Tuesday, September 24, 2013

God Given Talents

Brainstorming on how we could fund-raise aside of a big event or the garage sales we are planning, I was looking at garage sale groups on Facebook and Craigslist randomly and saw someone post about free pallets around town. I had already made us one, so I decided to go out on a limb and make a few more for an up coming garage sale to see how well they'd sell.

I went to Troncolli car dealership and drive around to the back. I felt strange, being where I felt like I shouldn't be, but the Craigslist post added a phone number and I doubled checked by calling him and finding it was legit. The guy didn't pick up, but his voice mail said he worked for the company.

I did my first few designs and decided to go ahead and post them on our group site... and BAM you all have been keeping me busy! I've taken orders and sold at least 13 so far now! And I have 10 that are current on my list! A fiend is trying to get me to do the church fall bazaar... but I don't want to get too back up.

I've been back to Troncolli. They are are nice and help me load, when they see me. I told them to expect me back! Then I have an un-named pallet source that I've seen twice. And another offering to deliver to my house! Although that was nice, making my weekly runs gives me enough so far for what I have needed. I don't want my HOA getting mad at me for built up piles of pallets! There are new houses being built, and I've been eyeing their trash piles too...

I have one person from both New Orleans and KY coming to get one next month! And one wanting me to ship it to her in another state! I'm going to UPS to find out how much that will cost! Christmas, wedding, birthdays, baby shower, any appreciation gift, or just for yourself....

The little miss hap of cutting the cord to my saw last week really upset me. Right after doing it, I sat and cried a minute. Psychologically, probably not all about the cord being cut. But I'm glad it could be fixed and I got back on course!

I was called tonight to sub at the preschool tomorrow. I am happy to do so and said yes, it's what I signed up for. A little more extra cash... But I was a little bummed I wouldn't be getting my pallet time in while Drew would be away.

Some have been saying how talented I am, etc. And though I accept a compliment, I will say two things: 1) anyone could do this and 2) I do have a background in building things and design (Bach of Architecture). This is fun for me, and I do realize it wouldn't be someone else's cup of tea. But, as another friend thought... I have not free handed any paintings yet, except the flowered one. I was blessed last Christmas to get a Silhouette machine, in which I can transfer images and have a machine cut them out for me. I use these as my stencils and I paint over them.

My continued prayer throughout this adoption was and will be about being able to do it debt free. and God shows us the way.  I am just grateful that God has given me talents that can be used to help us on our way! I'm thankful for you guys who have bought one and even two or three from me! We are looking into an adoption bank account, in which to link PayPal for future ways to help out.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Agency "A" Post Meeting

There are three Christian agencies that we're looking into currently. Agency "A" is local in the Atlanta area. "B" is in Macon. And "C" is in Columbus, GA.

We went to our first meeting with "A" last night. It was great to see the room filled with hearts looking to adopt. I could tell there were faces of many different paths. Older couples, younger couples, possible single moms.We filled out a name tag and grabbed a Life Lines Magazine and a folder of info and waited to start.While thumbing through the magazine, I feel myself start to get too emotional (who me?) and I decided to close it and put in down. It had some great stuff in it. But adoption isn't just about a family getting a child and living happily ever after. It's also about a lot hard decisions and loss.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to attend a "get to know you" meeting about a new minister at our church, while still pregnant with Kendall. A lot of their story was about their adopted son, and they had invited someone out to talk a little about adopting. I believe this guy was from agency "A". And I was thankful that I was sitting next to a friend with tissues, as he started with a demonstration. He said something like, "Hold up three fingers. Those should represent three of the people who mean the most to you in your life."  Well duh, mine were Kirk, Kendall, and collectively my other two kids.

Then he said, "Take one of those fingers away." Representing the loss an orphan could experience. Knowing I was "with child" and knowing what was to come, I held back the tears as much as possible without having to leaving the room. He continued with taking away the second and third fingers, explaining who they were to an orphan, leaving a child with no one. I think I was so fixed on my situation, I don't remember the whole story, but you get the drift. And for the most part, I think he was talking about international orphans. Applies elsewhere.

So the meeting starts and it's a lot of information on the process of adoption from the start of when a woman finds out she is pregnant and the different scenarios. A lot about what happens even before an adoptive family is involved and what happens before a family could get that phone call of, "We have a possible match for you."  Some legalistic things about birth mothers and birth fathers. Rights. At what month would a birth mom start looking for a family (with in the 7-8th month). The differences in a birth father vs. legal father. The levels of open-ness between birth parents and the family they chose. The age requirements for adoptive parents.

The adoptive families make this profile booklet that tells who they are. And after a home study, an interview process where you define the criteria of a child you'd be willing to adopt (as well as other things), they show your profile to birth family looking for similar qualifications. Then the birth parents choose who they fill meets the needs they are looking for. This list of check boxes is very detailed, not just "boy or girl". They will ask questions about age of a child; if you are willing to take a child with disabilities; if so, they list a common few. You can check one, none, or all of them. They ask how you plan to raise this child. If you are financially secure, able, and/or have community and family help if needed... etc.

Everyone knows adopting isn't always easy on the wallet. Although I don't put a price on my children. One thing we're having to talk through is the differences in fees from agency A, B, and C. There is a big jump on one over the other two. You have to keep an eye out for hidden fees and add ons. I kind of compare it to picking a private school for Kristen. They all sounds great, but which one fits with our family. We will continue to pray God gives us a peace about where He leads us.

Agency "B" has a seminar in February, that we could sign up for. But they require a pre-admissions form to be submitted, with a non-refundable amount, to attend. This form is something all the agencies do, but it wasn't required for last night's meeting. It's like asking us to commit before we know we want to commit. And February sounds so far away right now.

 Agency "C" is the one I was talking about in my "edit" of the last blog post. I get a good feeling about them. Their emails read as if they have a big smile while typing it out. But they are in Columbus!! That's about a 2 hour 20 minute drive, one way. A meeting here and there is one thing. But there are group classes that parents are supposed to take before a home study is conducted. If we have to drive down once a week or something, for an amount of weeks... that's a haul.  I just looked up Macon, thinking it had to be closer, but not really. About 2 hours one way, as well.

So our next steps are to nail down fees of the other two agencies and schedule a time to meet with them. I hope to have a garage sale to help us out some. Like Dave Ramsey says, "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." There are grants out there as well. But you have to be within the process of adopting to apply for any. And can only receive any before the adoption is finalized.

As we do this, I will be looking at the following scriptures to continue to remind me that God has our back and that His treasures are being saved for us in Heaven.

Phillippians 4:19
Mark 10:17-29
Luke 14:25-35

I know I covered a lot and also not so much. I have a few friends asking questions, feel free to ask! I feel the adoption process is not talked about enough. Many people want to adopt "one day" but feel intimidated. I believe details to protect a child remain private. But the rest is likened to not being able to talk about a child loss. You don't know much about it until you go through it yourself, or watch someone else go through it. If more people who want to adopt, feel more comfortable with the process, then there might not be as many orphans in the world.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Step 1 & 2: Agency Exclusivity

Step 1: Educate yourself- Been doing a lot of web searching. I plan on getting a couple books. I feel like going to a couple of info meetings with different agencies would help; our first one is Tues the 10th.

Step 2: Selecting an Agency-
The one we will be meeting with on Tues is Bethany Christian Services.The way we came to feel adoption was the door that was opening up is though Christ, so I've been trying to find the agencies that say they are Christian based.

I'll state now, that as a Christian, I believe in signing a Statement of Faith when it comes to certain things as this. Carrying for Orphans has a biblical background. I'm about to talk about exclusivity in a certain agency that is leaving my mouth hanging. Some could read back to this and say just having to state that you are a Christian with a Christian agency is also being exclusive. I'm not sure what they'd say if you were to tell them you weren't a Christian, but I'd hope they would want to talk about your relationship with Jesus Christ.

So this one other agency that I call asks me a few questions... check check check... we could qualify so far. Then they ask which church we belong to: First Baptist Church of Cumming. And then her words become foggy as she starts telling me that their agency is an affiliate of ______ (Christian church denomination) and that since their funded by them, they can only serve those from this church. <<mouth open>> "Okay" (we say our good byes)

Now, she was a nice lady and did support what she knew of Bethany Christian Services. But as I start talking to Kirk about what I just heard, I couldn't help but wonder the long lost phrase "What Would Jesus Do?"

There are children in this world needing homes, but we can only bless them with people of our church? We will limit the amount of perspective adoptive parents to show our biological parents without asking to your perspective of what being a Christian really means to someone? Wow, What is that saying about what you think about your view on the Bible and being a Christian?

We're learning from step one about adoption. And I'm not writing this is hate on this agency or church. But writing so that others see what the adoption process really looks like.

This agency makes me sad today. I can see how people could throw Christianity out the window from people trying to be so exclusive. I haven't found anywhere on their website where this policy is stated. And therefore makes me ask if they care which affiliation the biological parents are from? And if not, that opens up another can of worms I won't go into.

Aren't too many children without homes to be this way? I was hoping to have some different agencies to choose from, but now I'm afraid that choice is being narrowed down so much we won't have a choice. So I continue to pray that God keeps leading us the way He wants us to go.

Edited to add:
I found another agency tonight that I told in my comments that I was proud of them. It's the first one that I saw that had a link/tab for bringing people to Christ. A "How to become a Christian" link. If a person has a heart for adopting and hasn't become a Christian, therefore can't adopt through certain agencies... THIS one is actually sharing what Christ is about.