Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yay for More Adoptive Families in Oklahoma

I was starting to feel like we were one of the only families adopting a child from Ethiopia in Oklahoma when we started talking to people about it.  I thought, man are we going to be explaining quite a bit to our friends and co-workers about "Why Ethiopia?", "Why adoption?", "Why adopt from a different race?" and Yes, we have had to answer many of these questions over and over but I am now finding that we are not the only ones adopting from Ethiopia in Oklahoma and I am SO excited to be developing a friendship base with other families nearby.  So here is my list of those families I have met thus far and please feel free to let me know if you know someone not on this list in or nearby Oklahoma.


Kelly and Dillon
Jennifer and John   (check out the sweet post Jennifer just wrote about my artwork...just made my day!)
Scott & Toni
Rachel and Scott
Matt and Sarah 

and of course my dear friend of (gasp) almost 20 years!!!  Hilary and Joshua  they;re not in OK but very close and only 2 hours from us.

For all of you in the area, remember November 6th at Queen of Sheba for the quarterly Ethiopian Fellowship Group gathering....we can't wait and will see you there!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Advice Needed

Well as overwhelmed as I have been feeling, tonight everything just started coming together and I feel so organized and much more put together now.  Our application part 2 is much like application+ parts of home study and dossier in one so when I was looking at the page-long checklist of what is to be included I thought, this is going to take FOREVER.  Then I started making piles with sticky notes on each and compiling things we already have like birth certificates, marriage license and passports and dividing what still needs to be done between Jason and I and it really isn't that bad.  I am very lucky that my doctor adopted 3 children from Uganda 6 years ago and completely understands what is required of international adoption and is so willing to help us so my health stuff is taken care of, just need to get Jason and Jalen in for their physicals.  Just a few forms to fill out and get notarized and then write our autobiographies and we can send in part 2!!!  The DHS, OSBI and background check info will go out tomorrow and we have emailed the info required for our reference letters to those writing them for us.  I also have been making copies of everything and have been sliding them into sheet protectors in order, inside my large adoption binder I made so...I feel much less overwhelmed (for now).  Thanks for the idea on the sheet protectors in the binder Tiffany that was a great idea!

So here is where I need the advice for now.  As part of our education we are required to read 2 books between the 2 of us and then 1 course on adoption and the older child in case our child should come home to us after they have turned 12 mths.  So I'm putting the list out here and would love your thoughts if you have read these or done the courses below and have any thoughts on which ones to choose or if you have heard about them and have thoughts to share.  Not that it matters but if you don't know us, a quick FYI is: we have an almost 2 yr old son, plan to adopt a boy or girl under 12 mths of age, are both full-time working parents and Jason (my husband) was adopted and has 2 adopted siblings of different races so we're pretty well aware of life in a multicultural-multiracial family...if that helps at all :)

Jason with his family
Raising Adopted Children by Lois Melina
Adoption Parenting by Jean MacLeod
Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray
Nuturing Adoptions by Deborah Gray
The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis
Adopting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck
Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck

With Eyes Wide Open workbook
Adopting the Older Child online course
Adopting Older Children Internationally online course
Toddler Adoption by Mary Hopkins Best (book)

Okay headed to bed now...I'd say it's about time alarm is set for 6am, It's not gonna be a pretty sight tomorrow morning that's for sure and making doubly strong green tea will be first on my list of things to do!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Application Part 2 is HERE!

So to most of you this might not sound that exciting but I have been waiting on this since the Friday before last.  Because of the holiday weekend, people being on vacations and the extent of what the application entails/being put together for us specifically it took longer than usual.  I had to go through it and start making piles and lists and a plan of attack. 
This 2nd application includes much of what the home study will require so we will be starting to ask for our references, do our parent education classes (online, in person and via reading books), compile our birth certificates and marriage license, have our physicals to be signed off on, write our autobiographies, go through the checklist of health concerns of the future child, bank statements, tax stuff...oh the list goes on :)  We do already have our birth certificates, marriage license, passports and much of what is needed so that makes me feel slightly less overwhelmed but I'm sure that feeling won't last long.

This sounds and seems exhausting but I cannot wait to start getting the list checked off and sent it.  Once they have everything and we are approved, we will begin the home study which is also through Dillon.  So I know what our weeknights and this upcoming weekend will be full of....Lots Of FUN!!! (my husband may say otherwise but checking off lists and organizing is definitely my fun!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our Art Blog is UP!!!

One day I thought a wall in our living room looked bare and thought I would fill the space with some canvas paintings/collages with our adoption theme throughout.  I took a picture of what I did and put it up on good ole Facebook so my friends and family could see and soon enough I had a new friend asking if I could make one for her daughter's (soon to be brought home from Ethiopia) nursery.  She then suggested that if she wanted one, surely others would too and I should use it as a fund raiser...Thanks Rachel!  And with that, Our New Blog is born.
This is NOT to replace our current blog but in addition to make an easy way for people to place their orders and see what it is all about.

I am so excited to say that in just a few days I have had about 8 people emailing me to ask how they can buy THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone and special thanks to Erica for being super supportive, I am so excited to donate a painting to your fund raiser and hope it brings you closer to bringing your baby home as well.  Go to her blog and buy a puzzle piece for only $10 to be entered into their HUGE drawing...I just did!  I can't say this enough but I LOVE how we all work together to help each other attain the same goal!

So check out the new art blog...grab our button in the right column of this blog and let me know what you think!  


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Amazing People and Great Fundraisers

Wow, this week has just been a whirlwind of meeting new friends in person and on line via adoption blogs and has just made me smile like crazy!  It has also made me realize that blogging, fund raising and meeting new families really helps with wait times.  This whole week I have been checking my mailbox waiting for application part 2 to come and it hasn't but as soon as I sigh over another day not getting this going faster I have my time fulfilled with many other things and I realize it makes me almost thankful it didn't come that day so I don't feel personally responsible for the delay.

The other night I was looking at blog updates and came across Alison's Blog that mentioned how her bracelets were a part of a large fundraiser for another family so I checked out that other family's blog and here I found the most awesome idea ever and saw such extreme support it just made me so happy for this family.  The Shubin Family has had many many MANY families donating items and the fundraiser is that people can buy a puzzle piece for $10 and be entered into a drawing that if chosen they will win certain items that have been donated.  You can also get bonus entries by posting and emailing and more so it is such a win-win fundraiser and of course the end result is priceless!

SO...I felt an immediate need to contact Erica and let her know I would donate the one extra t-shirt I had ordered from our last go-around with our fundraiser as well as offered up a painting that I could do for a family similar to the ones I did for my living room and my new friend Rachel that now have become apparently a very wanted item :)  Immediately I got an email back from Erica and we began talking back and forth...she was more excited about what I had to offer than I expected which of course made me so excited and now within 24 hrs I have had multiple emails from other families requesting t-shirts and paintings.  Looks like I might become busier than expected soon.

I also met a sweet girl who found me via blog world named Rachelle who emailed me to tell me how much she loved our t-shirts.  I checked out her blog and loved her humor about the set-backs they have had amongst their adoption process which as I told her makes it good for some of us to hear that are in the very beginning stages to not prepare for a smooth ride the whole way and expect these things to happen.  We have since been talking back and forth and late last night she created another blog  which is new but already so awesome!  Go and see for yourself.  Oh and she added our button on there too which I completely appreciate.  I just LOVE all this families helping families all in one big goal to save innocent and precious children who deserve the world!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

T-Shirts Are In!!!

Thanks so much to all of you have been ordering t-shirts to support us and adoption in general.  They will be mailed out within the next day or two.  We appreciate it more than you know and cannot wait to see all of you in them.  If you could,  take a picture of yourself in the shirt and email it to me, we'd love to include you in a project we are doing to eventually have in our baby's room to show who all helped bring him or her home.  If you didn't get a shirt this last time around, just let me know if you want to know when we do our next order and I'll keep you on the email list.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grab Our Button & More

Well we are in the midst of our long holiday weekend that has been very much needed for a while and while I am enjoying every minute of it I feel like I need to be productive but can't.  We finished our pre-adoption workshop (online education) and were given our certificate of completion of 6 hours worth of pre-adoption education credit which was required before we embark on Application part 2 but due to the long holiday weekend and the extensiveness of part 2, we have to wait to receive it and most likely won;t get it until mid-next week.  The way Dillon works is the application part 2 is a lot of preparation and rehearsal for the home study and dossier which in the long run speeds up the dossier process because we will be attaining documents for it right away.  Once part 2 is completed and returned it is processed within 30 days and then begins the home study.  Because Dillon has their own home study (which was how we found out they had an Ethiopia adoption program) it makes it nice because the communication is always with the same people.  So as much as the beginning stages seem so long and intensive it makes up for it during the stages that are usually longer and intensive. 

I also asked Dillon this week about wait times for referrals after hearing from a few people that their wait times were going to most likely be around 12 mths no matter what gender or age due to the new court laws, but we have been told that it will more than likely be 7-8 mths for us since we want a child under 1 yr.  So this is a little longer than we anticipated and if all goes well and on schedule a VERY estimated time of bringing home our child could be Sept-Oct next year, Jalen will be nearly 3 yrs old, out of diapers and a bit more independent (hopefully) and we will have had more time to prepare and save so I guess I can look at the positive that way :)

So this weekend I am instead working hard on preparation of future fundraisers, organizing and planning the future organization (yes I am that person) so I don't have to worry as much when that time comes around.  I also got to meet with an awesome soon to be mom of a beautiful little girl from Ethiopia.  We talked and talked and talked, and if it wasn't getting close to dinner time, we could have talked for hours more and do plan to soon.  She also brought me a necklace she made me which I am in love with.  She is very talented and so sweet and I cannot wait for her to bring her sweet Aamina home!  She will also be coming with us to the next Queen of Sheba- Ethiopian Fellowship Group in OKC (pending she is not in  Ethiopia at that time which is a good possibility).  She also educated me on some stuff I did not know about and now feel much better prepared for all that is ahead of us.
Lastly I finally got around to making our button and figuring out how to get the grab code and such, which seemed so intimidating at first but now, nothing to it so if anyone has any questions just let me know.  Not sure if I'll keep the current design or not, I might make a few little changes but we'll see.  I'm just glad it is one more thing I can cross off my long list to do.  If you would like to add it to your blog it can be found on the right-hand near the top of this blog.  Have a great long weekend, Happy labor Day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Outlive Your Life

So every morning while driving Jalen to daycare and myself to work I usually flip though the radio stations to either listen to funny talk radio shows or for some of my favorite country songs but every once in a while I will click on KLOVE to see if there is a song I like or something particularly interesting to talk about.  Today it was definitely my day and time to switch over to that station.  Right as I pushed the button I heard "September is Outlive Your Life Month..." and before I heard anything else I knew exactly what they were going to be saying.  I knew a message was about to be given on doing things with your life to make a difference and immediately I was excited to hear what their ideas were but also part of me was wishing this was being broadcasted on other mainstream channels like my country station so more people could hear this.  I felt once again I was going to be confirmed about what we are doing is what we need to be doing but couldn't help but also feel like "I already know this...tell this to the people that haven't learned this yet."  Side Note:  You see, I have this problem with being so passionate about something and not understanding why everyone else in the world isn't as well :)

This Outlive Your Life month is coming in conjunction with what seems to be a wonderful book.  Max Lucado has written a book with this title and was speaking on KLOVE this morning about how it came to be.  In short, he was having a conversation with a friend and was asked "what do you think your great grandkids and their kids, etc will think when they know you lived in a world with so many hungry people and did nothing to help?"  This sparked something in him and he decided to write this book and get this...100% of the royalties from Outlive Your Life products will benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion, like building water wells in Uganda.  I can only hope and pray that more people will ask themselves this question and then act on it!  You can go to the website  and download the first chapter.