Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paperwork, Prayers, and Prizes

Ok, so its turning out that even with all the amazing things going on in our lives, I"m still a horrible blogger! I posted back on the 8th (1 month after we said yes to our boy) about the awesome GIVEAWAY that the Rhodes family put together for us. The Rhodes family has been such a huge blessing to us, I talk to Mandy daily (usually several times a day) not always about adoption but she's the first person I call when I'm confused over paperwork or panicking because our next set of fees are looming. We also froze our hineys off selling donuts along with the help of some amazing friends! (I really should blog more to share all this awesomeness with you all)

If you didn't know, they purchased the vacation that is being given away! When Steve and I were still in the discussion phase of this adoption, Mandy and Marty already loved our boy and promised they would help us bring him home. I knew then that it wasn't an empty promise, but, I had no idea how much of a blessing they would be to us!

Mandy helped me get my first facebook auction going. Then we were blessed with so many donor and bidders that it was overwhelming I literally felt like I couldn't say 'Thank you' enough. So, if you're reading this and you participated in our auction at all, even if it was just to share the event and invite your friends, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

By the way this is the precious face we're working so hard for!

And, the cutie that can't wait for his brother to come home! How awesome is this 'I'm going to be the LITTLE brother shirt ~Adoption in progress' Shirt that a fellow adopting Mama made for us?

So it's been a busy few days. Steve had the afternoon off yesterday so we went and had our fingerprints done for FBI background checks and pictures made for our passport applications. Today I applied for my passport, got our VA CPS background forms notarized, got money orders to send off to the FBI and VA CPS background checks, got life insurance for myself, and put up our latest fundraiser (more on that later). I came home and attempted schoolwork with Nicholas, looked at the dishes in the sink and the laundry that needs to be folded and decided they'd still be there tomorrow.

All of the above paperwork (except for the passports) are things required as part of our homestudy. For anyone that missed it we had our 1st intake interview and paid the first half of the homestudy fees ($850). We are working on getting all the forms filled out, working on our autobiographies (much harder than it sounds), getting vital records together, and trying to clean and organize our house so that we don't look like hoarders. I have boxes everywhere of stuff for the yardsale coming up in April, stuff for our Quarter Auction coming up in April and random stacks of stuff that I'm going to 'organize' once we have our new shelves finished and in place.

Add all of that onto homeschooling Nicholas and going to school myself, fundraising (which I now realize is pretty much a full time job) and some days I feel like I would only have enough hours in my day if I was actually able to give up sleep altogether. But, on those days all I can do is admit that its too much and give to Jesus, go to sleep and start over the next day. And God is faithful, on days where I'm overwhelmed it never fails that Steve calls and says he's bringing dinner home, or a friend calls just to chat and lets me complain or makes me laugh.

I want to go get our boy yesterday so its hard for me that so much is still not done, but, I'm trying my best to trust in God's perfect timing for every thing.

I keep promising a breakdown of our adoption costs. I promise its not a big secret its just that it kind of keeps changing as I find more and more things that we have to pay for :) But, here is my attempt. A lot of things are best estimates provided by our agency and families that have walked this path.

UPFRONT COSTS           Crossed through items are paid

Commitment Fees                                                                                $3500 DUE ASAP
 *Include fees paid to our domestic placement agency AAC
   and our foreign placement agency (In our son's country)

Homestudy Fees                                                                                  $250 Application Fee
                                                                                                           $850 1st 1/2 of homestudy
                                                                                                           $850 2nd 1/2 of homestudy 
                                                                                                           $750 Postplacement Supervision 
                                                                                                              (3 @ $250 each)
                                                                                                           $350 training classes 
                                                                                                           $35 online required class
                                                                                                           $500 Hague Oversight
                                                                                                         ~$200 mileage for Social Worker
                                                                                            Total: $3785  LEFT TO PAY: $2685

Miscellaneous    Apostilles for all notarized documents going to foreign country: $35, Fingerprints for FBI background checks: $10, Passport Photos $22 for both. Passports for both $270 (I clearly read this wrong somewhere I had budgeted $100 for both of them, imagine my surprise). FBI background checks: $100 for both, VA CPS background checks $14 for both. Shipping documents ~$20 so far. Shipping items from the auction $80  and I still have a few things left. 

I included our passport costs in this breakdown because we know we'll need them for our dossier and they can take up to 6 weeks to come back right now.

The good new is that between the cash/check/ChipIn donations we've received, our facebook auction ($2098 final total), donut sales, and the spaghetti lunch and dessert auction we've raised $3908! That is amazing for 7 weeks of fundraising! Out of that we've paid every thing that is crossed out above for a total of  $1651 (not including the Keurig for the giveaway, quarter auction prizes, gas, etc.). So we have about $2257 left from what we've fundraised so far.

We have about $6185 left in commitment fees (Did I mention we need to send those ASAP) and the rest of our homestudy. The next $850 will be due at our second interview which we're hoping will be in less than a month followed quickly by the remainder of the fees. Our goal is to have our homestudy done by our last class on April 8th which leaves us less than 6 weeks to raise the remaining $3,928 needed. We need ~$1250 to send our commitment fees in.

((I will break down the next $20,000+ we'll need in a different blog, I prefer to concentrate on small chunks at a time))

The giveaway posted at the top of this post ends Saturday and a winner will be drawn on Sunday! Click the link above for more details on the Vacation, the Keurig and how to enter.

I also just got our Rada fundraiser going today. We've done these through our church before and their stuff is pretty awesome! They have high quality knives, kitchen tools, and some bakeware that is usually much less than Pampered Chef. But, my favorite part is that they have really neat cookbooks starting at just $7 and lots of fun dips and mixes starting at just $2.50. We make 40% off of all sales. If you would like to check it out click HERE It will ask for an internet order number and a password. They are: Internet ordering number is 504287 the password is brooke9212

We have a vendor event/craft show that my sweet friend Stacy is hosting at her home for us on March 16th if you're local and would like to know more this is the facebook event Vendor Event

The first weekend in April, Saturday 6th we have a huge yardsale planned that we are taking donations for. We can store your items for you and help with pickup if needed. A really fun event is scheduled for April 20th but I'm going to do a separate blog about it.

Please continue to pray for our family, for God to show favor over our process, and for Him to open our boy's heart to us!

Thank you all again for every thing you are doing to help us bring our boy home <3

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Giveaway

There's a blog I need to write that goes along with this giveaway about love, faithfulness, amazing friends, but, first I'll share the actual giveaway!

My friend Mandy along with her husband Marty has been such a blessing to us during this adoption process. For starters, they're the reason we found our son. Mandy posted his sweet face and information on her facebook wall. But, before that, she is the reason that I had found Reece's Rainbow and started looking at those little faces. Through our friendship over the past two years, and reading her blog my heart has been broken over and over for the orphan. God works all things together for good. Had I just randomly seen 'I's' picture one day without my heart already being broken and prepared we wouldn't be where we are now.

But, like I said I have a whole other post coming about how God has been working, I know what you're here for:

The Giveaway: Win a Family Vacation

Since Mandy has already done all of the work over on her blog I'm just going to link you to the giveaway by saying click HERE

But, I will share a few few details like: You can win an amazing vacation! There are free ways to enter such as sharing and committing to pray for our family and our new son. It ends March the 2nd and the winner will be drawn on March the 3rd. Also, we have a tax deductible way for you to donate which should be live soon! Once it is effective Mandy will update the blog with where to make your donations.

Please comment on her blogpost when you share, commit to pray, and/or donate so that your entries can be counted.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support!

Love ~ Brooke

An Update and a Giveaway

So, I haven't been doing such a great job of keeping up with this blog. I didn't have a whole lot to report, and, every time I got an idea for a blog it never really came together. But, now I have three different posts I want to share!

First, we're slowly making progress in the adoption process. We have out commitment paperwork all signed and notarized, but, we're waiting on commitment letter from our social worker. We have our intake interview scheduled for Wednesday the 13th so I'm hoping to have the letter today or tomorrow. We will scan every thing and email it to our domestic placement agency AAC who will forward it to our in country agency where it will be translated and submitted. This will 'officially' put our son on hold for us in his country. We will also be mailing off all of our hardcopies to be apostilled and then sending them over either by FedEx or with a travelling family to our in country agency.

Our application with our homestudy agency was accepted and once we have our intake interview our homestudy will be officially started and we'll begin the process of getting our house ready for the home visit (making sure we meet safety regulations for foster care guidelines in our state), writing our auto biographies, filling out paperwork for background checks, getting fingerprints done, medical, etc. The process will most likely take about 12 weeks, they've said it can be done in as little as 8 if we get every thing done and our background checks come back.

Our fundraising efforts have been going really well! In January when we announced we were adopting we had about $300 come in through Paypal. Our facebook auction which ended on February 2nd brought in $2,208 which is beyond amazing (and part of that will be included on my next blogpost). We've had $100 in donations come in this month. Our Krispy Kreme fundraiser that we're doing with the Rhodes family has gone really well, we had over 80 preorders come in. We decided to take a little leap of faith and order 150 boxes to pick up Saturday, so pray that we sell the 60+ extra boxes when we set up, and, if you're in the Collinsville area come have a box!

We also have a spaghetti lunch that our Ladies Fellowship at church is helping us with this Sunday, followed by a dessert auction that the Rhodes family wanted to put together for us. Just like every thing else we've done since deciding to adopt, the outpouring of love and support have blown us away and left us humbled. I feel like I can't say thank you enough! Our family and extended family, our friends, even total strangers have stepped up to help us during this process and we're overwhelmed at times with the love being poured out on us.

Ok, well this got long and I want the giveaway to be easy to find so I'm going to do make another post now about the Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone that has been praying for us, who has offered us support and encouragement, and to those who have given so generously to help see our boy home. We can never repay your kindness but know that God will use your gifts.