Sunday, July 15, 2012

This Week:: Ugand Beads for Fundraising

Please check out our Bamboo and Pluff Mud Facebook page if you'd like to purchase a strand of hand-made magazine paper Uganda beads. These are not the same 147 Million beads that are on this blog. These were donated to us from friends who recently returned from Uganda while they were adopting their son. We are so thrilled to have 23 strands available. Our suggested donation is $20 for one strand or $45 for three strands. You can choose them on the facebook photos page. It is a public page, you can see it without a facebook. 

Yes, you can still order through our 147 link on our "Uganda Beads" page on here,, too. 
Also, you can use this special link to order::
If you start with that link, we'll get 30% commission on all orders!

If you have no idea why I'm saying "147" don't worry. Just stick with my facebook page. 
Thanks friends! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

{LID}:: Logged In:: So, what does all of this mean?

Hi Friends and Family,

Whoosh! That is how we are feeling! 

I was going to gloss over this part of the process a bit because I think it is might be mundane to anyone who is not in the adoption process; but then I realized that I'm getting plenty of inquiries from sweet friends and family and so I'd like to detail it out for everyone. Again, we are hopeful that our journey will help and encourage other families as they start their own journey. I appreciate all our friends and family who are also interested in the details of the process. I guess it's sort of similar to the posts that people do on facebook when they say "Oh, our baby is 12 weeks and the size of a ______". That's kind of how these posts feel to me. They feel very Carpenter Family focused; but I hope that what we are sharing will be encouraging to many other families considering adoption or families who are supporting families adopting, etc.

So, we are Logged In to the C**WA.
Our file is ready for a referral. It's been translated and accepted. And our official, LID date was July 6, 2012. (1 Year and 1 Day from the day God clearly spoke to us about walking into this journey!)

How will you receive a referral and what does that mean?

First of all, we are going through one route with an agency and for a child in Ch**a. Each country is different and each route is different. We believe that God is leading us to a child who will be under the age of 2 years old when we are "matched". We also believe God has opened our hearts to requesting a child that will have a minor correctable need. In Ch**a, the most common needs are for cleft lip/palate (repaired or not yet repaired), minor heart conditions and webbed digits or missing digits, club foot/feet. We are open to variations of those things and the hardest form to fill out has been the "Medical Openness Form". So, I mentioned most of them; but we are also open to some other needs as well. To protect our daughter and some of our own personal choices, I'm going to leave it at that. Obviously, if our daughter comes home with a cleft lip or palate, it will be obvious; but after we go through this process and depending on her needs, we will evaluate how much we share publicly about this.

Shared List::
So, all that to say, because those are some of our "choices":: young female, minor needs, etc. We have a certain path to follow to be matched with a child. Because of the age factor that we are requesting, our daughter is most likely not on a waiting list anywhere yet, {keyword: yet; but that she could be soon} or our agency would know about her.

Each month, there is a global Shared List that comes from the C**WA to all the agencies that can process adoptions from Ch**a. Each agency, looks at the files as they come in and "locks" a file if they believe they have a family that might be right for a specific child.  These files come out at the end of each month. The younger children will usually have "must have LID" on them. That is why it was so important for us to be "LID" so we could be ready for these referrals.

For example, at the end of July depending on which child comes up in the system, our agency could "lock" a file for us that might be a child they believe we would be the right parents for. They will do this based on our homestudy, what they know about us, our personal conversations, etc. Also, for us, fortunately, I know our agency also goes into this with a lot of prayer for guidance and direction.

Bottom line:: Yes, at the end of July, we could receive a phone call at any time and our daughter could most likely be on a Shared List. Or, it could be a few months.

Y'all know by now, that we are hoping for July, right?

Orphanage Partnerships::
Also, some agencies have partnerships with specific orphanages in Ch**a. Our agency is in the process of being granted up to several thousand new files. However, these files are not just ready and waiting. It takes months to be sure a file is done correctly, doctor visits, review, translation, etc. But, when those files comes up, each agency will then be responsible to match their families (families going through their agency) with their children in the orphanages. Because our agency has all these new files potentially coming in August, we could also be referred and matched with our daughter this way.

Example, for the last year or so, our agency had a partnership with Maoi Ming and I am not watching families in our closed Lifeline China Group on facebook talk about the kids they have just brought home from Maoi Ming, etc. So, they were referred through a partnership, etc. 

Waiting Lists:
There are also children that are on national waiting lists that are maybe 3 years or older or have a more significant need, or they were matched and something fell through, etc. So, least likely, that could happen, too.

Okay, so I think that covers the ways we could be matched.

Will we go through dozens of files? How do you do that? 

I know our agency is going to work hard to give us a file that they believe we would be potentially the best parents for this child. We are hoping not to have to go through very many files at all because we are not going to want to say "no" to any child.

So, this is where it gets tricky.

I'll be brutally honest, it really is hard to stand here and think of "choosing" a child and it makes me want to spew out everything I'm thinking about it to all of you. It feels bizarre. I know this could be a long conversation and there is no way for me to type out every angle of what we believe or how we feel about all of this. For instance, if this child was biological, we'd face whatever came. We never did any of the pre-testing on our boys, etc. But, since we are knowingly walking into a situation, we do have the opportunity to think through what we know will be realistic for us based on where we are right now and we feel best equipped to be there as early as possible for our child's needs so that we can also grow into knowing how to best care for her from a young age. Obviously, God will give us the strength to handle whatever he has called us to. So, we are also not out to be obnoxious in our own abilities and try to be wise in our own eyes and step outside of his plan for our family. So, you can see that this is a super sensitive and intricate process.

So, fortunately, our agency wants to be sure that this child has the best possible family situation, too. So, they have asked us and they will not be giving us things beyond what we have said we feel comfortable with either. So, truly, we won't have to turn down a file on a severe case because we know that's not where God is leading us at this time. We are also listening and drinking in all that we are hearing from our training, agencies, friends and adoption community, and we know that taking a child that has been in an institution will face some different challenges. So, we are leaning on the side of being conservative at this point with needs and age, etc.

But, I will keep saying this. It's just a bizarre feeling. It's just, honestly, part of the sadness that I know one day our Father will make come untrue. But, it's the reality.

Please join us in praying for our hearts and minds and our daughter and her caregivers and our agency who will be pulling files, etc. We value your prayer for us so very much! 

What happens when you get a file that you are considering? 

Well, when we get the file that we are considering or feel strongly that we will accept, we will be sending it to a professional based out of Cincinnati {My home state getting in on our journey!} that is very generous in her fee to review adoption files. A lot of places charge around $400 to review a file, and she does not. {Um, wow!} But, we will send it to this medical professional and she will give us the worst case scenario and also her prognosis for care, etc. She does this in 24 hours. But, this will help us have a professional who is used to seeing files come from international adoptions and will know what to look for. We are very aware of the fact that the records could be wrong. We are prepared for that. But, trusting that God knows what we'll see and what we can decided to do.

What happens when you say "yes"? 

I believe we'll only have a few days to say "yes" or "no" to a file. So, you may see us post "Please pray, we are trying to make some decisions" and that's sort of code for we may be reviewing a file. I also believe that once we say "yes". That we have a flurry of things to sign in a time sensitive manner and do over night shipping of papers and forms, etc. {And I'll tell you right now, my parents have been so helpful when we have had anything that needs to be done in a time sensitive matter so far. We've been able to get homestudy appointments and finger print appointments scheduled so quickly because my Mom and Dad have been so willing to make it happen by scooping up the boys so we can focus! So, yes, we're hoping we get a referral when they are in town, or we may be asking for some local help to focus, fast and pray!}

Then what? 

I'll write more about this later, but there is another 3-4 month process of waiting for Ch**a to do final approvals of us, we have another round of immigration approval in the US, and all types of articles and letters, etc. So, we'll be posting things like I-800 again, then LOA (Letter of Approval), and PA, Article 5, and then the big one:: TA (Travel Approval). Then we'll be approved and waiting on approval to travel there and have a consulate appointment.

So, from time of referral {when we say "yes" are officially matched} to a the time of going to Asia, is about 5-6 months.

How much money do we still need to save up for this last part?

Y'all, I just thank God over and over for the way he has provided. The feelings of late last summer are so fresh. The jar on the counter clanking full of change. The surprise fundraiser at Sisterhood. The hours and pounds of things poured into our garage. The piles of head bands that launched my crafting. The hand knit things friends have been selling. Uganda beads. And let's not forget all the woven wire that so many of you have purchased. My birthday week of blessings from my best friends. And the crazy blessings in April and June for "non-raffle" and grant. And the one-day sale from Naptime Diaries, and let's not forget the crazy ebay sale of sparkly shoes. And then there are the flatout donations that have been pressed into our hands and hearts over and over. All of it mounting to $22,000. Twenty two thousand dollars! Thank you, Jesus!
Talk about a mountain moving.

God's abundant provision and grace poured out on us through this season. It's been such a weird feeling, and yet it has felt that it is just a necessary part of God's hand in our lives. To see the real hand of generosity and grace. I'll tell you, I believe it's so true that the more that is given to you, the more it turns your heart toward wanting to give to others. We will never stop saying "Thank you!" to each person who has prayed and supported us!

We think we'll need between $8,000 and $9,000 before we go this breaks down into all types of fees we have for traveling, guide, hotel, flight, extra misc. fees, etc. But, it's all estimates because we just won't know until we know our exact flight/travel plan.

We are also separately saving up for about $1000 when we get back to do some legal work here. And we'll then be saving up our own separate funds for possible medical expenses. We have a high deductible plan.

We will continue to sell the Uganda beads that we have just recently been given and also hope to sell about $20 more in commission trough our affiliate link on the 147 page. We have about $80 in commission there right now. They'll release it to our agency, when we hit $100 of online sales. I'll be doing an "online" sale soon, too of other things around our home, etc. And then, we'll wait to see when we get a referral based on the time frame for our next big fundraiser. Please "like" my Bamboo and Pluff Mud page on Facebook for these details. I'd like to focus on the Uganda beads for now since I've got a lot of them at this time. I'm doing a deal of 3 for $45 on the new ones, so it's a great way to stock up for extra stocking stuffers!

So, what's the break down on final expenses?

The plane tickets will be our biggest expense. They look like they could be about $4,000- $5000 which means we'd need 100's of bonus miles. But, for now, we are trying to at least build up points from Capital One. So, we are building our own points, and we've already been offered another 20,000 points (equal to about $200). So, please let us know if you have any wisdom on this. Also, for now, it does look like it's pretty simple for donations from other Capital One cards to be transferred to our account. So, if you have some you'd like to hold onto and possibly send our way, that'd be awesome! I am exploring this; but I think we can even turn them into "cash" towards our tickets even if we can't cover the entire cost of our tickets this way. Or, you know, if  someone just happens to have a few hundred thousand miles sitting around, we'll be happen to use those up for you, too.

There are alot of other fees like hotel, guide fees, an extra few hundred that we have to pay to visit our daughter's orphanage, and all types of other misc. travel fees.

Please also pray, we may have a chance at other additional grants after our referral, etc. Just pray for wisdom on how we should proceed here. Thank you so much for support and reading all the details.