Yay! We sent off our application to Agape Adoption Agency in Bellingham to do our homestudy. We had planned to do this in late April but we didn't realize we had to formally apply and send a big fat check ($1700), so we held off until we could pay that in addition to 1/2 of Gladney's fee ($2750). We also have to send $700 for Gladney to review the homestudy. That is a total of $5150. Right now we have $3600. So we need to raise $1550 in the next month. With our garage sale on June 17-18 and our $5 earring sale, plus what we'll be able to save in June, I think we'll come real close. (Click on our May blog "Hug of May" for information about our Hug of May earring sale.) We have sold 172 of our 500 puzzle pieces. Thanks so much to all who have donated!! If it is on your heart to sponsor a puzzle piece, they are $5 each and we'll write your name on the back of each piece you sponsor. We still have 328 pieces left. (Click on our February blog on "Puzzle Fundraiser" for more information.)
Our newest puzzle piece sponsor is my nephew Tate, Heidi's oldest sweetheart. He's 5 years old, going on 15. He loves Justin Beiber and rocks the purple high tops. Heidi and Randy have him and Preston doing chores to earn "commissions", an allowance system that teaches the kids to give, save, and spend. A few weeks ago, he called me and in his raspy voice said, "Auntie, you know how I've been doing my chores to get money, well . . . I'm going to give my "give money" to you for your baby." He sort of stutters on the phone, so I had him repeat what he'd said. Yes, he wanted to give his "give money" to us for our baby. Instant lump in my throat. The next time I saw him he gave me $4 in quarters with the biggest ear to ear grin on his face. I swooped him up and buried my face in his warm neck as I fought to hold back my tears. Heidi said he thought of that all on his own and had overheard us talking about fundraising ideas. Those $4 feel like $400.
I will tell you this . . . adoption is not for the faint of heart. There are 3 groups of paperwork that need to be sent to Gladney, and we're just now ready to send in group #1. When I heard there was a lot of paperwork, I thought, mmm . . . filling out forms, so what? I can do that. I had no idea that it meant making doctors appointments with lab results that have to be notarized, getting 5 reference letters, 3 of which have to be notarized, bank statements, proof of insurance of every kind (notarized), employment verification letters (notarized), a 9 page application (notarized), financial statements, all kinds of adoption risk waivers and domestic violence statements and arrest histories and questionnaires and service plan agreements. The list goes on. But we are ready to send in Paperwork Batch #1. The only thing left I need to do before we send that in is to arrange to meet my doctor with a notary present to sign off on our medical records. This will happen on Tuesday.
At times, this process feels so overwhelming. But it's for my baby. There's nothing a mother won't do for her baby.
I've had a few people ask me if we were to get pregnant, would we still go through with the adoption. The answer is yes. Yes, absolutely. Without a doubt, yes. I feel like my baby is over there, and if I were to not go through with this process, I would be abandoning my baby. This is not a Plan B for me. This is what God intended and had in the plans all along. I still believe we will have a little Craiglette someday, but our family will not be complete without our Ethiopian princess. I feel it down to my core, and it makes all the paperwork and fundraising bearable, as humbling as it is.
I'd like to end with this quote:
I have discovered in life there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go. - Langston Hughes
I really want to go. To Ethiopia. Back to the land of Eden. To bring home our baby. Our beautiful baby girl. Who is loved by family, both God-given and biological. Who will change the world and break our hearts. We'll go to the end of the earth for you, Baby Girl. We love you. Sleep tight and know that we are coming.