Monday, June 29, 2015

Fundraising Update #1

From time to time, we will give an update on how our fundraising is going, mainly to share our immense gratitude toward the friends and family who have generously contributed toward our adoption fees and services.

So far, since we have announced our plans to adopt earlier in June, we have been generously given $3,827. Combined with our savings, we have a total of $7,444 raised toward our adoption fees!

Nothing says "yay!!" like the minions

Woo hoo!!!

That is 30% of our goal already, in only a few weeks. Wow.

(In case you're wondering why the amount we received is an "odd" number, that is because one family's two oldest children each sent us a $1 bill. :) )

We have been very touched by each and every donation. More than once happy tears have come to our eyes. We know that no one "has" to give. We know that the people who wrote us a check or donated online or gave us cash don't have piles of money to spare. We know that they are raising kids and paying off school debt and saving for their own big life changes or hard earned vacations, and on and on. So each and every donation feels like "the widow's mite" (giving even when you don't have much; see Mark 12:41-44). For this act of love, we are so very humbled and grateful. Thank you for your love and sacrifice in order to help us become parents and to give a loving home to a child in need.

And we also very much feel the prayers of friends and family who are unable to give financially - those prayers are very much appreciated too! We truly believe in the power of intercessory prayer and we are grateful for that powerful gift.

We've also received a few unique gifts: a baby "how-to" book (to brush up on before the time comes!), two little onesies, a blanket, and a newborn sleep sack. Having these around our home are great reminders of our end goal of parenthood, to keep us moving forward! And we just can't believe these things relate to us now. (Dan was reading a book about parenting and said out loud, "It's great to read these books and think how it applies to us and not some other parents. It's so exciting!")

In conclusion: we have a lovely list of names waiting to be written on our baby's quilt and we were talking the other night about how beautiful it will be when our little one is able to talk and points to names on the quilt saying, "Mama, Daddy, tell me about this person and that person and who is he? Who is she?" and we can tell stories about our friends and family, how we met them, memories we had together, and most of all how generous they were to us - in so many ways. Your love will not be forgotten.

We'd like to end with a favorite Bible verse of ours that we would like to share with you as a small way of saying "thank you":

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." 
- Luke 6:38

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Intake Meeting #2: All About the Home Study

On Tuesday, June 16, we had the second of two intake meetings at our agency. We first met with the family services specialist, and she clarified some questions we had from the last meeting, and just chatted with us for a while. She asked a few remaining questions that we didn't go over before, like about our families and whether they're supportive of us adopting (thankfully, the answer is a big YES!).

After that conversation finished, we discussed the home study process and paperwork. All the forms were explained to us, one by one.

Whew! There is a LOT of paperwork! We've done a good amount of reading about what takes place in an adoption, so it wasn't a huge shock to get form after form after form, but every state is slightly different, and our agency has some forms of their own design, too. We are optimistic about it all and recognize even this paperwork is a blessing. We are so incredibly grateful to be taking steps toward an adoption that even copious amounts of paperwork seems much more like a blessing, than a burden. And strangely, none of it feels overly invasive. Yes, it is making oneself vulnerable, but isn't that the nature of parenthood? We'd like to think all of this paperwork just begins in a very distant way to prepare us for that exciting time and sacrifice of parenting well our future beautiful child! But back to the meeting...

It took about 45 minutes to have everything explained. The staff was very gracious with all our questions. We definitely wanted to make sure we knew what to sign and where, what to fill out, what needs notarized, etc., to not waste time in having to do anything over.

Here's a sampling of the paperwork we'll have to do:

Some of the forms are basic "sign & date" forms: the fee agreement, service agreement (contract with the agency), etc. So those will be pleasantly easy.

We have to provide copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate, our latest tax return, and proof of auto insurance.

We each have to write an autobiography, and we have to draw a floor plan of our house and show escape routes in case of a fire.

There are also some appointments we have to make with various entities: our doctor's office, to get physicals and lab work; the fire department, to do a fire inspection on our home; and the police department, to get fingerprinted and have a background check done.

We have to show all pertinent financial forms (savings, investments, etc.) and a typical monthly budget. We have to send in certified driving records and letters from our workplaces certifying our employment there.

Our two housemates also have to provide medical records and get fingerprinted, and even their dog will play a part! We have to submit up-to-date vaccination records for him.

We have to attend an in-day pre-adoptive parenting training (we did that on June 20) and two online education classes.

We had to choose four references to send in letters vouching for our suitability as adoptive parents.


Then, after all that paperwork is filled out, signed, notarized as needed, and mailed to our agency, we'll be assigned a social worker. He or she will meet with us four times: once at the agency, once in our home, and once with each of us individually. And the social worker will meet in person with one of our references.

Then after the visits are done, our social worker will write up what technically is the "home study." This is a formal document that summarizes the agency's evaluation of us as prospective adoptive parents. It can be shared with other agencies we might work with, as well as courts or lawyers, as needed.

So that's about it! Deep breath..... It seems like a lot - and it is - but we're confident that at the end, it will all be worth it. In fact, it already is. We are so grateful to even do paperwork. It is a small sacrifice compared to the birth mom's sacrifice and the great gift of being able to parent for the first time. And when you really stop to think about it, we would give so much more than paperwork (and we will) to love a precious child as our own and welcome him or her into our home . . . Wow!  Bring on the paper work!

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." - Neh. 8:10

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Welcome: We're Adopting!

We're adopting! How awesome is that?! We are really, really excited to be a mother and father.

We are excited you came by to meet us here in our cyber hang out, known by the term 'blog!'

Here on our website you will find all sorts of neat things about us and our adoption journey. This could be anything from our feelings in the moment, to updates about our progress with the adoption process or fundraising, posts about the spiritual sides of adoption and adoption in general, or fun pieces.

We hope this blog will be a place to share the joy of life as we embark on this incredible pilgrimage to fatherhood and motherhood. We have been desiring to be parents ever since we got married. We cannot wait! We are already preparing our home and our hearts every day, keeping this whole process in prayer. Could you pray for us too? Thanks! And we will see each other soon in the cyber space world on this blog! Please check back frequently to stay updated.

Going Public

As you can see from our Adoption Timeline, we've been thinking about adopting for quite a while: since before Sept. 2013, when we attended our first information session at a local agency. As we prayed and discerned about moving forward with adoption, we shared our plans and hopes with close friends and our immediate family, but not with many others. This was mainly because there wasn't really that much to share - many, many hopes and dreams, yes, but not a lot of concrete action. Also (as hopefully is understandable) sharing our desire to adopt is very close to our hearts and very personal. It's not really "small talk" material!

But now, in June 2015, we're ready and excited to "go public" with our adoption plans and share much more broadly, by letter, email, word of mouth, and Facebook. Concrete things have started to happen: we've applied to a local agency, been accepted, and begun the home study process. It feels surreal, after months and months of anticipation, to get official emails from our agency starting "Dear Prospective Parents..."! (We wonder if the adoption process is going to feel surreal throughout, maybe until the moment our son and daughter is in our arms.)

"Going public" is both thrilling and kind of terrifying! It's relieving, in a way, to let people in our lives know about something that's been so much a part of our thoughts, dreams, and prayers for the past few years. This is us! We are adopting! And like sharing anything so dear, it also feels vulnerable and kind of scary. We know adoption has impacted the lives of several people we know, and we're now joining that group, "touched by adoption".

We wanted to share our adoption plans broadly now because, for one thing, we really could use your support! Given that we're a distinct minority among our friends and family, as a couple who is adopting, we are very much in need of prayers and encouragement to keep taking steps forward in faith.

We also wanted to share because we feel strongly that this isn't just "our" story. We believe God has led us down this path, and we'd like our story in some small way be a witness to His goodness, generosity, and faithfulness. We hope that by sharing our experiences, with adoption and also with infertility (which has had such a big impact on our lives), we can provide a window into a unique way of sharing Christ's Cross and Resurrection - a path of challenge, but also of joy, hope, and healing.

We really expect nothing from anyone - your interest in us, your friendship, your spiritual and material support, all of it is GIFT, and we are so grateful. This is our story, our little slice of the human experience, and we're excited to share it with whoever may be interested.

"I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ."
- Phil 1:6