Countries

After taking a little break from researching adoption stuff, I jumped back on the bandwagon this weekend.  We’ve been doing some hard core researching, comparing, and praying over the last several days and have narrowed down the country of our future child to Colombia and Peru!  Definitely NOT where we thought we would adopt from, but it makes the most sense for our family right now.

Our only African option was Congo and that’s just not a safe option for us right now.  We both agreed that it would be foolish to leave our two kids here in the states and travel to a war and disease ridden country to pick up another child.  The risks are just too high right now.  My heart still breaks for all of those kids in DRC waiting for families.  All of the kids running in fear from Kony and his soldiers.  But we’re not the family for them.  I’m praying hard that God will send families that way as fast as they can fill out the paperwork.  If you’re interested in adopting from Congo, I can point you to a great agency!  🙂

After ruling out Congo we were left with Latin America or Bulgaria.  Bulgaria just wasn’t striking a chord with either one of us, so we moved on.  This left us with Colombia, Peru, or Costa Rica.  Costa Rica only allows children over the age of 6 to be adopted right now.  Having a (almost) 3 year old and a 1 year old at home, adopting from Costa Rica would most definitely disrupt the “birth order” in our family.  While we’re not opposed to adopting outside of birth order, we’re not sure that’s what is best for our family.

Peru and Colombia both give us the option of adopting in or outside of the natural order of our children.  Right now we would prefer to adopt a child younger than Nathan (and probably younger than Alex), but we are open to an older child if that’s where God leads us.  We have another year or so to figure that out.  🙂

I have a couple of emails out to my “adoption people” regarding these two countries to see which is the best fit for our family.  Hopefully we’ll have a country soon!

P.S: who wants to teach us Spanish?

 

A Family Update

For those following along, here’s a quick update of our lives right now.

  • Nathan will turn THREE next month!  THREE.  Crazy.  He’s super smart (and I’m not just biased).  He recognizes all of his letters and knows most of their sounds.  He can count to 16 (sometimes he confuses 13 and 14).  His vocabulary compares to a 4 or 5 year old and he speaks in complete sentences very clearly.  He’s pretty much potty trained during the day and is learning how to swim.
  • Alex is almost 17 months old and is very smart as well.  (Again, I’m not just biased.)  She can say at least 30 words already and understands many more.  She’s our monkey and is determined to do anything her brother does.  Except swim.  She doesn’t like any water except the water in our baby pool or a puddle in the yard.  We call her our “itty bitty” because she’s so small.  About 21 pounds right now, but very healthy.
  • Craig is working hard, as always, to not only support our family but to save for our adoption.  He’s pretty much amazing.
  • I’m still doing the crafting thing.  Mostly painting right now, which I love.  I’ll post some pictures of my recent stuff soon.
  • We’re back on the fitness bandwagon and ready to be healthy for life!  We’ve been doing pretty well for the last year, but can always do better.  I’m starting some crossfit exercises at home with a friend.  We’re training to one day compete!  I’m probably more excited about it than I should be.  🙂
  • We’re also narrowing down adoption locations.  I think we’ll come to a decision within the next week or two.  We’ll let you know!
  • We have about HALF of the funds needed to adopt.  And we haven’t officially started the paperwork!  God is amazing.

I think that’s all the big stuff.  Now you’re all caught up.  Did you even know you were behind?

It’s Hard to Update…

…when there are no updates.  *Sigh*

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to know what’s going on.  I like to have a plan.  I don’t like to do things last minute (unless they require no preparation).  I’m a list maker.  Shoot – I even write things on my to-do lists that I’ve already finished just so I know it’s all in one place.  I have a certain day that I clean the bathrooms and wash the sheets.  I LOVE to have a plan.  Even if I don’t follow through with it, at least I know what should happen if I got my act together.

So for me to sit here and write to you that we have no idea where we’re adopting from is hard for me.  I don’t like not knowing.  I want to know where we’re going so I can start preparing.  Learn a teeny tiny bit of the language.  Embrace our future child’s culture.  Teach our current children about that culture.

So I guess that’s the update: there is no update.  We’re sitting and (ever so impatiently) waiting on God to lead us where He wants us.  The good thing is we have nothing but time right now.  Through our new agency, Lifeline, I must be 25 before we can send off our dossier.  Which means we can’t really start the process until I’m 24.5 (in September).  The only exception to this is if we decide to adopt from Congo.  But their program is on hold right now due to a large number of applicants, so that’s not an option at the moment anyway.

That gives us plenty of time to save money, raise funds, abide in God, and focus on the two little ones He’s already blessed us with.

We’ll keep you posted when things change.  🙂  In the meantime, we could use your prayers that God will lead us where He wants us and that we will listen to only Him.

Raising Hope: Success!

We had our first big fundraiser push last night.  For those who have been following, you know we had a “date night” planned for last night here in our neighborhood.  We grilled chicken, made lowcountry boil, stuffed ourselves with appetizers and desserts, danced the night away, and made some money in the process!  It did my heart a lot of good to see our friends come together to show their support for us.  We know some amazing people.

I’ve been told the evening was a success and we’ve already been asked to do it again!  Our hope of offering this fundraiser yearly just might come true!

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We made $484 just from the sale of tickets and donations last night.  Adding that to donations that were given prior to the event and again this morning, we have currently raised $3,141.  Not too shabby at all!  And that’s not including the money Craig and I have personally been saving.  God is providing just as we knew He would.  Thanks to all who made last night a success and to all who have helped make our fundraising a success so far!  We’re  one tenth of the way there already!  Not even 3 months after deciding to adopt!

I’d also like to give a shout out to our band last night.  They came and played FOR FREE because they wanted to help with the fundraiser.  And they were AWESOME.  Go find them on Facebook.  www.facebook.com/onahillband.  Their lead singer, Alex, also plays with the Freedom Church worship band.

And stay tuned for updates on the adoption process as we make decisions.  Also stayed tuned for more opportunities to support us.  We’ll be holding auctions, giveaways, and more in the coming months.  I’m even hearing rumors of a 5k/half marathon hopefully in the works!

Change of Plans

It the last two months since we made the decision to adopt there’s one thing I’ve learned quickly: God’s ways are not our own.  And if we’re going in a direction He doesn’t want us, He’ll make it very clear.  I’ll warn you now – this is a long (and maybe confusing) update.  Bear with us if you want.  This changes the entire course of our adoption and has changed our hearts some as well.

For those who have been following along, we had decided on an Agency and a country – Ethiopia.  We’d already sent off the $300 application fee and were on schedule to have an orientation call this afternoon.  Well, my mom taught me early on in my life the value of research.  So researching I do.  All.the.time.  For everything.  Especially for this adoption process.  I’ll admit this: we chose Ethiopia because I wanted to adopt from Africa.  Because Ethiopia was open and it just seemed like a “good choice”.  Not because I prayed about where God wanted us to go.  Because I wanted to go there.  So I got Craig on board and we sent off money.  Then I started REALLY doing research.  Research that didn’t lead to the answers I wanted to hear. And what I found made my stomach drop.  First I got defensive and tried to rationalize what I was reading.  But you can only rationalize so much. After reading about how unethical most (not all) Ethiopian adoptions are, we knew without a doubt that we couldn’t adopt from there.  While we know our agency will do everything in their power to have an ethical adoption, there are some things they can’t control.  And it’s happening very frequently in Ethiopia.  I would never have peace adopting from there.

So that knowledge obviously threw a wrench in our plans.  We have no country now.  And the agency we signed on with only qualified us for that country.  Now what?  It’s funny how when you’re in God’s will everything becomes clear.  After deciding on Ethiopia I still had feelings of unrest (which is why I was researching).  We didn’t really know what would come next.  When we made the decision to back away from Ethiopia, God started opening doors and guiding us where He wanted us.  An adoption “mentor” of sorts was discussing adoption with me via email.  She mentioned the agency they’re using: Lifeline Christian Services.  At church on Sunday another woman (who didn’t know about our change of plans) mentioned Lifeline and that they were opening an office in Charleston.  And then on Tuesday, a friend of ours who works with Craig mentioned Lifeline.  Coincidence?  I think not.  God’s making sure we’re following this time.

So where does that leave us?  We’re not sure yet.  We know we’re now going with Lifeline.  They have an amazing orphan care program through domestic adoption, international adoption, foster care, and their (un)adopted programs.  They’re amazing and it’s obvious they have a heart for this.  But we have no idea where we will be adopting from yet.  And we’re okay with that.  We’re not diving in head first just yet.  We’re making sure we take our time to REALLY pray about the situation and follow where God is leading us, not where we want to go.  We KNOW we are called to adopt.  But that’s all He’s revealed so far.

The following are countries that are or will shortly be open to us.  Congo, Peru, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, Uganda, and Ukraine.

This is also a blessing in disguise because it gives us the opportunity to raise the money we will need to start the process.  Before we can begin our home study (one of the first steps) I think we’ll need around $10,000.  We now have time to raise and save that money without going into debt.  Definitely a blessing!

So there you go.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time God changes our direction.  And while it’s not fun in the middle of the process, there is much more peace knowing we are where He wants us.

It’s Coming

There are only TWO WEEKS left to RSVP for our Raising Hope fundraiser.  We’re really hoping this event is going to be a success.  Not just for our adoption, but because I want to hold this event yearly to raise money for other adopting families.  However, things are looking a tad disappointing.  Not many people are signing up.  I really hope it’s just because we live in a little tiny town where everyone (including me) waits until the last minute to get things done.  🙂

Haven’t heard about the Raising Hope fundraiser yet?!  Visit the Facebook page for it HERE.  It’s a “date night” of sorts that we are hosting to raise money for our adoption.  There will be live music, dancing, dinner, dessert, photography, and MUCH more.  It’s going to be amazing.  And tickets are only $30/couple.  That’s less than you’d pay for a dinner out!  (Without the music and awesome people!)  🙂

Please do us a favor and spread the word about this event.  Invite your friends.  Invite your family.  Tickets would make a great gift to give a couple who needs a night out.  We even have a few babysitters we can send your way if you need them.

We received our introduction packet in the mail today with some papers that need to be signed.  When we send those papers back to the agency, we also need to send over $10,000 to get things started.  We’ll be honest with you.  It’s going to be tight to find all of that money so quickly without using up a good portion of our savings.  It would be a huge blessing for this fundraiser to be a success so that we can start the home study process and still have money in case of emergency.

We’re not begging for money.  We know without a doubt that God will provide the money if this is His will for us (and we believe it is).  But we also believe that God uses others to accomplish His will.  Maybe He wants to use your purchase of tickets to help us adopt a child.

Adoption Process Update

Our first BIG update!

The social worker with AGCI has officially approved us to adopt from Ethiopia!  Our orientation packet was put in the mail today and we’ll have an orientation conference call after we’ve had a chance to look over everything.  If I understood correctly, the homestudy process will begin after that along with all of the paperwork to complete our dossier (the file of information on us that will be sent to Ethiopia before a child is referred to us).

Here we go!

Why Are We Fundraising?

This question has come up a couple of times in the past few weeks.  Why raise funds?  There are a lot of other families who adopt who never have to raise money.  Why do we?  Well, there are a couple of reasons.

This was a very quick decision.  If you read about why we decided to adopt, you’ll know that while we’ve always been open to the idea of adoption, it’s never been something we planned on doing until recently.  Because of that, this is all coming together VERY quickly, including funding.

We haven’t been saving for adoption until recently.  Because we were able to have our own kids, we haven’t been saving for adoption for years – we’ve been paying Birth Center and midwife fees.  We only started saving to adopt when we decided to adopt – which was not even two months ago.  Yes, we have a savings account.  And a good portion of that will go to our adoption fund.  But it’s not nearly enough to cover the cost of an international adoption (which will be upwards of $30,000).

Adoption is expensive.  Especially international adoption.  In addition to adoption, agency, and country fees, there will be plane tickets, hotels, Passports, Visas, and more travel induced costs.  It’s a lot of money.  And while it’d be nice if Craig made millions of dollars, he doesn’t.  🙂  We just can’t save this kind of money on our own in the time frame we have.


That’s where the fundraising comes in.  We’re counting on everyone around us to help us with this.  We need you.  Not only will you be helping to give an orphan a better life, you’ll be helping us show others that funding an adoption IS POSSIBLE.  You’ll be answering God’s call to ALL believers to care for orphans and widows.  And we fully believe that God will bless you for your gift.  Whether is financial, prayer, time, etc.  God will bless your gift.

Hopefully that answered some questions for those who might have been confused.  Feel free to ask away if you have more.  🙂

When Adoption Hurts

I dare you: ask any person who has been through (or is going through) the adoption process if it was easy.  I can guarantee you their answer will be “no”.  But ask that same person if it was worth it in the end and their answer will be “most definitely”.

Some of our best friends are going through the not-so-easy part of their adoption.  Through a series of (speedy!) circumstances that could have only happened by the power of God, they are almost through adopting the most adorable little boy.  Seriously, y’all.  This kid’s a CUTIE!  But they’ve hit a bump in the road.  If the worst were to happen (and none of us expect it to), they would lose their little boy.  Adoption isn’t easy.  It has the potential to be filled with frustration, heartache, and fear.  I’m glad we realize that now, before we really get started with the process.  We’re going to have our own bumps to get around in the next 2+ years.  Especially adopting from Ethiopia.  We’ll get to that in a future point.  But children are worth fighting for.  Our future child is worth fighting for.  Our friends’ son is worth fighting for.

Please join our family as we pray for these friends of ours.  Pray that God’s hand will remain over their little boy and that His protection will be constant.  Pray that they will have peace over the next several months as they wait on God’s timing.

Pray that the corruption involved in adoption will be stopped.

Pray that our adoption journey will be as painless as possible.  Pray that our family will remain in God’s will throughout this process and that we will be able to bring our child home in His timing.

Agency

We’d finally decided on an adoption agency (and location) and are almost finished with our formal application. We just need a picture of our house and we can pay the application fee and send it off! (I’m waiting until the grass is mowed to do this lol.)

Once that is finished, the application will be processed. If we are officially approved, we will begin the real work: home studies, dossier prep, doctors checkups, etc. We’ll keep you posted.