Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gifts that Give this Season and a Link UP!

Tis' the season for folks to gather round the table and exchange gifts. If you are among those scratching your heads trying to find gifts for that hard to buy person (*coughmotherinlawcough*) then consider giving them something that they WEREN'T expecting.

A gift that keeps on giving!

Here are few gifts that give back this holiday season to adoptive families and waiting children...........

147 Million Orphans Gear

Head on over to to check out super soft tshirts, sweats, necklaces, bracelets, water bottles, and coffee mugs. Profits from the sales of 147 gear go back to programs that assist children in Honduras, Uganda, Haiti, Ethiopia, and China. In addition, the founders Gwen and Suzanne  (also adoptive parents) assist families with fundraising for their adoptions by partnering and selling gear to families at a discounted rate for resale to raise money for their adoptions. 

Personally, I own the tee below as well as almost all of their other tees. They are the softest in my entire wardrobe and I basically live in a 147 tee every weekend. Love them.

147 pink Henley - price $34.99
comes in small, med, large, and xl

Just Love Coffee

Founder Rob Webb understands adoption and the need for orphan care - he is an adoptive parent himself. He came up with the idea of pairing struggling coffee farmers in Ethiopia with families needing to raise funds for their adoptions by creating a company called Just Love Coffee. Families are able to sell coffees wholesale to help raise money for their adoptions and farmers in Ethiopia receive fair wages for their beans. Profits from Just Love Coffees go back to supporting families in the adoption process, families adopting special needs children, as well as orphan support programs. Just Love sells various gourmet coffee beans, mugs, tshirts, and other items.

Bags of coffee start at $12.95/13oz

Gifts of Hope

Show Hope is a Christian non-profit that helps provide financial and spiritual support for families in the adoption process as well as support for children who need care in country. This year they have an online catalog called Gifts of Hope in which you can choose to donate towards the program of your choice in someone's name for the holidays. Causes include supporting families who are in the process of adopting domestically or internationally, post-adoption support programs, providing medical care for orphaned children with special needs, or choosing to send money to the cause with the most urgent need. The recipient of your gift will receive a card outlining the cause in which your donation supported.
Donations start at $15

Lifesong Gifts of Purpose 

Along the same line as the last program, the organization Lifesong for Orphans also has a catalog out titled Gifts of Purpose to help sponsor programs in someone's name for the holidays. Gifts include donations towards families adopting domestically and internationally, coffee mugs and tshirts, donations towards feeding and school programs in Honduras and Ethiopia, and many more. You can choose to either purchase a shirt or mug to give, or make a donation in someone's name and present them with a card outlining where the money will go.

Donations vary by cause and program

Now it's YOUR TURN. If you are an adoptive family or a family who is raising money to support orphaned children this holiday season, LINK UP your fundraiser below. It doesn't matter if you are adopting domestically, internationally, or if you are raising money for a feeding program or school uniforms....LINK IT UP! We'd love to see what others are doing this holiday season and get as many gift ideas as we can. Let's continue the season of giving!

*Remember also to share this page with others who are looking for ways to give back this holiday season!

Link up your adoption fundraiser below and share with others!

Pumpkin Bread Fundraiser Follow-up :)

Several of our readers were curious how our current fundraising efforts were going.  I posted to our blog with all the details in THIS post. I encourage those of you who are thinking of adopting, but don't possibly see how you will EVER afford it, to focus on the Lord who will provide, focus on the child(ren) you are to adopt, and press on! I hope each of you are enjoying decorating and preparing to celebrate this CHRISTmas season!!

I am determined to include this centerpiece this year at our home I found the other day online. I love it! Well, I must get everyone in gear...We are off to do family photos today. ; )


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's that time of year when we sit back and say thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. This year, we are happy to have all of our children home for the holidays. Although our adoption journey is completed, we are happy to begin all the new adventures involved with parenting our three energetic little toddlers.

I am immensely thankful for the opportunity Beth gave me to spearhead our new domestic blog to help families who are in the process of raising funds for their own adoptions. In this way I'm able to give back to families who are in the process of creating their own families. Give1 was one of things that helped us bring home our own children and I'm more than happy to help other families come together through adoption as well. 

We will be taking a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday from regular posting and we will be back on November 26th with a new featured family of the week.

If you are interested in being a featured family or becoming a regular or guest contributor for our blog, please drop me an email over my break this week. We are always looking for voices from all parts of the adoption triad to contribute.

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Guest Post: I Was Wrong

Today's guest post comes from the blog Word From the Wallaces. The original post can be found here. Lindsy is a parent of two biological children and two children through foster care. In addition, the family is also waiting for a little boy through international adoption! 

Our foster care social worker makes a visit to our house once a month to see how we are doing as a foster home. She is assigned to look after us; the boys and their mother have another worker assigned to look after them and work towards the goal of reunification.

Our worker, we’ll call her “Susan”, was here last week and we were talking about how understaffed the department is. SO understaffed, she almost called us about a baby. A baby with a “concurrent” goal. (For those of you not in the foster care world, the term “concurrent” means they are working towards adoption for this baby.) Did I mention we're talking about a BABY?

Susan knows we are not in the place to adopt a baby. Susan knows we have our "hands full". Susan knows we have a little boy in the Congo coming home soon-ish. But she had no one else to call. “All of our homes are full.” she told me. “We don’t have enough homes – even for babies.”

Do those words stop you in your tracks? Not enough homes? For babies? In Kentucky?

Say What!?!

William and I never intended to become foster parents. We never even considered adopting domestically. The thought literally never crossed our minds.

Do you ever speak words that come back to haunt you? I did once. Ok, a few times, but at least once on this very topic.

The day before "T" and "M" came to live with us I attended Created for Care, a retreat/conference for adoptive moms. I was speaking with a woman whose family had been praying about starting the journey of adopting from Ethiopia. She asked me a question I could tell had been on her mind for some time. She asked me how I answer people who want to know why we are adopting from Africa and not “here”. Here being in the US.

I gave my wise Christian answer (insert sarcasm here) - we prayed about it and feel like God has our children in Africa... and then I told her the need is greater there. Kids in the US have roofs over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their tummies. Their parents are not dying of AIDS at alarming rates and they are not dying themselves of dirty water. Simple. The need is greater. I. Spoke. Those. Words.

Friends, I was wrong. Hear me. I. WAS. WRONG.

While yes, children in Africa (or Russia or India or Haiti) are more likely to be on the streets in the only shirt they own begging for food and living in a cardboard box because their parents are dead or sick, the effect parentlessness has on them is NO GREATER than the effect of parentlessness on vulnerable children right “here”.

Dr. Purvis says “their brains are different”. Kids from "hard places" - their brains are different. The reason their brains are different is because of the lack of nurturing they received prenatally and during the first few years of their lives.

Their brains are different because no one nurtured them.

No one met their needs.

No one loved them.

There are six risk factors that put a child into this category: difficult pregnancy, difficult birth, early hospitalization, abuse, neglect and trauma. (Certainly malnutrition plays a critical role and can have dramatic affects on development but a child who was hungry and nurtured will be better off than a child who had a full belly but no nurture.)

When T and M came to live with us I was SHOCKED to see the exact same behaviors we had read about and come to expect from our little one coming to us from an orphanage in a third world country. In my naive mind they would be "normal". They had a roof, clothes and food. (most of the time) They even had a parent. I thought they would be a little shaken up but fair pretty well.

I was wrong.

Their brains are different BUT their needs are the same. The same as children in Africa. Children in Russia, India and Haiti. The need for lovers of Jesus to fight for them is the same.

When we went through foster care training over the summer our instructor shared statistics that were startling to me at the time. I just didn't know:

246 kids in foster care ages 0 - 5
118 kids in care ages 6 - 11
344 kids in care ages 12 - 19
50 kids in care ages 19 - 21 (this number may be the saddest as these kids are holding out to the very last minute for a family to call their own)

Nearly 800 kids are in foster homes in Jefferson County.  800 kids. Ironically, in the state of Kentucky there are 800 KIDS READY TO BE ADOPTED. Did you know that? Six months ago, I did not.

There are a lot of myths regarding foster care and adopting from the foster system. Unfortunately, the only stories that receive media attention are ones where a birth parent shows up years later and demands their kid back. Or stories of kids who linger in the states care for years and years. While these things do happen, they are not the norm in Kentucky. More importantly, the system may be broken, but God is sovereign.

No one reading these words is immune from receiving a phone call today that will change their life. Your life. My life. We are not in control. Of anything. Biological kids, internationally adopted kids, foster kids.They all belong to Him.

Did you know...
Did you know adopting from foster care is essentially free? FREE.

Did you know biological parents have no way of gaining back custody of their children once parental rights are terminated? NO. WAY.

Did you know children enter foster care through no fault of their own? They are victims of the adults who were supposed to take care of them.

Did you know in the state of Kentucky the Safe Families for Children Act prevents kids from lingering in the system?

Did you know you are provided a per diem to care for the foster kids in your home? Did you know this per diem continues for most children even after they have been adopted? Did you know kids from foster care can go to any state college for free?

Did you know you can take your foster kids across state lines, enroll them in daycare and have babysitters?

Did you know you will get attached?
And it will be hard?
It will.

In the paraphrased words of Amy Monroe "You can handle getting attached and getting hurt. You're an adult. You can handle it. They are kids."

These kids you are afraid of loving too much - they are dying for someone to love them like that. While they are not dying from poverty, disease or hunger, their needs are the same.

If you'd like to learn more about adopting from foster care in KY visit the KY Department for Family Services. If you are interested in foster care or adoption in another state visit Focus on the Family.

My prayer is that this post would shine a light on the needs of children right "here". Please contact me if you have questions about our experience or if I can help you prayerfully begin the journey of foster care. lindsy.wallace AT gmail DOT com

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fundraising for Adoption Is Possible in Our Current Economic Climate!

Beth asked if I would do a post about fundraising ideas. I told her I would love to share with you what we have done in the past to help raise money for our past and current adoptions!

In our country's current state of debt, unemployment, and uncertainty on so many issues, one might ask, "Why adopt under these current domestic conditions?" In the book of Jeremiah, God told his people who had been taken into exile by the Babylonian king what He called them to do. "Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." Jer. 29:4-7 ESV

(our Sarah who was adopted as an embryo. She had been frozen since 1999)

We as Americans have not been taken away into exile, but as Christians, we see things happening in our country that we have never seen before in our lifetime. We see in this passage that God call us to "multiply there, and do not decrease". Well, adoption fulfills that command. 

The next question I hear is, "How are we supposed to raise $15,ooo, $25,000, or $40,000 to adopt a child in this economic situation? How did you do it?"

Our first response is that we trust our Lord that He will provide every last dime that we need in His timing alone. I have learned a lot through fundraising. I have grown in my faith and as we saw the quarters, dollars, donations, and gifts trickle in during our last adoption, we as a family, grew in our trust, we learned how wrong it is to be anxious, we learned patience,  and we found immense joy in seeing God work through our entire adoption. 

Do not be anxious, do not doubt. These are His children He is entrusting into your care to raise to know Him. Trust in that truth. That should excite you to get up, gather your friends and family and see how He will bless your efforts. 

Now, not every fundraiser brought "grand" numbers and one fundraiser may bring in a small amount for one, but a generous amount for another. Do not be discouraged if your fundraiser only brings a few dollars. God will honor your efforts!  One season during our last adoption, we hosted a garage sale, we made only a couple of hundred dollars I believe. I admit, I was discouraged. Through other fundraising and donations, we had all that we needed in the end, or so we thought. Then, an unexpected adoption expense of $3,000 came up. My husband suggested a garage sale. Might I say, that I was NOT AT ALL excited about this. However, my husband was, our children were, our friends were, and in turn the Lord grew me so much in those few weeks preparing for the sale. The total you ask? In 3 days our garage sale brought in $3,000! So, do not dismay. Do not be afraid to try something again you have tried in the past. Be diligent & be joyful. It is contagious!

Here is a list of fundraisers, in no particular order, we have done in the past, are in the process of doing currently, or plan to do in the near future. 

  • Garage & Yard Sales 
  • Homemade Pumpkin Bread Sales & Delivery
  • Homemade Cookie Dough Sales & Delivery
  • Buying things at garage sales or donations from friends and sell on eBay
  • Selling items for others on eBay/Craigslist- fee to me 25% of sales price
  • Just Love Coffee eStore
  • Pampered Chef online Catalog Show 20-20% of sales donated
  • Giveaway Raffle with donated items and gift cards bought with credit card rewards points
  • Entering a video to Give1Save1 to be the featured family of the week
  • Finding items at garage sales that will sell for a good profit on eBay

Now these are fundraisers that like I said, are things we have tried or will be trying. I know there are many others and we would love for you to share links and comments to share your ideas. Once of my embryo adoption friends hosted a Parents' Night Out with movies, snacks and games. They charged a flat fee per child. It was a great success! I will list many other ideas in a future post.  

The final question? "How do I do "x" fundraiser? I want it to be successful as it can be?" I plan on sharing with you how to do just that. I will give you details on making the most of each fundraiser you do in future posts. 

If money is the only thing keeping you from moving forward with adopting a child or children, may I encourage you to trust the Lord will provide and find a fundraiser or two that you can get excited about and go for it!

Would you like to see what we are currently doing to raise money to bring our 8 little babies to our clinic for a Frozen Embryo Transfer this spring? Here you go. I look forward to hearing ideas from all of you!



our blog: Room for More

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Transracial Parenting - Perceptions vs. Reality

It was a friend who first got me thinking about adopting outside of my race.

Sitting down with her, she asked me if I had considered adopting an African American child. The friend speaking to me, was black herself. And I do I tell her I'm scared to adopt outside of my race?

Opening up your family to an adoption outside of your race means a few things that you might not have considered when you first began pursuing adoption. For me, it meant that I was going to have to rethink how I had pictured my family in my mind.

I was going to have to realize that there was going to be more to parenting that what I might have intended in the beginning. It meant that I was opening up my family to fierce perceptions from the outside world. It meant that, in just walking by my family, strangers would immediately know our child was adopted. It meant that the things that are passed down through heritage - how you learn to care for your child, would need to be unlearned and relearned for me.

I was scared of how our family would be perceived from complete strangers. I was scared of how I would be perceived by another race. Was I taking care of my child the "correct" way? Could I care for her hair correctly? Skin? Would I be good enough for her that I would not be approached in public and scorned for my lack of knowledge?

My friend got me thinking of the way I pictured our family, and that turned out to be a good thing. We did, in fact, adopt outside of our race not once but THREE times after that conversation. I found out that things like haircare and skincare could be learned. That, like most moms, babies didn't come with a manual and I had time to learn about my child the same way all mothers do - regardless of whether they adopted or birthed their child. I learned that I had time to figure some all things out.

In the meantime, I also learned that there were some things I could never teach my daughter. I could never know, for instance, what it is like to be another race outside of what I am. No matter how hard I try to be the best parent for my kids, I will never be black. I can't be. And therefore, I had to admit that I can't be all things for my children. There will be things I cannot understand and during those times I will empathize and I will make sure that my children have strong black role models and friends they can rely on for those lessons. There will be times I will need to humble myself and turn to a friend and ask for help.

I'm lucky to live in an area in which we aren't perceived much differently. In our community we have families of many colors and types. Our schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces are diverse. We are lucky to have made friends with others who are different races and our children have friends who are black, white, and biracial. I am very glad that they will grow up in a community that supports all families.

In the meantime, we're a family regardless of our colors on the outside. We are learning what it's like to be a transracial family in a world that is becoming increasingly more diverse. I'm incredibly glad that my fears of becoming a mixed race family were absolutely nothing like my expectations.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Review: Adoption is a Family Affair

One thing I looked for when I was beginning the adoption process was books… lots and lots of books on adoption.  So this post will be a review about a book that I really liked. My guess is that people will either love it or hate it. The book is "Adoption is a Family Affair" by Patricia Irwin Johnston. I had read on a blog somewhere that the adoptive family bought this book for every member in their extended family. I was curious, so I ordered one off of Amazon (because Barnes and Noble severely lacks adoption books in my town).

The book is very thin and a quick read. The book spends a lot of time discussing fears that family members may have when an adoption occurs, such as: race, disability, open adoption, cost, wait, and many other topics. It more importantly discusses things that should NOT be said to the parents.  Some chapters you'll be able to skim right over because they will not apply to your particular situation, while other chapters you'll want to photocopy and mail out to everyone you know.

Overall, I thought this book was very good for my family in-particular because we have not dealt with an adoptive situation on my side, although my husband’s  family had.  (But they still got a copy also!) Along with this book we sent a "Family Letter" indicating how we got to the point of adoption (our families were not told about our fertility issues for a long time) and how we intended to raise and educate our daughter in relation to her adoption. It was important for us to indicate to our families that WE would decide what she would know and when, and that we wholly expected them to abide by our wishes (although I did not think it would be a problem... just an "in case" clause of sorts). I find that anything that educates my family and friends about adoption is a plus, and I'll gladly get the information to them.

This book is also good for those thinking about adoption. It raises questions that your family members may have about the situation that you might not have considered. Adoption is a big change for everyone involved, and this book attempts to serve as a guide through some of the potential problem areas.  The world of adoption can be very confusing for those on the outside – this book helps to make the path a little clearer.

(I was not compensated for this review… I just really liked the book and found it helpful.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

National Adoption Month

As we begin November, we leave all the pink ribbons behind in October.  Everyone knows what they represent and honor.  You can buy you're cereal with a pink ribbon on it, and even the NFL players are willing to wear pink one day a month.   Now that the month is behind us, the pink doesn't seem to be plastered everywhere.  However, do you know that November is known for something too, it's National Adoption Month.

There was quite the conversation that many of my friends on Twitter had.  Many of them had been touched by adoption, either as an adoptive mother or a birth mother.  It was during that conversation that my opinion about this being a 'special adoption month' changed.  Many times, this month is seen as a celebration, however this celebration often leaves out one critical part of the adoption triad.  Though the adoptive parents are beyond thrilled to celebrate the addition's to their family, it ignores the third side of the adoption triad, the birth families.  Though they may celebrate the life their child has, their pain and grief are mostly ignored for this month.

Our family has chosen not to celebrate this month anymore than we celebrate each day Isaac is in our life.  Instead, our goal is to bring awareness to all the many different aspects and types of adoption.   Though our family chose to adopt domestically through an agency, there is also foster to adopt, and kinship adoption, and private adoptions that happen.  These are each important and special types of adoption, often clouded by assumptions and misinformation by the general public.

As we go through this month, I think of Isaac's birthmother.  She's on my mind often, but the frequency increases when he hit's milestones and around holidays.  I think of how no one in her family knows what a brave woman she is, putting her son's life above her own feelings.  The only person that knows about the adoption is Isaac's birthfather, who lives several states away from her.  I often pray that the hurt and grief will become lessened  and that she will be able to find joy, no matter how small, in Isaac's life.  Though we don't have contact with his birth family at this time, I am lucky to know several birth moms.  They have each opened my eyes to the daily struggle and joy that they feel.  I am grateful for my friendship with them, because  they have made me much more aware and sensitive to the third, and often forgotten, side of the adoption triad.  

May you think of them too, and honor them with me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Fundraising Question

Adoption is expensive. Ask anyone that has done one. They will go into figures that they spent on homestudies, expenses for background checks, how they gathered together funds for submitting their profiles, or how they scratched up money for agency fees.

In a non scientific poll I've taken since 2009, which basically includes talking to random people about adoption, I find that many people say they would like to adopt....but don't have the funds to begin. OR they state that they'd love to adopt, but it's too expensive.

In the meantime we have children across the country and the world aging out of foster care. We have children going without food and adequate healthcare. We have children who will transition from foster care to foster care, or orphanage, or group home....who will never know what it's like to have a mother or a father.

And we're worried about the cost.


There's something wrong with this picture.

After our failed match which was our first, and only, attempt at adopting domestically my husband and I began pursuing international adoption. In doing so we did a few fundraisers. We sold off some items on ebay we didn't really need. We sold coffee. We sold a few flowers. We did some fundraising things here and there...

In the meantime, we took a loan out against our car. Those checks that come in the mail which you can take loans out on your credit card? We maxed out not one but two of our credit cards. All of these things in the attempt to stay on top of agency bills which, in the end, totaled up over $32,000.

Our daughter came home, and we were finally a family of 3. After the adoption we could submit for the tax refund with the IRS to help with the adoption costs. Luckily, my husband also had a small adoption benefit at his work to also support our bills.

But the bills......the bills were large. They were no longer bills from our adoption agency. They were now bills from credit card companies.

I tell you this not to discourage you from adoption. Adoption is how our family was created and for that I am eternally grateful. I tell you this to encourage you to look beyond the expenses. I tell you this because, for the majority of people, there is no stuffed mattress of money or savings accounts to deplete to bring a child into your family and adopt. For the great majority of us in the USA, we are just trying to pay our bills.

It's for those reasons that I tell potential adoptive parents, whether they are adopting from foster care, international adoption, or domestic adoption - to jump in HEAD FIRST into fund raising and adoption grants.

My husband and I, we felt guilty asking others to contribute to our adoption fund. We asked ourselves, should we even fund raise at all? We shuddered at sending out letters of support to our family and friends. We had some people we knew contributed to our adoption fund, and some that didn't contribute at all. Those that couldn't contribute financially, we asked them to provide "social" donations by telling their friends about our fundraisers via twitter, email, or facebook. We had some people participate with that.....and others who didn't. Did we feel guilty? Yes. Did we feel as if we were a burden to others? Yes.

Then I had an awakening. I watched this video by Eric Ludy. The quote that resonated with me is this....

"I was doing some study on Liberia  If you want to be disturbed, start studying Liberia  This four year old boy sitting on the side of a road. No one to comfort. No one to take him in. No shelter. No food. Nothing. So in the middle of that night, I wake up. It's like God had already deposited a question that was waiting to meet me when I popped awake at 2 in the morning. I had this picture of this little boy in Liberia in front of me. And God asked me a question..........'What if that was Hudson, my four year old. Eric what if that was Hudson?"

"You don't mess with the father's heart. What if that was Hudson?!"

"If my boy was sitting on the side of a road across the world from me. Suffering. Totally alone. Not knowing what's happening. He's not old enough to comprehend this. He's abandoned. He has no one to fight for his cause. He can't even articulate his circumstances. He's hungry and no one is feeding him. He's starving to death."

"If my son is in that situation, stick a concrete wall in front of me and I will claw through it with my bare hands. This is MY SON we are talking about. If I couldn't get there, I would call up EVERY friend I have and say 'I have a son over in Liberia and you call yourself my friend? I need you to get on a plane and I need you to get to him. I'll give you the coordinates and I'll do whatever it takes, but I need you to get to him and be a father to him."

"God's response? "Eric, that's MY Hudson."
My child. My child was over in Congo. My child was over in Congo starving without a mother. Without a father. My child was an orphan and I would claw through a concrete wall to get to her. I would call up every friend I had, I would shout it on Facebook. I would send out letters asking for donations and say.....This is my child and I need your help to get to her. My child is starving. My child is sick...and if you call yourself my friend you will help me get to her. Are you willing to help me get to my child?" 

If my friend, you wrote to me. You called me up and told me you had a child waiting for the hospital..... or in Congo......or in the foster care system. You had a child and you would do anything to get to him I would ask you....."How can I help you get to him?"  And if I couldn't contribute financially, I would pass on the word. I would buy your coffee or your flowers in your fundraiser. I would do anything I could do to bring home your child because I know that's your son.

And with that my friends, never feel sorry for asking for help. Never feel sorry about the stress in meeting adoption expenses or worrying about making it work. It will work out. With all the stress involved in adoption, worrying about money should be the least of our worries.

After piles of adoption paperwork and raising over $10,000 towards our adoption bills, this is a photo of me getting on an airplane in March of 2012 to go to the Democratic Republic of Congo to finalize the adoption of our twins.

If you need help in fundraising for your domestic adoption, please email me and ask for an application to be a featured family of the week. Currently, we have had many applicants but not many completed applications. Together we will help bring your child home.