Ready or Not

We got an email from our caseworker yesterday asking about moving our Official Approval up to May 5! Apparently our background checks, fingerprinting, and the rest of the paperwork is all completed and approved, so we are ready!

Wait… are we ready? Are we really ready for this??!!??

Let me just give you a sample of how stubborn our firstborn is.

I am trying to prepare our profile book for birthmoms to look through and realized that all of my pictures of the three of us are from a year ago. So my amazing mother-in-law came to take some family pictures. Let me just say these pictures really tell the story better than I could:

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*sigh*

But I love her to pieces. Even because of her stubbornness and independence. I just pray God uses those qualities for good as she gets older!

Meanwhile our to-do list is almost done. Tyler has pretty much finished the table that is one of the prizes for the Raffle Drawing. On the left is the actual table and on the right is a similar 8 ft. table he made for our friend Sabina:

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Isn’t he amazing? Next I want him to build me a dining room table that can extend to fit 12 people, so you can all come over for dinner sometime!

Our Raffle is in full swing… sort of. We’ve raised $500 thanks to a handful of people, most of whom are family (thank you guys so, SO much!). But we now have $5000 due in 3 weeks – yikes!!! Originally at the informational meeting they had said it would be $2050. We had that and the initial $3000 set aside and had hoped to not have to worry about money until after our Garage Sale/Bake Sale and Dinner, as the final huge portion is not due until we are actually matched with a baby. So the payment schedule goes like this:

Application Process (completed) – $3000

Agency and Legal Approval (May 5th) – $5000

Placement – $13,500

Medical/Legal expenses for the birthmom (only requested in 50% of cases) – $3000

Anyway, God will provide in one way or another, but if it seems like I’ve been annoying on facebook with the fundraising stuff, it’s just because (1) I don’t know how to do a lot of stuff on facebook and have been experimenting with making pages and events and (2) I might. kinda. sorta. be getting a little nervous about having to pay that $5000 so soon.

Fundraising is not my thing. When I agreed to join Girl Scouts, I had no idea it meant we had to sell the cookies.

What do dogs eat? Dog biscuits.

What do cats eat? Catnip.

What should Girls Scouts eat? Girl Scout cookies, duh.

Needless to say, I didn’t last long. In part because of not getting to EAT Girl Scout cookies at every meeting and in part because I was not interested in selling anything. And then there was that Flag Ceremony incident in which they wanted me to do something-or-other with the American Flag. I’m someone who can’t picture things without you showing me first, so I was terrified when they told me how important this job was, then put the flag in my hands and asked me to march down this little aisle of girl scouts all staring at ME. I knew I was supposed to turn one way and do something else…. I never really knew. I’m not even joking, I very vividly remember fighting back tears whilst bearing our nation’s banner.

Oh and then there was that time I had to sew something.

Is that why our Girl Scout Cookies have been “Back-ordered” for 3 months? Good-golly, I caved and bought the Keebler version of Samoas out of desperation. Must be they did a background check and found my maiden name and recalled the national disgrace I bore down on my troop!

Alas, I digress… what was my point anyway?

Oh yeah, fund raising. Yeah yeah, yadda yadda, you’ve heard it already and I promise to stop posting a million things on facebook!

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IMG_4531But exciting things are happening here! Our little one could be out there right now growing in his or her Mama’s belly. So crazy to think about. Please keep them both in your prayers. And the three of us as well! May 5th is just around the corner!

Home study Visit #2 / Such.a.Gift.

We are well on our way to completing our home study! Typically, there are 4 visits spread out over the course of 6-8 weeks. We were told this visit would be a long one where she would talk to both of us separately for at least an hour. I was a little concerned about this. Not that we have anything juicy to hide, but I just expected it would be hard questions to answer about your spouse.

Turns out, the only questions she asked us about each other were, “How would you describe your spouse?” and “Can you describe your family’s relationship with your spouse?” and “What kind of parent is your spouse?” The rest of the questions were about our childhood. At no time did I feel uncomfortable or judged.

Again, this process has been so much easier than I had expected. And the more we talk about it, the more I fall in love with this little person that may or may not even be conceived yet. And the more I feel compassion for the birth mom who is choosing a better life for her child – chances are her life isn’t butterflies and roses, and she is not making the choice selfishly.

We decided to wrap things up in one 3-hour visit on April 4. After that, she has to write a 10 page report about us and get it edited and approved by her supervisor and the court. We are looking at being approved and available as a “Waiting Family” somewhere between May 18 and June 1. And then starts the fund-raising…

lemonadeHave I ever mentioned how much I love fund-raising? No?

Huh…. Yeah… no I think you’re right – I haven’t.

But I do love planning things, so I guess I just need to get over the label of “Fund-raising” and get to it.

Our plan is to do several things:

1. Start applying for grants.

This is pretty much like applying to college: Filling out paperwork, answering really personal questions, writing essays, etc...

2. Have a garage sale June 4-6 at my father-in-law’s house. 

Have you ever seen Storage Wars? Our dear friend and spiritual mentor for many years has offered to help us by bidding on storage unit auctions. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed with emotion I was when he shared this with me. 

3. Plan a food-event. 

Everyone loves to eat and we love to cook, so I thought it would be fun to feed people. I make a mean lasagna and have won a chili cook off.

Your Feedback please:  Any ideas for what time of year to do an event like this would be helpful. Seems like during the summer everyone is gone a lot. Weekday? Weekend? Summer? Fall?

4. Hold a Raffle.

Friends of ours adopted and this was their most successful fund-raising approach. They bought I-pads and several other expensive electronics that people could win. Then they sold tickets over the course of 2-3 months and drew winners for each of the prizes. People loved that each $5 bought them a ticket for a chance to win a prize. 

Your Feedback please:  Does $5/ticket seem like a good idea? What kinds of electronics are people into these days? What other prizes would you be interested in winning? Should we do the raffle drawing at our food event?

5. Publicize this Blog.

I’ve seen blogs where you can donate to the blogger’s cause, but have no idea how to get this set up! And honestly, I am very concerned that people’s financial information be kept safe. Also, I need to actually find time to network with other bloggers so that people besides my Facebook friends can follow along and have the opportunity to read my blog. It would be nice to maybe open the raffle up to readers. Maybe??? I don’t know…

Your Feedback please: Umm… just Help!!!

6. Work.

We certainly can’t ask people to help fund our adoption without working our hardest to save money as well.  We are both so thankful that we love our jobs so much. Tyler is tutoring on the side, and I have been working quite a bit of overtime. So far we’ve been able to pay out of pocket for the application and home study, but the other 75% of the cost is due when we finalize our adoption. 

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THIS is what’s most overwhelming to me. The fund-raising part is why we decided to start the process earlier than we had originally planned. This way we have the summer to work on this, since Tyler has almost 3 months off.

I can’t sufficiently describe how it feels to need to depend on others to help you expand your family. Every gift is such.a.gift. Think about what money normally buys: food, clothing, gas, housing, repairs, medicine, vacation. Some of those things are such a drag to pay for and others – though fun and exciting – are still fleeting. The gift of a child is forever. And every little bit – even $5 – is still a part of that gift.

God will provide for us no matter what. We paid for IVF almost all by ourselves, and it was such a relief when we made our final payment on our 15-month 0% interest credit card! Adoption costs 3x what IVF cost us. But if we won the lottery it would be much less humbling than relying on the gifts of people who want to support this baby we are adopting. Not that we want to be humbled.

Wait, that doesn’t sound good.

But you know what I mean. ❤

VERY IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  You should in no way feel obligated to donate money to us just because you know us and are reading our blog. The primary purpose of this blog is to keep people updated and to create more awareness about what adoption is really like. While I think it’s important to be charitable, we all have different causes that are important to us – so give where you are led to give!