New Fundraiser!

We are still in Dossier mode and will hopefully have an update on that soon!

But in the meantime (and before my big consignment season starts!) we wanted to have a t-shirt fundraiser!  As my Meredith friends know, every occasion calls for a t-shirt!

We worked with a great group called Fund The Nations and came up with this design:

Amy Penny Shirt3

 

We will be doing a pre-order for these that will close approx. Feb 2nd.  The shirts are $20 each (plus shipping if you are not local) and are available in adult and youth sizes (charts posted at the bottom of this post!) You can email me at amyevolving@gmail.com to order.

If you know anyone that has a heart for adoption or Africa we would love if you would share this.  We hope that the shirt will spread the word about adoption, but also about supporting Africa as a whole, especially in light of political unrest and the Ebola crisis.

Thanks so much for your support!!!

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Adoption Update- I-800a & Dossier

We are now in “phase 3″ of 5!

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It was so good to get our home study in our hands!

Phase 3 is the dossier phase which includes getting approved by the US Department of Homeland Security as an adoptive couple (the I-800a) which is basically just another round of fingerprinting and compiling the dossier.  The dossier is all the documents that will be sent to Burundi as our “application” to be matched with a child.  This includes another set of physical exams, background checks, reference letters, copies of birth/marriage certificates/passports, photos of us and our home and a psychological exam. Once we get all of this together it has to be notarized and then state certified.  THEN it will be translated and sent to Burundi! I hope to have everything ready to translate by mid-January.

The one big change in our process is that we will likely not travel to Burundi until we are matched with our child.  While we were really looking forward to traveling in early 2015, this change shows that Burundi is taking great care of their program and Hague guidelines.  They are now using a committee method to match the families and children, so we can specifically pray for the committee–that they meet often and that their meetings are productive!

For now I’m trying to learn more about Burundi and get glimpses into life there.  I check #burundi on Instagram almost daily.  I found the Long Miles Coffee Project that way and subsequently got my hands on coffee and chocolate bars with their coffee through District Roasters!

I’m also staying busy with our fundraising efforts through Amy’s Evolving Closets.  I have some changes for next year that I’m excited about and will do another post on that soon.  Not making the first trip to Burundi will certainly take the stress off the budget a bit and I’m not feeling so anxious about making our next payments.

We wish you all a very joyful Christmas season (I’ve decided I’m doing New Year’s cards at this point….) and thanks as always for your continued prayers and support!

 

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Quick Update- Home Study Almost Complete!

Another month and a half gone by, but I’m happy to report that we are now just in the waiting period for our home study to be completed!

After finally getting our paperwork finalized, including a septic tank inspection/repair that was much more in depth/expensive than we expected, we were ready for our meetings with our social worker.  She has been great to work with so far and we completed our 3 required meetings over 2 weekends, which is probably the fastest part of the process to date!  She is now working on compiling all the information that needs to be included in our home study report.  Then we, our home study agency and placing agency will look over the report to make sure all the little details are correct and that it has everything GA/USCIS/Burundi will be looking for.

Our next step will be starting on our dossier (the paperwork that Burundi requires of us) and USCIS  (US immigration that validates that we are suitable for adoption.)  I hear it is a LOT of paper and notarization, translation, etc.

This weekend also marked one year from when I dropped the “I think we are supposed to adopt” bomb on Joel.  During those first few months we didn’t know exactly what our path to adoption would look like.  So far it has taught us a lot and we are hopeful about what the next year will bring in our journey.

Our thanks to all of you that have checked in for updates and been praying for us.  We really do feel and appreciate it!

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Hurry Up and Wait

I’d really be lying if I said our home study wasn’t testing me.  Which I know is the point, but still, I’m being stretched.  Realizing things aren’t in my control.

I understand now why many people do not share their plans of adopting until after the home study is complete.  But I’m no good at keeping secrets, so here we are.  You get to come through every hill and valley with us.

Joel and I finished our online course work.  The lessons were very beneficial in helping us understand the losses and gains of adoption, issues of attachment our child may have and how to work together to bond more closely. It also covered the myriad of common medical issues of children who have been living in institutions.  That’s one that I am really struggling with and have had to hand over to God.  Worrying over what we may face with this child is wasted energy on my part.  

Everyday we are checking off more of our to-dos.  But it is still hard not to get frustrated when I call to make appointments for the boys TB test and I can’t get an appointment for 3 weeks. Another thing that pushes the process a little further down the calendar.  

We are not wavering in our decision.  At all.  But I am learning every day how much the instant gratification mentality is ingrained in me.  The process is already preparing me and making me better at dealing with the unknown.

But…I’m still me.  And trying to do what I can do in the moment.  A big part of that is preparing our finances.  My Amy’s Evolving Closets fundraiser is still a fun and very successful way for us to grow our adoption fund.  It has shown me how a few dollars at a time really add up.  

I know many of you do not have the need to shop for kids clothes…but maybe you have a jar of change in your home.  

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This is our jar- holding around $46.

We will cherish gifts of any size, which is why we are literally asking for your pennies.  

Would you be willing to empty your change jar for us?  You can read more details about donating at youcaring.com/pennyfamilyadoption

 

pennies sample 2

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How We Started Our 10 Year Anniversary {An Adoption Update}

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had written, but it makes sense considering May was a never ending blur of excitement.

If you don’t follow me on any social media I’ll wrap it up as NYC (May 1st)-Saint Simons Island-Braves Game-Mother’s Day-PreK Graduation-My birthday-10 year college reunion-Home Study Packet Received-Junior League End of Year-Pool Days-Our Anniversary/Food & Wine Festival in Atlanta (May 30th)

We get lots of questions on where we are with the adoption so I thought I would delve a little bit into the stage we are on right now, which is our home study.

We received our home study packet 2 weeks ago. I looked through it and then had to just put it down.  It was a little like looking at an entire semester of college classwork. My thoughts went from “ok, that should be easy’ to “wow, I’m really going to have to take some time on that.”

You can really complete the home study at your own pace.  And while I’m typically a hurry up and get things done now kind of girl I’ve had a peace over completing these things in their own time.  I am excited to move on to our next step, but I don’t want to rush through just to get the check marks on the page.

So what are the check marks?

2 sets of fingerprints (FBI & GBI)

DFCS child abuse clearances (for GA and NC because we lived there)

Financial Statement

Medical Reports- for all 4 of us (+ our dog)

10 hours of coursework

and finally an autobiography and short answers (from each of us) to 50 open ended questions ranging from “what do you like best about yourself?” to “what characteristics in a child would make you feel like he belonged to you?”

Not exactly something I’m going to complete in an afternoon.  Or three.

Once we complete all of this we will be assigned a social worker and will have our face to face meetings/interviews.

On the morning of our 10th anniversary we had our first set of fingerprints taken.

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File that under things I never imagined I’d be doing.

We had a great weekend together- talking and eating and shopping and more eating.

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At dinner Joel asked what the best moment had been in those 10 years.  I thought for a second and then said that it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is the here and now.  That we both know that our relationship has never been better.

We are setting out on this unexpected journey together and it’s exciting and scary.  But I can’t wait to see where it takes us.

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Our Adoption: Telling the Boys

One of the unexpected blessings so far on our adoption journey is truly how excited Nate and Cole are about their “new brother!”

 

Nate was only a year old when we found out we were expecting Cole.  It wasn’t on his radar at all.  Cole arrived when Nate was 21 months old- so young he really didn’t have much interest in his brother for a good while.  

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I wasn’t sure where to begin in telling the boys about our adoption plan.  Surprisingly I could not find much written about telling biological children about adopting a sibling.  We knew to expect that the boys might be confused and very likely, not at all on board with our plan.  We tried to prepare ourselves for this and just kind of waited for a moment that felt right.  

We knew that we would need to tell them before our home study was complete because we may have to meet with our social worker as a family.

The day before we planned to publicly announce our adoption plans we were having dinner on our deck.  The boys were being silly (as always) and talking about “brothers.”  Cole was saying that he has 10 brothers and Nate was questioning him to name them all.  It seemed like a good enough time to bring up a new brother.

We asked them what they thought about having a new brother.  Of course they asked, “What do you mean, new brother?”  We explained that there are many children that do not have mommies, daddies or other family to care for them.  That we like being a family and would like to be family for a little boy that needs one.

The boys asked questions like “When will he come?” “How old will he be?” and “Who decides who are new brother is?”  All really good questions! (Especially coming from a 5 year old.  Cole just chimes in with “Yeah!” and repeats big brother’s questions.)

And that was that.

We know that tough times will come, but for now it’s been amazing.  While “brother” is on my mind all the time, I don’t push it on the boys.  But it’s also sweet seeing that it is on Nate’s mind as well, as he brings it up pretty often.  He has been keeping on me about paperwork, asking when “that person is going to come talk to us about being a family?” and saying that he’s going to share his bunk bed with his new brother.

He also understands that brother is coming from a place of poverty.  He knows that brother doesn’t have candy or a swingset to play on or really anything to call his own. The wider world view that the boys are already gaining has been so encouraging.

I’m cherishing my days with these two sweet brothers, but am also looking forward to the day that a precious third brother joins in the fun!

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Updates!

It’s been such an exciting few weeks sharing our adoption news with everyone!  The support we’ve received helps us to know that we have lots of people that will help us through the hard times as well as rejoice with us during the exciting times.

So what’s happening now?  We are working on our home study application. I’ve started reading some books to understand and prepare for the potential situations from which our new little one will come.  Praying for him not knowing if he has even been born yet. God knows his story and one day we will too.  

I’ve been updating sections of the blog– you can now follow via Bloglovin.  Also see the new About and Our Adoption pages at the top.

I have had such overwhelming support of the Amy’s Evolving Closets fundraiser! My friend Lynda made this great logo!

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I’ve added a link in the sidebar—> to the Facebook page and the Instagram account.  I’m excited to share that we have already raised over $1,000 this year!  It has been such a blessing not to mention something I enjoy doing!

I hope to keep this page updated to let people into our process, especially the ones that have been supporting us but do not know personally!  Also feel free to ask me any questions; I’m an open book about most things :) 

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