Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Yard Sale Fundraiser and Home Study Update

Whew! Last week was exhausting and I am still recovering.  I will go ahead and get to the most exciting news.  In our Pirkle/Starnes yard sale this weekend, we raised $3,700 to split between us for our adoptions!  I was hoping for $1000 each.  Aaron was his usual pessimistic self and guessed around $300-$500 each.  So we were both blown out of the water!  
My work schedule at the hospital is made for 4 weeks at a time, so back when I signed up for this current schedule, we were planning on having the yard sale on Saturday only. So I signed up for Mon, Tue, Wed. this week.   Then we decided to have the yard sale on Friday and Saturday.  Leaving me only Thursday off last week.  I have been canceled a lot lately, but of course, the week that I could have used some time off, I had to work each of my days.  Which means leaving the house at 6am and getting home after 8pm.  Exhausting.  So, that was Mon, Tue, Wed.   Then the kids and I went up to the church building Thur. and starting sorting through the huge amount of yard sale items donated by our friends and families.   We were at the church building sorting from 8:30 until 2pm with a small lunch break.  Came home, spent a few hours resting and back up to the church building at 5pm, where lots of our friends from church came to help us sort and get ready for the big sale.  We got home around 9pm Thursday night.
Friday, bright and early, Aaron met the other adoptive couple at the church building at 5am to start putting out tables.  There were so many things to sell.  We live about 25 min. from our church building, so that means leaving early.  I managed to get the kids ready for their Friday co-op and we got to the church building by 6am.  Poor Ethan was so tired and grumpy (from me waking him up at 5am, a mere 3 hours earlier than usual) that he cried when I let him wear the shirt he wanted to wear.
The weather had turned cold and windy so we about froze in 40 degree weather even when the sun came out.
We sold around $1700 worth  by 1pm Friday when we started putting the tables away. We probably had around 30 tables full of items, plus items on the ground and 6-8 racks full of clothes.  Took about an hour to move everything back into the storage barn and we headed home Friday night to rest. We got home around 5pm because we had to hang out in Decatur for the kids to get home from their Friday Co-op. We had wonderful friends who graciously offered to take the kids for us, so they wouldn't miss their classes.  Of course with 5 kids, we had to split them between friends. I could hardly stay up until 8pm.  
Got up again bright and early Saturday morning. Aaron again got to the church building by 5am, and I brought the kids again by 6am.  I was moving even slower Saturday and since I had worked M, T, W, sorted T, yard sale F, we had NO food in the house. I was really scrounging and I HATE to pay a restaurant when we are scrimping every dime.  But I broke down and got biscuits for the kids on the way. (took our own drinks though) :)
Around 1:45 pm, we started boxing up what was leftover. Even with selling $3700 worth of items, we still filled a large moving van that the local thrift store brought to take away our extras.   We are so blessed with a generous church family and our own families and friends that donated so many, many items.  THANK YOU!!
Again, so exhausted last night...bedtime around 8pm.  One kid didn't feel well last night.  Another one felt bad this morning, so I kept them all home from church services.  Since we are trying to work as many hours as we can, poor Aaron had signed up to burn today for overtime and had to go into work exhausted.  He didn't have to be there until noon, so he went on to church services and left early enough to get to work.
I managed to get to the grocery store today, so now we can eat again!
Now onto cleaning a house and doing laundry that has been neglected for a week.
Oh, and Aaron had his first home study meeting this week. It went well and our 2nd one will be this Thursday.  We are planning to get our finger prints done this week also.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Home Study and Fundraising

We had to change our home study dates up a little bit, due to our social worker's schedule.  So, next week, Aaron is driving to B'ham to do his individual interview.  The week after, she will be coming to our house.  Then I will probably schedule my individual interview and finally, we will all meet together by the end of April. I really hope our home study is done by the first week in May.
Hoping to have our fingerprints done for the home study this Saturday.
Once the home study is finished we can apply for USCIS.  That approval normally takes 6-10 weeks to come back and once it is back, we can turn in our paperwork to China.  I am just praying that everything takes the minimum amt of time to process so that we can get our girl home sooner, rather than later.
I think we found one grant that you can apply for while you are working on your home study. The rest of the grants, you have to have a completed home study.  So I am hoping to have all the grant applications filled out and ready so as soon as we get our home study in hand we will send them out.
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Home Study Dates

I am excited that we have heard from our social worker and we have set 2 dates to meet.  Per China requirements, we have to meet 4 times.  So, our first meeting Aaron and I will drive to Birmingham and meet with her.  That meeting is not this coming week, but the week after.  Then the week after that, she agreed to meet again, this time at our house and meet the whole family.
I wish that we could have used our previous social worker. Things would have been SO much faster and easier. But because of multiple factors, we are adopting from a Hague country this time, she works for both a non Hague agency and a Hague agency.  Since we have to use a Hague agency, to use our previous social worker, her Hague agency was going to charge us a ton of money to use her for our home study, even though we weren't using them for the adoption.
In other words, it would have cost us at least an extra $1000 to use our previous social worker.
Crazy!  Because all she would have had to do was update our stuff. Oh well, what can you do?
If you haven't done an adoption, I don't think you could even imagine the huge amounts of paperwork you have to do.  Of course, in the midst of us printing out all our forms, making copies, etc, our printer decides to stop working.
I was scheduled to work 4 days this week, which would have been 8 hours of overtime, since I work 12 hour shifts.  But of course, census was low on Monday, got cancelled.  I got to work all day Tuesday.  I left early Wed, when the census dropped, and then today I got cancelled too.
I'll just be thankful for what hours I get.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Great news!  We had sent in our paperwork a few weeks ago for a specific little girl in China. She is about 4 1/2 . Because of the Chinese New Year, things were a little delayed, I think, from normal, but we got the email tonight that we have been preapproved by China to adopt this specific little girl as long as we get our paperwork in, etc.  One step closer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Home Study in the Works

Finished filling out our home study application yesterday, scanned and emailed it to our agency today. Our total home study will cost approx $1700-$1800. I am not sure the exact amount because some of that will be paying for gas for the social worker to come to our house.  We need at least $900 to start the home study. That much is due before/at our first meeting.  We have raised around $450 between our online donations, coffee donations, and our loose change fundraiser.  So I have asked if we can at least start with our first meeting  asap so we can get to our little girl sooner.  I haven't heard back yet.
Along with the applications are a ton of other papers to fill out. So tonight, hopefully Aaron and I will finish our "life story" and tomorrow get our papers signed and notarized at the bank and be even closer to our home study paperwork being done.   The paperwork is overwhelming, but you just have to remember to do one paper at a time and eventually it will all get done.
I am praying that with our loose change fund raiser and our yard sale at the end of the month, we will have enough money to at least cover our home study.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Importance of Encouragement

"I want you to raise as many children in this world as you can"
A friend of mine from work donated money towards our adoption online.    The above is what she wrote in her comments.  I teared up as I read it because I think it is the first time that someone has specifically encouraged us to adopt as many kids as we could.
I would wager that for every one encouraging comment that we get about our adoption, we get at least 10 discouraging ones.  And by encouraging, I mean a real, heartfelt, we are behind you 100%, WITHOUT the added discouragement of  how crazy we are, how we won't be able to communicate with a child that speaks another language, it costs so much, how will you afford 6 kids, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind talking about how much it costs.  And if you want to dig a little farther on that part, I don't think I could talk about the cost of adoption any better than this author
I had 2 friends Sunday night at church who really encouraged me too.  I told them about a discouraging conversation I had with someone.  They came right to my defense, told me to call them over next time and time and they would have the conversation for me.   Thank you friends for the encouragement.
Just be careful.  Adoption can be scary.  You are stepping into the unknown.  So many, many, many people tell me they have considered adoption.  Yet, they hardly ever go through with it.
If someone is on the fence about adoption and not 100% committed yet, I could see how all of these negative comments can push them over into the "aw forget it, it's too much work and risk" category. And there's a least one child who doesn't get a family.
Words affect lives people!!!!  Your discouragement can affect lives FOREVER!
Discouraging words can leave a child in an orphanage.
Please, please, please weigh your words carefully when you talk to someone about adoption.
Please only encourage!  Your encouraging words could be the push someone needs to bring a child into their home.  Your encouraging words could get a child out of an orphanage!
Please, feel free to ask me about our adoption.  Feel free to ask about the cost. I don't want to discourage anyone from talking to us.  I really really don't.  Talk all you want to us, we are committed, we won't flip to the other side of the fence.  But weigh your words carefully when you talk to others.