Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dossiers, Bagels, and John Calipari...

Okay, so today has just been CRAZY awesome!!!  First, I woke up this morning to find that our dossier (the packet of paperwork that contains our whole lives in it) has made it to Ethiopia!  I couldn't believe it!  That's SIX days earlier than expected!  How awesome is that?!

So as I'm laying in my bed, reading the delivery confirmation on my iPhone, I start thinking about the money we need to raise to bring home Baby Mullins.  We still have about $12,000 to go, and we've got a bunch of stuff we need to sell, including 8 basketballs signed by the entire University of Kentucky Basket Ball Team.  So I'm thinking about these basketballs, and I'm trying to figure out how in the world we can add one more signature to each basketball, that signature being Coach John Calipari's.  In the past couple of months I have contemplated all kind of ways to do this, since it is not an easy task because he is probably the most sought after and popular college basketball coach in the world right now.  I have thought about sending him a letter directly to his home on Richmond Rd., telling him our adoption story, and asking if he would consider signing some of these basketballs so we can sell them to raise money for our adoption.  I've thought about dropping by the Joe Craft Center to see if they would let me talk to him about it (this was low on the list...I highly doubt they just let people come in to his office and ask him to sign stuff).    Honestly, though, I just didn't know how to go about doing it.
Last week we hung out with a few of our new adoption buddies.  Chad & Karen adopted their beautiful Natalie from Ethiopia a year ago (and if you want to see how beautiful she really is, you should stop by our photography blog and see her and her little boyfriend, Jordan!).  Chad had mentioned that Coach Calipari frequented a certain restaurant downtown.  I tucked that knowledge away, but didn't really know what to do with it, because what was I going to do???  Was I going to drop by this one restaurant, at some random time, on some random day and hope that I randomly ran into Calipari, and then hope that I might get to speak with him, and then hope that he might sign some basketballs for me?  Yeah, didn't think that would work...
Well, this morning, when I saw that our dossier had arrived in Ethiopia, my mind started racing with fundraising ideas again.  Then I thought of our signed basketballs.  Then I started getting nervous, because that certain restaurant floated into my train of thought.  In a moment of spontaneity, I got up and thought, "Maybe I'll run into Calipari today."  I started praying, and I had a good conversation with God.  "Lord, if you want this to happen, let me run into Calipari at this restaurant, or somewhere along the way.  You created an entire world in just a few days.  You can arrange a run-in with a world famous basketball coach in a few minutes." 
Well, I stepped out in faith.  I did my hair quickly, put my Simply Love shirt on, put the basketballs in the car, and drove off to my predetermined destination.  As I walked into the cafe, I looked around, and there was no Calipari.  Actually, there was hardly anyone there.  I walked up to the counter, ordered a cream cheese bagel, and sat down at the bar facing the window and street.  I called my mom, and had one of my usual conversations with my her about our adoption, and as usual she told me how excited she was, and how she couldn't wait to meet her new grandchild.  I hung up, and continued eating my delicious bagel.  And then it happened...
Coach John Calipari drove up right in front of the window I was sitting at, got out, and walked right on in and made his order.  At this point my heart was racing, because I knew that this was a special moment that God had prompted me to enter into earlier this morning.  As he walked away from the counter, and was about to leave, I knew I had to grab hold of this divine appointment from God, and I said, "Excuse me, Mr. Calipari (I had no idea whether to say, 'Mister, John, or Coach')...."  And from there I went on to explain to him that I had just prayed that I would run into him this morning, and I told him that we were raising money for our adoption, and that I didn't have a pen with me, but I wondered if he wouldn't mind signing some basketballs for us.  He said, "Sure, if you get a pen, I'll sit here for a couple of minutes and sign them for you."  Holy Guacamole!!!  (yes, I DID just say that)  I couldn't believe it!  I ran over to Kinkos (which was miraculously right next door!) and bought some Sharpies, told them the whole story as I was paying for them, ran back over to the cafe, and he had already gotten into his car.  He rolled down the window and told me to just come by his office and he would sign them for me.  I could tell he was busy (I don't think he's ever NOT busy....I mean, he's the coach for UK Men's Basketball!), but he was taking time for me anyways.
As I drove over to the Joe Craft Center, I called Wes and told him the amazing news.  He couldn't believe it either.  We were SO excited!!

So I walked into the administrative offices, with this giant box filled with basketballs (which I could barely hold by myself), and I told the girl at the front desk that Coach Calipari was expecting me and that he was going to sign all these basketballs for me.  She looked at me with a slight look of confusion on her face, but being very polite in the process.  I'm sure she wondered if I was for real, because I'm sure Coach Cal doesn't just invite strangers to come in off the street so he can sign stuff for them.  Sure enough, though, he walked out and signed all of them.  And then I had the girl at the desk take a picture with my iPhone, where you can see by the look on my face that I am bursting with nerves and excitement!  He is obviously much more relaxed, as you can tell by the look on his face.

So there is another amazing story of how God continues to show that He is all over this adoption.  From day one we felt that He was saying that He would make a way for us to raise the $25,000 or so to bring our baby home.  That number seemed so daunting in so many ways, but He has proved over and over again, that money is no obstacle.  He loves the orphans, and so do WE!!!
So now we not only have the basketballs signed by the entire team AND coach, but we have the signed Maker's Mark bottle too.  All of these items should help bring a pretty penny for our adoption.

I know that for Coach Calipari, it is probably just another fan, and another signature, but for Wes and I, it is so much more.  We know that these basketballs will help bring our little one home, the baby we have been longing to bring home for so long, the baby that will be an orphan no more.  One in six children in Ethiopia die before they even turn 5 years old.  There are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone.  This number is so staggering to me....unfathomable.  But today, Calipari and the rest of the Kentucky Wildcats team helped to make that number minus one.  Thank you God for always making a way to do the seemingly impossible!


  1. Nina, that's incredible! The wonders of God never cease to amaze me! How exciting for you! I know God is going to work in a powerful way to get Baby Mullins home! Can't wait to see it!!

  2. OHHHHHH THIS MADE ME CRY!! I love that this precious b-ball miracle happened for you family & your adoption! I love it!!!!! I LOL looking at your pic and your description... you look SO HAPPY:)) I love ya crazy sister!


  4. Thank you all my wonderful blog friends! I LOVE your comments, and I LOVE knowing that you are with us on this adventure. We certainly are with you all!

  5. hi nina - i found your blog thru someone on FB. i just spent (too much time at work!) catching up on your story. Amazing!! We have close friends who have 2 sons from Ethiopia and several other close friends who have adopted through domestic and foster-to-adopt situations. I was wondering if any more of your t-shirts are available...i'd be interested in purchasing if so. Wish you all the best, a speedy referral, smooth travel and a happy family! :)

  6. Doing the Charlie Brown dance!!! Woohoo! What a fun day! I am sooo super excited that this happened. How stinkin' cool

  7. Ok, you are my new hero when it comes to fundraising ideas for an adoption! I saw you on TV a while ago getting his signature on the Maker's Mark bottle and thought that was a great idea, but now you've topped that! Thanks for commenting on our blog. We just found out the boys' relatives have to come to Addis from very distant villages for court so I'm really afraid they are not going to make it and we won't pass. Keep praying!

  8. Amy-wow, I have never been anyone's hero before....feels pretty cool. ;) And who knows...maybe those relatives will run into an angel driving a truck along the way, that wants to take them to Addis. Stranger things have happened! Will pray pray pray!!!

  9. that is so cool. The Lord has special things planned for you and your child. Blessings on your sales.


  10. Nina and Wes,
    I am sooo happy things are going so smoothly and for God arranging these amazing things for you. I am praying you get to see your baby soon!! Kim Smith (raincatchers)