People have been asking how things are going and I’m so grateful for everyone’s prayers and support, but I have a hard time giving a very definite answer to that question. I can say progress is being made, good things are happening, and day by day we are getting closer to bringing Angelina home…but it all feels very intangible at the moment. How can we tell if we are half way there, or even a third of the way, when there is no set end date? Being the calendar loving person I am, the lack of a set schedule has been a, ummm, challenge.
But there is one big milestone that snuck up and passed us by – we are halfway funded. In fact, we are MORE than halfway funded! And for the life of me, I don’t know how this happened so quickly! Oh wait, I do know, it’s God working His ways. Less than a month ago we were just shy of half-way:
And as of today we have:
The astronomical cost of international adoption was one of the biggest things holding us back from starting the process, and when we did commit to this a few months ago we had no idea how we would cover all the costs without going into more debt. A constant petition in our daily prayers has been that God would provide. Sometimes when you pray, God’s answer is no, sometimes it is wait, sometimes it is a different road, and often it is hard to look at your life and say wow that was a direct answer to prayer, but this ENTIRE adoption so far has been a grace filled journey.
This week I received a much anticipated email from Reece’s Rainbow, a foundation that provides grants for special need international adoption. All the paperwork for our Family Sponsorship Program (FSP) was received, reviewed, approved, and we now have an FSP page! What that means is it is easier for online donations to go directly towards our adopt which is awesome for us, and it’s convenient for donors. It is also a tax deductible donation since Reece’s Rainbow is a non-profit grant organization. All the funds raised in this program are given to us when we have permission to travel from Angelina’s government and the funds can go towards travel fees, the final facilitation team fees, and all the additional paperwork such as passports and visas for our child which need to be expedited (which of course is an extra fee!)
The timing couldn’t be better for our FSP to be up and running because it makes it so much easier to reach out to our online supports with our newest efforts, a tshirt fundraiser (which seems to be a classic adoption fundraiser). We have been working with Fund The Nations for at least a month now trying to come up with a design for our tshirts. After going back and forth with a design their company provided, Timm and I had an evening of doodling and came up two designs of our own that we liked so much we ended up ordering two different shirts. Next my awesome sister April, a talented graphic designer, cleaned up our sketches and put them in a digital format which the shirt company is now using!
Timm’s puzzle design symbolizes our family with our youngest daughters riding on our shoulders and Angelina in the center holding our hands. He wanted her to see how she is already in our hearts and how we hope to be in hers too. The colors of the shirt are based on her national flag; you may notice how the overall outline of the whole image is also roughly the shape of a heart and the message “Adoption Builds Families” could not be more true!
As a bit of a side note, I happen to be an avid jigsaw puzzler which is an
obsession hobby I share with my own mother. Many evenings of my life have been spent with my mom, our heads bowed together over the puzzle board slowly putting everything in its place. I hope to share many such moments with my oldest daughter who is already living in my heart.
I wanted my shirt design to be graceful with an uplifting message about adoption. The final phrase was inspired by a picture my mom saved from her Mary Engelbreit daily calendar which states “It is the wise mother who gives her child roots and wings.” It is in part thanks to the deep roots my parents nurtured in me that now give my family the courage to spread our wings and fly across the world. The images of a globe, wings, and roots are all pretty self-explanatory; the hollyhock crowning the whole image is a symbol of homecoming in Angelina’s country.
We plan on having these tshirts available at our next fundraiser, The Grass-Fed Bluegrass Fest, where we will have a booth for sharing Angelina’s story and advocating for orphans with special needs. If you are in the area please do stop by for this awesome event and enjoy a day of talented musicians, tasty food, a petting farm for the kiddoes, and saying hi to us! If you can’t make it but still want a shirt, please follow these simple steps:
1. Go to our FSP and either click on the donation button or follow directions for mailing a check for $23 per shirt (shipping included)
2. Email a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org along with shipping address and specify which shirt design and size you want. We offer adult sizes S-XXL. This is a soft fitted tshirt so please go up a size if you are between sizes.
3. The earliest these will ship is Friday, August 28th.
4. Please share this fundraiser with friends and family through email or facebook, we have a facebook group here to make it even easier to share.
Our goal is to sell 100 or more which will bring us $1,100 closer to being fully funded!
Along with all fundraising we are already doing, we will be applying for other grants to assist with Angelina’s adoption but due to the unique adoption process of her country, there are only a handful of grants we qualify for which is why I’m so pleased to have our FSP up and running. Angelina’s government treats all adoptions as independent adoptions, you do not receive a specific child’s referral through a 501(c)3 Hague accredited adoption agency prior to travel which is a condition many grants require. We are completing our home study with a social worker who is from a Hague accredited 501(c)3 agency, but still will not qualify since legally we do not have a specific child we have been approved for. In our hearts we are working towards adopting Angelina, but we will have no legal attachment to her until we have 1) finished compiling our dossier, 2) sent that off to be translated and reviewed by Department for Families and Children (DFC) in her country, 3) the DFC has processed and approved our dossier, 4) we are extended an invitation to travel to the country for an appointment at the DFC on a specific date, 5) are then are shown between 2-4 referrals from which to choose, 6) choose a child to meet and finally after meeting them 7) accept their referral. Our facilitation team will try to ensure that Angelina is one of the files we receive. Because Angelina is older and has a special need, the chance she will be adopted through a blind referral to another international couple or adopted in her own country is slim, but there is slight chance that would happen. If that scenario occurs, we will mourn loosing her to our family, rejoice she has a family, and continue with the adoption process for another child who needs a family to call their own.