Saturday, May 31, 2014

If I could, I would adopt, but...

it's too hard, too time consuming, too much paper work

too expensive.

I hear the "too expensive" comment the most. Yes, adoption can be costly but if God has called you to adopt, He will provide every penny. I sort of believed that when we began our journey and now I know it! To encourage those you might be considering adoption but are scared of the costs involved, here are a few fundraising ideas:

  • GRANTS:: There are dozens of wonderful grants available to adoptive families. This is FREE MONEY people! You don't have to pay this back.  We applied for seven grants and received two. It takes a little time but it's so worth it. Some generous grants organizations are: Forever Families Foundation, JSC Foundation, Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Show Hope, Life Song, Gift of Adoption
  • LOANS:: There's also the option of no interest loans. We received one from Pathways to Little Feet but Abba Fund is another option. Pathways overnighted a check for us to help cover the last of our travel expenses the week we left for India so we were able to wait to see if we needed it. 
  • BOTH HANDS PROJECT:: This one is SO COOL! Basically you help a local widow fixing her home and funds are matched through donations for your adoption fund. Here are a few videos 
  • GARAGE SALES:: This takes a little work, too, but the potential to raise a lot of money is there! Several weeks before hand, ask friends to donate items to your garage sale. You'll be surprised at how many friends and family will clean out their closets and garages and soon your place will be filled with awesome junk! Be sure to advertise the garage sale in the newspaper, and on Craigslist and Facebook (on your personal page and the buy/sale/trade pages for your local area) and ask friends to share it. Don't forget to share it a few times leading up to the sale. Sell donuts, coffee, bottled water, cookies to your patrons. We made $1500 at our garage sale thanks to all the amazing friends and family that donated such cool junk! Tell people you're raising funds for your adoption and you might receive a few extra bucks from generous garage sale enthusiasts. See if your church will let you have the garage sale there - potential for more traffic! 
  • LEARN A CRAFT AND SELL IT:: Even if you aren't crafty, there's something you can learn to do - crochet, wreath making, sewing, wood making projects, painting, jewelry the possibilities are endless. If you have kids, let them help, too! Set up a shop on Etsy, or Facebook, go to craft fairs and sell your items. Again, share that proceeds are going towards your adoption fund! 
  • ASK FOR DONATIONS:: You can set up a Paypal button on your blog or do a Go Fund Me page. 
  • ASK YOUR CHURCH TO SET UP A DONATION ACCOUNT:: And ask if they'll let you share your adoption story with the congregation. An awesome plus to this is you'll have dozens of people praying your little one home!
  • T-SHIRT FUNDRAISER:: BonFire Funds has some SUPER SOFT, COMFY FIT t-shirts. They do all the work - design the shirt (or use your design), provide access to a website where friends and family can purchase the shirt, collect the money, process the orders, and ship them out. You promote it via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and BonFire does the rest. We didn't make a huge profit off these but I just wanted them printed once I saw the design. 
  • PART TIME JOB:: This one is tricky, I know. Not everyone may have a few extra hours in the week but if there's a flexible work from home option that might work for your family, it's worth a try. 
  • ONLINE AUCTION:: I've seen these all over Facebook and Instagram. Dozens of awesome people donate some incredible items and other people all over the globe bid on and purchase these things. On average $1,000-4, 000 is raised. Yes thousand.  
  • SAVINGS ACCOUNT, HOME EQUITY LOANS :: these are options, too, but if you're like us, you may not want to venture there for obvious reasons. 
  • BAKE SALES:: Set up a booth at a craft fair or festival, or your church, and ask friends and family to help bake yummy goodies to sell! Share you are adopting and maybe even share a photo of your little one so people will know who they're helping. 
  • SPAGHETTI DINNER/PANCAKE BREAKFAST:: I haven't done this personally but the potential is there to make a decent profit. Everyone loves a good reason to eat right? 
  • BAG GROCERIES:: Ask your local grocery store if they will let you bag groceries for a weekend. See if a few friends and family will help you. If possible, bag the weekend before a big holiday since the stores will be extra busy. Wear cute t-shirts to show your cause!
  • CAR WASH:: Again, you'll need help so round up your friends and family, maybe youth from church. Find a sunny weekend and have fun! 
  • BAIL AND JAIL:: I really wanted to do this one but couldn't quite get it together. Find a willing person or two and make it FUN. Here's website with information BAIL AND JAIL
  • ONLINE CATALOG SALES:: Find a friend that sells Pampered Chef, 31 bags, Noonday, etc and ask if they'll do a fundraiser for you. Most people are quick to jump at the chance to help others and promote their business, too. 
  • MARATHONS/TOURNAMENTS:: If you're active and enjoy golf, tennis, running, etc, then host an event and proceeds can help fund your adoption. 
  • GIFT WRAPPING:: Set up a booth during the holiday season at a local mall or craft fair and wrap gifts
  • PHOTO SESSIONS:: If you're handy with a camera, offer some photo shoots in exchange for donations. Do something fun for holidays (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day) or set up a cute photo booth at a birthday party. Burn photos to CD and there's virtually no cost for you!
These are just a few things you can do to help fund an adoption. If you have an idea not listed here, please share with me and I'll add it to the list. Adoption can be costly but brining a sweet little boy or girl home and taking them from a life of poverty, providing the medical care they may need, the love and affection they are thirsting for is worth every penny, every headache, every single paper that has to be completed and redone. It's worth it all! These children are priceless. <3

Besides, it's all just money. If God calls your family to adopt, HE will provide!
(Harry Potter was spotted "painting" our cabinets last week)

Friday, May 16, 2014

the colors of us

I had this vision to do a colorful Holi inspired photo shoot with my sweet friend Nikki back in March. A few crazy things happened that made it impossible to do around the March 17 date of Holi but it all turned out perfectly anyway. If you're not familiar Holi, check HERE Don't worry we are still Christians and we aren't celebrating other gods. Holi is a Hindu celebration but Hinduism is also a culture, not just a religion. It's part of who Ryan is and we want to expose him to opportunities to learn about his culture as he grows up. This spring we did so with our own little Holi celebration :)

We had way too much fun with the paint! 

Braden caught some serious air here!

Photos by the incredibly talented Nikki P Photography. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

The clingness

Last week we rejoiced in the fact that our sweet little guy has been home four months! Thank you Jesus!

It's crazy that we spent so much time waiting, waiting, waiting for Ryan to come home and time just inched by so S L O W L Y

and once we were home, BAM, time is flying by so quickly!

Did I mention he's changing so much too? He used to have to hold my hand as I drove the car almost everywhere. Scott would tell me how unsafe that was and I told him there are plenty of one armed drivers out there driving with one hand on the wheel. Ryan no longer does that. Granted we had to get a larger car so it's impossible for me to do so but apparently he can live without holding my hand in the car. ;) He also no longer says, HALLLOO? HALLOO? HALLLOO! That makes me a little sad cause it was SO cute! When he wakes up, instead of standing in his crib saying HALLO? HALLO? He says, Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM! Mom is the word to get our attention instead of Hallo. I guess I'll take it. ;)

One thing that has not changed is his crazy clinginess.. Somebody tell me this phase will end soon cause it wears me out. From the minute we get home from school, Ryan is either on my lap, sitting right beside me while playing on the iPad (while rubbing my arms, pinching my legs, kissing my belly), standing between my legs as I cook, wanting to sit on my lap during meals. I know he's adjusting to life since I returned to work. I'm assuming this will subside once we are in our summer routine and then it may resurface when we go to school in August. I'm bracing myself for that one!

Here's some proof of this crazy clinginess --

Aside from the clinginess at home, Ryan has adjusted well to me returning the work earlier this month. He stays with the mom of one of my students. He cried a little at first (some days were louder than others) and it was rough for a little bit but this week there were no tears! He's doing so well and I am very thankful for another smooth transition. :) 

He continues to amaze us with all he's been through. 

He lost everything he'd ever known

moved across the world to a land and language foreign to him with people who were strangers, foods he'd never eaten before, sounds and smells that were unfamiliar to him and he's taken each and every challenge and adjusted beautifully. I have to keep reminding myself of the big picture - where he came from and where he is now cause it's easy to get wrapped up with the clinginess, tantrums, and the endless amounts of energy he has which I find exhausting at times. I look at these pictures  and think of this crazy mess and KNOW one day this shall pass and I'm certain I will miss it