This has seemed like one of the hardest decisions we've ever made! Much harder than deciding to pursue adoption in the first place. It seems like such a small thing- there are thousands of kids waiting for families- pick an agency and get moving! But there are so, so many agencies that adopt children from China- many very good agencies. There are huge agencies and little guys, Christian and secular, agencies with amazing websites and agencies still operating with a telephone number and a xeroxed information packet. (note: I tried not to let web design sway my decision making process... or at least not too much)
After a lot of prayer and a lot of late night internet searches, googling scary things like "X Agency/ unethical adoptions" and "X Agency lawsuits" and then a whole lot of phone calls, emails, and back and forth correspondence, this is where we've landed. And I'm feeling at peace so far. (Coincidentally, or probably not so coincidentally, our church is studying peace this week.)
Austin and I both came to a place recently where we felt convicted on our faith levels. Sounds weird- so here's an explanation. We took a step of faith and announced to the world (ok... Facebook and our church family, and random people) that we were going to adopt. We didn't have any money saved up. We had talked about this for years, taken a class at church, and yes, while it seemed a lot in our lives was leading up to this step, it still took a fair amount of courage and faith and maybe foolishness (**more on this one later) to actually do it. We were overwhelmed by our friends and family and even acquaintances who immediately gave us money to help with adoption expenses. It was beautiful and I *may* have teared up every time I saw that someone else had donated on our youcaring page (you can still check that out here. Go ahead- make me cry!) But then the money flow kind of dried up. We were several thousand dollars short of even the first set of fees due. Austin and I both felt that God was urging us to trust Him. To jump in with both feet. And to really sacrifice. And that meant our savings. At least for now. I'm not advocating fiscal irresponsibility- we've taken a few steps to make sure we have a safety net for emergencies and what have you-but it was time to get some real skin in the game and to see how God would provide.
So what happens next? We have a contract fee due in a week and then we can begin our Home Study! (exclamation point added for those who have already walked the adoption journey and truly know the emotions and work involved in a Home Study)
We have a lot of paperwork to complete. Probably some little house repairs to get taken care of. And lots of scheduling to deal with. But we're ready!
There's a lot of waiting in the adoption process. I knew that going in. I just didn't anticipate having to wait to get started. Now that I've had a little taste of that waiting, I've concluded that I don't like it, but I recognize its purpose. God makes us wait in order to move our hearts to the right place. If our friends had donated $30,000 immediately after we made our big announcement, we of course would have been blown away. But we wouldn't have allowed God to grow our yearning for our daughter and recognize our need to sacrifice for her and for Him. We still don't know where all the money is going to come from. But we know that God is more than able to provide for all of our needs.
And we'll do whatever it takes- whatever He asks. And I have a few ideas. Check out some of our fundraisers going on.
My etsy shop is up and running once again! There are tons of these t-shirt cowls in every color. They're fun, stretchy, and make a great accessory.
I also have been making glass/metal necklaces with Bible verses and quotes. All the above photos are recent creations. There are other adoption-related necklaces too. I love custom orders, so if you have a favorite verse, contact me!
My mom and I also harvested a special blend of wildflower seeds from her garden this year and packaged them for sale. She did this last year from her flower garden and grew an amazing bed of brightly colored flowers- all from harvested seed!
Orange, yellow, purple- these babies started blooming early spring and kept going strong (at least in our southern california climate) until Christmas! Each pack is $3. (BTW- 'Dodo' is Corbin and Leo's- and baby girl's grandma.)
If you're interested in any of these items, there are a couple of purchasing options. If its listed in my etsy shop, you can purchase direct from there. All proceeds from the shop go toward the adoption. If you see something on my facebook page, you can make a donation through youcaring to our adoption fundraiser or paypal us. (Look for the Donate button on the side bar or click below)
Or if you're local, call me- I deliver!
A few other things coming up-
Garage Sale! If you have items you'd like to donate to a great cause, please contact me. We have a good friend who offered the use of their prime garage sale yard for an upcoming sale next month. So we are collecting items to make it as successful as possible. If you LOOOOOVE garage sales, particularly working at them, let me know- we could use some help!
Also, I'm hoping to offer "Share the Love" mini photo shoots- in studio! Bring your kids for an adorable Valentine's Day themed photoshoot. More details to come.
Thanks for reading, praying, donating, purchasing, sending good vibes, etc our way!