Monday, December 28, 2015

non-update update

No real adoption news for you all today.
 
We've been waiting for a match for 4 months now and the average wait to be matched is 6-12 months -- that doesn't include travel time -- so we're getting there.
 
(Sidebar, sort of:  While we've been waiting, I have started to follow several adoption groups in Facebook, many of which advocate for waiting children.  I've found about two dozen children I'd like to adopt, even though I know our circumstances would not be conducive to what they need.  While I continue to pray for those children, please take the time to consider how you can help.  I don't believe everyone is meant to adopt, but I do believe everyone should help in some way.   Maybe that's advocating for these children or advocating for other families to adopt.  Maybe it's financially supporting families who are adopting.  Or maybe it is that you feel led to adopt.  Go ahead and take the plunge, and know there's a huge support system out there for you.  And we'd love to chat with you too.  There are just too many children out there waiting for their parents...)
 
Anyway, while we wait...
 
We're working on updating our home study.  In Indiana, home studies expire after one year.  What's a little more paperwork?
 
I took some time off of work this week, so I'm finally repainting or repurposing furniture we've amassed for our daughter's room.  We bought three of the items here for a whopping $16 and I inherited two others.

 
 
Other than that, we continue to work and work some more.

We'll update you all as soon as we know a thing!

Monday, October 19, 2015

how matching works

Now that China and the United States have both approved us to adopt, we are now waiting on an actual match (technically called a referral)!

We'll be matched one of three ways:
  1. Through our agency's exclusive partnership programs with several orphanages in China -- Although it's not completely predictable, usually orphanages release the files of a group of 5-20 children exclusively to our adoption agency every few months, and our agency will then review those files and make referrals from that group.  This would be my preference, as our caseworkers will have time to review the child/ren's files (based on whatever limited information they may receive to begin with) and make as informed of a decision as possible before passing along that referral.
  2. Through our agency's waiting child portal -- Many families may go this route, where they identify a specific child and pursue that child's adoption.  While our agency may be aware of a child that may be a good fit for us, it's not a route that we are proactively choosing right now.
  3. Through China's matching night -- Every so often, China releases a group of 5-50 children eligible for adoption.  There are approximately 180 adoption agencies around the world that broker adoptions from China, and they will all log on at that time.  Do the math...  That's probably 1,500-3,000 families all around the world hoping to be matched with 5-50 children.  Likelihood is pretty slim, but it could still happen that way.

Our agency has 15 other families currently waiting to adopt from China, about half of them seeking girls like we are.  By their best estimates at this point, we're probably 6-12 months away from being matched and then it will be another 2-6 months from that point to travel.

Here are our prayer requests, if you're so inclined:
  1. To be matched with twins.
  2. Finances/fundraising.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

lid!

Nope, not writing about a lid tonight, but about our LID: log-in date.  What this means is that our dossier has officially been logged into China's system and with that, we are technically eligible to be matched!

Prior to actually being matched, we have to schedule a conference call with our agency to discuss details.  We aren't involved in the matching process - our agency does it on our behalf - so it's important for them to know us that much better.

And then once that's done, we'll officially, finally, be eligible to be matched with our daughter or daughters!  Matching will either happen through China's matching night (once/month) or through our agency's partnership with a specific orphanage.

And while I have a captive audience, I'll put another bug in everyone's ear.  We have roughly $15,000 left to raise for travel expenses, so to chip away at that, we're selling these t-shirts that I sort of designed (with a lot of help from Fund the Nations), inspired by our logo.


 
Grey crewnecks are $23 each for sizes XS-XL and $2 extra for sizes 2XL-4XL.

 
Pink V-necks are $25 each for sizes XS-XL and $2 extra for sizes 2XL-3XL.
 
 
Kids' sizes are available too, in 2T-5T/6 and youth small - youth 3XL.  Please note that anything smaller than a youth medium may look ever so slightly different than the picture above since they're printing on slightly different t-shirts for smaller people.
 
If I see you on a regular basis, I'm happy to deliver.  Otherwise, shipping is $4 for your first shirt and $3 for every shirt thereafter.
 
Orders and money must be in my hands by September 11th so I can place the order.  I am expecting a mid-October delivery.  If you're interested in ordering, you can pay by paypal (friends/family option only, please!) or Chase QuickPay at mollykwhitehead @ gmail.com.
 
Thank you for all of your prayers and for your continued support of this journey.  God has provided us with more than $18,000 so far and I'm confident He can provide the rest (even if I have no idea how!).

Monday, August 24, 2015

chasing paper airplane t-shirts!

Another adoption fundraiser -- our own t-shirts! These are the super soft t-shirts and all proceeds will benefit our adoption efforts (namely our anticipated $15,000 needed for travel expenses).


The grey crewneck is $23 for sizes XS-XL. Sizes 2XL-4XL cost $2 more.



The pink V-neck is $25 for sizes XS-XL and sizes 2XL-3XL cost $2 more.

Since these are the super soft t-shirts, it's recommended that you order up if you're in between sizes.

We can also do youth sizes 2T through youth large for $18. We do have to have an order of at least 13 shirts smaller than youth small to print this batch though.

If we see you on a regular basis, we are happy to deliver in person, but otherwise, shipping is $4 for your first shirt and $3 for every additional shirt thereafter.

We can handle ordering a few ways -- I prefer that you can send me a paypal (to friends/family only) at mollykwhitehead @ gmail.com. I can also do Chase Quick Pay or accept checks (if I know you!).  Please make sure to let me know what shirt, size, etc.

We'll place our order on September 11th and anticipate shipping to you by mid-October.
THANK YOU again for helping us bring our daughter/s home from China. We couldn't do it without you!

PS - SHARE AWAY! The more people who buy, the better!  Oh, and don't forget about our little pineapple-themed fundraiser going on through this next Sunday at 6 pm EST.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

pineapple-themed fundraiser!

 
 
I can't claim this as an original idea, but it's still one I'm pretty excited about.  This week, I am hosting an adoption fundraiser, giving you the chance to win these three items.
 
Up for grabs:  this fun pineapple pouch, a set of yellow Jamberry nail wraps, and a Fruits of the Spirit necklace from The Adopt Shoppe.  (I'll mention here that I sewed the pouch this afternoon and purchased the other two items, so know that this fundraiser isn't sponsored or that these items haven't been donated.)
 
Tickets are $5 per entry, and you can enter as many times as you'd like.  Please send your donation through paypal at mollykwhitehead @ gmail.com (friends and family option if possible) or through our Go Fund Me account.
 
I'll draw a winner next Sunday the 30th at 6 pm.
 
Thanks again for all of your support!


Monday, August 17, 2015

dtc!

BIG news!

As of last Friday the 14th, we are officially DTC! 

In adoption-speak, this means dossier/documents to China.  Once China receives our dossier, then it takes approximately 2-3 weeks from here to get logged in.  We'll then get a LID or log-in-date, which essentially opens up the doors officially for us to be matched!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

dossier is on its way!

On Monday, I submitted our dossier ("doss-e-a") paperwork to our agency.  Here it is, folks:

 
 
To be fair, this is one set of the original documents (the one that have the state's gold seal on top) plus two copies.  So for those of you considering adoption in the future, don't be afraid of this picture.
 
For that matter, don't be afraid of the time it's taken me to get my act together.   Every country's requirements are different and every adoption story is different.  This can be done quicker or slower.  It is what it is.  My point again - don't let our story keep you from adopting.
 
What's next?
 
Our agency has reviewed our dossier, we paid what was remaining of the fees, and now our dossier will be mailed to the Chinese Embassy for authentication.  We have been told this process takes about 2-3 weeks to complete, after which our dossier will officially be mailed to China!
 
On a note about the fees, we are paid in full, debt-free for this adoption so far.  That's more than $12,000 we have been able to pay in cash.  God has provided abundantly for us.  To be completely honest, we used a tax return to get this process started and the rest has come in through our saving, selling items, general donations, the instagram auction, the garage sale...it's just added up.  Thank you again to all of you who have participated in some way.
 
And on that note, I do have another little fundraiser coming up, featuring the necklace below.  Many of you might have seen me wearing necklaces from The Adopt Shoppe, of which this is one.  The shop owner usually sells a batch of 100 or so necklaces in A MINUTE - no joke.  I was lucky enough to snag one of these last week and plan to put together a very small fundraiser with the opportunity to win one of these.  It too will be on instagram, so make sure you follow me at @chasingpaperairplanes for more info! 

 



Again, thanks for all of your prayers and support thus far.  Please keep it up!

Monday, July 20, 2015

adoption weekend!

A few posts back, I wrote about how we needed to raise funds for our adoption, but I had no clue what to do.  We'd been praying about what to do, but meh....nothing seemed possible or interesting, I guess.  I'm not sure what clicked too long after that, but I realized I have been given some tools and I just needed to put in a little elbow grease and most importantly, not be afraid to fail.
 
One idea I've toyed around with for awhile has been an Instagram auction.  I've noticed that a lot of people have Instagram shops in lieu of or in addition to their Etsy shops.  I've also noticed and participated in Instagram auctions to benefit another family's adoption, a mission trip, hospital bills, or medical equipment.  My problem was that I don't know a whole lot of people who have shops nor did I really have that big of a "following" either.  I finally just decided to go for it.  I essentially cold called shops that I loved and asked them to donate an item, figured out how to make images on an iPhone app, and then publicized it.  And then prayed that I'd actually have people who would donate and then people who would bid on the items.  We ended up having 58 donations (76 total if you count the stuff I had for sale leftover from last summer's handmade market) and raised....wait for it....more than $1,100!   
 
Here's what gets me - there were a few people I know in real life who participated in the auction, but the majority of vendors and bidders are complete strangers.  So for those of you who donated an item or bid on an item, thank you.  You don't know me or my family and only know our story from our Instagram or this blog, but you took a leap of faith on us, and we are so, so grateful.

.................................................

Switching gears, we happened to be out and about when we landed at a baby store.  I figured we're far enough along in this process that we should begin to think about some of the bigger purchases like a stroller and a car seat....you know, start to plan.  One thing lead to another, and somehow I got CJ talked into letting me start a baby registry.  Not that we expect anyone to actually buy anything for us, especially given how much support we've already been given, but I like having things in one place and knowing we've already agreed on certain things.
 
And speaking of baby stores, they really don't cater to adoptive families.  I know it's not intentional, but the whole process is definitely geared to first-time parents of infants.  If you're adopting a toddler...well, those baby coupons and baby thank you gift they provide aren't really going to do much.  Their system even requires them to enter in a due date, even if you've marked that you're adopting, so we chose a due date of Christmas Eve 2016.  Again, I realize it's not meant to be exclusive, but it definitely comes across that way.

.................................................


And our biggest news...the dossier is complete!  It went off to our agency this morning!  To be clear, we aren't done with the paperwork, but this is the biggest chunk of work.  This file goes to China for their authorities to review and hopefully approve us to adopt.  Once we have their approval, we'll be eligible to be matched!

Monday, June 29, 2015

instagram auction

It's staycation week for me!

My work phone is turned off.  I'm a little nervous about that, but I'm coping.

I am cleaning my house, one room a day.

I am binge watching Scandal.  Why have none of you told me to watch this show before now??

I have high hopes of finishing at least two quilts this week.  It's do-able, but only if I can finish watching all four seasons of Scandal sometime soon.

And I have finally gotten some clarity on adoption fundraising.

We have decided to pursue two or three fundraisers between now and the adoption conclusion.  We have money in the bank to cover our remaining agency fees plus a bulk of our orphanage donation.  I estimate that we will still need between $7,500-$15,000 to cover the remaining orphanage donation plus travel expenses.

That said, here's the first one --



Now, we realize this one won't appeal to most of you, but I've seen instagram auctions work for a lot of other adoptive families and am hopeful this one will work for us.

Here's how you can help:

  1. Make sure to follow our adoption account on instagram - @chasingpaperairplanes.
  2. If you or someone you know make anything and would like to donate for the auction, please send me an email (chasingpaperairplanes13 @ gmail) with the following information:
    • Instagram or shop name
    • Photo of item or logo for shop credit to be donated
    • Item detail or shop credit amount
    • Retail amount
    • Note that I'm asking vendors pay for US shipping, but ask that if it's an international bidder, please specify whether international shipping will be included or not
  3. Please pray for donations and people to bid on the donated items.

If this fundraiser isn't your cup of tea, that's cool -- stay tuned for details on upcoming ways to give!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

95% done

Don't let the title mislead you.  We're not actually 95% done with the adoption, but we are 95% done with the dossier.

As a refresher, the dossier is the official documentation on us that we send to China for their approval to adopt.  It contains the following (and I'm sure I've forgotten something):  our home study, initial approval to adopt from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration, birth certificates, marriage certificate, employer letters, financial statement, medical documentation, police clearance letters, letters of reference, copies of our passports, photos of us and our house, and some other random things.

Basically at this point, I have all of the documentation I need to send to the Secretary of State's office for authentication.  I have two other documents left before official submittal to our agency -- one letter and one document I need notarized -- but that's it.  Finally.

(Oh, don't think that that's a final finally...there's some additional paperwork to complete after this, but it's not as critical as the dossier.)

So here's how we could use your prayers.

1)  Pray that the Secretary of State's office doesn't have any problems with our documentation and is able to quickly process our paperwork.

2)  Pray over some fundraising ideas for us.  Most of our agency fees are paid in full -- and if they're not, we have the money in the bank to finish it off.  We have money left over to help cover a bulk of our orphanage donation.  And then there are the travel expenses.  We will have at least two flights -- one getting there for the two of us and one coming back for three or four of us.  We will most likely have one or two domestic (China) flights too, plus hotel, transportation, and food expenses for two weeks.  I'm not yet sure what this will cost and I'm not overwhelmed by it even though it will be expensive.  We have asked God repeatedly for a fully-funded adoption and I have every belief He will deliver - but quite frankly, I think we need to make an effort too.  We'll continue saving and putting aside money wherever we can, but we have a variety of other fundraising ideas -- the idea being that we don't want to inundate everyone with fundraising requests -- and we're just not sure what to do at this point.  Instagram auction?  T-shirt?  A quilt fundraiser?  Ask for straight-up donations?  Something Christmas-related?  A benefit dinner?  Puzzle?  It's just kind of a question mark at this point.

Thanks, friends.  We so appreciate your support -- in prayer, simply in asking about our progress and encouraging us, and financially.

Monday, May 25, 2015

narrowing things down

Good news is that the dossier is finally starting to come together (read:  I finally kicked myself into high gear).

A breakdown:
  • 35: total number of items needed for the dossier
  • 7:  total number of items left until completion
  • 4:  number of pieces of paper we've requested but have yet to receive
  • 2:  pieces of paper left for us to fill out
  • 1:  adoptive parents we need to interview/get a reference from

It's my goal to complete all this paperwork this week if at all possible so we can get everything notarized and agency-reviewed the week following, and then hopefully by mid-June get apostilles on the paperwork* and get everything off to China - FINALLY.

We do have some other news on the adoption front.  As many of you know, we have requested to be matched with a girl or twins, and in the case of twins, either two girls or a boy/girl.  There was a discrepancy in our home study and so the U.S. government narrowed down our request for us to either a girl or in the case of twins, girls.

We had two options:
  1. Pay an additional $360 and delay our paperwork another 4-6 weeks to get the U.S. government's decision reversed to include a boy/girl if twins.  Even with that, there's no guarantee we'd be matched with boy/girl twins.
  2. Take it as a sign and don't touch the paperwork and save the $360.

We've decided to take it as a sign, so we know now that we will have a daughter -- the question is just if we'll have one or two!

If you all could specifically pray for a few things for us:
  • That the paperwork we're waiting on from others will arrive in the mail this week (CJ's employment letter, our birth certificates from the state Department of Health, CJ's doctor sign-off, etc.)
  • That we will be matched with twins.


*The Indiana Secretary of State has to review all of the notarized documents to make sure they have been done properly and that the notary is valid.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

yes, we're still adopting.

I feel like I'm on repeat sometimes:  Yes, we're still in the process.  I'm still working on paperwork.  And it's not that there is that much paperwork that needs to be done, but that life is so unbalanced for me/us right now that I can barely wrap my hands around it -- and can barely wrap my hands around becoming a parent with the way life is going right now.

So since I last updated, we've I've been working on our dossier.  Today, for the first time, I think I have more check marks next to the requirements than I have empty spaces, so it's coming!
  • Fingerprinting - for U.S. Citizenship & Immigration / FBI
  • Background checks - again, with our local department
  • Doctor appointment - I went yesterday.  CJ went back in December, of which his tests would technically still be good, but there are a few required tests that aren't part of normal blood work, such as an HIV test.  As a paramedic and as a nurse, he's had quite a few HIV tests over the years, but of course, none of those have happened within the past year, so he'll have to get an appointment scheduled soon.
  • Requested birth certificates - That cost us $30 to get them from the state.  I work two blocks away from the county health department in the county in which I was born, but that's not good enough...and it has to be issued within the past six months...
  • Received our new marriage certificate...because the old one isn't good enough either.
  • Took photos around the house and had to clean up our future child's room first (it's where we do all of our projects now).
  • Requested updated reference letters from our employers and friends (thank you!)

So that's that.  We'll keep trucking along and get this done one of these days...

Friday, January 30, 2015

now we're cooking with fire!

Folks, we finally have some actual adoption news to share!

First, this little piece of mail arrived:



That packet of information held copies of our completed home study.  It should have taken us a few months to get that home study done, but it took us a whole year....but it's done.

With a completed home study, we can now start to look for grant opportunities.  That said, I'm honestly pretty skeptical of our ability to be awarded a grant.   Fortunately, we both have great jobs and make good money.  Unfortunately, we both have great jobs and make good money.  And rightfully so, most of the grant opportunities out there are geared towards people who make less money than we do.  For those that aren't income-based and in general, I get the sense that adoption grants are, like most other grants, pretty competitive.  But I guess you never know until you try, right?

Also with a completed home study, we get to begin the I-800A process:

 
Short story:  It's more paperwork and sending a decent chunk of change to the federal government.  (Thankfully, we already have that money saved up!)
 
Long story:  The I-800A process through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration to determine our "eligibility and suitability" to adopt a child who resides in a Hague Adoption Convention country.  The Hague Adoption Convention is an international agreement to establish safeguards to ensure that inter-country adoptions take place in the best interests of the child.  In basic terms, these are the ethical guidelines certain countries have agreed upon where adoption is concerned.  It's more paperwork, yes, but it's a good thing we're going through a Hague country to adopt.
 
In addition to all of that, we've been working our way slowly through this paperwork, as it's a bit less time sensitive than the I800A documentation will be:
 
 
That is our waiting child packet from our agency.  This will include some basic information about ourselves (yep, stuff we've already provided, but need to do in a different format), our research on medical support services in the area, a few different letters of reference, a listing of the special needs we'd be willing to accept, etc.
 
And no, all of this isn't the end to all the paperwork.
 
As always, thanks for your prayers and support!

Monday, January 5, 2015

also for sale

Hopefully you all had the opportunity to check out our blog post from Saturday about January's item of the month, snowmen, something new we're trying out for 2015.  It's a way for us to have our creative outlet, to not get burnt out on making any one item over and over (hello, baby bibs!), and to offer something that will hopefully appeal to you at least one month out of the year.

That said, please know that if you are looking for other handmade items for yourself or for a gift, we're still up for making items we've previously offered, so please keep us in mind!

Baby and lap-size quilts - Read up on the details if interested.

I still have about 3 of the card holders left.  I use one for my business cards and the other for loyalty cards.  I think my mom might have bought a stash to use as gift card holders too, which is a good idea too.  These are $10 each.  This picture is just an example of what they look like; I can get you a picture of what's left if interested or else I can do a custom order.

Crayon rolls - $12 each.  Again, this is just an example.  I can do custom orders of these too.

These Indiana hoops are my favorites.  This one (which was a custom order, hanging on a colleague's wall) is maybe my all-time favorite one.  These 12" hoops are $20 each.  I think I have one Indiana one left, but have since done one for a South American country, so I'm open to anything.

I have a giant handful of key wristlets left.  I love mine.  $8.50 each.

I'm pretty sure we've got a box of these puzzles left too.  $5 a piece.

Wooden string crosses.  I know we have 5 or 6 of these left too.  $15 each.

Just one of these wooden wine vase holders left.  $15.  Once this one is sold, we will not be making these any more.
 
 
If you are interested in any of these items -- seeing what's left or making a custom order -- please let me know or keep us in mind for future gift needs!  As always (I can't remind you enough!), all proceeds go into our adoption savings account to help bring our daughter home.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

january fundraiser of the month: wooden snowmen

Happy 2015!  We had a nice holiday season and are ready to hit 2015 hard.

We're hoping our adoption process moves along a bit quicker in 2015 than it did in 2014.  Really though, the blessing to our process taking so long in 2014 is that it enabled us with plenty of time to do a little bit of fundraising, selling some of our wares, and saving -- and of course, many thanks to all of you who have generously donated money to help us bring our daughter home or who have bought so many of our items over the past year.  All of our agency fees are paid in full, so at this point, we are saving towards our mandatory orphanage donation and travel expenses, which I am estimating will cost between $15,000-$20,000.  We have money in savings to cover a portion of that, but still need to save up some more money.
 
As you know, we like making things, but I got a little burnt out on baby bibs and crayon rolls.  While we will continue selling items we've previously sold, we wanted to add a bit of variety for 2015 by offering an item of the month.
 
For January, that item of the month are these lovely wooden snowmen!
 
Large
 
Small
 
Just a mix, to give you some sizing perspective
 
 
Here are the details:
 
$15 (+ shipping) will get you:
  • 1 large snowman (picture 1) or
  • 3 small snowmen (picture 2)
 
These snowmen are all made to order, meaning that while we have a small stash on hand, CJ will be making them as orders come in -- so it could take a few weeks for them to arrive on your doorstep, still with plenty of time left in the winter season though.  No two are alike.  The large snowmen run anywhere from say, 8-12", and of varying widths.  The smaller ones are about 6" tall, give or take.  Their top hats are all different.  The shades of wood will vary as well, however CJ told me he no longer has any of this darker wood, so most will be of the lighter shade.
 
If you are interested in a snowmen family to maybe represent your own family, we can make that work too.  Contact us (chasingpaperairplanes13 @ gmail.com) to discuss cost.
 
As always, all of the profits will be deposited straight into our adoption savings account to help bring our daughter home.
 
Thanks again for all of your support through this process.  We hope you'll be able to find an item or two of the month this year that suits you!