Monday, October 29, 2012

In the Numbers

It is estimated there are 143-210 million orphans in the world. To put that into perspective, the population in the US is just a little over 300 million.

Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.

In Ukraine alone, there are over 100,000 orphans.

Children typically age out of the orphanage system around age 15 or 16--unprepared for the life outside. They have no family to go to and no place to call home. 

After release, studies have shown that 60% of the girls become prostitutes, 70% of the boys become hardened criminals, and 10%-15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen. 

We may not be able to save all the orphans in the world (although Mark has always wanted a large family...), but we can make a difference in one or two of these children's lives. 

Watch this video to see the faces behind the numbers:


Monday, October 22, 2012

Auction

Hello world!

We are currently planning an online auction that will take place on the blog November 2-4. Items will include homemade & store bought products and hopefully a few services (hair, nails, photography, etc.) and giftcards. All proceeds will go directly towards our adoption. Would anyone be interested in donating a product(s)? This could be a great publicity outlet while helping out a good cause. 

If you're interested in donating, please send an email to JJackson6@gmail.com with the item(s) description, photo (if applicable), and any other information you'd like included on the listing page. Once the auction is over, I will send you the shipping information and you will ship the product directly to the winning bidder. 

To get you in the auction mood, I leave you with this: 
I better start practicing. Too bad the auction is online so you won't get to see my mad auctioneer skills. 

Details on how the auction will work will be in a separate blog post closer to the auction day. 

Thanks!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Movin' On Up

Mark had his remaining blood work taken earlier this week. Looks like my oldman is healthy as a horse and "fit" to be a dad. Here he is after his TB test:

Look at that cute face!

We had our second/last homestudy visit this morning. Easy peasy. It lasted a whole 20 minutes. Seriously. During our visit we were presented with our homestudy rough draft. It was fun reading our biographies, backgrounds, and his assessment of us as individuals, a couple, and future parents. We must have him fooled because he wrote a very favorable report :)

Dossier prep here we come!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thank you!

First of all, I want to thank everyone for being so supportive of our adoption. Knowing that you are there rallying behind us means so much! 

We are also incredibly thankful for the financial donations that we have already received. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Our biggest fear going into this was the financial aspect and to see money coming in without even asking is a true testament that God always provides for those whom He calls. 

Because our homestudy was completed so quickly, we now have the opportunity to submit our dossier, the next step in the process, before Ukraine's winter break (November 30 to February 1--during this time Ukraine doesn't accept any dossiers). This is extremely exciting but also presents a financial challenge. In order to even begin working on the dossier we need to submit a payment of $5,500 in agency fees. From the donations we've received thus far, we are able to cover $2,000 of this amount, but we still need to raise $3,500. Would you prayerfully consider donating to our adoption fund so that we can continue moving forward in the process? We would be eternally grateful. If you feel led to donate, please see the directions on the right side of the page under the donate banner. Every little bit helps!

Lastly, thank you to those who are praying for us and our child. This is truly the most important way you can continually support us!

Дякую! (That's thank you in Ukrainian!) 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homestudy Update

As new homeowners, Mark and I are learning the ropes of home improvement. We've worked out a system--the inside of the house is my domain, and the outside is his. I mean come on, can anyone seriously picture me doing yard work wearing sequins and ruffles (and no, not wearing them is never an option)? Or Mark cooking and sewing drapes? Ugh, no, I didn't think so. We each have our own skills and that's what makes us a great team! As I was organizing the inside of our home in preparation for our homestudy visit, Mark was working on the backyard. Here he is planting flowers under our Olive tree:

I think they look great--the flowers AND my master gardener! :)

Now fast forward to Saturday morning--our first homestudy visit. It went well and was SO easy!!! Having heard from others that their visits lasted for 4 hours and included a very detailed inspection of their home, I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, ours lasted less than an hour! Our social worker totally rocked.  He came, got right to business, and left. My kind of person. We started out with a joint interview: he asked us why we wanted to adopt (which we will explain in a separate blog post) and other general questions. Then he moved to individual interviews. The sound of it made me nervous, but it was a piece of cake. He asked us each what our hobbies were, what our parents were like, our saddest/happiest childhood memory, our siblings' names, ages, and occupations, our educational background, and how we handled stress. He also answered some of our questions, told us what to expect through the process, and gave us pointers for when our child comes home. 

After the interviews he took a quick walk through our house. We ended up bonding over our Litter Robot--which as a side note is the best invention in the world. Don't believe me? Take Minnie and Raider's word for it: 
We were supposed to have our second/last visit Sunday, but the social worker's daughter was sick all Saturday night so we agreed to reschedule it for next weekend. He told us he'd have the homestudy draft completed before then so rescheduling won't delay anything. 

We were told that the average homestudy takes 3-6 months to complete. Well, if all continues to go as planned, it will have taken us less than one month from start to finish. Yay!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Matryoshka doll

My wonderful friend Kim surprised me with a gift today. A pair of socks with the matryoshka doll on them! I LOVE them!!

The matryoshka doll holds a special place in my heart. Growing up, I would play with a set of the nesting dolls at my grandmas house. Her and my grandpa picked up the set while traveling through the USSR. While some travelers may have kept them tucked away from harm, she let me play with them as much as I wanted. Now that my grandma is gone, I treasure the memory!

The dolls now take on additional meaning--they're a reminder of our precious child(ren) waiting for us in Ukraine! I can't help but smile thinking about everything coming together full circle.

Thank you Kim, for giving me such a precious gift! I love you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Homestudy

Phewf! We've been busy over the past couple of weeks! We've spent most of our time working on our homestudy. 

The homestudy is the first step in any adoption process, whether it be domestic or international. It's basically a detailed written report of the prospective adoptive family. It includes biographies, references, financial information, criminal clearances, medical examination reports, and other pieces of information.  

Here's a photo of me mailing our homestudy packet and praying it didn't get lost (it didn't--hallelujah!): 


In addition to the information packet, a livescan (digital fingerprints) is required. Here's Mark getting his done on his lunch break: 


The homestudy also requires home visits by a social worker. Ours are scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday. I guess it means I better clean our house?!! :)

For those of you who've been through a homestudy, what can we expect during our in-home visits? Any tips?