Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Paper Cuts

If no one hears from me in the next couple days it probably means I've either been crushed under the weight of a paperwork avalanche or contracted a deadly massive paper cut. I am coordinating all the paperwork necessary for our home study (a lot) and Randy is coordinating a home refinance (its one of his hobbies since becoming a banker - I think this is our third in 3 years). We joked that all we do anymore is request that the other signs on the dotted line of yet another form. Our marriage has become very litigious! :)

Anyhoo - I really don't have time to write much today because I am busy filling out:
  • financial statement
  • FBI background check form
  • FBI fingerprint card
  • Kentucky State Police background check form
  • Kentucky Cabinet of Family Services records form
  • reference form
  • adoption and child care philosophy quesionairre
  • adoptive father family background questionairre
  • adoptive mother family background questionairre
  • animal safety statement
  • grievances procedures agreement
  • post placement visit agreement

And probably more that I'm not recalling right now!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wreaths, Money, and Secrets!

Did I hook you with my Inside Edition inspired title? Are you ready to delve into the underworld of the black market wreath trade in America? Just kidding - I don't have any contacts in that underworld. But I do plan to write today about what many people find to be a touchy and sensitive subject within the adoption world: money. And wreaths are germane to this topic - I promise!

Background Info Alert!
Let me take you on a journey to the past - about two weeks ago to be precise. I was brainstorming ways to give our house just a little more curb appeal before I took a photo of it to include in our adoptive parent profile and somewhere in the back of my brain I remembered seeing wreaths with felt flowers on Pinterest. During this brainstorm I just happened to be at JoAnn Fabrics so I grabbed a wreath form and a roll of burlap ribbon (and paid for them) and headed home where I made felt flowers using mainly old felted sweaters I had leftover from previous projects. I wrapped the wreath form in the burlap and hot glued the felt flowers onto the wreath and was pretty pleased with my end product. So I snapped a photo of it and uploaded it to Facebook where people started commenting that they would like to order one. Randy and I chuckled at first - not ever having considered this as a money making venture- but then realized that wreaths could be a great product to make and sell. They don't take nearly as long as quilts or even as long as baby hats to make. They are easily customizable, and they represent home - which is a great symbol for adoption. So I threw together a graphic to post on Facebook and the orders started pouring in. People seem to be genuinely interested in supporting our adoption and the response has surprised and humbled us!

I don't think I'm surprising anyone when I say here that adoptions are expensive. Many people don't like to talk about it - it feels kind of icky talking about money in relation to family building - like you're purchasing a child. Some people think it is crass to talk about adoption costs because the process of bringing your child into your family should remain sacred. But over here in the real world I know and you know that services cost money and there are real expenses involved with all of the details that go into completing the adoption process. No one is buying a child. We are paying for legal fees, the services of counselors, therapists, adoption professionals, the costs of background checks, medical care, and travel, etc. When its all added up, the cost of a private domestic adoption in the United States ranges from about $15,000 to $45,000. It is shocking when you first see the numbers and it feels unfair - and maybe it is - on some level. But its reality and its just another challenge adoptive parents must meet on their quest to be united with their child. And its worth it.

 Before the wreath situation popped up we had tossed around the idea of doing some fundraising for the adoption but hadn't settled on anything. We had planned - and still plan - on funding the adoption mostly through our savings and through loans. But any little extra bits help, so supplemental fundraising is always a good idea. For the time being, we will stick with the wreath sale since its still going strong and since I actually really do enjoy making them! If you're interested in supporting Button's homecoming or just in the market for a modern wreath, I've listed the important details below!

1. Wreaths are all hand-made by me using burlap and felt. Some felt was purchased as felt and some was purchased as wool sweaters at thrift stores and then felted by me. So we're also saving the earth a little bit here. :)
2. Each wreath has a signature button on the back as a reminder of why the wreath was made in the first place!
3. Wreaths range from $25 - $35 depending on the style you want. The standard (and my favorite) wreaths are $25 and wrapped in burlap with a spray of felt flowers on the right hand side, like this:

If you would like a "fluffy" style wreath I can make one to your specifications and it will be about $35 (they take longer and use about twice the burlap). Here's a custom one I just finished:

4. I can customize wreaths with colors and special requests. Please comment on this post if you'd like one or "like" Hitched and Stitched on Facebook and request on there!
5. If you are outside the Cincinnati area and would like a wreath I can ship them for about $10 - $15. Let me know and we'll work it out!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chocolate and Vanilla

Since our last post was very info-heavy, I've decided to take this one in a different direction and focus much more on Button - you know - the whole reason we're completing all those crazy steps!

I think its natural for parents to wonder what their baby will look like. For adoptive families this wondering takes on a wholly different quality than for pregnant couples. I'd say an active imagination is required for the former to get anywhere in their daydreaming. For us, the question of what Button will look like is still a mystery. But, we have clues. Because we have decided to adopt transracially. Specifically, our baby will be of African American descent or will be biracial with some African American descent. If Button is biracial, statistically he or she will be most likely to have African American and Caucasian ancestors.

The highly recommended book which is next on my reading list!  


While our decision to adopt transracially was not taken lightly it was also not a big ordeal and actually happened pretty gradually. We had always planned on adopting internationally and had considered countries such as Korea, China, India, and Ethiopia - none of which would have produced a Caucasian child. It always just felt somewhat natural - maybe in part because Randy's extended family is made up of many ethnicities - European, Asian and African American. So Randy especially (and me to a lesser extent) has just grown up with the understanding that families can be made up of people who don't look much like each other. And when our adoption plans finally shifted from international back to domestic, the idea of adopting a Caucasian baby just seemed kind of foreign. Maybe it was because we'd been picturing something different for so long or maybe deep down we just know what is best for our family. But without much discussion or soul-searching we both came to the conclusion that we knew our family would be formed transracially.

Transracial adoption is not without its controversies or its challenges. There are many people who have legitimate concerns over whether the practice is the best for children. Whether a white family can effectively parent a black child in a society that is still struggling with institutionalized racism despite perceived advances in that arena. And while I share some of those concerns myself and realize that the set-up is not perfect, I also know that there are more children of African American descent in need of homes than there are homes for them. They are harder to place (read: harder to find people who will adopt them due to their race) than children of any other race in the US. And while transracial adoption is likely not the best overall long-term "fix" to this problem, Randy and I believe that it is a vital immediate measure while there are still more kids than homes. And we're optimistic. We have seen transracial adoption work beautifully - in our own family and in stories we've read and heard online, in books, and on podcasts from people who have lived it.

For transracial adoption to work though, the family must put a lot of work into it. It can't be treated like any other adoption and the advice that "love will conquer all" is not sufficient for a successful outcome. We will need love but we will also need extra vigilance to combat racism in our everyday lives, we'll need to immerse ourselves in social circles that include people who look like Button and provide Button with role models, we'll need to provide Button with social and cultural opportunities to connect with her background, we'll need to prepare Button for a world that won't think of him as our child when he's older, but as a "black man" with all that that entails. (Note - these are just examples - we don't know Button's gender yet!) Plus probably so many other things that we may not even know about until they come up. And while this is all a little daunting, we feel we are up to the challenge and are even welcoming of it. Because it is for Button.

I read somewhere that when you adopt transracially you don't just have someone of another race in your family. Your family becomes multi-racial. For now and for any future generations. Randy and I are excited about this fact and we and embrace it. We hope that our friends and family do as well. They haven't let us down yet - so I predict that they will rise to the occasion. :)

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