I would also like to say a special thank you to those who have bought soap or made a donation to help us bring our children home! Our chip-in button fundraising goal to raise the five kids one-way airfare from Bogota to Fort Lauderdale has been met!  Thank you so much for blessing our family.  Words alone are not enough to express our gratefulness at your generosity.

And... when we arrived home late last night on Christmas Eve a big box awaited us on our front porch.  Someone whom we have never met in person and who is in the middle of an adoption from Colombia herself said they would be happy to send us some clothing for our Colombian children.  I thought she was so kind and, honestly, expected some nice, used clothing to be shipped.  (Which we would have been completely happy with!)   But when I opened the box and saw very nice, new clothes for the children I was overwhelmed.  Thank you.  I pray that God blesses you and your family this season and with your adoption!  Maybe we will see one another in Colombia in the new year.

Merry Christmas,

Karen and family

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Sale On Our Goat Milk Soap! Help Us Reach Our Chipin Goal!

We would really like to reach our chip-in goal (only about $360.00 to go!) for the children's airfare by December 26th.  I started thinking the other day that it might just be too hard to decide on which type of soap to order, so how about a sampler pack? 

The kids and I are in the process of putting together only 16 sampler packs that will contain 12 individual sample size bars of soap!  Each sample bar weighs anywhere from 1 to 2 oz.  They are about the size of the hand soaps you get in a hotel, but ours are home-made, all-natural and go to a really great cause!  We are still working out the best way to ship the sampler pack to give you the lowest shipping price, but we do know that we would like to offer the sampler pack for $20.00.  ($20.00 plus shipping for 12 sample size bars).

Here are the types included in every sampler pack:

Colombian Coffee
Oat N' Honey
Peppermint Patty
Sweet Orange

Individually, each whole bar is offered at $6.00 each.  Or, you can order 5 whole bars for $25.00. We do have a couple of other types of bars for sale here (along with the types listed above), but didn't have enough made of each one to add it to the sampler pack. 

If you would like to order, just email me at

And don't forget to enter the free give-away for some of our goat milk soap if you haven't already!  The details are just a couple of posts below on Thursday, December 6th!  The drawing will be held and results posted on Christmas Day!

Thank you!

Karen and family

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Busy Busy Burgess Family!

Phew.  I know that we will be super busy after we bring home our 5 children, but I can honestly say this has been the busiest time in my life, ever.  From sunup to waaayyy past sundown Kevin and I are working on getting things done.  I am busy teaching/helping the kids with their school work, decluttering/organizing, making soap, cooking/cleaning, researching this and that for the adoption and so on.  It doesn't look like too much on "paper", but it sure does keep me busy!  Kevin is actively working on his business and on providing the best service for his clients, making a triple bunk bed, chopping wood, researching adoption related things with me (like apartments and airfare), and reading to the children when he can.  He is not in one spot for long!

We have a big white board in our kitchen, and this morning I decided I had better put a to-do list on it because my brain was starting to get a little frazzled.  I made the list for only the things I need to accomplish before the end of the week, but it sure is long!  It does feel good to get all that out of my head though. 

One of the things on my list is for our family to get a Christmas tree!  We have tossed around not having a tree this year but decided it was a bad idea not to because the children we have in our home now are really looking forward to it.  It would feel too much like we weren't doing it just because we are adopting, and we don't want to give our kids that impression.

As a family, God and Jesus are a part of our lives every day, but I read somewhere online once about how a family stopped giving gifts to one another during the Christmas season.  They were blessed so much already.  Instead, they gathered up multiple gift-giving catalogs from various not-for-profit groups.  Each member of their family would pick a gift out that would be sent to someone who was truly in need.   It may have been Bibles, chickens, goats, blankets, or numerous other items.  I think what they did was wrap up the picture of their gift and put it under the tree.  Christmas morning they opened the "gifts" as a family.  I think this is beautiful and am looking forward to implementing a form of it within our own family.

Speaking of gifts, we have been given a couple of great ones since I last posted!  We were able to get to Chicago in good time this last Thursday to get our Visas from the Colombian Consulate!  I was expecting to have to leave while they processed our paperwork, but they said to just stay in the waiting room.  We were in and out of there within an hour!

Then, yesterday I received a phone call from the FBI (that sounds so official!).  Some of the adoption paperwork we have had to complete needs to be updated every 6 months.  Our background checks were due up this month.  Admittedly, I got a little nervous about getting the results back by the time we traveled because it can take 5 to 6 weeks and sometimes even longer.   Officially, the FBI doesn't expedite paperwork but unofficially they will do what they can to help you.  We were told to send our prints through track-able mail and when we got the tracking number to call them.  I called the day they received it.  A very considerate guy tracked our package through his computer and said he would work on getting it processed faster for us.  A week later, yesterday, we received the call that our background checks were done and our paperwork was being sent on to be apostatized!  That was a very, very nice gift to receive!

The kids and I have been busy working with our goat milk soap.  We have been figuring out the details to a new fundraising sale and hope to get the word out about it soon!  Don't forget to enter our goat milk soap giveaway!  The details are just two posts below!

May God bless you and your family this holiday season.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm really looking forward to the drawing on Christmas Day!    Thank you to all of you who have emailed, left a comment, became a follower, or reposted our blog!  Keep it up!  Please let your friends know about the drawing!

We do have a lot of soap left to sell (there are many bars curing!), so if you would like to help support us by purchasing a few just send me an email (  The bars make great unique Christmas gifts for friends, family and coworkers.  And if you know someone who has dry skin or even eczema, they should give this soap a try.  We have had many people tell us how much it has improved their skin, plus each bar is really soft and silky on your skin.  No need for shaving cream either!  And the best part, I think, is that all the proceeds go to help give five children a home and family.

A couple of nights ago we spent hours researching online and talking on the phone to figure out the best way to purchase our plane tickets.  We ended up getting them through Spirit Airlines, and we are flying out from Fort Lauderdale.  We still need to get to Ft. Lauderdale from Indy and back home again from Ft. Lauderdale after we have our children, but for the price we knew we could figure something out.

We have not flown with Spirit before, so I can't comment about their service, but if you do decide to look into them (for those who are also adopting from Colombia), watch their extra fees.  Their prices are low, but then you need to add in any luggage you are bringing, seat changes...  Still, we were able to get all 6 of us from Ft. Lauderdale to Bogota, and all 11 of from Bogota to Ft Lauderdale for $4,500 plus luggage (probably end up being around $5,000).  We were quoted around $10,000 round trip for all of us from Indy to Bogota from multiple travel agencies and from watching airfares like Skywatch and Cheapoair. 

We figure for that $5,000 we haven't spent yet we will get one-way tickets to Ft. Lauderdale and then rent a van and drive all 11 of us home from Ft. Lauderdale.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But we like a little craziness :)

Pretty soon I'm going to start a private blog for our travel to Colombia.  We don't want the world to know exactly when we will be gone, so if you would like to follow along with us please email me at, and let me know how you know me or what your link is to adoption so I can approve you.  After we are home, I'll add all the posts from the private blog to this one, like I did when we brought our daughter home from China.  I am still keeping this blog open because of the soap sales.  I'm hoping to find someone willing to ship any soap orders we get while we are in Colombia.

We are getting our passport-size pics for our Visas today and tomorrow we get to apply for the Visas themselves!  Everything is starting to look a lot more "official", and on occasion when I think to closely about what we are doing little butterflies start fluttering around in my stomach!

The picture to the right is of the paper-chains we put up for our official "Countdown to Colombia"!  Each day one of us gets to rip off one of the links.  It has been great watching it grow shorter!

Thank you so much for all the support and prayers we have been receiving!  May God bless you and your family this Christmas season.


Thursday, December 6, 2012


It's time to celebrate!  By the time we bring our children home from Colombia, it will have been over 2 years since we began the whole process, and now that we have our travel approval, it's time to CELEBRATE!  We are GIVING AWAY 20 BARS  of our all-natural goat milk soap, with the winning names being drawn and posted on Christmas Day!

AND because I personally like it when there are multiple prizes being given away, we are going to break down those 20 bars of soap into 5 separate giveaways!  That means we will draw 5 names (because we are adopting 5 children).  The first name drawn will win 7 bars (the age of David, our oldest in Colombia).  The second name drawn will win 5 bars (the age of Jaime, our second oldest in Colombia).  The third name drawn will win 4 bars (the age of our daughter, Briyic, in Colombia).  The fourth name drawn will win 3 bars (the age of Diego, our second youngest in Colombia).  And the fifth name drawn will win 1 bar of our all natural goat milk soap!  (Brayan is our youngest in Colombia, and he is one year old!).   

If you would like to learn more about our all natural goat milk soap, please click here or on our fundraising page listed above.  THERE IS NO PURCHASE/DONATION required in order to have your name entered into the drawing!  However, you can have your name entered multiple times.  Here is how:

For 1 entry, you can either email me ( and put "soap drawing" in the subject line, become a new follower (at the time of this writing there are 54), or leave a comment.  If adoption has been a part of your life in any way, we would really enjoy hearing about how God has been a part of that!

For 1 entry, share our giveaway on your facebook page with a link back to our blog.

And for 1 more entry, share our giveaway with a link on your own blog! 

Be sure I have a way to contact you if your name is drawn, and let me know what you have done to get your name entered! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I only have a second to post this, but wanted everyone to know that we have travel approval!  We will become a family of 11 in 2013!  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and supporting us!
I'll post again really soon!

A picture we sent to our children - we will see you soon!