Saturday, July 28, 2007

We LOVE picture day!!!!!

We received new pictures yesterday! Woohoo!!! These were taken July 7th so Eli is almost 12 weeks old in these pics. We sent the outfit and hat he is wearing, as well as the rattle, in our care package. You can see all of these items in the pics I posted on our ziplock bag entry in June.

We can't stop staring at them! Sigh...isn't he perfect?!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One step closer...

We found out today that the interview with Eli's birth mother was completed today by the Family Court social worker. Our adoption coordinator also said that the social worker requested to see the DNA results. We are not sure what that means other than the social worker wants to confirm that the DNA matched. Hopefully, there isn't a problem and the social worker just wants to be thorough. I am discovering very quickly, however, that there is always something to worry about with this process! The next step is the social worker will complete his/her report and submit it for approval from the Family Court judge.

In the meantime, our trip is getting closer! We can't wait to get our hands on Eli and spend some quality bonding time with him for a week. As excited as we are, we are also trying to prepare ourselves for the fact that he is not coming home with us after this trip and we have to hand him back to his foster mother at the end of our visit. How do we prepare for this? This just may be the hardest thing we have to do. But, we are so blessed to have the opportunity to spend this precious time with him and, no matter how hard it will be to hand him back, it will all be worth it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dad's Side of the Story

I've been meaning to post for awhile now, but have been unable to do so for numerous reasons. I thought it important to post so that one gains understanding from both parents. It is my hope that I am able to post on a regular basis; however, with being a "soon-to be-dad" I find myself physically, emotionally, and mentally scattered much of the time. With that being said here is "Dad Side of the Story."
Ever since I was a young boy, say around 10-12 years of age, I envisioned myself and my future wife adopting a child. I also envisioned that child being of a different race than myself. Pretty intuitive for being so young, if I do say so myself.
Growing-up, I would hear stories from my family or on the news about children you were abandoned or alone due to some tragedy or circumstance outside the control of their parent(s), and it would simply break my heart thinking about them living in orphanages and foster homes. It broke my heart they may never be afforded what I was afforded, mostly having a family. I felt helpless as 10-12 year old to do anything for these children. Yet, I knew when I got older I would have the ability to make a difference in at least one child's life by adopting him or her.
Adopting is something I've wanted to do most of my life. Therefore, I find it only fitting that Steph and I were led down this path. This has been in me since I was 10 years old. Now as an adult, I finally get to fulfill that vision; I finally get to make a difference in a child's life . . . my son's life, through adoption. I find Steph and myself completely and utterly blessed. Thank you, Eli!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cost of Adoption

This is one topic that many people are curious about, but often hesitate to ask. It's no big secret that adoption is expensive! When we were researching all of our options, we were a bit overwhelmed by the cost and initially thought there was absolutely no way we could afford to adopt, domestically or internationally! However, our hearts directed us to take this path and we knew we had to take a leap of faith and trust that we would find a way to make it work. Even so, we were very scared to proceed without the financial side completely figured out, but we did and it has been incredibly amazing how we have managed to get this far. There is no possible way that we could have come as far as we have on our own. We are so incredibly thankful for the help that we have already received. Without the help and support that people have given us over the last six months or so, we would not have ended up with Eli. Thank you!

We still have a long way to go with both the process of Eli's adoption and with raising the rest of the money we need. We will be doing everything we can to raise the rest money needed to complete our adoption. So far, we have managed to raise money by cutting back on spending, through our garage sale, selling items on and eBay, extra jobs, donations from friends and family, and more. We are also planning on having another fundraiser in the fall through someone we met at our garage sale who sells Signature Home Styles items. We will provide more information about that when we have more details.

So, when it is all said and done, our adoption costs will total approximately $30,000-$35,000. Okay, you can pick yourselves off the floor now! Of course, the next question we always hear is "Why does it cost that much?" Well, adopting a child is very complicated and there are many, many, many people and agencies involved in the process.

So where does all the money go? The biggest chunk of change goes to our attorney in Guatemala. We signed over power of attorney to him so he acts on our behalf for all of the legal proceedings in Guatemala. From this money, he also pays our foster mother a small stipend, provides formula and diapers for Eli, and covers Eli's monthly medical check-ups and vaccines. We also pay a fee to our adoption agency for coordinating the entire process. Other fees include our home study, immigration and visa fees, passports, dossier certification and authentication, courier and postage, travel costs, and more. As you can see, it adds up quickly!

So why are we telling you this? Because adopting is a huge undertaking and the financial piece adds greater depth and understanding to our journey. Many of you have asked how you can help. What is most important to us, above all else, is that we have your love and support. That is what matters in life and what we value the most.

If you would like to help us financially, however, there are several things you can do.

  • Like I stated before, we will be having another fundraiser in the fall. We will be working with a local consultant who sells home interiors. She has offered to donate all of her proceeds from the sale to our adoption fund. We will be having a home party and a book party. Click on the following link to see what sorts of items are available: We will post more information once we have some details and a date set for the party.
  • We are also collecting items to sell on eBay and (books). If you have any items you think are of value and you would like to donate, leave a post and we will contact you to work out the details.
  • If you do a lot of online shopping, please sign up on A small percentage of your online purchases will be donated to our adoption fund. It is very easy and does not cost you a thing. Click on the link for more information.
  • We have also added a link on the top right hand side of the site so that you can make a monetary donation. You can donate using a credit card or a paypal account.
We realize that not everyone is in a position to help us financially. The greatest thing you can do to help us is to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we journey to bring Eli home.

If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a
kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.
When you can see that, you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss
and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't
know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else.
-Joseph Campbell

Monday, July 9, 2007

Moving right along

We just found out we were submitted to Family Court on July 4th! Woohoo!! A social worker will be assigned to our case and is required to interview Eli's birth mother to confirm that she is making an informed and voluntary decision. The social worker also interviews the foster mother and visits the foster home before writing a report recommending (or not!) that the adoption proceed. Finally, the Family Court judge reviews the report and signs off on our case. This process generally takes 6-12 weeks. Many families have been waiting the full 12 weeks so we do not expect to be freed until the end of September.

Right now we are focused on getting ready for our trip! We are brushing up on our espaƱol and losing a lot of sleep due to our excitement. I guess we are in training for all the sleepless nights to come!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Garage Sale Success!

Where do we begin??!

Jason found a bargain! Perfect

Making the sign

It's garage sale day!

Donation table

Build it and they will come

Our niece selling goodies

Our nephew working hard for his cousin

It's been a long day. Good thing Jason's cup was empty!

My sister and I are exhausted, but WE'RE DONE!!!

We had a garage sale fundraiser this weekend and raised $1100!! We can't believe it! And, we still have some items left that we are going to sell to Once Upon a Child and list on eBay. We could not have done this without all of the donations we received from family and friends and the enormous amount of help we received setting up and running the sale. We cannot thank everyone enough for all of the help we received to make this fundraiser a success. We are completely humbled by every one's generosity.

We were also humbled by the generosity of complete strangers. We advertised our sale as a fundraiser for our Guatemalan adoption and we set up a donation table with Eli's pictures and an explanation of our adoption process. We raised at least $100 in donations alone. Most of the people who came to our sale were so supportive of our journey and many of them shared their own adoption stories with us. In fact, we met two families who are currently using the same adoption agency as us! A few people came to our sale specifically because they have also been touched by Guatemalan adoption and wanted to connect with us. In addition, one woman approached us explaining she hosts adoption fundraisers through her business and offered to assist us with fundraising! We feel so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support.

Our sale was scheduled to start at 8am on Friday, but our first customers arrived around 7:15am! We were swarmed with people from 7:15am until around 1:00pm. It was unbelievable! We continued to have a steady flow of people throughout the afternoon. Saturday was not as crazy, but it was steady throughout the day. People were still arriving as we were trying to pack up at the end of the day!

It was a TON of work getting set up for the sale and we are exhausted! But, it was all worth it on so many levels. We not only raised a significant amount of money, but we also connected with so many wonderful people and had a lot of fun with our family.

Thank you to everyone who helped and to all who touched our lives this weekend.
Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness.
It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart.
You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world.
You are willing to share your heart with others.
-Chogyam Trungpa

Monday, July 2, 2007

It's a MATCH!!!

We received DNA results today in the mail. We are SHOCKED!! We had no idea that the test had even been scheduled and we thought for sure it would be at least another 2 weeks before we heard anything. It is a 99.999999% match!! Jason called me at work to tell me the news. We are so happy and relieved because the DNA test is a very critical point. Eli and his birth mother must be present together for the test and they must have a picture taken together. This is the first time Eli's birth mother has seen him since he was 2 days old. We received a copy of the photo. I can only imagine that this must be a heartwrenching time for her. We will always have an intimate connection with this woman and we hope that she has some peace in her heart and knows that Eli is already loved by many.

This is also the first photo update we have of Eli! He is getting so big and cute as ever!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Great news!

Our dear friend Mindy spoke with Eli's foster mom on Friday!! Mindy is fluent in Spanish and offered to call for us. YAY!! THANK YOU MINDY!!!!

Mindy said that the foster mom is very kind and loving. The foster mom described Eli as "muy lindo," which means very cute/handsome. She also said he is a good baby and we are very blessed. Eli saw the doctor recently and is up to 10lbs!! The foster mom actually said he was 10 kilos, but that would mean he weighs 22lbs. Impossible! So, we are guessing the doctor said 10lbs. We hope or else we have a monster size baby! We sent 3-6 month size clothes in his care package and he just fits into this size now. We figured he would still be in this size in August. I guess we need to buy some bigger clothes to take with us on our trip. Needless to say, Eli's foster mom said he is eating well (gordito!) and sleeping about 3-4 hours.

Eli has been with his foster family since he was 2 days old and they call him Oscarito (little Oscar). How cute! The foster mom has 3 children: two daughters, 20 & 16 years old, and a 10 year old son. She said she was excited to meet us and already knew we were coming to visit in August. She also said she sent us an e-mail on Thursday, but we never received it. We will be sending her an e-mail today.

It is such a relief to make contact with the foster mom and to know that Eli is healthy, well cared for, and loved. We hope to spend some time with the foster family while we are visiting so we can get to know them better, as we are intimately connected to them through this journey.

Stay tuned.....we should be receiving updated pictures of Our Little Pea this week. Very exciting!!