Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Husband Vs. Wife November Challenge

Everybody loves a little friendly competition, right?

During the month of November, we will be competing in a challenge to see who can raise the most amount of money toward our adoption fund.

Babysitting, cleaning/organizing

  • Need a date night or time to do some errands? Call Erika to babysit your little ones.
  • Do you need help cleaning/organizing your home? Erika would love to be able to help you out. 
  • Suggested donation:  $10/hour

Scarves and Cookie Dough
Check out some of these cute $10 scarves that Erika can make for you in just about any color.

Erika is also selling homemade cookie dough. Cookie dough comes frozen in 18-count preformed balls inside a reusable canning jar for $8. Flavors include chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, chocolate chocolate chip, and monster. Great gift idea!

Check out Erika's Adoption Fundraiser photo album on Facebook for more scarf samples and cookie dough.


Yard Work, House Projects, Dog Walking

  • Looking for some help with projects around the house? Call Josh to have him help you out.
  • Suggested donation:  $10/hour

Weekend Breakfast + Homemade Soups

Have a great home-cooked meal either delivered to or prepared at your house. Waffles, pancakes, omelets, biscuits and gravy… you name it, Josh will cook it for you and your family. Even better? There’s no need to worry about clean-up because Josh will take care of that, too. Breakfast options at $8/plate, and can either be delivered hot, or cooked right in your kitchen for you.

Josh will also be selling the following delicious homemade soups:  broccoli cheddar, chicken enchilada, classic chili, and ham & potato. Soups will come frozen, so all you'll need to do is thaw, heat, and enjoy! Soups are $12 each and contain 4-6 servings.

You can find Josh's food items on his Fundraising Challenge photo album on Facebook.


For each of our fundraisers, we want to make sure you are gaining something from it, as well. Asking for money is awkward, and we know that you work hard for your money.

Last month, we started a fundraiser with Just Love Coffee. It’s simple… You buy some great coffee (organic, fair-trade = great cause), and we get a portion of the proceeds from your purchases. We will be continuing this fundraiser through the remainder of our adoption process, so there’s plenty of time to still get it on this.

Thank you for giving us a little piece of your heart by helping us in our adoption journey.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our Home Study Process

The first step of the adoption process is completing a home study. On average, a home study process takes three to six months to complete. This allows time to submit paperwork and FBI fingerprints, receive reference letters, and gives time for our case worker to type up a lengthy report.

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

A good portion of the home study involves completing paperwork. We made copies of birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, marriage certificate, tax form, and health insurance cards. We submitted fingerprints, statements from physicians and employers, proof of residence, and background checks. We requested six letters of reference from friends and family members. We even had to decide who would be guardians to our baby in the case something would happen to the both of us.

Our First Interview
Prior to our first meeting, we completed a 10-page questionnaire... a very invasive list of questions. Topics ranged from where we grew up, how we handle anger, our strengths and weaknesses, financial information, how we will discipline our children... and much, much more.

Wouldn’t it be great if all parents had to be legally approved before raising a baby?!

Before meeting with our case worker, we researched questions to expect during the interview and practiced some of our answers. We were nervous. What if we didn't answer a question correctly? What if we weren't what she was looking for?

It turned out that our case worker was fantastic. She was friendly and didn't make us feel uncomfortable at all. In fact, she is on our side and wants to be able to approve us.

Getting Our Home Ready
The second meeting with our case worker was a home visit. In preparation of our home visit last week, Josh and I got a lot of cleaning projects done around the house.

Our case worker told us in advance that she wasn’t going to do a white-glove test (phew!). However, knowing that she was the person who would ultimately approve us to become parents, we wanted to make sure we were extra ready.

We purged our closet and dresser drawers and got rid of things that didn’t fit or we didn’t wear anymore. This was one of my favorite ‘projects’ because I finally got permission to throw away four of Josh’s old t-shirts that I despise. WIN!

I cleaned out a shoebox full of old birthday, Christmas, and thank-you cards. I made sure to keep the really special ones that make me laugh or put a smile on my face.

It was actually nice to have a reason to do such things as weeding the driveway, unclogging the shower drain, and vacuuming spider webs between the beams in the basement ceiling.
'Nice' isn't the word that Josh would have used to describe doing so many extra chores around the house, but he was a trooper and didn't complain.

Day of the Home Visit
On the day of the home visit, our case worker didn’t look for any of these things. In fact, the entire visit was much less intimidating than we thought. She didn’t care that we had an alphabetical, color-coordinated filing cabinet. She didn’t notice that we cleaned behind the refrigerator. And she didn’t even see that our ‘junk drawer’ was actually organized. (Although, all of these things have given me a much better state of mind.)
The purpose of the home visit is to make sure that we have a safe home to raise a baby. She asked lots of questions to find out if we are emotionally ready for this commitment and have a good support system. She wanted to make sure we were prepared for a possible bumpy road ahead.

At the end of the visit, our case worker assured us that she had no reservations in approving us. (hooray!) We’re hoping to get our official approval somewhere around the end of November. We are anxiously awaiting this day!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

For Coffee Lovers!

Let me ask you a few questions:
  1. Are you the kind of person who can’t function in the morning without your daily dose of caffeine? 
  2. Do you support fair-trade products to help producers in third-world countries earn a living wage? 
  3. Maybe you just love us and want to support our cause? :)

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, let me introduce you to Just Love Coffee Roasters, which is an organization that was created to help families raise funds to adopt.

The Mission of Just Love Coffee
At Just Love Coffee Roasters, our mission is to bring out the unique qualities inherent in each coffee bean. We do this by taking a small-batch artisan approach to all of our specialty coffees. We don’t use automation or computers during the roast process, but instead carefully roast every batch to perfection using smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste. We’re always searching for the best Fair Trade, organic, and shade-grown coffee beans available.

And as passionate as we are about creating outstanding artisan coffees, we are equally passionate about helping those in need. Every delectable cup of Just Love Coffee you drink has a portion of its proceeds go to someone who could use a helping hand. In our first two years of business we have given over $200,000 to adopting families, non-profit organizations, and the arts.

Just Love Coffee Roasters donates 5% of their profits to Waterstep, which provides technology and training for creating clean water wherever it’s needed.

How to Purchase

  1. Visit our fundraising webpage:  https://justlovecoffee.com/joshanderikaadopt.
  2. Click on the green "Shop & Support" link on the left-hand side of the page.
  3. Purchase coffee for yourself or for a friend! It's just that simple. You get to drink a good cup of coffee while helping us fund our adoption process.

What are the Proceed Amounts?
13oz. Coffees (non-small lot): $5
8oz. Coffee (non-small lot): $3.50
10-count Single-Serve Cups: $2.50
Tour of The World (4) 8oz. Sampler: $7
Coffee Cupper's (11) 8oz. Sampler: $19
Jamaica Blue Mountain (small lot): 4oz. ($3)  13oz. ($9)
Special Blend–I Love Mom: $5
Special Blend–Pinky Beans (Available in October only): $0
T-Shirts: $5
Sale T-Shirts: $3
Sale Hoodie: $4
Beanie: $3
Hat: $3
Stoneware Mug: $2
16oz. Steel Tumbler: $2
Aeropress: $5
Aeropress Microfilters: $.25
Coffee Scoop: $1
Chemex Brewer: $3
Chemex Filters: $0
LaMarzocco Espresso Machine: $0

Tastes of Africa (4) 8oz. Sampler: $7

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Announcing the News to Family

I thought it'd be fun to share how we announced our adoption news with our families.

Josh’s parents, John and Julie, were the first to hear about our plans to adopt. We drove all the way across the state to see them for a total of 15 hours before having to head home on our short weekend getaway. Let me first preface this story by saying that Josh’s parents are wine nuts. There is always a bottle opened when we arrive at any family gathering. I don’t drink alcohol, but they always welcome my glass of ice water when we cheers at the dinner table. So back to the story -- Before sitting down to dinner, we brought in a bottle of wine, still wrapped in its classy brown paper bag from the grocery store. Tied onto the bottle was a handwritten card. Before even taking the bottle out of the bag, Josh’s mom was able to read the card. This will be John and Julie's first grandchild, so needless to say, they were quite ecstatic.

On the way home from visiting Josh’s parents, we made a quick stop to see my oldest sister Cheryl and her family. They were going to have dinner for us, and I had offered to bring along a dessert. Friends of theirs were also coming to visit that evening and were set to arrive at the same time as us. We decided to leave an hour sooner that day to make sure we arrived before them. We wanted to be able to announce our news without making other people feel uncomfortable during a ‘family moment.’ I brought over a cake for dessert and wasn’t sure how to get Cheryl to lift the lid before her friends arrived. After some time went by and we weren't sure how to get Cheryl to see it, Josh said in desperation, “Look at the cake that Erika decorated this morning!” We loved her reaction. Hands went straight over her mouth, eyes wide, and lots of excitement. Cheryl and her husband Cory were both thrilled and had so many great questions for us. When we mentioned that we are open to all races, Cheryl's reply was, "We could use some color in this family!" That totally made our day. :)

Josh celebrated his birthday in September. A few days before his big day, I called up my sister Teri to see if her family wanted to share some cake with us for Josh’s birthday. We knew we didn’t have any other plans that night, and I was certain that I would eat the entire cake if I didn’t have someone to share it with. So, we decided to do the same cake announcement idea with Teri’s family. We brought the cake over to Teri's house and shortly after we arrived, she opened the lid of the pan to see how it looked. We shared our joy with her for a few brief moments before she put the lid back on the cake, wanting her husband Jason to be able to see the announcement for himself. However, when she closed the plastic lid, she pressed down a little too hard in the middle, so when Jason opened it, all of the words were stuck to the lid! By looking at the indents left in the cake, he was able to make out the words “We’re Adopting!” and immediately asked, “Another dog?” HA! For those of you who know us, you know that we’re crazy dog people. We fostered dogs from a pet rescue for about two years and we just recently adopted a little Beagle puppy. So, we were certain at some point in our adoption announcements that someone was bound to ask.

(We don't have a photo from our announcement at Teri's because I forgot to take a picture before the cake lid incident.)
Almost every time we visit my parents, I always bring my mom a shirt to fix that has a hole in it. I haven’t sewn anything since my home economics class in junior high, and I’m too impatient to teach myself, so I’m hopeless. My mom’s an expert. She made my prom dress and bridesmaid dresses, did alterations on my wedding dress, creates adorable dress-up clothes for my nieces and nephews, makes her own curtains, and the list goes on and on. I’m very lucky to have such a crafty mom who helps me out with anything I need. One of Josh's shirts happened to have a small hole that needed to be fixed, so we knew that was our opportunity. I made a card that had a photo of all six of my parents' grand kids on the front.  I placed the card inside of Josh's folded shirt so that my mom would easily be able to find it when she went to fix it. We weren't able to get her to look at the shirt right away, but when she did finally find the card, I don't think she quite got it. You see, she had been wanting a picture of her grand kids for quite some time, and I think she was just happy to finally have a photo. I guess the giant text over the photo didn't quite give it away, so I had to say, "Open the card!!" Both parents are looking forward to having a new grandchild.
We had a lot of fun sharing our excitement with our families and we are very grateful to them for their love and support!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We're Adopting!

Hello friends and family!

Josh and I have recently begun the adoption process, and we couldn't be more thrilled to grow our family! We look forward to sharing our journey with you, and we hope to give you a little more insight into the process of adoption.

We are working with Christian Adoption Consultants to ease our process and to potentially shorten our wait. The average wait time with Christian Adoption Consultants is less than one year (woo hoo!). Our consultant provides us with much needed encouragement, tons of excellent resources, and she will also be creating our family profile. This is basically a scrapbook about us – a personal letter to the birth mom, our hobbies, our family, our community, etc - that gets presented to the birth mother, in hopes that she chooses us as parents for her baby!

The first step in our process of adoption is completing a home study. This involves meeting with a case worker, getting our fingerprints inked for the FBI, and filling out a LOT of paperwork. Our home study is a crucial part of our process because our case worker determines if we are fit to be parents and gives us the ultimate approval to adopt.

Here are some answers to common questions we have received so far:

Why are you adopting?

We feel that God has been leading us to grow our family through adoption. We strongly believe that being parents isn’t just about giving birth – it’s about loving a child unconditionally and doing the best you can to provide for them.

Where are you adopting from?

We will be adopting an infant from within the U.S.

Do you have any baby preferences?

We are open to all genders and races... and even multiples! (watch Josh's eyes bulge on this one - tee hee)

How much does it cost?

The entire process will cost us approximately $30,000-$40,000. This the average cost for domestic adoptions.

How can we help?

  • Pray! Pray for guidance for us. It can be a long and confusing process that comes with a roller coaster of emotions. Please pray also for the birth mother of our baby. Pray that she cares for her body during pregnancy, and pray for courage and peace as she makes this extremely difficult decision. 
  • Give! We will be planning a few fundraisers to help us cover a portion of the adoption fees. By supporting us financially, we will not use your money to pay for diapers, nursery decorations, or adorable baby outfits. These are completely separate costs for raising a baby. Adoption expenses cover all sorts of legal fees, agency fees, prenatal care and counseling for the birth mother, and much more.  
  • Subscribe! Show your support by following along and sharing this journey with us by subscribing to our blog. You'll be notified whenever we publish a new blog post.