Then we went here:
So last night I had the pleasure of going here:
And I did not go alone, but with my new friend Aimee! Aimee and her husband are in a very similar spot in life to Jarred and me. We are both at the beginning steps of domestic newborn adoption. We met a few weeks ago thanks to Carlee (our amazing Adoption Consultant) organizing a get-together with adoptive moms and soon-to-be adoptive moms like Aimee and myself. So last night, Aimee and I met and shopped for what else but baby things :-) It was so wonderful to look and touch all of the adorable blankets and clothes. It was also great to do it with a new friend who understands this side of adoption. We both gushed over baby things and the hopes and dreams of babies to come. Aimee and I have similar taste, and she bought some of the cutest blankets and tiny little socks. It was fantastic to stand in the checkout line with her, and when the clerk asked if she wanted a gift receipt, she beamed and said "No, this is for my baby." Talk about a highlight of the night!
Then we went here:
And we both drank some of these:
Our plan was to work on Adoption Grants and Applications... However, we had way more fun just talking and sipping our lattes. I have been so very blessed with the best friends, family and support through this adoption process. And now, God has started a new friendship between two girls who have the same dreams of becoming moms through the less traditional and yet equally amazing and beautiful thing called adoption. Even as I type this, I cannot help but smile. I am beyond blessed!
Today I took the day off of work to spend it with my parents. It is harvest time (my favorite time of the year) and I took the day to ride in the combine with my Dad and the semi with my Mom. I love the way harvest smells and looks. There is something wonderful about the smell of dirt mixed with corn dust and the rich golds and reds are beautiful. I look forward to harvest every year.
I love riding in the combine with my Dad. I have always been a Daddy's Girl, and I enjoy anytime I can get with him. Time spent in the combine has always been a favorite. I love to eat sandwiches and hear him talk about farming and life in general.
I also love riding in the semi with my Mom. I have an amazing mother. How many women are there that are able to drive a semi with a trailer full of corn? Not many, let me tell you that. I get along so very well with my mom. We are a lot alike and we understand each other. I am beyond blessed to have the parents that I have and to have grown up on a farm.
Here are some pictures from my day on the farm:
Shop Till You Drop!
I am really excited to share my new Search Amazon link. If you are shopping online for Christmas gifts, books, movies, music, electronics (anything you buy through Amazon really), please use this link on my site. It is located below as well as on the blog sidebar. A portion of the proceeds from puchases made from my Search Amazon link will go directly to our adoption fund. How wonderful is that!?! You can now donate to our adoption fund while buying items you were already planning on purchasing without spending any extra money. You will be able to help bring home our baby and shop at the same time. Yep, that sounds pretty wonderful to me!
Jarred and I have been working with Kim over the past few weeks on our Family Profile. The Family Profile is kind of like a "Dear Birth Mother" Letter. This profile will give us the chance to show the various Birth Mothers who we are. It is 8 pages plus an awesome cover page. It is filled with pictures and information that a Birth Mother will need to make a decision on who she chooses for her newborn. Needless to say, we want it to stand out and help a Birth Mother to choose us.
The Family Profile has been one of my most favorite parts of this process. Kim has done an amazing job (as usual) and it looks wonderful. Even though I know what she is capable of doing, I am always impressed by her work. She is truly gifted. I highly recommend Kim and Kyle for any graphics design or signage that you might need.
Some of you are wondering... "Why doesn't she just do a plug for the sign business that Kim and Kyle own...?" The answer is that I am trying to keep my blog free of any identifiers as to where Jarred and I live. And the name of their business would give me away. The main reason we don't want to give away our location is because we might be able to allow the future Birth Mother of our baby to view this site to see pictures and to get to know us better. We might have a very open adoption, or it might be more closed. We just don't know right now. Depending on the type of adoption and how much information is shared, we want to keep this site neutral as to our last names and where we live. However, if you know us personally and you want information on Kyle and Kim's sign business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I highly recommend them!
Well this post has gotten way longer than I intended... so without any further wordiness, here is the sneak peak of the cover page and page one of our Family Profile:
Now that the Puzzle Fundraiser has officially kicked off, I have received some excellent questions. The question that I am receiving the most is: "What if I don't want to use the ChipIn! button on this site? Can I still donate?"
The answer is a resounding, Yes! If you would rather not donate over the internet you can donate through the following options:
1) You can write a check or donate cash and hand deliver it to Jarred or myself when you see us.
2) You can write a check and mail it to us.
I am not going to post my address for security reasons. However, if we know you and you want to mail us a check, please email me at email@example.com and I will respond with my address. (Side Note - We have recently moved and the address in our Church Directory is incorrect.)
3) You can write a check or donate cash and have someone you know hand deliver it to us.
4) You can write a check and make it out to our Church. Do not write anything in the memo. Instead, put the check (or cash) in one of the Church's envelopes and write "Jarred & Shannon's Adoption." Note: this is the best way if you want to receive a tax deduction for your gift. Again, if you don't know the name of our church or its address, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond with the information.
If you do desire to use the ChipIn! button, funds will be deposited securely through PayPal.
Due to the fact that not all of our donations are coming through the ChipIn! icon, it does not accurately reflect the amount we have raised. I have the following thermometer that is also on our Puzzle Fundraiser Tab, that tracks all donations:
Here it is: Our Puzzle Fundraiser Kick-off!
Warning, this is my big shameless plug: Please click the "ChipIn!" button below (or side bar) if you feel called to donate to our adoption fund. Adoption is incredibly expensive ($20,000-$40,000), however; it is well worth it to bring a baby without a home into our forever family. I am still struggling with asking for financial support because it feels odd to me. But I know in my heart that God has called us to adopt, and we cannot do it with only our limited resources. However, we can do it with God's infinite resources.
1 Puzzle Piece = $25
You may choose to purchase a single piece, or if you want to donate a larger amount, you may purchase as many pieces as you desire.
We have 47 pieces of our puzzle that have already been purchased. The first 47 pieces belong to:
Kirsten & Jeremy S, Carrie S, Aaron & Nicole, Becky & Brad H and
Randy & Cheryl H (my parents)
As I post the names for puzzle pieces purchased, I am not going to include last names to provide privacy on the internet.
We cannot say "Thank You!" enough for your financial support.
The plan is to add puzzle pieces as they are purchased and keep track of names and pieces on an excel spreadsheet. (Did I mention I LOVE excel? Because I do!) When the puzzle is complete, we will write your names on the back of the puzzle for each puzzle piece purchased. The reason for not writing them right away is because some people are planning on buying pieces sporadically throughout the process, and we would like to have all of your pieces placed together.
If you are new to my blog or have missed what a puzzle fundraiser is, please click the following link for more details: Puzzle Fundraiser.
Many thanks for your support!
On a side note: If any of you have blogs or webpages and would like my ChipIn! widget to place on your site, please let me know and I can give you the code. We are trying to get the word out in any way we can. Click to email a request.
I have great news to report: Our Home Study is complete!
It feels so wonderful to have it in my hands with all of the signatures. So what does that mean? It means that we are ready to take a baby at any time. Between having the completed Home Study, car seat and stroller, this process is starting to feel much more real and concrete.
So our next steps are to finish the mountain of applications for grants and also to start applying to various agencies that will help us match with a Birth Mom. We are also getting ready for our Puzzle Fundraiser to kick-off. Look for that update to come in the next day or so.
I also want to give a shout out to two of my students from Youth Group: Emily and Josh. We have been painting our living room, upstairs hallway and also our kitchen. Emily and Josh have both helped a ton. Emily has been there to help every time I have a brush and roller in hand, and Josh was able to help when we started the process. They are both very hard workers and great at painting. I cannot say enough how much I love my students. You can see some before and after pictures below (although the Kitchen Pics aren't the greatest):
The puzzle that we are completing for our primary fundraiser arrived! Kim has done another amazing job with the design, and I cannot wait for all of you to see it.
Some of you are wondering, "What in the world is she talking about with a puzzle fundraiser." After reading a great book about how to creatively raise money for an adoption, I fell in love with the puzzle fundraiser idea. People who donate to our Adoption Fund will purchase puzzle piece/s. As our friends and family purchase pieces, I will write their names on the back of the piece/s that they bought. After the puzzle pieces are purchased, I will put the puzzle together, piece-by-piece. I will share pictures of the puzzle as it comes together on my Puzzle Fundraiser Tab .
Our plan for after the puzzle is completed, is to frame the puzzle between two pieces of glass and hang it in our baby's nursery. This will be a wonderful keepsake for our child to see the people who were part of bringing him/her home through their financial support.
So now I start the task of organizing how I am going to put the puzzle together. I am putting it together and determining what order the pieces will be laid down. For some people that sounds miserable. But I LOVE puzzles, and I cannot wait to start working on it. Over the next few days, you will start to see it come together.