Monday, January 30, 2006

Fundraising Brainstorming

January 30, 2006
Since Betty suggested that we get creative in trying to raise funds for our adoption, we've been trying to brainstorm fundraising ideas. God has provided for the costs in each step of the adoption journey. Now, we still need to raise 60% of our final fees, which are due upon being chosen by a birthmother.

So far, our solution has been to add significantly to our Adoption Fund savings from our paychecks each month.

We are also attempting to apply for adoption grants, now that our homestudy has been finalized.

And, we are introducing a new solution: The "Donation" button! If you feel led to contribute to our Adoption Fund, just click on the "Make a Donation" button (on the left side of the screen, with the Links). It will take you to a secure PayPal page, which is linked to our Adoption Fund.
Please note that your donations will not be tax-deductible, since it is helping pay for a service. So, if you think this is tacky, just ignore it. :) Thank you!

Remember, the best way to help is to pray!

The Official Letter

January 27, 2006
The "Official Letter of Approval" finally arrived in the mail from the Seattle office! It states that we have completed our homestudy, and are approved to adopt an infant. The letter also states that it is assumed that we are "prepared to bring a child home, and meet all the requirements at any time." So, we can legally have a baby now! (We just have to get ready!)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Photo from Christmas

Sorry, we're kind of slow in developing film.

So, here is a picture from Christmas morning, when we opened the baby stroller gift!

This photo is of Calvin setting it up for the first time. Good job, Dad!

Now it just needs a kid in it, huh? :)

Official Approval!

January 26, 2006
We received a phone call from Betty (our caseworker) last night, telling us that our homestudy has been officially completed and approved! We are really excited! Thank you to everyone for your prayers in breaking down this roadblock! We can legally have a baby now!

She recommended that we start looking intently at finances. She suggested we try to get creative to come up with the funds we need. We still need to raise about 60% of the costs. Keep praying! We're trusting God for miracles. All the money is due at the time we are selected by a birthmother, so we're starting to feel in a "time crunch."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lost and Found

January 17, 2006
We finally decided to call the head office in Seattle, to see if we could get more information about our homestudy. We've been waiting for the approval for six months now, and our caseworker hasn't had any information for us.

So, when Calvin called Seattle, they informed him that our homestudy was missing from our file! They agreed to track it down right away, and called our caseworker in Portland.

So, then our {irked} caseworker called us... annoyed that we had gone over her head. But it worked! She finally discovered that when she had emailed our homestudy to the office in August, that it didn't go through. So, the office had never received it!

Plus, every month when we called to check on our homestudy, she hadn't bothered to look into why it was taking so long. She just passed the blame on "her supervisor." We are really frustrated, but excited that things finally seem to be on track in the right direction.

And, our caseworker called us the next morning to apologize.

They also said that no birthmoms have looked at our profile albums yet. (They try to match families with birthmoms' requests, and so far, there hasn't been a good "match.") This was disappointing to hear, but not unexpected, since our albums have only been available for 2 months.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Unexpected Encouragement

January 10, 2006
On Tuesdays, our church's senior adults meet for Bible study in the room right across from my office. (It's one of my favorite days!) It is so fun to talk with all of them. These are people who seem to have all the time in the world to stop and listen (although you might need to talk loudly!). Many of them have a wealth of wisdom, but have to be encouraged to share it. Many of the lonely widowed ladies come in specifically for a hug and a smile, which I'm glad to give.

These "grandmas" are eager to see a new baby around the place, and will ask how our adoption is going once in a while. Most of them are ages 70-90- (impressive!)- and their grandkids are already grown up.

I met with one of the senior ladies yesterday after her Bible study to get some information for my work. (She was one of our first friends when we moved to the area!) After we finished our conversation, she started asking about our adoption. She has two grandkids that were adopted from foster care over 20 years ago, and it ended up being a really difficult journey. She was really encouraging, though, and let me know that she has been praying for us during this waiting time.

She said that "No kid comes with a manual," but she would definitely be praying. Plus, she's "only a phone call away!" And then she left to go to the gym for her yoga/pilates class. What a great lady!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Why Ask "Why?"

January 3, 2006
As I was leaving work last night, an older friend of ours (in her 50's) stopped by to pick up a book, and we ended up leaving the building together. As we were talking about our plans for the evening, I mentioned that we had finally set up the crib last night. (Since she is always asking about our adoption stuff, I figured she would be excited to know.)
Instead, she just looked at me, and said "WHY?"

Umm...because we're having a baby??

Why ask "Why?" Why do people look at us like we're idiots when we talk about our preparations? We've actually procrastinated a lot longer than many adoptive couples in getting the nursery ready. (It's still not all the way ready!) Many families have completed their nursery even before the homestudy!

As expectant parents, we are preparing for our child. Most parents typically don't wait until they're in labor to start setting up the crib and buying diapers! It seems like we're doing the LEAST idiotic thing: Preparing.

The adoption agency has already expressed to us that we are expected to have at least the necessities for our child: a place to sleep, a carseat, diapers, formula, etc. We need to show that we are prepared to meet this child's needs. Otherwise, they won't place a child in our home! Even after we bring our baby home, the caseworker still has to do postplacement visits, to make sure everything is okay.

It seems like anyone (especially a mom!) would realize that it will be wonderful to have a place to put the baby to sleep, without having to try setting up the crib that night! It's all ready.

Yes, we may have months to wait, but realistically, a call could come at anytime. Plus, by setting up the crib, we created more room, not less. We had been constantly tripping over all the pieces and parts that were waiting to be put together. Now it looks more like a home, and less like a storage unit!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Setting Up the Nursery

January 2, 2006
Since we both had the day off from work for the holiday, we decided to start setting up the nursery! We started turning our "guest room" into a "baby room!" (We moved the "guest bed" into our office/sewing room.)

Calvin did a great job as Dad, and put the crib together (with only a bit of frustration)! (Michele, of course, grabbed the camera, and took photos of the event!) It's kind of old, so we're hoping it stays sturdy enough to hold a kid for awhile! It was nice to get things a little better organized, and not just a room with a pile of baby stuff in the way.

We're hoping this new year will bring our baby home. We don't know how long our wait will be, though. Keep praying!

Anniversary Trip

December 27, 2005
To celebrate our anniversary, we spent a couple days in Portland. It was so nice to revisit our favorite city- the place where we met, courted, and married; a city full of memories! (Relaxing in the hotel jacuzzi tub was a highlight, too!)

We also stopped by the big Target store, and used gift cards to pick up a few baby things. We were able to get a baby carrier and a baby monitor! It was such a blessing to be able to prepare a bit more. Thank you!

Christmas Day

December 25, 2005
Well, we waited until Christmas Day to open that big baby stroller box! Calvin read through all the instructions right away, and figured out what all the different levers do. He practiced all the essential skills, such as putting on the brakes! It looks like it will be just perfect! (Now, we just need a baby to put in it!)