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Showing posts from 2012

The eve of 2013

Tonight we had planned an evening out with friends, but due to some of their family being sick, the night was cancelled. It has been a bummer, but at the same time it was a blessing. We had a busy Christmas, with a lot of traveling, so it was nice to stay home today. I was also excited today to see that we had been sent all of our remaining packets from our agency. These include packets on forms for the home study/dossier, packets for when we get and accept our children's referral, and then packets on when it comes time to travel to Ethiopia. I spent a good hour looking through a bunch of the documents. I must admit, it all makes me a little more nervous - there is a TON of paperwork, even more than I could have imagined. And reading the travel stuff makes me anxious since it is another country. BUT, I keep reminding myself, thousands of others have taken this journey of adoption, and if they could do it, so can we!!! Which then led me to my goals for the upcoming year, which I ha…

Christmas blessing

Merry Christmas, our little ones.
Although you are far away, we are holding you close in our hearts on this very special day.
Today we remember that our Savior was born, and how the Angels did sing.
We hope someday soon You are with us, while we celebrate the birth of The King.
Our love we send and blessings we pray.
May Our Lord be watching over you and keeping you safe today.


Love,
Mom, Dad, and Caleb

Owie Owl Fundraiser

The time has come to start our FirstFundraiser - OWIE OWLS!

I have currently started on a few quilts and baby blankets, but in the meantime I wanted to get at least one fundraiser officially started. I will be blessed with two full sewing days at the end of this week, so I will have ample time to make as many Owie Owls as needed!!!



What is an Owie Owl?
* These very cute (in my opinion) owls that are meant to help soothe any "owies" your family might have. Owls are made from cotton fabrics and are filled with rice.
* Owls can be kept in the freezer and taken out to soothe scrapes and bruises. They are perfect for little ones, as they are not too cold, and the fun design is quite comforting. Caleb loves his! It is our go to item if Mom or Dad's kiss can't solve the problem alone.  :)
* Owls can also be put into the microwave and heated for 30 seconds, making a warm and comforting heating pad, great for growing pains and tummy aches.
* Don't be fooled - Owie Owls a…

Explaining some adoption statistics (to the best of my knowledge)

I was given a comment about my last post, so I started to write back, but then realized some of this is information others might be interested in, so I thought I'd put my response into a new blog post.  :)   
There is SO much involved in the adoption process, of which I've tried to do quite a bit of research on, so I'm happy to share some of what I know. Although I keep learning new things everyday and welcome anyone's thoughts!

COMMENT:  Those numbers might not all be a bad thing. I don't know anything about other countries, but for China, my understanding is that the numbers have dropped and the wait time has increased because there are many more domestic adoptions taking place. Now most of the adoptions out of China are kids who have special needs of some sort. (And the Hague treaty is a good thing, right?) I don't want to minimize the problem though--153 million orphans is a lot and I'm so glad you'll be welcoming a few of those into your fami…

As we sit safely with family & friends...

A couple days ago I received a letter from the executive director for our agency, All God's Children Inc.  As I think about going HOME for Christmas and spending time with family and friends, these statistics that she wrote about have been on my mind...

In 2004, orphans had a reason to hope…
45,298 orphans joined families worldwide through international adoption, with 22,991 adopted by U.S. families.Adoption timelines averaged 12 months.AGCI’s ‘International Fees’ helped provide loving care to orphans who remained behind in their birth countries, by providing increased caregivers, nutrition and developmental programs.In 2012, hope is fading…
Last year, an estimated 23,000 orphans worldwide found loving families through international adoption, with just 9,319 adopted by U.S. families. That is less than half the number of children adopted in 2004. The cumulative effect of this decrease is that 342,876 children will not have been adopted into safe, permanent homes that could have been.A…

Downpayment

Today Jon put the adoption program "downpayment" on our credit cards. We were very happy to hear they still had Adoption Month $1,000 grants left!  Little did we know when we started applying in November, that November is Adoption Month, so both our agencies had some money saving offers. Our Wisconsin agency took $200 off of their initial application, and AGCI had the $1000 grant if we had all of our application paperwork and payment in by the end of December. They only had 20 of these grants, with only a few left from what we understood, so we were nervous we wouldn't get the $1000. Like our Aunt told us, "every penny counts," and we are so grateful to have been able to benefit from applying in November! God was watching over us and the timing of this process! 




fun!

Some random knowledge for the day....

We've had over 1000 views of our blog - kinda exciting to know our story is getting out there  :)

Today I learned we also got our first donation from a friend - we are so blessed!

We will be visiting with a lot of family this coming week for Christmas, and I'm sure the subject of our adoption will come up. I'm finding that it makes me excited to talk about, because then this all feels Real. It is easy to think it is all a dream sometimes. I'm also excited because some of Jon's family has adopted, so I'm anxious to talk more to those families over Christmas. Yey for time with family!!!  Hopefully soon our children will be able to join us for our Crazy and Hectic Christmas adventures - I'm excited for everyone to meet our children...  We're excited to meet our children too!!!!  :)

~Mara 

Orientation meeting

Today Jon and I sat down for an orientation meeting via the phone. We have a pile of paperwork coming in the mail that all must be signed and notarized, but before signing it all, the agency wants to go over what is in the documents. Here are some random things we learned from the conversation...

*Our homestudy and dossier (Ethiopia) paperwork will be conducted at the same time. They give us 6 months to complete both of these. Most of the time it takes 2-4 months to complete.

*When we travel to Ethiopia, all of the accommodations are taken care of by our agency! We will have to figure out the airplane tickets, but then they take care of hotel, food, transportation, and translators when there. This was a sigh of relief for me, as when I had been reading Ethiopia adoption blogs, it seemed like many couples were arranging their own chauffeurs in Ethiopa and I was really nervous to have to figure that out!

*Just in the last week, Ethiopia has changed one of their court date guidelines. I…

Accepted to Ethiopia Program!

Today we were officially accepted into the Ethiopia program through All God's International Inc. agency!  We're SOOO excited!

Tomorrow we have an orientation "meeting" over the phone and then a bunch of contracts to fill out and sign.

Currently we are working on the big packet of questions from the agency in Wisconsin. Once that is done, all we need is our physicals paperwork to be completed by the doctor, and then we can have an in-person meeting with the social worker.

Big smiles in this household tonight!


***If you'd like to learn a little about the orphanage we will be adopting from, Hannah's Hope, scroll down and there is a YouTube video on the right side of your computer screen.... (perhaps not if you're on a smart phone)

First blocks

Who knew fingerprints = fun??

We were very blessed last night by an amazing act of kindness. A friend of ours from church is a local police officer. He found out that we needed our fingerprints for the adoption paperwork and said he would do them for us. First, this was huge because he did it for free - which is about a $40 saving - yes, it can cost that much to get fingerprints taken. Second, he went above and beyond and gave us an amazing "family outing".




After Jon and I were done with our fingerprints, he let Caleb have at it - and oh did Caleb have fun! We were then taken on a tour of all the police squad cars and all of the fire department trucks. Caleb got to sit in just about every vehicle and even learned how to turn the lights on in the squad cars (which he promptly did over & over). Caleb was like a kid in a candy shop, except I didn't have to worry about cavities with this one! Jon and I were grinning the whole time and absolutely loved watching the excitement in Caleb's eyes.



Tha…

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14 Waiting, as I'm sure most people would agree, is one of the hardest things to do. Whether something small or something large, it is never a fun task. During this season of Advent we are called to wait for the newborn King, to understand the magnitude of who was born onto this Earth so that we could be washed of all sin. And of course in this season, looking at my students, I see the waiting faces of anticipated Christmas day, full of presents and filled stockings! Even though I am completely thankful for the little baby born in a manger, during Advent, I can't help but think more about His parents - Mary and Joseph. They have been heavy on my heart recently. How did they know to trust that everything will be alright? Well, I guess they did have an angel telling them so! But they were unwed, they had to move to an undetermined place, they were young, this was their firstborn... they w…

Any guesses?

We are working with two agencies. The main agency, All God's Children International, is located in Oregon. They will take care of all the international paperwork and run the orphanage in Ethiopia that we hope to adopt from. The other agency, Catholic Charities, is located in Wisconsin where we reside. Catholic Charities will take care of our home study and visits required after the adoption takes place.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I had heard the stories of the mounds of paperwork that must me completed. I knew it had to be a true statement since I had heard it so often, but I never would have guessed that it would begin so soon. And since we have two agencies we are working with, I'm realizing that we are also going to be doing quite a bit of extra paperwork.

We took many hours to fill out our life story in numbers, old addresses, jobs, etc to start the initial paperwork of the home study. They mentioned to us afterwards that as soon as the next set of paperwork w…

My favorite part of the day

Our "Travel Quilts"

In preparation for this adoption, we've already started thinking of ways that we can afford this whole process. It definitely won't be a "cheap" venture in our lives. The hardest part will be finding the money to cover the travel costs to Africa. To help with the travel costs, we hope to hold a couple events that will help us raise funds. A couple years ago, when we first discussed adoption, my thoughts were with quilting. I get such satisfaction making a quilt or a sewn gift for a new child, or for a Christmas/Birthday gift for a niece or cousin. Thinking about a child wrapped in a quilt makes me smile from ear to ear. My thoughts then, and now, are to create baby/children quilts to sell. All money made from these quilts will be kept to help pay the costs of travel to Africa. Each quilt sold will be filled with thoughts and prayers for all children. They are full of my waiting stitches and filled with love and joy.  The picture below shows the projects I have alrea…

Other blogs

I have been fascinated reading other's blogs about adoption in the last couple years. The idea of myself writing one is definitely nothing new, as I am following so many others. In fact, I feel quite inferior compared to many of these blogs. There are so many well written and inspiring thoughts about adoption and why people feel called to devote their lives to adoption. If you feel at all called to adopt yourself, or just want to learn more about adoption, I highly recommend searching for different blogs to read - google... pinterest... all of these search type things come up with some great blogs.

So why, if so many other people have already written, do I feel it is important to get our story written down into a blog. Well, for one, I want to be able to share with my family and friends this exciting journey. Two, I know there are others like me out there that want to learn as much as they possibly can about adopting, so I don't think it hurts in the least to give yet one mor…

And the paperwork begins...

Had I realized years ago, when the thought of adoption sounded like something I might do one day, that I would have to tell a detailed recap of my life story in order to adopt, I would have written EVERYTHING down! I can't believe how far back they want to know about things, such as where we've lived and jobs we've had. It sure is interesting filling it all out. I have heard on just about every adoption blog or newsletter I've read that the paperwork can really be hefty - and none of them were joking! It's only just begun, and I have a feeling this won't be the worst of it.

BUT it is well worth it in order to bring our children home safe and sound.

The journey begins!

Today we turned in our official application to adopt internationally! I don't think I can even explain how ecstatic I am!

We finally have a feeling like we are settled and can finally take the leap towards adoption. Our application is for Ethiopia, possibly Uganda. We would like to adopt a sibling set, most likely two children but open to the idea of three.

The best part of this all is we told our son about it (4 yrs old) and he was super excited. He got a few details messed up when talking about it later, but he is talking about it! He will make an amazing big brother. He has compassion and so much joy to share. It will be such a happy day to see Caleb sharing his love with a brother and/or sister!

If you are reading this, please pray for us and our children. First, we pray that wherever our children are, that they are being loved by someone and are being cared for somehow. Second, we pray for the orphanage that we will adopt from. And third, please pray that this is a relative…

Seam ripper

We've been considering adoption for quite a while. The process has been started a couple times, but every time I think we will get somewhere and start the journey, I end up having to stop what I started and start over.

I highly dislike the seam ripper. I always tend to need it just as I thought everything is going along perfectly, but then I take a second to think and realize something isn't right.

Our adoption journey and a seam ripper have too much in common. Most of the time our "stitches" are ripped due to job uncertainty. This has happened twice before, and now we are going through it again. I started detailed contact with an agency and started paperwork when we learned Jon's job may be no longer in a couple months. So now we wait to make any decisions until we know what our job situation is. If we started the process and had a job change midway, it could cause us to have to re-do studies and paperwork, costing us a lot more money-that we don't have.

Waiting to be cuddled

I believe I have at least three quilts sitting in my sewing room. They all are baby/kid quilts. All of them could be given as gifts, and yet, I have a hard time thinking about giving them away. I thought for sure that they would have been in use in my house by now... But that reality stings... No little ones around to cuddle in my quilts.

The Lord has blessed me with an amazing son, Caleb. I am blessed a hundred times over to have him in my life. So why do I sit and think about filling these empty quilts with little hands???

I grew up knowing one thing: no matter what I do in life, motherhood will be a part of that. I chose my career based on having a family. I bought craft books and children's books in high school and college for my future family. My family is what I live for. And, even with all my faults, I do believe I am a good mother and wife. So why is it that I've struggled to have a family? I don't understand?

Infertility. It's become a cuss word to me. How…