Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Cost of Adoption

The cost of adoption...
I think it is one of the things that deters most people from adopting. You hear the number $35,000/adoption and it is staggering. Who just has that lying around!?!
We certainly have not, I pray that one day we will, that we can just give towards adoption, to help people with this overwhelming cost. I have learned I hate asking people for things-- especially money.
But I have to face it at this point we are not one of those families that has thousands and thousands of dollars lying around for adoption. We have to rely on help. And we have had so many people help. We have reached just over $8000.00 is donations toward bringing Hamilton home. We still have a long way to go.

I just wanted to share with those who wonder why it is so expensive where all the money goes. This is just a general expense sheet not necessarily for our adoption, but just a general, international adoption.

Here it goes..
Application $500-$700 (paid)
Homestudy $1000- $3000 (paid)
Country Fees $5000-$10000
Agency Fee $6000- $8000 (half paid)
Post-Adoption $300-$1000
Adoption Education Courses $50-$150 (paid)_
United States Citizenship/Immigration Filing Fee $740
Fingerprinting$ 84
Passports (2) $270 (paid)
Notarizing $500 (so far we have someone who does this for free! Yeah!)-- although this Apostilling thing probably goes in here and it costs $2-$10/document/everything needs to be apostilled ( partially paid)
2 round trip airfares for two adults $4000-6000 (estimate)
Child's one way airfare (I can't wait til we get to get this!) $500-1000 (estimate)
In country lodging/meals $1000-3000 (complete estimate)
Medical for Child's visa $100
Child's US Visa $230
Incidentals $500 (just an estimate again!)

If you add up the least of each of these you get. $21,370 if you add up the most you get $35,274. We fall toward the upper end of things, right around $35,000.00 when all the expenses are paid.

We are very quickly coming up on paying our country fee and needing to finish our agency fee, which means in the next few weeks we need about $10,000.00. We have paid all that is listed as "paid" above with the just over $8000.00 given and have about $1500.00 in our adoption account we set up. SO that means that in the next month or two we need $8500.00. That is a big amount, but so far, God has provided what we needed when we needed it. And I will continue to humble myself and ask for help in bringing Hamilton home. If you feel led to give, please do, again, $10 can make a HUGE difference. If you have questions about all this again, please ask. We will be doing some more fundraising in the near future, but wanted to put out their our need. And again, anyone that donates $10 or more toward Hamilton's adoption, we will be signing their name on the quilt we are making for Hamilton! Thanks so much for taking time to read all this, and learning a bit about the whole adoption process with us as we wade through this big adventure.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A lot is happening!

The life of a mom, is far from boring.

There is so much going on that sometimes I forget to write it down because stopping to write means I have time, and lately time, is a luxury.

Currently I have a two year old who is attempting to potty train. She is very excited about turning three soon, pull ups and being a big girl! However the first time she went, she looked at me and said, "that was weird!" It might take us a while to get this "weird" thing called potty training down.

My two oldest have joined a swim team in town. I have learned that my oldest, my Anya, is INCREDIBLY competitive. They swim four days a week, and Anya always pushes herself. She loves the hard workouts and is thriving. Karis, likes to wave at me half way down and frequently just hangs on the side smiling. She is  not nearly as competitive, but learning to swim. Karis also continues to horseback ride. She is learning a lot and it takes a lot of courage, which has been great to see.

David has started to make some friends on his own. He and Verity spend most mornings playing in the backyard on adventures while the girls work on school. They are best friends! We tried our hand at canoeing on Sunday, we learned David is NOT a fan. Half way through the trip, he yelled, "We are never going to make it!" And Nathan and I unfortunately burst out laughing because you could touch the bottom of the creek and only have it up to your ankles, the canoe actually got stuck on the bottom. But dry land is for him. When we got to shore, he took off running!

We completed our homestudy two weeks ago for the adoption. The social worker is writing up the report and hopefully soon it will be complete. In the mean time, we have been completing the training courses, which are supposed to take twelve hours, but took closer to twenty it seemed. It is amazing to me the amount of training that goes into adoption and the requirements, at times it is very overwhelming, but I know it is necessary, and it is what we do. And we completed them, which was a huge relief. Next steps are waiting for the homestudy, then sending off for our I-800, when that comes back then everything needs to be apostilled and finally, sent as a big dossier to Bulgaria, where it will all be translated and at some point, we will go on our first trip. It will be a few months though.

In the mean time, we are set to close on our house in Wisconsin TOMORROW! After a year of waiting, it is going to be done it looks like. We are praying right now, because we are still waiting for some documents that need signing and it all needs to be over-nighted to get to Wisconsin by 10 a.m. tomorrow when they close.

And finally Nathan is making a movie and after a lot of attempts at fundraising, they have actually gotten investors and some famous people to be in the movie. I do not think I can go into it all because nothing has actually been signed, the famous people part. But it has all been a little surreal as he sits on the phone with so and so's manager after dinner. And they got distribution, which is apparently a big deal too.

And as a result of the movie we are getting ready to head to Chicago for just over a month in July. Summer is coming, we are finishing up school and get ready for lots of play dates, long days at the pool and hopefully minimal fighting!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

I am thankful to be a mother and for all the blessings that come with it, BUT more than that I am thankful for my mom.

Today, I want to celebrate my Mom. She would not fit the "Better Homes and Garden" stereotype of the perfect mother, if they have one. But, she is the perfect mom for me. When I was a child, she put up with my ridiculous ideas that I, in my naivete, thought would be helpful - like making her audio tapes with my voice, encouraging her. I still wonder what on earth I was thinking, but she seemed genuinely thankful. She patiently put up with my preteen, teen and young adult fits - probably my toddler ones too, but I do not remember them. I do not remember my mom ever complaining. She laughed with us frequently, and even to this day, if my mom, grandma, sister, and I get together, there is almost guaranteed to be laughter that leads to tears filling my eyes

I am thankful my mom knew her priorities and would never drain her bank account for my whims for designer jeans or shoes. She was, however, more than willing to find a way for me to see the world. She gave me wings and even sent me, at age eleven, to France on an exchange program. My mom planned vacations, camping every summer, and always supported me in my adventures. I remember thinking what an amazing mom she was during the first time she really took me shopping. It was so I would have gear for a summer backpacking trip. We never went shopping for prom dresses, but backpacking gear, that was worth time and money! She gave me memories to last a life time.

My mom and I look alike in a lot of ways, but we could not be more different in most every other way. Her love is constant though.

Thank you, mom, for being a woman I can admire - strong, brave, compassionate, adventurous, wise and thoughtful. Thank you for all you have given me and done for me.

I love you mom!
Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

We are so Thankful!

It is amazing and overwhelming each time I check my e-mail and see "you have a donation." Often the names are dear friends or family, but sometimes the names are unfamiliar - people I have never heard of or met. These people just feel called to help in adoption. To all who have given little and much, we are SO thankful!

I often think of Hamilton who has been in an orphanage his whole life. He has never been someone's whole world. Children tend to be a mom and dad's whole world when they come into this world. Usually our lives are completely changed as we adjust sleep and feeding and the quiet way we move around the house in an effort to not wake the baby. We think about everything that will affect this little life. I am excited that one day Hamilton will get to be our family's whole world while we love him the best way we know how and work to meet his needs.

But as for all those years he has not been someone's whole world, we can tell him about all the people that worked to bring him to a family. We can let him know how precious and valuable he is. And the quilt we are making will be a constant reminder.

So, just a quick update. Over the past week we have raised $734.00 toward Hamilton's adoption. We have had fourteen people give little to lots. It is amazing how $1, $5, $20 and more adds up. We have one more day with Give1Save1, so if you want to donate $1 or more, we would love for you to join us in supporting the efforts to bring Hamilton home.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Give1Save1!

We are so excited to be part of Give1Save1 Europe this week! If you are new to my blog from the Give1Save1 blog, I would love to have you read about our adoption journey. Some of the posts that describe this journey are Steps of Faith, Interruptions, Why are we Adopting, and I am not going to change the world. You can find other posts about life, birthdays, and lessons I have learned, since I have written this blog over the past couple of years. But, as Hamilton became part of our life, it has never made sense to start a new blog about his adoption because he fits with us, our family, our life. Life goes on as we move toward bringing him home. I hope that you stop by through the coming weeks and months as we continue on this journey toward bringing Hami home.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Chance for the Church to BE the Church!

Adoption is at the very heart of God. Nathan has often said, "This thing, this adopting Hamiton, is not something I have wondered about." There are those moments in our life when we wonder if we are doing what God wants or wonder what God's will is. This is not a wonder moment. This one we know is God's will. It is not like what job to take or where to live; this one is not a question. God is in adoption; God loves orphans; and we are told to care for orphans.

James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."

Not everyone can adopt. Not everyone is called to adopt. But all Christians are called to help orphans and widows. The further we get into this process, the more convinced I am that this is a way for the Church to be the hands and feet of Christ.

At risk of being too forward, I am going to just say this. As the Church, we often take a stand on an issue such as "pro-life"; we fight against funding for Planned Parenthood and vote on election for politicians that will vote against abortion. But I have not seen the Church as vocal about adoption. Now that I am in the adoption process, I see that there are families across this country adopting and fostering children from the U.S. and overseas. But it is often done quietly, and often done without much support because they are doing it on their own. These families are spending thousands of dollars working tirelessly to serve those we are all called to serve. And this is where the Church gets to be the Church. There are people in the Church that can help. Maybe they are not called to adopt, but they can help with the cost of adoption. They can give these families financial support in this very costly process. Or maybe they do not have money but they have a skill. Maybe they make jewelry or are amazing bakers, and they too can help by using these gifts to help raise funds. Maybe they do not have a skill or money but they have time - time to watch children already at home while parents who are adopting go to training sessions, fill out hours of paperwork, or go to home study interviews. Maybe they can donate supplies or beds or furniture to families adopting or doing foster care. This is a chance for the people in the Church to be Christ to the "least of these;" to work together to love those who do not have people to care for them. Orphans need the Church because without the resources of the Church, they will wait, possibly forever, without families or homes.

This is a chance for the Church to be different. Again, at the risk of being too confrontational, I am going to say this. Today, the churches I see spend thousands and thousands of dollars on good sound systems and lighting and blow up slides for the kids' "playland." There is money spent on advertising and entertainment that will draw people in, but I think what might draw people in is if they see us being different than the world. Yes, lights and music, might draw people, might make them come for some entertainment, but soon it will wear off because it is no different than what the world offers. They are entertained until it is not enough, and then there needs to be bigger music and more lights and perhaps ziplines across the foyer, Will that bring them and keep them? I do not think it will, but what if a Church had an old sound system, but they helped a family get by for a year after they lost their job? What if the Church went without the fancy lights and instead helped four families adopt children from around the world? 

I am so thankful for a Church that cares for orphans and single moms. In the past eight months we have been there, we have seen our Church give, without hesitation, toward our adoption and to a single mom of three in need of a home. It is a small Church that believes in using what God has given to be the hands and feet of Christ. They put off the extras, and use what they have for those in need. And in the months I have been there, I have seen that Church grow. And I think it is because that Church is different. It stands out in a world that is tired and in need.

Adoption is a chance for the Church to be the Church. And it is a chance for the world to see that Christians really are different.