Thursday, December 12, 2013

Standard Goods Holiday Giveaway!

We are having our first ever Standard Goods Holiday Giveaway! 

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Hillary Leonard, is now a world famous blogger. Seriously, she is amazing and her blog is legit. She has graciously offered to host and promote a Standard Goods holiday giveaway while also sharing our adoption story on her blog! This is a great way for us to share our story and fund raise through our Etsy shop. Don't miss out!

read the post and enter to win! 

33 Coats

Since Sawyer's 2nd Christmas I have tried to do some version of an Advent calender. The problem has been that every year I don't think about it until about mid Dec. By the time I've made the cute, pinterest inspired calender its usually around Dec.18th. Basically my previous Advent calenders have functioned only as a Christmas decoration that makes it appear as though I am skilled at planning ahead.

Not this year.

This year our Advent calender is not super cute. Its not hanging on a wall for all to see and admire. But, man oh man, it packs a punch and, though we have missed a few nights (and made them up later), we started Dec. 1st and will continue through Dec. 31st.

Advent for Orphans from Lifesong

Lifesong of Orphans is a rad organization that serves the fatherless well. They provide financial assistance for adopting families through matching grants, zero interest loans, and scholarships. They help churches establish and manage adoption funds. They are working hard in tons of countries to serve orphans and create programs for orphan prevention. AND they make these awesome "Advent for Orphans" calenders every year!

Each night (almost), Tim and the kids and I gather on our couch and open another box on our calender. On the inside of the flap are two scriptures: one that refers to the Christmas story and another that has to do with compassion/orphan care/serving others, etc. Then, in the little window thing are specific directions that involve counting and money. One night the directions read: "Give $.30 for every carpeted room in your house." Another night we gave $0.07 for every kitchen drawers and cabinet. We have a jar set out in our living room and the kiddos have loved counting out the coins and hearing them "plunk" into the jar. My favorite thing about "Advent for Orphans" is that the money we are putting into our jar will go directly to our church's adoption fund and help bring children into forever families.

The scriptures, paired with the directions, have made for some sweet conversations. As I have sat on our couch with my kids, talking about the reality that most of the kids in the world dont have carpeted bedrooms or 26 drawers and cabinets in their kitchens, a new level of compassion is growing in their hearts for children around the world.

December 5th's challenge was to give $0.20 for every coat in our house. I seriously thought we'd be putting maybe $2 in the jar. 2-3 coats per family member, right? As I walked around the house with Sawyer and Jane, opening closets and counting jackets, I was shocked. We counted 33 coats. THIRTY THREE. Snow coats, windbreakers, pea-coats, jean jackets, and so on. As the kids dropped $6.60 into the jar, I found myself feeling super embarrassed. Counting carpeted rooms and kitchen drawers made me feel thankful for what I have. Counting 33 coats made me feel like an excessive, materialistic, apathetic first world poster child. It's not like we live in Minnesota, folks! We are in Central CA, where the winters last maybe 3 months and the day time temp rarely drops below 40 degrees.

Needless to say, it was a wake up call. I like to think we aren't excessive and materialistic but this Advent for Orphans calender is making me redefine those terms and realize how relative they really are. A few Sundays ago, our Pastor preached an amazing sermon on money and storing up treasures in heaven. He talked about how making over $42,000 a year puts us in the bracket of the wealthiest 1% in the world. Shoot. I would never describe us as "wealthy" and yet, it is becoming very clear to me, this holiday season, that I need to get a new definition for that word.

A few days ago I was at Target and found myself drooling over the most adorable wool coat for Janie. It was on sale. It was her size. And she "needed" a cuter coat for church, right? As I began to really listen to myself, I immediately put the coat back on the rack and walked out of the clothes section. I truly believe that if I had seen that coat before Dec. 5th's challenge, I would have bought it without thinking twice. In fact, I would have been proud of myself for being so frugal and buying it at such a great price, meanwhile, having to idea that I had just put our coat count up to 34.

I love Christmas. I like shopping. I like buying things. I really like buying things on sale. But my prayer for our family this Christmas is that we would re-define words like "need," and "wealthy" to ensure that we are making wise purchases and teaching our kids about the reality of how much we have and, at the same time, how little others have. God loves to give good gifts to those in need. I want to model this type of giving for my kids and teach them to store up their treasures in heaven rather then on earth. I'm not totally sure how to do that effectively, especially since I struggle with it so much myself. I tend to over complicate things so I am super thankful for verses like this one which spell it out so simply:

Luke 12:33-34

“Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Black Friday" at Dad will build your leg!

Did you  know our Standard Goods shop is on Instagram? Follow us at @standardgoods to keep up with our business building/fundraising endeavors. We'll post pictures of the "behind the scenes" of our wallet making, new product designs, and upcoming deals like this one:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Holt International: Affording Adoption Feature

We have been so blessed by our adoption agency, Holt International, even having just started our adoption journey. A couple weeks back I sent an email to our China program contact and shared the craziness of our story being featured on AOL. She then put me in contact with one of the editors for Holt and they asked to set up a phone interview for a feature they were putting together regarding fundraising and international adoption...and the story went live today!!

Check out the story here: Affording Adoption Feature

So, if you are visiting our blog from the link on the article, WELCOME!

My prayer is that our story will help encourage those who feel a call to adopt but are held back by the finances required. In no way am I saying it is easy or that I don't have mini panic attacks when I stop and consider the numbers we are up against. But God is bigger and His bank account never runs out. Like the story of Elisha and the widow's oil in 2 Kings 4, His faithfulness and provision has no end. As we are faithful to trust and tip the jars, He is faithful to provide the oil needed. Even to excess!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Orphan's Cry

I blog-stalk some amazing families who are also on an adoption adventure. It has been so encouraging/helpful/educating to read about their journey through paperwork, fundraising, travel prep, etc. The amazing momma from left TODAY to get get her son and daughter in China. As I was reading her most recent post on their travel details, I came across an older post and had to share. Adoption is beautifully and so, so, hard.

"The Orphan's Cry"
Yes our kids are no longer Orphans! Praise Jesus! But there are always reminders that stop you in your tracks, you find yourself having moments where you flash back to life before "YOU" before they were in our arms, they were somewhere else. They were in an institution- even the nicest of orphanages (like Regis's) they were without a momma and a daddy, they were missing that very relationship we all are designed by our heavenly father to flourish under.  My boy lived almost 4 years without that relationship.  
We as adoptive parents enter that journey of redemption with them, we take on their pain, we take on their grief... 
we sit with them when they are crying and grieving  
we watch them "glaze over" or "shut down" when there maybe too many people around, or they have too much stimulation.  

We take them off the playground because some other child has startled them so badly its reminded them of being in the orphanage and they can't stop crying 
We sit with them during night terrors, not allowed to touch because that will set them off even more. 
We sit through pediatric, dentist, ENT, cardiac, orthopedic, and so many other specialist doctor appointments while our child flails and cries and yells because their only experience with doctors has been rough and hurtful, and without compassion.. 
WE are filling out form after form that serves as a constant reminder our child was once an orphan because we don't have the answers for "family medical history" 
we get to hear "they are so lucky to be in your family" when when we know nothing about their past wast was lucky... 
We find we can't put "footed pajama's" on our child because our she was restrained at some point in the orphanage and this triggers terror  
We get asked question after question about their "real parents" 
we get asked whats wrong with our kids feet, or eyes, hands, or head 
We hear them yell "don't leave me mommy" when we leave to run an errand,  knowing they remember being left by their birth mom 
we get stares and second glances and questions about how much our kids "cost" 
we have to go to their rooms to see if they have woken up in the morning because they have learned not to cry upon waking, because no one comes 
we find food under their pillows, stashed away in their rooms because the fear of running out of food is still so fresh in their little minds 
we sit with them when they cry that cry that takes our breath away 
we love them through the screams and tantrums and screams of "your not my mommy" 
we see them regress and shutter at the sound at someone speaking mandarin or their native language to them. 
we rub our hands on the back of their sweet heads, so flat from being left in crib for hours on end - a reminder for life that they were left alone, left too long.... 
but WE also 
Get to see them blow bubbles for the fist time 
Get to see them slide down a slide and play on a play ground for the first time 
we get to see them try a new food for the first time 
we get to see them slowly gain trust in us 
we get to hear our deaf child say " I love you" after of weeks of hard work and determination to communicate. 
we get to see them try cotton candy for the fist time and see the cutest sticky faced grin! 
we get to see their hair start to grow, their little ribs not to show so much, and they finally get to be "On" the growth chart at the doctors 
we get to see them gain the strength to sit up at  24 months of age, to stand, and to begin to walk. 
we get to tell our "story" to complete strangers and see them smile 
we get to see their lips "pink up" for the first time in months after their heart surgery 
we get to see them "light up "  around their new brothers and sisters, establishing relationships that will last a lifetime!  
we get to experience all their "first" through their eyes 
we get to see JOY 
WE get to feel it 
WE get a glimpse, a taste of the Joy our heavenly father experiences in US, when we join HIS family 
and you know what? These ALL outweigh the "hards" and the "tantrums" and the "cries"
Our children who come to us through adoption have a lifetime of hurdles, they are not all of a sudden "ok" when we bring them home. They are resilient yes, they are miracles. As adoptive parents we have chosen to walk the path with them, sometimes it will be easy, sometimes we don't or won't know what to do. So we pray for the Fathers help, and we pray for the day when they take the step and ask the Savior to come into their sweet hearts and they finally experience the real "redemption" and healing only Jesus can provide.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pictures and Updates

It has been a while since I've posted something new to our blog and it is certainly not because there hasn't been anything to report. It has been INSANE. No really, our life has been quite nutty over here in the Central Valley. I wish I could take the time to chronicle every awesome event but I need to finish Jane's Halloween costume so here is the highlight reel:

EPIC Yard Sale

On Saturday, Oct.12th we had our first (of what I'm thinking might be a few) yard sale. I put up a few posts on Instagram asking for donations and we were overwhelmed with the response. Our garage was filled to the max by the Friday night before the sale. It was something from "Hoarders." Not the junky episodes. The ones where people are addicted to shopping and by really nice stuff. There was a lot of really nice stuff in our garage.

We enlisted a few of our fabulous friends to help us sort the chaos the night before. It was a HUGE task but with everyone's help, we were done sorting by 9 pm. A couple more friends joined us for a late night party and we sent the boys to handle signage while we ladies enjoyed a glass of wine. It was seriously such a good night.

Saturday morning rolled around and we had people casing our lot at 5:30 am. Seriously people? Go back to bed. My dear friend Leah arrived at 6 am with Starbucks and donuts and the three of us set up on the driveway and lawn. By 7:30 am it was a zoo and we had already made at least $500. At one point there were probably 60 people on our property.

We had a ton of friends stop by throughout the morning to help us out. Right when we felt overwhelmed, someone else would drive up to help us. The Lord totally knew what we needed and He provided well.

It's all about the grand total, right? Friday night our set up team gave predictions on what our total would be at the end of the sale. And the winner is....

We made a total of $1836 at our yard sale! 

The whole experience was great. It was a lot of work but so worth it. Thank you to everyone who helped out and donated items!

Maker's Market: Our "Standard Goods" Debut

We had an amazing night at the "Maker's Market" put on by a couple of businesses downtown to promote local crafters. Since it was our first time selling our leather goods in person, we were really freaked out and felt very exposed (if that makes any sense). When all was said and done, we sold over half of our inventory and made just over $800.00! It was amazing and so much fun! It was just the push we needed to feel confident in our products and excited to continue in the Standard Goods endeavor.

One of the funnest parts of prepping for the craft show was getting to design our display table. A huge thanks to Jacki Potorki at Third Element Studios for the rad photos!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we finally launched an Etsy shop for our leather goods. It is such a rush to get the email notification that an order has been placed. Every dollar gets us one step closer to our child! Visit and let us know what you think! We've gotten a few custom orders for different sizes and colors and those have been really fun to design and make.

So that's the update for now! We've been so blessed by everyone's support and encouragement. I know there will be many challenges and difficulties in our future as we continue down this adoption road but these last few weeks have been so faith building, I know we will be able to face the challenges with confidence and tenacity.

More updates coming soon!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Standard Goods: Leather & Tools

So excited to announce the grand opening of our Etsy shop, Standard Goods! Get your holiday orders in now! Check out our front pocket wallets, iPhone sleeves, and iPad cases. We are also able to do custom orders so if you have a different phone or tablet model, we can make it happen!

Click here to visit our shop: Standard Goods: Leather & Tools

Friday, October 4, 2013

Focus Group: iPhone Sleeves and Front Pocket Wallets

I'm finding little scraps of leather all over my house. Cheerios still rank at the top of the list, but little scraps of leather are pulling a close second. My husband and I have been cranking out product for an upcoming "Maker's Market" craft fair in a couple of weeks. Not only is it our first craft fair, it is our first time making something that we think other people might want to buy. It's actually kinda terrifying. We are putting a lot of time into this aspect of funding our adoption and praying it pans out.

So, want to be my blog focus group? Here are some pictures of what we've been working on. Tell me what you think...
This is our iPhone sleeve. We have 4/4s and 5 versions.
Here is our Front Pocket Wallet. Perfect replacement for a guy's bulky wallet.
This picture doesn't show it well, but along with the front slot, there is also a center pocket.
All in all you could use this to carry your ID, a couple credit cards, and some cash. 
The next three wallets are the more feminine versions of the Front Pocket Wallet.
Perfect for switching between a purse and diaper bag :). 
Another Front Pocket Wallet in Urbane Coral.
And our last Front Pocket Wallet in Napoleonic Blue.
Now let's say, hypothetically, you LOVE what you see and just HAVE to have one. Or maybe you've been starting to plan your Christmas list and are stumped at what to put in your hubby's stocking this year. Or maybe your getting married soon and your fiance needs help finding hip groomsman's gifts...

We are working on an Etsy shop where we will sell our goodies. BUT if you want to put in a pre-order, you can do that here on the blog! Just leave a comment on this post and let me know what you want. The iPhone sleeves are $40 and the Front Pocket Wallets are $25. 100% of our sales go directly towards bringing our baby home from China!

These are super cool, folks. And they look even cooler the more you use them. Since we start with untreated leather, they are a bit stiff and and a lighter color. After a few days of use, however, they get to the perfect balance of stiff/flexible and the leather begins to darken.

Alright focus group, that's my pitch. What do you think??

Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest blog post at What To Expect When You're Expecting!

So remember a few hours ago when I wrote about how God just keeps "overwhelming" us with His provision in our adoption? Well, just to drive the point home, here is a recent update:

A few weeks ago I was invited to write an article for the website They have a super great section called "Word of Mom" which features articles written by all kinds of moms in all kinds of life situations. I was THRILLED by the invitation and even more excited that the article topic was left pretty much up to me, as long as it involved an aspect of parenting. After a few weeks of throwing a couple ideas around I finally finished my article and today it went LIVE on the website!

Click on the link to read the post!!

This is a HUGE opportunity for us to share our story and, hopefully, get that much closer to bringing our child home from China. 

Please COMMENT on the article and SHARE IT on Facebook and Pinterest!

If you are visiting from "What to Expect," Welcome! I'd love to invite you to join our blog and follow our adoption journey!

Stay with it.

I am so thankful that for these next few months all we have to focus on is fundraising. We are praying that we can raise around $5000 to $6000 by January so we can hit the ground running when its time for our home study in February. Wondering why we have to wait till Feb? Check out this post for the details. I am thrilled to report that as of this weekend, we have raised about $1200 towards that goal!!

Even though we have only scratched the surface of all this adoption adventure entails, I have already begun to feel overwhelmed. It's not all "stress" overwhelmed. Much of my "overwhelmedness" is due to the amazing ways God continues to show up and confirm His call on our family to adopt. Yesterday I sat down and began to write a list of the people who have donated money, dropped of items for yard sales, babysat so I could work on fundraising details, etc. My list already has over two dozen names! And we are only a month in!! 

Yesterday Pastor Travis preached on living a "risky" life. So so so good. One of the passages he taught from was Hebrews 10:32-39. The last verse brought such encouragement to my heart: 

"But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way."

What was even more encouraging was when I came home and looked up the scripture and realized it was just two verses down from the passage that has become my "theme" for this adoption! I even blogged about the verses a few weeks ago! 

So if you have a seemingly impossible task staring you in the face: financial challenges, kids starting puberty, hand-made Halloween costumes, etc., write Hebrews 10:39 on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror. What great words to speak over your life as you are getting ready in the morning!

Stay with it!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rummage Sale Success

The rummage sale numbers are in...drum roll, please...

We made over $630.00 towards our adoption! 

Here are some pictures of our prep work:

The kiddos and I had fun making and decorating posters for the rummage sale.
Serious business...
Sorting and packing up the great items donated by our friends 

We had a table set up with info about our adoption journey and a donation jar as well as about half a dozen of our annoyingly bring posters notifying shoppers that 100% of our sales were going to bring our child home from China. 

My favorite part of the sale was the many great conversations I had with folks as they perused our goods. I was really surprised at how many people either knew someone who had adopted internationally or had them selves adopted from another country. In fact, the woman selling in the spot across from us had adopted her sons from Korea over 30 years ago!

A huge amount of items sold were donated to us by our parents and their friends and we felt so blessed and encouraged by their generosity. At the end of the sale we were once again overwhelmed by the number of fellow vendors who donated their left over items to us to sell. We brought home two car loads plus Grandpa Don's truck full of items for our yard sale in October.

God is such a faithful provider!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

An adoption "gem" by John Piper

Part of our preparation for adopting has been reading lots of books on everything from a biblical perspective of adoption to living life as a bi-racial family. Everything I've read has challenged me in one way or another. A few things have shook me to my core and altered my thinking entirely. 

One of my favorite adoption prep "gems" is a series of sermons by Pastor John Piper who happens to be a huge adoption advocate and an adoptive father himself. Tim and I recently listened to a sermon titled, "What does it mean to live by faith in the service of the fatherless?" The sermon is based out of Hebrews 11 and is brilliant. I would encourage anyone who has adopted or knows someone who has or is adopting to listen to it. I have attached the link at the end of this post for your listening and viewing pleasure :). 

Here is a portion of the sermon that has stayed with me since the first time I listened. When I start to feel scared and I am tempted to let fear guide my thoughts and and decisions, this section pops into my head and I am reminded that God is enough and better than life.

4) The common feature of the faith that escapes suffering and the faith that endures suffering is this: Both of them involve believing that God himself is better than what life can give to you now, and better than what death can take from you later. 
When you have it all, and everything in adoption goes well, faith says that God is better; and when you lose it all, faith says God is better. The clearest illustration of this is verse 35: “[by faith] women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection.” 
What does faith believe in the moment of torture? Or the moment of family agony? That if God loved me, he would get me out of this? No. Faith believes that God is better—now, and in the resurrection. God is better than the miracle of resurrection that brought the widow’s son to life, only to die again later. 
In other words, faith is utterly in love with all that God is for us now, and will be for us beyond the grave. Faith loves God more than life. Faith loves God more than family. Faith loves God more than job or retirement plans or ministry or writing books or building the dream house or making the first million. Or avoiding the painful disruption of this adoptive family. 
Faith says, “Whether God handles me tenderly or gives me over to misery, I love him. He is my reward (11:6), the builder of the city I long for (11:10), the treasure beyond the riches of Egypt (11:26), and the possession that surpasses all others and abides for ever (10:34)." 
The great challenge of adoption and orphan care ministry is to cultivate a death-defying passion for God above all things. A faith that rests in him whether living or dying, whether comfortable or miserable, whether successful in our orphan care or not. Our aim is to cultivate and spread the unshakable confidence that God is better than what life can give us and what death can take from us.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Remember the Great Reward

Hebrews 10:35-36

35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

I really, really love this verse. The Lord has continued to bring me back to this passage in Hebrews these last few weeks as we have been making a game plan for the next 6 months of fundraising. "Patient endurance" will definitely be key. But, oh, the great reward that comes with "confident trust!" 

This past week was filled with God showing up again and again. I launched an etsy shop in order to beef up the adoption fund and within 20 minutes of launching the shop, had my first sale! A second sale came the next day and I am hopeful that Shop937 will be a successful means of fundraising. 

On Friday I received an notice from paypal that someone we don't know donated $100 towards our adoption fund. They read our blog and wanted to participate in helping to bring our son or daughter home. We received another $50 check in the mail yesterday. 

God is so good and we are thankful.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Let the Fundraising Begin!

Please take a few minutes to check out my new Etsy store, Shop937! I will be listing mostly vintage, all cute, household items for sale. All earnings will go directly to our adoption fund and help bring our child home from China!

You can help us generate business by sharing the store on your facebook page or pinning any items you like on your Pinterest board to help get things circulating on the world wide web. We've already made 2 sales since launching the shop on Monday! 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Down with personal pronouns.

For those of you who don't know us well, we don't exactly have thousands upon thousands of dollars in a bank account somewhere to be used to pay for this adoption.  To better illustrate my point, last month we had a yard sale in order to raise the $300 we needed for our agency's adoption application.

Not gonna lie, there are moments when I think about the cost of international adoption paired with our financial limitations and I wonder what the heck we are thinking. Is it "financially responsible" for us to take this on? How PC is it for us to be asking other people, many we don't even know, to give us money?

We call it "fundraising" because it makes it sound less intrusive but the reality of it is that we will be asking pretty much anyone we come in contact with to consider helping us pay for things like postage, notary fees, mileage for our social worker, plane tickets, etc. If I let myself analyze this reality for too long I start to get anxious and uncomfortable. I start thinking that the "responsible" thing for us to do would be to wait until we have saved up enough money and we can pay for this adoption ourselves.


Note how many times a pronoun was used in the previous two sentences.

Eight times.

This train of thought only leads down the road of "me." Like somehow this adoption was all my own great idea and that Tim and I can and should do all of it purely on our own strength and good will and killer budgeting skills.


Tim and I didn't decide to adopt. God called our family to adoption. We haven't agreed to take on this massive, life altering adventure because we just happen to have $20,000 in the bank and don't know what to do with it. We are moving forward because we believe we have a child who is currently living in China and we are on a mission to bring him/her home.

We know that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and that all we have comes from Him. He is going to provide the money for our adoption. Every. Single. Penny. Don't get me wrong, we are going to work our butts off to raise over $20,000 dollars, but we are very clear about the fact that every dollar bill a stranger gives us to pay for something at a yard sale is God's money that He is entrusting to us to bring our child home.

I find all of this so very exciting!

I have no doubt that one of the many reasons God has called our family to adopt, in this specific season of life, is that this adoption will be a testimony to the faithfulness of our God who is a father to the fatherless. I can't wait to blog about the ways God is going to blow our minds through crazy successful yard sales or anonymous gifts in the mail or strangers volunteering to help or God speaking encouragement over this adoption process through friends and family. There are good things ahead. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

...and we're off!!

We are officially in the Holt China program! My 29th birthday was last Monday so we spent much of Tuesday night filling out the Adoption Application and paying our first $300 towards bringing our kiddo home!
It's official! The application has been submitted!
Our adviser sent us the China program guide book along with all the documents we will need to work on in February. Now we start the 6 month countdown till I turn 29.5 and can get crazy about the home study. Not gonna lie, it's going to be so hard to wait! To help me feel productive I took the advice of Brandyn (a dear friend who just finished her home study and is adopting from Ethiopia) and have been organizing all of our paperwork in a binder. There is a heck of a lot of paperwork. We are going to get really good at filling out forms...

So for now we are getting familiar with the process and making a bit of a schedule for the bizillion forms we need to submit to various government agencies. The biggest project we started this week is mapping out our fundraising plan. We will need about $5000-$6000 to cover our home study and a few other fees. Much of that will need to be paid up front so we are praying and working towards having this first chuck of change by the end of the year.

Tim has started to work on a business venture that we are hoping will help create some of those funds...more to come on that soon! We are going to be heading to our hometown of Tehachapi next month and participating in the annual Bear Valley Rummage Sale in the hopes of making a few $100s as well. Every little bit counts, right? There are a few other fundraising ideas up our sleeves that we will be rolling out over the next few months. We are taking it one step at a time but walking with boldness into this adoption adventure God has set before us!

One last treasure for this post...

When people hear about our upcoming adoption they often ask me what the kids think of it all. Well, lately, any time Sawyer hears the word "China" or sees Chinese characters written somewhere he yells, "Hey, that's China! That is where my brother or sister lives!" Be still my heart. I love this kid...
He is a keeper.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Holy smokes we're actually doing this...

So, as you might have figured from our blog subtitle, we are officially in the process of adopting child number three! It has been a looooonnnngggg road to this point and we have a much longer road ahead of us. The purpose of this blog is to keep our friends and family in the loop with the goings-on of our adventure. As this is our first adoption, we feel like we are kinda making it up as we go, though we have found some amazing resources and will definitely share them over the next few months. 

Sometime soon I will blog about the "how we got here" story but for now I wanted to write a "where are we today" post in effort to stay current...

As of today we are working towards adopting a child with limb difference (missing a leg, arm, foot, hand, etc). When we had originally begun looking at countries, we settled on the Philippines and began looking at agencies working in East Asia. The more we learned about the Philippines, the more excited we became. The culture, the government's approach to adoption, the cost...we were in. The only road block we kept coming across was that not many children with limb differences were being adopted out of the Philippines. I began to call some larger agencies working in East Asia and asking them about Waiting Children (that is the official term for adoptable kids with special needs) with limb difference. No one had good news. Everyone told us to go to China. 

Now, we never crossed China out, but China has a few more rules and stipulations than most countries, one of which being that both adoptive parents must be at least 30 at the time a dossier (all the paperwork required to request an international adoption) is submitted. China is also a bit more expensive than the Philippines and since this adoption will be primarily paid for via fundraising, we were hoping for a total cost of less than $20,000. Lastly, we are ready to move on this adoption. Having to wait an entire year before I turn 30 and can apply to China felt like forever. The road to international adoption is tedious enough. 

All of this to say, last week China was not high on our list. 

While talking with a social worker about what country she felt fit our profile best she said, "If you want to go where the need is greatest, go to China." She then proceeded to tell me about the many children with Amnionic Band Syndrome and limb differences who are regularly added to the Waiting Child list. She also explained that with the Waiting Child grant offered by her agency, our total cost would be between $22,000-24,000.

So we began to ask whether our son/daughter might be in China. And today, we think our son/daughter is in China. I am hoping that as we get a bit further down the road, we will KNOW our son/daughter is in China...though I know once we reach that point in the journey, it will become monumentally harder to wait to bring him/her home.

We will be working with Holt International and they have put together a plan and timeline to keep us moving forward as quickly as possible. We will submit our initial application to Holt on my birthday, August 19th. We will then take the next six months to begin saving and raising money to cover the cost of the homestudy and stateside legal fees. On February 19th, my half-birthday, we will officially begin our homestudy. This process should take 4-6 months, getting us as close as possible to my 30th birthday. On August 19th of next year, we will (Lord willing) submit our dossier to China. The social worker I have been speaking with said that because we are willing to take a special needs child, our wait for a match could be as quickly as 1-2 months. Once a referral is made and we accept, there is about a three month wait till we can begin making travel plans. Best case scenario, we will be flying to China to pick up our child in about 18 months. I am very aware of the fact that international adoptions rarely go according to plan but we will be praying for things to stick as close to the ideal timeline as possible. 

So that is all of it in a nutshell. There is so much more to the story and I will use this blog to fill in the holes as the weeks go on. God has already taught us so much and I am thankful to have a means to record what He is doing in our lives. I love to think that someday our third child will be able to read over these posts and clearly see the hand of God orchestrating his/her arrival to our family!

"God sets the lonely in families..." Psalm 68:6