Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pregnancy vs. adoption

It has been heavy on my heart a lot lately that there are so many people out there that see adoption as something so completely different from having a child biologically.  Yes, there are the obvious differences but it is so interesting how once you start comparing some realities of both paths of adding a child to your family, they really aren't that different.  I often get some same questions/comments over and over again and I am seeing a pattern.
"wow, that is really expensive to adopt, wouldn't it be cheaper to have your own?"
"the adoption process is really long, why do you have to wait so long?"
"what if you get a child that ends up having medical problems?"
"what if you get a child with psychological problems?"
"you're going to adopt a girl right, since you already have a boy?"

Do you see a pattern?  They all lean in a direction of what would be convenient for us.  Which option would cost less, be quicker, and in some way assuming we would be guaranteed to have a healthy child.  That last one always gets me.  Maybe because we are overall healthy people, who have a "healthy" child it is assumed we would have another but in reality there is NEVER going to be that guarantee.  No matter how much you can try to be perfect during pregnancy it does not guarantee you that your child will be free of a genetic syndrome, be free of cerebral palsy, autism, behavioral disorders, cancer, etc.  I am thankful every day that my baby boy is healthy and I would like to think it is because I took my prenatals, ate well, nursed him for a year and took the best care of him I could possibly do BUT I know a lot of moms that did this same thing and have a child with a medical or behavioral problem so there is just no guarantee.
My baby boy at 1 mth old (Dec 2008)
Now, with all that said I know I will be getting the question..."So are you adopting a special needs child?" and no, we are not planning on adopting a "special needs" child at this point because of our work situations.  However, we do know that there is a chance that the child we are blessed with may end up having some problems down the road just as any child may, biological or not and we know we will be able to handle whatever comes our way and we have no fear whatsoever about that.  The funny thing about adoption is, you have more control over what child you will be given more so than when you have one biologically.  When I was pregnant with Jalen I could decide what I did to impact my pregnancy but I had no control over genetics and what syndrome/illness/problem he may end up with, I had no control over if he would be born too early and end up having developmental disabilities, I had no control over how his birth would pan out and if something traumatic would have occurred  and how that would have impacted his life, or how much in medical bills we would have due to this, or how this may impact my life physically...I had basically NO control over who my child would be and yet in the adoption world, if I wanted to,  I could have control over the sex of my child, the age of my child, and the current health status of my child...hmmmm???   So why is it that so many see adoption as such a scary unknown and pregnancy is not?  
I am also really struggling with the fact that so many companies do not recognize the required and necessary leave for adoption as  maternity leave!  In many companies you are allowed up to 12 weeks of maternity leave in which you are paid (some percentage of your salary) to recover and bond with your baby but yet so many only "allow" the federally mandated FMLA in which you are allowed leave without pay.  I understand there is the medical need to recover from a pregnancy and be allowed maternity leave but maternity leave isn't based on how fast you recover, it is just a set amount of time and even if you are fully recovered and cleared to return to work after 4-6 weeks, you can choose to take more time to stay home and bond with your new child and get maternity leave benefits.  So since that is the case, why is it that a mom who is adopting a child and is required to be home with that child for 6 weeks for bonding and attachment time, isn't allowed the same benefits?  Being a full-time working mom that will be affected by this, I am quite passionate about it but even if you aren't working outside the home you should still see the need because if we could get more companies to understand this discrimination that occurs, maybe we could get more families on-board with adopting and really start putting an end to this orphan crisis.  I will get off my soapbox...for now...but stay tuned because I have some plans in the near future to start that change here in my community and will keep you all posted, please pray for me and for those who I will be speaking to, to see the need as well and have compassion for us adopting mamas.

I will leave you with a great link to check out about a family adopting twins from healthy and one suddenly not and their decision to keep their referral for both children.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fundraising Summary

Phew!!! Where to begin?  I can't say I am not SO thankful that we adoption families have the ability to do such amazing fundraisers with the help of the internet to reach out to our friends and family along with all of the AWESOME supportive friends we meet via Blog-World.  I can say it is overwhelming sometimes because there are so many ideas, so many "must have" t-shirts, so many GREAT CAUSES that it is hard to keep up and hard to afford.

With that said...I feel TERRIBLE posting so many updates about our fundraisers because I don't want anyone to feel obligated to buy anything and I'm sure it gets old reading these too.  It's just so hard not to post so often though because we keep getting new items added to our fundraisers from SO many of our SWEET sweet supporters (family, friends and those we have never met that have heard about us from a friend of a friend)

So, to sum up what we have going on right now is...

1.  Puzzle Piece/Giveaway:  HERE    $5.00 per piece/entry, many prizes to be won, drawing to be done in March (most likely when we receive our USCIS Approval letter)

2.  147 Million Orphans Gear to Buy:  HERE    There are 10 items on the right column of our blog (note:  addition of the Long Sleeve Grey Unisex Tee  until Valentine's Day!  This is in celebration of Josie Love Mayernick's HIV levels reaching the undetectable level!

3.  Just Love Coffee:  HERE    Buy great African coffee and $5.00 from each bag goes towards our adoption

Thanks so much for reading and remember if you post about our fundraisers on your blog, facebook, or any other means, let me know so I can give you a free entry into the giveaway.  Have a great weekend!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fundraising in FULL effect!

First and foremost THANK YOU to everyone donating items to our puzzle piece fundraiser/giveaway and to everyone buying pieces.  We are still accepting items to give away and of course still have many puzzle pieces to sell :)  (see the left column of this blog to purchase your piece(s)/entry to win!

Second...The 147 Million Orphan  gear is ready to be ordered now.  I have placed pictures and links to buy each item on the right side of this blog.  You will order and pay via our PayPal links this way but can also send me a comment or email if you would rather order and pay by check or cash.  Once we have around $200 ordered, we can place the order and will let you know so you will know when to estimate your items arriving to you.  That being said the more people we can get this out to, the quicker we will be able to place orders so please if you don't mind, share this with all of your friends and family members. 

The proceeds are generously being given to our adoption by 147 Million Orphans.  We are so happy to be parterning with them to help bring our baby home! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

YES, another fundraiser...147 Million Orphans Gear!!!

Well first off I want to say we got our USCIS appointments in the mail today...February 8th, yippie!!!!  From what I have heard we should receive our approval letter within 3-4 weeks from that date which means we need to come up with our dossier submission money in that time, less than $3,000 to go. 

This also means that in 3-4 weeks we will be ending the puzzle piece fundraiser/giveaway and drawing all the winners so you still have a few more weeks at least to get your pieces/entries and can donate prizes up until the end as well :)
Super soft and comfy

NOW onto the next FUNDRAISER!!!  At the end of last year we found out about a program that 147 Million Orphans was going to be offering to adoptive families and we jumped right on board because we love them so much.  They have done SO much in so many lives of precious children, helping other families jump some of the financial hurdles of adoption, and they also just happen to have really cute and great quality gear.  We are able to now sell some of their awesome stuff and all the proceeds go towards our adoption, check out all the stuff you can get HERE

Hand-made necklace from Uganda-I LOVE mine!
Here's how it works:  I am going to be placing direct links for each item on my blog this week where you can place your order right there and pay the same way you have through our PayPal link or else you can just email me or leave a comment here with what you want and can mail a check.  Once we have the minimum required amount to place the order (about $200) we can submit the order and they will send it to us and I will get it to you!  Check out the website and see all the awesome stuff they have.  The prices listed are what you will be paying and for the 2 tees without prices (Adoption Fundraising Families Only mens brown and womens white tees) are $19.95 each.

If you don't see anything you like there, check out all of their apparel and more here.  The money will be going to great causes no matter what!

Just had to share my little angel with you tonight!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Many Thanks....

I just wanted to put a HUGE Thank You out there for the extreme support we have received this week alone with the puzzle piece fundraiser!  As everyone knows when you have an idea for a fundraiser it can be a little scary to think what if this doesn't work...what if this?  what if that?  But within the first 2 days I had no more worries or "what ifs?" because of each and everyone of you!  From the donations for prizes (which are still coming in and gladly we're accepting!) to the buying of our "puzzle pieces", to the spreading the word via other blog and Facebook posts, it means THE WORLD to us!  Some of you we have known forever and some of you we have yet to meet and I just love that!  In just less than 1 week's time we have received over $300.00 through this fundraiser as well as had some recent unexpected money come in (always nice!) to bring our current amount to $2,050...only $2, 950 more to go and I know we can do it!!!!

I haven't set a date to end the fundraiser just yet because I wanted it to go until we got our approval letter from the USCIS which is when we can submit our dossier with the $5,000, SO I estimated in another month or month and a half or until we hit the $5,000 mark.

In closing now I just want to say Thank you God for putting so many wonderful, caring and supportive people in our lives, to complete this journey to reach the ultimate end result of bringing home a precious child from Ethiopia and being able to share our story and include so many people along the way.  It has not been my faith that has brought me to the decision to adopt like so many but rather this journey to adopt has brought me so much closer to my faith!  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Puzzle Piece Fundraiser/Big Giveaway

We are trying to raise money to reach our goal of $5,000 to be able to submit our dossier and are excited to announce we are doing a Puzzle Piece Fundraiser/Big Giveaway  (see below for pictures of all the prizes posted so far & many more to still come!!!!)

Here's how it works:  We have bought a jig saw puzzle that we will be putting together as people buy puzzle pieces.  Once completed it will go in our baby's nursery :)

You can buy a piece of our puzzle/entry for $5.00 and can buy as many pieces as you would like.  Just click on the "buy here" puzzle icon in the top left corner of this blog to pay via debit/credit or paypal.
There are 1000 pieces to this puzzle so if we can get 1000 people to buy just one piece we will be at our $5000 goal. 

...The best part for YOU is this fundraiser also comes with prizes for those who buy puzzle pieces!
For each piece you buy, your name will be put into a drawing to win prizes that have all been donated by other families.  
 I will be posting pictures of these prizes soon and will have multiple winners so the chances of winning will be good for all!

...The best part for US will be that we get to put your name on the back of each piece you buy so when it is all said and done we can see everyone that helped bring our little boy or girl home and one day he or she will get to see all of your names as well....I love that more than anything!!!

If you have anything you would like to donate to our giveaway we would be MORE than happy to accept it, & it can be anything, adoption related or not.    

FREE entry:  if you Facebook about this giveaway or post it to your blog, you can also get 1 entry, just make sure you comment below and let me know. 

So far here's what we have:  a t-shirt with Africa sewed on it and a handmade tote bag in animal print from An Inexhaustable Love , 2 shirts and a bumper sticker from  147 Million Orphans , a cute zippered clutch by  Our Tree of Hope, a handmade necklace and shirt from Lisa at Little Did I Know, a thermal lunch tote from Erica at Thirty-One a t-shirt from Our Missing Linck, Africa bumper sticker with a heart over Ethiopia, personalized hand painted canvas(es), 2 Being Family adoption teddy bears, a Starbucks gift card, a t-shirt from The Road Less Traveled, a thermal tote from Stephanie at Thirty-One, some Mary Kay stuff,  and  more to come :)
not the exact shirt but will be same style from Hilary
a hand-painted personalized canvas by me :)
Handmade by my talented friend Kathleen at
a man's and woman's t-shirt and bumper sticker from 147 Million Orphans
A super cute women's tee from Erica (color may vary depending on availability)

Another cute tee from a one of my OK adoption mama friends, Jennifer
A Thirty-One Thermal Tote from Stephanie (It will look just like this except the font is a little different)
                                 this is the exact bag from Hilary

                                                 A Thirty-One thermal lunch tote from Erica

Mary Kay Satin Hands gift set

$25.00 Gift Card to Starbucks from my mom

3 Jockey Being Family Bears that support adoption, cream, tan and dark brown (thank you mom), check out the website at:
Glass bead necklace from Lisa
hand-made Africa silhouette children tees (18mth, youth Med, & youth 6/8) from Lisa
$20.00 to Bath and Body Works from my mom

Car window/bumper stickers made by Chantel

Thank you so much to Joan Prescott, my dear friend's 85 year old grandmother who wanted to help support our adoption through donating 2 of her hand made items (above: a cross-stitched pillow and below: a super soft baby blanket)    What a sweet heart this lady has!

Below is a men's/unisex shirt in a size Large from The Morris Family at

Monday, January 10, 2011

USCIS mailed off!!!

On Friday we received our finalized home study and our info to send in the USCIS application and today we mailed off the USCSI application and all paperwork needed to accompany!!!  One more big step completed and it feels great!  The next step is we wait to get assigned our fingerprinting date.  Whatever date they give us Jason and I have to go to OKC and get our fingerprints done and then once that is completed we just wait for our approval letter.  The down side now is that we just wait for what I have heard to be about 2 mths, before we will receive our approval letter and then at that time we will be able to submit our dossier to our agency and on to Ethiopia which will then place us in waiting for our child!!!!  2 mths sounds like a long way away but then again to think that in 2 mths we will be virtually paperwork free sound sgreat to me!  And just to think that other than some continuing education stuff, we will just be waiting for our phone to ring (somewhere between 6-10 mths later) with someone on the other end saying "this is your referral call, we have a child for you", is VERY exciting!!!

Now we have to jump back in to fund-raising mode again as our next sum of money is going to be approaching us in the next 2 mths.  Our next fees will total to $5,000 when we submit our dossier and as of now we have $1500 of that so our goal is $3500 by March 10th and I think we can do it!  We are going to be doing a puzzle-piece" or something of the sort fundraiser soon so if there is anything you want to doante we would be more than appreciative.

We have also teamed up with 147 Million Orphans and will be selling some of their wonderful apparrel with proceeds going to our adoption.  Thank you so much to them for being a great source for families like us to fund-raise without having to really do much work other than promote it like crazy!  I will post again about this soon so stay tuned!

On another note, Jason and I started our non-proft orphan ministry with 3 other families from our church and this past Saturday had our first meeting.  There were lots of tears and heartwarming stories and everyone was so excited that it has started and are helping us get the word out.  From people that have already adopted internationally, to people who have adopted domestically, those who have fostered and those signing up to, those who sponsor children in other countries and those that just recognize there is a need to help and want to do what they was just AWESOME!  We are going to be having another meeting within the next month and hope to have our audience doubled and will start getting all the details set but for now we have a mission, vision, belief, name, logo, websites, blog and name soon to be secured and licensed with an account to hold the funds we have already had donated. The websites are not done yet but for now we have a blog to send people too, check it out HERE.